The Miscellany News
Volume CXLVII | Issue 12
January 30, 2014
Since 1866 | miscellanynews.com
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
Zero student turnout at Bestselling author Prose named anti-smoking workshop Vassar’s writer-in-residence Eloy Bleifuss Prados fEaturEs EditOr
he first smoking cessation workshop of the year to be offered since the College committed to becoming smoking and tobacco-free campus began this week. Zero students signed up. In the same email announcing the college’s impending tobacco ban, President Catherine Hill also made mention of some ways the college will prepare ahead of the Summer 2015 deadline. “You will notice signs about our current smoking policies around campus and in January we will offer a series of smoking cessation classes to students, faculty and staff,” she wrote.
Director of Integrated Health Sylvia Balderrama leads the seven-week cessation course, which offers support for those wishing to reduce or quit their smoking habits. “I was disappointed students didn’t sign up, but I am not surprised,” said Balderrama. Other individuals on campus are attending the workshops, even if students are not. Balderrama said that two staff members attended the first hour-long workshop held Monday Jan. 27, and this number may go up by at least one, possibly two in the following sessions. Doctor Irena Balawajder is co-chair See SMOKE on page 8
fter stumbling across an old photograph taken in 1932, bestselling author and former PEN president Francine Prose knew she had found something. “The photo is of two women in a bar, and one is wearing an evening gown and one is cross-dressing in a tuxedo,” Prose said. Prose began to research and write about the two subjects in the photograph. This soon turned into her latest novel, “Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932.” “This book started with a photograph and what I found out about the people in the photograph,” said Prose. “It takes place in Paris between 1924 and 1944, so I wanted to write about that time. Originally it was going to be a work of nonfiction and then a small novel, but it kept getting bigger and bigger.” “Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932” will be released on April 22 of this year under publisher HarperCollins. On Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. in Sanders Auditorium, Prose will read from and discuss her forthcoming novel with Vassar students and faculty. Aside from the event, Prose will join the Vassar community as writer-in-residence for the See PROSE on page 16
courtesy of Francine Prose
Spencer Davis/The Miscellany News
With the smoking ban going into effect Summer 2015, this past Monday the College offered its first workshop to help campus smokers quit. No students signed up or attended.
assistant arts EditOr
Writer in residence, Francine Prose, will present her novel, which takes place in early 20th-century Paris, to the Vassar community next month.
Panelists Fencing builds on new talent Talk hones in on Black speak to W activism maleness Jonathan Saﬁr rEpOrtEr
Inside this issue
Print, digital access to the Times now available.
fenced before, I would say that the season is going very well. The further we get into the season, the better it seems we are doing. On January 18th, for example, we had a match at Cleveland State where we beat four of the six schools. I think with continued improvement that the season looks very promising.” Gillman agreed, writing that, “I am very happy with the direction See FENCING on page 18
courtesy of Vassar College Athletics
ociety’s patriarchal structure not only implicates the oppression of women, but also puts pressure on men to be the perfect embodiment of masculinity. Crying, expressing emotions and speaking honestly about one’s experience as a man are things which are decidedly off limits for men who want to claim their right to virility. Last Wednesday, Jan. 22, Vassar’s community confronted these issues during an event called “Are you man enough to talk about men, responsibility, intimacy, fear and interpersonal violence at Vassar College.” The dialogue consisted of five male panelists—Associate English Professor Kiese Laymon, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Luis Inoa, Julian Williams, Mychal Denzel Smith and founder of the NYC radio station, WBAI’s Underground Railroad, Jay Smooth—who answered questions about their experiences as men posed by Sexual Assault Violence Prevention program coordinator Elizabeth Schrock. But before the discussion began, some students expressed concern over the title of the event. To some, it seemed to be one that reinforced gender stereotypes from the get-go. See MASCULINITY on page 7
ith a full roster but only one senior, the fencing team was quite uncertain coming into this season. Last year, the team had lost a lot of key players after its spring season and therefore entered this year without much experience. Head Coach Bruce Gillman wrote in an emailed statement, “This is a rebuilding year. We have a very young team, with
only one senior. We have some talented freshmen who need more seasoning and some that have switched weapons to help the team and need to get more practice.” The sole senior on the team, épée Noelle Sawyer, is also the co-captain along with junior épée Megan Lewis. In an emailed statement, Sawyer wrote, “Considering the number of people we began the season with who had never
This past weekend, the Brewer women’s fencing team traveled to the Cleveland State University Invitational to compete against many schools. The team battled a very strong field at the tournament and went 4-2 overall.
Tips, tricks and insight on summer FEATURES internships.
ast Friday, a panel discussion was held highlighting the effect the Internet has had on Black art, activism and academic work. The panel consisted of regular contributor to Salon.com and an assistant professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, Dr. Brittney Cooper, founder of hip hop radio program WBAI’s “Underground Railroad,” the longest running hip-hop radio program in NYC, blogger and host of several hip-hop websites, Jay Smooth, and Associate Professor of English Kiese Laymon. In addition, Cheikh Athj ’16 helped facilitate the discussion. According to her website, Cooper writes extensively about both historic and contemporary iterations of Black feminist theorizing and was brought to campus along with Jay Smooth to help guide the discussion and root the conversation in real experiences that they have lived and studied. The issues discussed among the panelists focused on why the Internet is important for transformative work to happen and the benefits and pitfalls of using the Internet for Black activism and intellectual work. The panelists also talked about the democratization of space and how it is someSee ART on page 4
Two students’ travel 10,000 miles for domestic violence.
The Miscellany News The Miscellany News is looking for a new Social Media Editor to join the Editorial Board this semester. Social Media Editor
January 30, 2014
Editor-in-Chief Chris Gonzalez
Meaghan Hughes Marie Solis
Contributing Editors Ruth Bolster Adam Buchsbaum Jessica Tarantine
The Social Media Editor is responsible for updating the social media platforms for The Miscellany News, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts. The Social Media Editor is also responsible for the continued updating, maintenance, design and functionality of the website. The Social Media Editor will also write and post Breaking News stories to the website when they occur on campus.
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Although we are usually some of the best informed students on campus, it does happen that interesting stories occasionally pass us by. That’s where you come in! Submit a tip to us online at miscellanynews.com and somebody on our staﬀ will follow up as soon as possible.
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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.
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January 30, 2014
VSA brings New York Times subscriptions to College Noble Ingram nEWs EditOr
courtesy of lasisblog
n Monday, Jan. 27, two new kiosks filled with copies of The New York Times occupied the student center and the Retreat. For the first time, students now have free access to The New York Times in paper copies and online subscriptions. One hundred copies of the newspaper are now available Monday through Friday in the College Center, and 100 online subscriptions are available with a Vassar email seven days a week. According to an email sent to the student body from VSA president Deb Steinberg ’14, students who finish reading a paper copy are encouraged to return the paper to one of the kiosks so as to make more copies available to the Vassar community throughout the day. According to Acting Dean of the College Eve Dunbar, more information about The New York Times subscriptions can be found by contacting head of the library Sabrina Pape. Many students in the College Center expressed surprise and excitement upon seeing the papers available. Though some professors have paper subscriptions for classes, Vassar has never made newspapers available to students in such a way before now. As for the news publication, many students and professors value The New York Times as the most reliable and reputable international and domestic news source at the college’s disposal. Further, the College was able to take advantage of a program the Times offers that charges the College at a lower rate for the papers. The initiative behind this new feature came from the Academics committee of the VSA. VP for Academics Shruti Manian ’14 explained that the desire for access to The New York Times was something she encountered multiple times over the past few semesters. “The idea was brought to me by a student who felt that a working knowledge of current affairs was often required and expected in
many classes. It was often expected that students would be up to date with the news but there was no way to have regular, free access to a mainstream news source like the New York Times,” she said. Manian and the Academics committee started the initiative when they were approached by Eleni Macrakis ’15. Macrakis echoed many of the reasons Manian gave for supplying the College with papers. “I believe that as college students, we should be aware of what is happening in the world around us. While The New York Times is not unbiased and definitely has its shortcomings, it is a well reputable source,” she argued. Macrakis continued, “In addition, almost every single one of my professors have either recommended that we read The Times or mentioned specific articles that we should read. I found it ridiculous that we didn’t have access to articles past the ten articles a month.” Manian spoke to more of the reasoning behind making The Times available to students, especially students on financial aid. While some students can afford to pay for subscriptions to The New York Times or other, similar news publications, many cannot. Manian and Macrakis found these students to be at a severe disadvantage when it came to participating in discussions involving current events and news. As Manian said, “Vassar is committed to making this a school that is affordable to all kinds of students. While our financial aid is impressive, students often face unforeseen academic costs once they’re on campus. We did not want access to information to depend on financial status. Especially since professors regularly reference articles from the NYT in classes and lectures, it seemed important that all students could have free access to this news source.” She continued, “More than being specific to classes, it seems very useful for the school to provide students with access to a newspaper so
One hundred print copies of The New York Times can be found in the College Center and Retreat. Additionally, online access is available for students seven days a week through one-hour passes. we can keep up with what’s happening in the world outside Vassar.” This initiative was sponsored by both the Office of the President and the Office of the Dean of the College. According to the Office of the President, Manian and Macrakis approached President Hill with this idea and were quickly supported in the endeavor. Manian said the cost of the subscriptions is around $2800. She also noted that the College can get refunded for all the papers that it doesn’t use every day. Macrakis was optimistic about the response students had to this new feature. She said, “I have heard very encouraging feedback. Since the start of the subscription on Monday, students have expressed their support
and have said that they hope this trial semester will show the college that it is a resource worth investing in for future years.” Manian, too, thought the response from students was promising. Though papers have only been available to students for a few days, most of the papers are taken from the kiosks every day and many hope the papers will continue to be found in the College Center. As Manian said, “People seem happy to have access to The Times without having to worry about the cost. I have also seen a lot of enthusiasm for the free online access, which students find even more convenient than physical copies. The paper has only been available for two days, so it may be too soon to assess impact, but so far, things look good.”
Rebecca Edwards focuses advice on life after graduation Anna Iovine
assistant nEWs EditOr
“Ultimately, there are myriad different ways for things to turn out all right,” she said. “As they say in Shakespeare in Love, the ‘natural condition of the theater business [and we could say, ‘of life’] is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster… But strangely enough, it all turns out well,’” Edwards quoted. Edwards then opened the room up for questions, where she discussed her interest in frontier life and how this interest has flourished at Vassar, her work with human rights organization Amnesty International, how her knowledge of 19th-century reproduction relates to reproduction rights today, and advice she had for nervous seniors. Edwards encouraged students to take risks and not be afraid of failure, despite how they’ve perceived failure before and during their Vassar career. “Professor Edwards talked about her childhood and college years and then focused on
Nathan Tauger/The Miscellany News
n Monday, Jan. 27, Vassar Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) hosted their first “Oh the Places I’ve Been” event of the semester. This installment involved a conversation with Professor of History on the Eloise Ellery Chair Rebecca Edwards. Edwards focused on the nineteenth-century American West at Vassar and has taught courses such as “From Gold Rush to Dust Bowl: Writing the American Frontier” and “Sex and Reproduction in 19th-Century United States: Before Margaret Sanger.” “‘Oh the Places’ was created by my predecessor, last year’s Inter-religious Fellow, Joey Glick,” explained this year’s Tanenbaum Inter-religious Fellow, Adah Hetko, in an emailed statement. Hetko continued, “I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I think that the idea was to create the space for a faculty member or administrator to connect with students and provide mentorship in a more personal way--without the filter of academics. Participants share a form of their coming-of-age story, and then answer questions.” This installment was the first of three planned for the spring semester. Hetko said, “RSL has invited administrators and faculty members who have clearly made a difference in the lives of many students, and who are willing to risk sharing a piece of their story.” On how she became involved with the series, Professor Edwards said in an emailed statement, “I’ve worked with Sam Speers and [Rabbi] Rena Blumenthal for several years, having served on the Advisory Committee on Religious and Spiritual Life.” She continued, “They are wonderful spiritual directors for the campus and it’s always a pleasure to participate in the programs sponsored by their office.” The discussion, held in the Faculty Parlor, began with an introduction by Rev. Samuel Speers, Assistant Dean for Campus Life and Director of RSL. Edwards then jumped into the conversation by discussing her childhood and revealing that
the first year after she graduated from college was her “terrible year.” She compared the anxiety she felt to the way some Vassar students and alum feel toward graduation. “Out there beyond the walls of Vassar, the economic situation is pretty grim. Students can feel a tremendous amount of pressure to choose a career path, and to succeed in exactly the ‘right’ courses, major, internships, summer programs, fellowships, and so forth,” Edwards said. She continued, explaining what she wanted to get across during the discussion, “It may therefore be reassuring to a student facing those pressures to hear from people further along in life that their own post-graduate paths had often been confused, messy, and downright painful.” She then transitioned into her graduate school experience and the story of how she ultimately found a place for herself as a history professor at Vassar.
Professor of History Rebecca Edwards speaks to Vassar community about the somewhat chaotic post-graduate experience. This event is part of a year-long series titled, “Oh the Places I’ve Been.”
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post-college decision-making, which was of great interest especially to the seniors present—who asked most of the questions,” Hetko said of the event. Hetko went on, “The event was definitely a success. The faculty parlor was full of students of all years and majors. Judy Jarvis, who participated in ‘Oh the Places’ last year, and Molly McGlennen, who will be the next participant, were also there, which gave it a great sense of connectedness to the other installments.” “The room was totally engaged in following the twists and turns of her story—I didn’t see a single person check their phone,” Hetko noted, “She ended by acknowledging that post-grad life can be struggle, but also reassured the students that there are many ways for everything to turn out okay.” Women’s Center intern Erin Boss ’16 agreed on the success of the discussion, “The series is a really great way for students to connect with faculty and administrators informally.” Boss is one of Edwards’ former students and was interested in Edwards’ concentration on the frontier. Boss continued, “It’s a great way to know them on a personal level rather than professionally or academically.” “In this second year of the series, we’ve taken input from last year’s participants, who have suggested colleagues they thought would be interested. That being said, if a faculty member or administrator would like to participate, don’t hesitate to reach out to RSL,” Hetko encouraged. RSL currently scheduled two more ‘Oh the places’ events this semester: Professor Molly McGlennen on Thursday, Feb. 27 and Professor Eve Dunbar Monday, April 7. “I hope it will continue next school year and beyond,” Hetko said. Commenting on the series as a whole, Hetko explained her overall reaction to the event. “The stories told vary as widely as the participants, but all participants take the risk of speaking from the heart, and the conversations that result are remarkable. And the stories are very beautiful—‘Oh the Places’ is neither gossip nor confession, but true storytelling,” she said.
Outside the Bubble Brain-Dead Patient Removed from Life Support
Violent Protests in Ukraine Since Jan. 26, protests across Ukraine have spread from the capital of Kiev after opposition leaders rejected President Viktor F. Yanukovych’s offer to concede to some opposition leaders. Protests in Ukraine began in Kiev after the president failed to sign agreements with the European Union and instead reached out to Russia for aid. Further, the nation has recently suffered severely under a struggling economy and restrictive laws were recently enacted against media and speech rights, including protest-related rights (The New York Times, “Ukraine Protests Spread as Overture Is Spurned,” 1.26.14). Despite being partially outlawed by Ukrainian leadership, protests have become increasingly violent and rioters in Kiev have seized control of many government buildings. Several protester deaths have been reported, including confirmed deaths of protesters shot during riots. According to The Washington Post, Ukraine’s political divide is primarily geographical and linguistic, with the southeastern sections speaking Russian and previously supporting President Yanukovych, and the northwestern portion leaning toward the West and the European Union and speaking Ukrainian (Washington Post, “This is the one map you need to understand Ukraine’s crisis,” 1.24.14). Meanwhile, Reuters reports that while President Obama personally has remained mostly quiet on the issue, the White House spokesman Jay Carney denounced the violence in Ukraine. He blamed the government for the turmoil, calling the protester’s concerns “legitimate” and condemning the Ukrainian government for its unresponsiveness (Reuters, “White House Threatens Ukraine Sanctions If Violence Continues,” 1.23.14). However, the opposition movement is not cohesive and consists of various minority parties whose specific demands are not always clear. While greater swaths of Ukraine destabilize, some call for aid to Ukraine’s rebels. However, little additional information, has come from U.S. leaders.
—Elizabeth Dean, Staff Designer
Poet advocates peace in Palestine conflict Katie Carpenter GuEst rEpOrtEr
n Jan 28, Palestinian-American slam poet and human rights activist Remi Kanazi performed at Vassar College and spoke about the occupation of Palestine. The event, entitled “Poetic Injustice: Palestinian Slam Poet Remi Kanazi,” was organized by the Students for Justice in Palestine group (SJP) on campus, and was supported by the Africana Studies Department, the Social Justice and Inclusion Fund, Helicon, Poder Latin@, GAAP, Vassar Islamic Society, Wordsmiths, Vassar Prison Initiative, the Women’s Center, and the African America/Black, Latino, Asian/ Asian American and Native American Center. Kanazi covered topics through a number of spoken word poems, including his identity as the child and grandchild of Palestinian refugees growing up in Massachusetts and New York City and the racism he experienced, his witnessing of human rights abuses in Palestine, and the U.S. military. Although he focused primarily on the Israel/Palestine conflict and asserting a firm pro-Palestine position, he iterated, “We live in white supremacist racist country that is a settler colonialist state...we can’t talk about oppressive systems [in Palestine] when we’re denying what’s going on at home...it’s all very interlinked.” An underlying idea through his poems and speaking was the argument that people need to care. In his poem “Before the Machetes are Raised,” he spoke on the frustration of encountering young adults in the U.S. that claim to be uninterested in politics, because it gives them the choice to be apathetic. “While we reach out for freedom and justice we’re defined as political, to undermine our suffering...we’re political, so you can ignore us, delegitimatize and forget us,” he said. Similarly, Kanazi rejected the notion that anger in response to the situation is unreasonable in his poem “Tone it Down,” where he described once being told that he was “brown and angry.” Performance is not to appeal to the opinions of others, but to express one’s own feelings: “Next time you see someone spilling their heart on stage, give them a moment before you try to stomp on it. Recognize that there may be meaning behind words and not every beat is for a finger snap or your
courtesy of main11
On Sunday, Jan 26, a Texas hospital removed 33-yearold Marlise Munoz from life support after a protracted legal battle between Munoz’s family and the state due to her pregnancy at the time of brain death. According to Reuters, Munoz had been on life support since Nov 26 of the previous year due to a suspected pulmonary embolism. She was 14 weeks pregnant at the time of her collapse. Munoz had wished not to be kept on artificial life support after brain death (Reuters, “Texas hospital ends life support for brain-dead pregnant woman,” 1.26.14). Due to Munoz’s pregnancy, Texas statutes prohibited her removal from life support. Munoz’s husband’s legal action resulted in a court order to the hospital, which ultimately forced them to respect the family’s wishes. The Munoz family looks forward to moving on after the close of a case which stirred conversation among bioethicists and families across the nation. Marlise Munoz leaves behind her husband, Erick, and a toddler son. Ernest Machado, Munoz’s father, said, “All she is is a host for a fetus...I get angry with the state. What business did they have delving into these areas? Why are they practicing medicine up in Austin?” Mrs. Machado echoed his sentiments, telling the New York Times that “It’s not a matter of pro-choice and pro-life...It’s about a matter of our daughter’s wishes not being honored by the state of Texas” (The New York Times, “Pregnant, and Forced to Stay on Life Support,” 1.7.14). A little more than a third of Americans have put their wishes about the end of their life into writing. The preferences for end-of-life treatment vary between demographics, with more than half of Hispanic individuals preferring life-saving treatments no matter the circumstances. The percentage of people giving “serious” thought to their end-of-life wishes has increased steadily since the 1990s as cases like Munoz’s and that of Terry Schiavo in 2005 are featured in the media (Pew Research Center, “5 facts about Americans’ views on life-and-death issues,” 1.7.14). Both sides of the abortion debate have also followed this case closely, after some lawyers accused Munoz’s hospital of a narrow interpretation of Texas’ end-of-life statute for pro-life agendas. In the end, Munoz and her family had their wishes respected and Munoz was removed from life support on Sunday, so her family can move forward with funeral arrangements and caring for her surviving son.
January 30, 2014
Poet Remi Kanazi speaks on the ongoing conflict in Palestine and advocates for peace in the region. Vassar student groups made short presentations in between Kanazi’s readings. personal approval.” The format of the performance intercut spoken word poems with commentary and brief explanations of concepts, like the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which calls for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS Movement) against Israeli institutions. Outside of his poems he explained his support for BDS’s demands for an end to occupation, right of return for refugees, and equality for Palestinians living in Israel, and advocated for one secular, democratic state. At the end of the event, Kanazi also commented on current issues on Vassar campus raised by students during the Q&A session. When one student asked for his thoughts on the International Studies program’s spring break trip to study the Jordan River watershed in Israel and the Palestinian West Bank, he criticized it. “The indigenous people in Palestine have told you not to come...if you’re going on these kinds of trips, you’re aiding the Israeli state.” He reiterated that such a trip cannot be neutral, and his support for a boycott of institutions that enable the state of
Israel. He also objected to organizations like J Street on the grounds that they cannot simultaneously talk about peace and support the Israeli state. Although Kanazi did not encounter much vocal opposition to his positions, there were students present involved in starting a campus chapter of J Street U who have a different view of the organization. Sara Abramson ’16 wrote in an emailed statement, “As a supporter of J Street U, my ultimate goal is peace in the Middle East. To many, including Kanazi, that may sound naive, but I truly believe that peace is possible if both sides are willing to understanding the others’ narrative, which can only happen through open dialogue and communication.” Lital Avni-Signer ’16 objected to his treatment of the issue as attacking people who are similarly seeking a peaceful solution: “Kanazi reduced an extremely complex issue with vast gray areas to black and white, and attacked peace-seekers and dialogue groups calling them ‘breeding grounds for injustice.’ To me, shutting down conversation is an unproductive means to an unclear end.”
Web spurs unity, disconnect for activists ART continued from page 1
time hard to recognize the work behind the pieces put up online; what could have been hours of work ends up at the same place as pieces of work that people made in a few minutes without serious intentions. Smooth talked about the long process of filming a video blog and how the effort put into it is not translated on the computer screen. There is a certain detraction from complete immersion into artwork and activism when presented on the Internet due to the plethora of stimuli which makes it hard to concentrate on one thing for an extended period of time, according to him. In addition, an audience member commented on how the Internet promotes complacent activism, where people feel like they have contributed all they can by simply copying-and-pasting a status or “liking” a cause on Facebook or Twitter. Athj wrote in an emailed statement, “The idea that simply posting a Facebook post about something is enough has to do with our generation’s sense of instant gratification and lack of wanting to put in grueling, hard work to get results.” He continued, “But we can even complicate that. I think we also need to understand that, in the words of rapper Meek Mill, ‘It’s levels to this shit.’” He explained this quotation, saying, “While he was talking specifically about life in his song ‘Levels,’ his message echoes an important point that we can apply to Internet activism as well: That folks do what they can. While there is a definite level of ‘slacktivism’ in how activist work is committed, some folks aren’t in the position to do more than that. And for others, the post is just a starting point. Again, levels.” While there are certainly some problems the Internet has created for activism, the com-
munication that can take place and the connections that people can make with each other provide many activists with the power of community, even if they are alone physically or separated from other community members by many miles. One of the main benefits that Cooper brought up first is the ease of communication that the Internet has created between people. Through online contributions, she and other bloggers can share their voices and thoughts to people thousands of miles away. The issue of different locale is no longer a problem when spreading information and news and people once separated are now able to interact in an entirely new way. Andrew Joung ’16 also commented on this coming-together of people and activists who are physically far apart from each other. He said, “What the lecture made me think about was the creation of geographically disparate (e.g., trans-regional, trans-national) groups. As the panel said, the Internet allows isolated individuals to interact and form communities--escaping the loneliness that they felt in their intellectual spheres.” Joung went on, “As the panel made apparent, these communities allow public discussions that would either only occur privately or just never happen. Moreover, as communities form, they form their own kind of ‘language.’ This is in reference to the idea that Kiese’s work crosses class lines in ways that writers like Baldwin may not have.” Athj took this idea further, arguing, “It’s provided a landscape for the gazes of audiences, communities, scholars and colleagues alike to all have a helping hand in the creation and positioning of Black intellectual production. It’s provided a place for our works to expand
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minds and greater contribute to the cultural narratives that compose the very multi-faceted existences of those who in live inside and outside of America. It’s allowed for our work to reach greater and more numerous audiences. Quite simply, the Internet has allowed our intellectual and visceral productions to grow and become more than they ever have.” He went further, speaking to the possibilities that an Internet-driven future could hold. “It’s easy to demonize a culture that has deviated so much from our foremothers’/fathers’ ways of doing activist work, but we live in a day and age where the dynamic of the work we do is so different. How we do work, how we create, the modes that are available to us: we have infinitely more options that those who came before us did. What we have to do is simply utilize them the best that we can. I think that’ll help to lessen--or, at least, buffer--the probability of these issues remaining extremely prevalent. Also just using every chance we can to increase awareness of ‘the cause,’ whatever the cause may be. Also retaining grit, and staying passionate about the things that inform who we are: as humans, and as political bodies,” he said. The Internet is something that has become an integral part of our everyday lives, and it is hard to remember what things were like before in terms of Black activism, art and academia. As Athj pointed out, it is easy to criticize a culture that has become so different from what it was like before the Internet, but despite some of the disadvantages that the Internet has brought upon these matters, this new generation should learn how to use such a powerful tool to its benefit by updating and adapting more traditional methods to fit into the modern age of the Internet.
January 30, 2014
CDO resources abundant for summer internship search Juliet Simon
he time of year to begin searching for summer placements has come, and many students are already in the midst of their searches. But for those who still have yet to begin the quest for their ideal internship, it can feel like a daunting task. The Career Development Office (CDO) can help students find a host of different types of internships, such as working for a nonprofit or research experience with the sciences, to less standard options, such as traveling to France to learn the art of cheese making. Director of the CDO Stacy Bingham stressed that while students may feel pressure to secure an internship, other summer experiences may be equally beneficial. She also said that the difference between internships and other summer experiences is unclear in terms of how future employers might see it, and that it can be difficult to discern whether or not a summer experience was truly an internship on a résumé. “At the bottom line,” she said, “if it’s an experience that allows the student to either take what they’re learning in the classroom and put it into practice, develop a new or existing skill set, or even figure out what they don’t want to do, then it is a meaningful experience.” She also made it clear that not all internships are created equal. Some may not provide students with the opportunity to perform meaningful, substantive work. Alaina Wilson ’16, a Greek and Roman Studies major, spent a month with the San Martino Archaeological Field School in Torano di Borgorose, Italy and participated in the excavation of a Roman Villa last summer. Wrote Wilson, “The experience I gained was more valuable for me than any I would have gained from an internship because the fieldwork gave me a new perspective on Greek and Roman Studies and helped me start to determine my future professional goals.” Wilson’s experience echoes Bingham’s sentiment that it is not necessarily important whether the experience is officially called an internship.
Regardless of what a student wants to do with the summer, now is the time to start the search. Bingham stated that it may already be on the later end for some industries, such as financial services and consulting, but that for most industries, the bulk of deadlines are in February and March, and opportunities are still available. According to Bingham, “It is not as if internship postings to VCLink will dry up completely, but they do become more scarce, so we may have to think about more creative solutions.” However, there may be a few straggling deadlines in April. However, if you are starting the process now, a great place to commence the search for a summer opportunity and get a feel for what the possibilities are, is with an online internship database, such as VCLink, where employers can post opportunities for the Vassar community, or the Liberal Arts Career Network (LACN). “One of Vassar’s greatest assets for career development [is] our alumnae/i,” said Bingham. They can be helpful for students that are interested in industries that can be difficult to break into, such as publishing or financial services. The Alumni Network includes information provided by alumnae/i regarding their present place of employment. This resource may be useful if students know where they would like to work, in which industry, or even if they have a specific employer in mind. Students may use this resource to contact alumnae/i and speak to them about their career path or other information that may be helpful in the process. Alumnae/i networking is not the only type of networking that may be useful: Some students do find summer opportunities through family members or college faculty. For instance, Veronica Peterson ’14, an anthropology and Chinese double major, learned about the Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) through her adviser, who is also the professor that she worked under in China two summers ago while participating in URSI, as well as from observing posters in the chemistry department. Similarly, she found out
about the Qingdao University program through professors in the Chinese department and stated, “The professors in the language classes take time to describe the program and encourage students to go.” Bingham recommended using an approach that covers all of the bases, which is often most successful. This may involve using VCLink and LACN to locate advertised opportunities, going on the alum directory and looking in industries or organizations of interest and approaching them to see if they can make use of an intern, even if they are not advertising any positions. This type of approach may be overwhelming, but it can yield useful results. As Bingham put it, “There’s a perseverance aspect to the internship search that is pretty important.” This fact is also apparent in the number of applications which students may be completing. “It is not uncommon for students to apply to up to 20 or more internships for a summer, especially depending on how competitive the industry might be,” said Bingham. The summer after her freshman year, Peterson spent in the URSI program on an archeology project in Henan, China with a Vassar professor and two other students working in a lab analyzing pig and boar teeth from a recent archeology project. The summer after her sophomore year, she participated in an immersion program at Quindao University. This past summer, she interned at a wealth management company in her hometown in New Hampshire. Peterson’s said her experiences in China were beneficial because they allowed her to experience archeology hands on and provided the opportunity to learn about the actual experience of working in the field . The endeavor also led to a drastic improvement in her language skills as well as an increased understanding of the local culture. Besides the fact that Peterson’s internship at the wealth management company was paid, she said it also was an invaluable education in office culture and a chance to meet some really great people. However, not everyone has such positive experiences, and if the intern feels tak-
en advantage of, the CDO is available to discuss how to remedy the situation, through conversations with the supervisor or by leaving the position if necessary. Not only should a student’s internship be a learning experience, but the process of applying to internships itself should be a learning experience. “We see the internship search process as an opportunity for education. Through the internship search process, students learn how to put together a résumé, write cover letters, how to make applications and, potentially, secure references or letters of recommendation.” Therefore, the process provides practical training in tasks necessary for securing jobs and graduate study opportunities. Once you have secured a summer internship, don’t be discouraged if you are not financially able to afford working for free for a whole summer . There are funds and fellowships available to students, such as the Internship Grant Fund (IGF). The fund consists of a total of approximately 40 to 60 thousand dollars each year and grants are awarded in various amounts to meet the needs of students. Bingham stated, “IGF funding may range from 250 dollars for a student who’s maybe living at home but commuting and needs gas money to $2500 for students who are living in a city that’s not home that need to really defray the cost of living.” There are also some smaller niche funds which may be need- or merit-based. The Fellowship Office’s website provides resource for students who are attempting to fund their summer opportunities. According to Lisa Kooperman, the Director of the Office for Fellowships and Pre-Health Advising, “Some of the opportunities you’ll find on my page are administered through other departments on campus, I am publicizing them on their behalf so you might check with those folks directly.” Peterson said her experiences have contributed to her understanding of what makes her feel fulfilled in life. She said, “I’ve learned that as long as I’m in a place to be learning and experimenting I will be happy.”
Film screening to present realities of Haitian womanhood Julia Cunningham and Ziwen Wang GuEst rEpOrtErs
courtesy of the Vassar Haiti Project
Haitian proverb goes: Fanm se poto mitan, which means “women are the central pillars of society”. On Friday, Jan. 31, the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP), along with the Feminist Alliance, hopes to familiarize the Vassar community with the profound implications behind the proverb by holding a screening of the documentary “Poto Mitan” followed by discussions. Since its founding, VHP has worked in solidarity with Haitians in hopes of seeing the country through a different lens. The movie “Poto Mitan” is told through the perspectives of five Haitian women, whose personal stories allow a look into the consequences of what some call neoliberal globalization: poverty, violence, worker exploitation and a lack of education. On the other hand, the movie also tells how individual hardships are offset by hope, resilience, and collective willpower. Said Haitian-American scholar, activist and performer Gina Ulysse, “[The film offers] a rare glimpse into how Haitian women in the struggle understand their complex conditions and what they are doing for themselves”, It is particularly meaningful to invite our own community to learn about Haiti’s current state of affairs and its interactions with the world. “[Haitian women face hardship with] incredible strength and dignity,” Tamsin Chen, VHP President for External Operations, and Robyn Yzelman, VHP Women’s Initiative Director wrote in an emailed statement. Last year, the newly-formed Women’s Initiative grew out of past focus group discussions held with women in the village. They have organized themselves into a co-operative, and we are working with them to grow their efforts.” “As privileged, western-educated students,” Chen and Yzelman wrote, “we try to educate ourselves and others about Haiti, its culture, as well as the complex, often exploitative relationship it has with the United States, its for-
Pictured above is painting “On Their Way” by Adrien Seide, a work which the Vassar Haiti Project will auction off. This Friday, they screen a film examining poverty’s intersections with gender in Haiti. mer colonial powers, and the rest of the western world.” One of the filmmakers, activist and Northern Illinois University professor Mark Schuller will lead a discussion themed “Haiti Women, Pillars of Global Economy” following the screening. As an anthropologist who has been working in Haiti since his first visit in 2001, Professor Schuller has been most grateful for the opportunity to people in Haiti and consider “Poto Mitan” his greatest achievement of his work in Haiti so far. “[I made this film] in an effort to raise Haiti’s profile, to raise standards for how Haiti is being portrayed, to raise awareness and funds, and to raise people’s voices in demanding change,” he stated in a recent interview. During the discussion on Friday, Schuller will invite all participants into conversations
about feminism, globalization, and the impact of international aid and foreign policies on Haiti. Schuller was previously an assistant professor of Anthropology at Vassar and is currently an assistant professor of Anthropology and NGO Leadership Development at Northern Illinois University. The film aims to raise awareness of women’s role in Haiti. On a website about the film, Haitian American scholar Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, said, “‘Poto Mitan’ brings honor and respect to the women who have been the true backbone of Haiti. In conditions of despair, they bring hope to a people by their efforts and well-reasoned arguments, by their keen intelligence, and their undaunted spirit.” Haiti was the first and only successful slave revolt that led to a free nation. In this way, it has
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a strong history of activism and collectivism. The website states, “In Haiti, as elsewhere, poverty and income inequality intersect with gender inequality. Women bear the brunt of this neoliberal globalization. But Haitian women are organized in their effort to change things, and women have respect in the country, referred to as pillars of the family, the community and society. Women are ‘Poto Mitan.’” Students raising money for their upcoming trip to Haiti will be serving an optional dinner for a small fee. The dinner is catered by local restaurants including Thai Spice, Kismat, Twisted Soul and Marco’s Pizza. VHP has a strong presence on and off campus. In the past they have hosted a wide range of on-campus events, including hosting co-founder of the Haitian People’s Support Project Terry Leroy. While here she spoke about her organization’s reforestation efforts in Haiti. Yzelman wrote, “In 2012, VHP became a 501c3 non-profit organization, giving us the opportunity to fund our initiatives in Haiti with grants from the non-profit world.” Their on-campus events receive funding from the College. The event on Friday is funded by the Tatlock Endowment for Multidisciplinary Studies with help from the Feminist Alliance of Vassar College. Members of VHP take an active role in learning more about Haitian culture in order to spread awareness. VHP has had an active presence in Chermaitre, a rural mountainous village located in the Northwest region of Haiti, since its founding by Lila Meade, the present Assistant Dean for Campus Life, and Andrew Meade, the Director of International Services, in 2001. There they work to implement education, health, clean water and reforestation initiatives. Chen and Yzelman explained, “Our proceeds are funded in large part by Haitian art sales we hold on and off-campus, in the process promoting the art of Haiti, and supporting the livelihood of hundreds of Haitian artists and artisans.”
January 30, 2014
Jazz combos help foster musicians’ artistry, improvisation Aja Saalfeld
Sam Pianello/The Miscellany News
n the 12 years of Modfest, some groups more than others have proven themselves to be particularly well-suited to the festival. Last Friday Vassar’s four jazz combos, Half Sam, #basedcombo, the Ethan Cohen Octet and Chuck and the Peanuts performed in the Villard Room as one of the principle parts of Modfest. Open to all students by audition, the Jazz Combo program is designed to showcase student talent in smaller, more intimate settings than the big-band style Jazz Ensemble. Students also receive encouragement to fine-tune their improvisation skills, one of the important tenants of jazz music, while also having the option to select their own repertoire. Brendan Blendell ’15 described some of the fundamental differences between the two jazz options offered to students. “The biggest difference between the combos and ensemble is that the combos are virtually independent, get to choose their entire repertoire, and focus more on improvisation, while the ensemble has a band leader and is focused more on pre-composed big band orchestrated songs,” wrote Blendell in an emailed statement. The option to choose their own music is one of the more important particulars to the Jazz Combo program. Since students do not face the same constraints on the music they choose to perform as the Jazz Ensemble, there is a sort of freedom afforded to Jazz Combo students that suits the focus on improvisation touted by the program. It isn’t just picking the repertoire that is important—it’s getting to arrange it, too. In a bigband setting, arranging is not a skill performers get to hone. Arranging music gives performers the option to suit the music to their ensemble, which ultimately leads to a better sound. “The Modfest performance went pretty well, since the combos all played material they had
Pictured above are John Winton ’16 on sax and Charlie Perkins ’17 on guitar. They are two members of the combo Chuck and the Peanuts, which performed last Friday, Jan. 24 in the Villard Room. been working on since last semester. While many of the selections were jazz standards[...] each combo had their own unique approach for arranging their tunes,” wrote Blendell. He went on, “The repertoire ranged pretty considerably, from swing-era hits by Duke Ellington to modern R&B-influenced covers of Lauryn Hill and Fugees.” Since the combos are designed to give students the option to foster their individual artistry, the number and direction of groups can easily change from year to year. “This year there are four combos, but the number can change every year depending on how many musicians audition,” wrote Jack Rowland ’15 in an emailed statement. Blendell agreed. He wrote, “The combo program was originally designed for two combos,
though due to increased interest, we’ve gone up to four different groups.” Directorial discretion is predominantly left in the hands of students as well. To keep students’ artistry as the main focus, their director, Director of Wind and Jazz Ensembles James Osborn, mostly leaves the Jazz Combo students to self direct. “[Osborn] directs the entire Jazz program, conducting the Big Band and presiding over the combos,” wrote Rowland. “However, it really is the students themselves who direct their own combos; they acquire the gigs, transport the equipment for most of their shows, pick their tunes, arrange said tunes, sometimes even compose their own tunes, and figure out just how to make every song kick major rear end.”
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Blendell pointed out that the jazz programming at Vassar offers more than just opportunities for improvisation and artistry. Jazz is an influential genre in the history of American music, and performing and studying jazz gives students a different insight from just sticking to the purely classical. “Since jazz is one of the many types of African-American music that developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it’s very important to understand the social and cultural significance behind it, especially if one wants to understand virtually all contemporary music, popular and otherwise,” he wrote. As for performances, the Jazz Ensemble typically has two scheduled concerts a year, while the combos have a more fluid schedule for their gigs. Individual combos have any number of gigs based on who reaches out to them. But the groups do not simply sit around waiting for people to seek their musical services. They have to be on the lookout, too, if they want to maximize their performance opportunities. Wrote Rowland, “The number of gigs we get during the semester completely depends on who we reach out to and who reaches out to us. As an example, last semester, our combo played about four gigs, though, I’d say if we had gone out for more gigs, we could have easily played between six to nine instead. It’s all a matter of advertising ourselves in the right way.” For Rowland, participating in the Jazz Combos is about more even than just musical growth, or influential cultural movements. He wrote, “I think what makes the combos work so well and what makes them worthwhile for me—and I know this sounds like major cheese—is the feeling of family you develop within a group and the chance, once a week or more, not just to play with some of the most talented performers on campus, but also the friends you couldn’t imagine performing without.”
January 30, 2014
Residential life pet policy in best interest of furry friends Bethany Terry staff dEsiGnEr
Spencer DavisThe Miscellany News
n the library, in classrooms and even in the Retreat—it is common to find not only Vassar professors, but members of the Poughkeepsie community walking their dogs in all different campus locales. Dogs are the most visible animals in the community, but animals of all stripes and tails can offer multiple benefits for those who own and interact with them. Although many enjoy the just the sight of these animals, some students wish that the policy on pets was more expansive. Like Matthew Vassar before them with his dog, Tip, today’s faculty and staff bring to campus and live with their own uncaged pets. Assistant Professor of Education Colette Cann and her daughter Salihah, both reside in Jewett with their dog, Jasmine. A pit bull mix, Jasmine came into Cann’s life after someone pushed her out of a car in front of a restaurant as a puppy. Cann says that Jasmine offers unconditional love and companionship for her family, something that she said is especially welcomed in times of stress. There have been certain challenges to owning a dog, however. Originally from the Bay Area, Jasmine had more freedom, having almost never been on a leash. “The adjustment to Vassar has been tough since she has to be on leash and she doesn’t swim in the lake,” said Cann. “But students are incredibly friendly to her out on walks, she gets lots of snuggles while waiting for me outside the library and she gets special treats in the Education building, the Dean of Faculty’s office, and at the Retreat.” In earlier years at Vassar, students regularly brought animals with them, and it was not uncommon to see pets roaming free around campus. This changed in 1979 when the Committee on College Regulations ruled to eliminate student pets, citing that students were not taking proper care of their animals and ignoring basic rules such as leash laws. This revolt against leaches led to many dogs found “frolicking, fighting and fornicating” on campus (“No More Petting at Vassar,” 10.29.79). Vassar students are allowed to own only
small animals that can be kept in cages on campus. The Residential Life website states that “Pets are not permitted in residences, except for those of a size that can be humanely kept in an aquarium/cage not larger than 20 gallons 24 hours a day.” Additionally, pets that produce fur or dander are prohibited on wellness floors. This policy is in place in consideration of the animals themselves and for students with allergies. For the animals, the restriction of space would be limiting. Those are not the only stipulations. The Office of Residential Life also requires that all roommates must consent to sharing the space with an animal. The college prohibits the presence of any and all poisonous animals. Finally, students are also barred from bringing visiting pets into their rooms and houses. Some disagree with this policy, believing that since dogs are allowed to pass through campus buildings and can be found anywhere from the Retreat to certain classrooms, students too should be allowed to keep larger animals in their dorm rooms or apartments for the comfort and support that would provide. Samantha Levy ’16 is one student who wishes she could have a pet on campus. “I would have loved to [have] been able to have one of my dogs here,” said Levy. “She’s small, harmless and sleeps for most of the day. She’s quite cute to have around. It would make me feel more at home to have my dog on campus.” Currently, Levy lives next to the Post-Baccalaureate Henry Chuang who owns a cat named Maxi who has become a welcomed resident of Jewett. She said, “While I personally prefer dogs, I enjoy being able to go out in the hall and play with Maxi on a daily basis. It makes the dorm feel like a more friendly and homey environment.” Levy said she wishes she could also have her own dogs, but she sees how this might pose a problem. “Seeing animals on campus is no substitute for Macks, Marlo and Cobalt, my dogs at home, but I understand the potential risks of having my own pets here,” she said. In regards to animals in apartment areas, where there is much more room than in a dorm room, Rich Horowitz, Associate Director of Residential Life, wrote in an emailed state-
Though some students feel that Vassar’s pet policy should be extended to animals like dogs and cats, the Office of Residential Life maintains that dorm-style living is not a healthy environment for them. ment, “I’m actually going through an adoption process to be able to adopt a rescue dog and— given what they’ve asked us–I’m fairly certain that they’d not allow a student in an apartment to adopt one of their dogs.” For one, he said he believes that the apartment situation could potentially cause issues with animal supervision and access. For another, he said that the impermanence of living in one of Vassar’s apartment areas creates an unstable environment for the animal. “One other consideration in this less than exhaustive list of potential concerns is about the welfare of the animal once the student graduates, as many students will move back home or to apartments. Some homes and most apartments don’t allow dogs,” he wrote. “Even if one finds another owner for the dog, I think it can be agreed that such transient dog ownership isn’t good for the animal.” Residential Life routinely finds students breaking campus regulations and harboring animals in their living areas. Horowitz stated that
every year they find one to three pets, typically cats, in violation of college code. Although he agrees with today’s policies against larger pets on campus, he thinks there should be an updated discussion on what animals should be allowed as pets at the college. “We’ve thus far left things fairly open, but there’s concern that some have taken advantage of this openness at the expense of the welfare of the pet and the comfort of students who aren’t as fond of their pet as they are,” wrote Horowitz. Cann stated that if having pets on campus is something that students wanted, she would support it. She advises students, however, against pet ownership, saying it is a huge responsibility. College is a time to be free from the many challenges that come with an animal companion, she said. Wrote Cann, “If students feel like they want that level of responsibility, then I would support it. But, if I had it to do again, I probably would have postponed it until later.”
Intersection of race and gender complicates discussion MASCULINITY continued from page 1
“It’s not my favorite. I understand that it’s provocative...but to me, interpersonal violence is about being a good person, not about being a good man,” Shivani Davé ’15 said. “We messed up. We should have talked about the name and title and what went into [them] in the first few minutes of the panel. If we could do it over again we would talk about it,” said Laymon. “A few folks on the stage weren’t vibing with the title either.” Though it had its shortcomings, Laymon emphasized that the name was part of their mission to bring people to the talk who might be new to discussions about gender norms: It’s attention-grabbing and it’s tongue-in-cheek. “Around
the nation, people are starting these conversations with ‘Are you a man’ and then saying something that isn’t considered manly,” said Laymon. Aside from the difficulty of picking a name for the event, Laymon felt that some students arrived with unfair expectations. With every student at a different level in their education about gender issues, it seemed to Laymon that some attendants expected a crash course in the topic. “Judy [Jarvis], Elizabeth [Schrock], me, [Eve] Dunbar—we understand there have been countless panels about sexual assault...The attendants of most of these panels are largely women-identified. We saw this [talk] as chapter 13 and some people saw it as the whole book, not even as the first chapter,” he said.
courtesy of Vassar College
Pictured above are the five panelists who spoke about constructions of masculinity and their experiences as men at a talk on Jan. 22. Race dynamics were said to have created a rift between the speakers and audience.
The big question for Laymon and his peers was, “How can we get these men in a room?” The event certainly lived up to their expectations in terms of the sheer quantity of people who attended and while some students deemed the talk successful in many ways, it was met with some discontent as well. “I’m happy that the event happened at all. It’s high time for our campus to start talking about these things and I’m really happy to see that panel take the initiative,” said Shivani Davé ’15. “But I wonder how we can have these conversations that allow for critique while still being respectful of power and privilege dynamics.” The panel of speakers consisted of five Vassar faculty of color, speaking to a predominantly white audience, according to Davé. During the talk, Davé raised some concerns about issues of intersectionality as well as her personal feelings having entered the conversation from the perspective of a woman of color. “Some of the things they were saying made me uncomfortable as a woman. These were mostly unfortunate realities of men and women interacting with each other, but I should have brought those concerns up in a different context,” she said. “Oftentimes, I felt, it was a group speaking form a platform of marginalization or oppression without recognizing that they were simultaneously speaking from a place of privilege that couldn’t be critiqued in this forum of a panel discussion,” wrote Abraham Gatling ’14 in an emailed statement. Though he stated that these students were coming from a place of feeling offended by some of the comments, he would have liked for them to have considered the panelists’ intentions. Nonetheless, Gatling maintained the talk touched on many salient points for students to walk away with. “I think the greatest takeaway form the panel discussion was the idea of listening and that men will only begin to understand
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their contribution to misogyny and ultimately rape culture by really listening to women and how they should be treated, which means turning an introspective lens and reckoning with how you’ve hurt women personally by participating in the system of patriarchy,” he said. Davé expressed optimism about men’s ability to take on the task of listening to women’s voices and understanding the way gender affects people’s lived experiences. “As a woman, I have had very productive conversations with men where they’re receptive to me explaining to them that my experiences are different from them just by virtue of them being a man,” she said. However, Laymon stated, none of these goals can be accomplished in one lecture. “It’s everyday work. If some men in there decided they were going to start a rally tomorrow, next week you’re still going to do more work. We have to commit to a lifetime of work to make interpersonal violence less of an issue.” Gatling echoed Laymon’s words, stating, “Jay Smooth said something that I hope every dude took with them. And that’s the idea that being a ‘feminist ally,’ which I don’t believe any man can truly be. The best we can do is try...to rededicate yourself every day to fighting a very strong current that pushes you towards reshaping how you were taught to think about and treat women, yourself, and other people who occupy oppressed social spaces.” Laymon said he hopes to have more events addressing masculinity, and that they will take the criticism from this event to improve future conversations. “Everything in this culture—institutionally, structurally and culturally—is encouraging us to be abusers, to be violent, and to not reckon with our masculinity. We have to be willing to do this work in a way that’s not patronizing, patriarchal and do so in a way that’s collaborative and respects the similar and different lives of our queer brothers,” Laymon concluded.
January 30, 2014
Campus smokers unwilling to utilize cessation resources SMOKE continued from page 1
of the Smoke Free Implementation Task Force. In an emailed statement, she cautioned against drawing any conclusions based on the current enrollment of the cessation workshop. She wrote in an emailed statement, “As far as the sign-up for Smoking Cessation classes is concerned, I do feel that it is still early in the semester and the response may change.” Composed of both staff and student representatives, the Smoke Free Task Force is responsible for easing the transition to a tobacco-free campus and educating members of the college affected by the ban. “We will be meeting regularly this semester and will continue to promote ongoing education and publicize the availability of smoking cessation resources for our community,” Balawajder writes. Balderrama senses that the college’s ban may force staff and students to curb their smoking. “[Vassar] recognizes that that is not going to be an easy thing for many smokers, people who smoke to do to give up an addictive habit and is trying to be as compassionate as possible to have people be able to work and live on a smoke-free campus,” said Balderrama. On the first day of the workshop, which meets every Monday for an hour, Balderrama described how she had the participants write a list of five reasons they have for quitting. The workshop’s required $10 goes towards covering a workbook, CD and emergency smoking-deferral kit each participant receives on the first day of the class. The emergency kit contains, told Balderrama, “Some distracting things you can use instead of lighting and a little card in there where you put the top five reasons for quitting that you can put in your pack of cigarettes. The particular cessation program called “The Butt Stops Here” is used across the state of New York. Balderrama is unsure if students will begin
coming to subsequent workshops leading up to 2015. “Vassar students don’t like being told what to do,” said Balderrama. “If Vassar students are told, ‘You have to quit in a year and a half.’ I’m not sure Vassar students are going to say ‘Yeah, sign me up.’” Casey Hancock ‘15 was not shocked by the student nonattendance either. “I’m not very surprised that few students have decided to sign up,” wrote Hancock. “One contributing factor is likely that the advertising didn’t seem to be very effective.” Publicity for the workshops included one email from the Dean of College Office from near the beginning of December, as well as two In-The-Pink notices sent a few days after that. Hancock added, “Otherwise, they read the name of the workshop, ‘The Butt Stops Here,’ felt patronized, and decided to use the $10 to go buy another pack of Marlboro 100s,” Hancock was a member of the Student Tobacco Action Research Team (START), a joint-committee chartered by the VSA in late 2012 with the purpose of gauging student reaction on a smoking ban. As previously reported in this paper, a poll by START conducted in spring of last year reported that 65.3% students either opposed or strongly opposed a smoke and tobacco ban. Furthermore, 89 percent of students said that any ban would be difficult to enforce (“Smoking Ban Leaves Questions Unanswered,” 12/5/13). A separate VSA survey from 2011 found student objection even higher with 65.3% of students opposing a smoking ban. There is another theory to explain student resistance to the workshops, according to Hancock. “I sense that smokers on campus also feel a significant distrust regarding the issue and are less likely to want to utilize resources,” wrote Hancock. “This smoking ban reeks of conceited paternalism.” Student smokers at Vassar remain a mi-
nority. The college routinely collects data on students tobacco use. According to Balawajder, the American College Health Association Survey conducted in 2012 found that roughly two-thirds of Vassar students reported to have never smoked cigarettes. Less than one-sixth of students, meanwhile, said they had smoked at least once in the past 30 days. Only 2.2 percent reported to smoke daily. Director of Health Education Renee Pabst offers a caveat, writing in an emailed statement, “The data does show that while there are few students who smoke daily, or weekly, that there are those who engage in social smoking--which does have health consequences and research shows that this can lead to becoming nicotine dependent.” Smoking cigarettes is one of the hardest habits to quit. “Quitting nicotine is probably even harder than detoxing from heroin or cocaine addiction,” Balderrama said. “It is the most addictive substance. At least, that is what the current research is telling me.” The Center for Disease Control website states that nicotine addiction is the most common form of chemical dependency in the U.S., and some articles do suggest that the drug may be as addictive as alcohol and cocaine or heroin. “Part of the workshop entails helping individuals who want to quit smoking find ways in which they can make that happen for themselves,” she continued. “And to provide support in getting there and to provide support for when they relapse.” The relapse rate for those trying to break a smoking or tobacco habit is among the highest. The social dimension of a smoker cessation class can not be discounted, Balderrama explained. “There is a different level of support when you come together and you are sharing this effort and that’s why group works so well,” she said. “It’s meant to do that. To provide support and a support system.”
Sharing stories and listening to the experiences of others can diminish the sense of isolation those struggling with dependency can typically feel. “Oftentimes we think we are dealing with a problem in a particular way or we are the only ones with a problem,” related Balderrama. “And it’s kind of reassuring to hear somebody else say ‘Yeah, it’s that first thirty-minutes in the morning that is the hardest for me.’” Pabst meanwhile said the cessation classes are not the sole way the school is preparing for the ban. “Workshops are only part of a larger education and support process in having the campus go smoke/tobacco free,” wrote Pabst. Individuals interested in quitting smoking would be free to choose from several different options that they believe has the greatest chance of success. “For some students (and staff) they may need nicotine replacement, one-on-one support, and/or other forums for support,” wrote Pabst. “These will be offered at the college, via web support (that may work well for some), or off-campus resources for support.” Apart from cessation workshops, students looking for help quitting or even nicotine replacement can turn to either Health Services or to Pabst at the Office of Health Education. “[W]e are working on the support for staff-and we can also help staff with nicotine replacement through a community agency that offers this free of charge and has agreed to work with Vassar,” wrote Pabst. Hancock said he feels that student efforts in cutting back smoking may change in the next year and a half. “I haven’t talked to anyone who was planning to quit too long before the ban,” he wrote, “However, I’m guessing that as the deadline looms and the implementation committee boosts their educational efforts and increases cessation resources next year, you will see more people in those workshops.”
Say cheese: Lasagna for the lazy cook with cheese to spare Shannon Liao GuEst rEpOrtEr
courtesy of flickr
itting around in my home over winter break, I spent a lot of time on the Internet and didn’t go to the gym. My mother also told me that since I’m dorming in college, I should be able to cook my own meals. The sad truth is, I can’t really cook much beyond your basic spaghetti and meatballs, but with all this free time on my hands, I decided to get off the couch and into the kitchen for some (read: hardly any) exercise. After all, you can’t browse food porn on an empty stomach. In a burst of inspiration, I went to the supermarket for some basic staples of Italian American fast food: milk, cheese and pasta. I also picked up cheese puffs and microwaveable pizza. Back in the apartment, I found a spread of American pseudo-Italian dishes I could cook: macaroni and cheese with ham and broccoli, chili with cheese and even baked frozen pizza topped with broccoli and mushrooms. After about a week of this, I realized that everything just tasted like cheese, and that my packs of cheese would expire if I left them at home after spring semester began. This is when I created a new bizarro entrée: cheese melted into tomatoes melted into cheese melted into pasta, and so on. In other words, lasagna. Okay, so it’s not that innovative, but since I’ve never actually read a lasagna recipe and I didn’t have lasagna pasta, only angel hair pasta, I can promise it’s at least something of an original twist. Baked, fried and smothered in creamy tomato sauce and pepper jack cheese, it was certainly a sight to behold. First I brought filtered water in a pan to a boil, which took around ten minutes. Then I realized the pan is too small for the angel hair pasta to fit, so I chopped up the ends and just dumped it all in into the pot. Ten minutes later, I looked up from my laptop to the sound of the pan exploding. Thankfully, it was just the pasta boiling so much that bubbles were pushing at the edges of the pan cover, and the lid was threatening to fall off. For reasons I don’t understand, every time I cook pasta, the pasta tries to escape the pan. It never succeeds and the phenomenon doesn’t keep it from reaching
al dente, so I just leave it be. One could try turning down the heat, but that will just increase the cooking time. The pasta may take a few more minutes to reach al dente, and I like to lift up a strand to chew on, so I can tell if it’s ready. Finally, with a plate full of boiling spaghetti prepared, I set up the aluminum tray about a third the size of a Vassar dorm desk and took out the packs of cheese, smoked ham and a can of tomato sauce. It doesn’t matter what brand anything is; this is a very casual and versatile meal that will only expand your waistline, so I suggest cooking for a party of one during a time of great hunger. With the ingredients all ready, the fun begins. While I cook, I like to pretend I’m Emeril Lagasse by saying all of his catchphrases such as “bam,” but with this particular dish, I felt more like Jackson Pollock, slamming down those paints. I dumped a handful of tomato sauce onto the tray and topped it off with a layer of spaghetti. For this next part, the more kinds of cheese you have, the better. I sprinkled a generous amount of cheese over it, added more tomato sauce, and ripped off bits of ham. I briefly considered adding chili to the mix, but decided I wasn’t brave or hungry enough to try. Over the ham, I added more cheese, and then spaghetti. The proportions are flexible as well. I finished the cheese extravaganza with any fancy herbs I could find in the cupboards—thyme and oregano. Then I baked it in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 F. You can adjust the temperature depending on your oven’s strength. Always keep an eye on the oven, because pasta burns easily. The end result is mostly gooey, melted cheese—what some may call disgusting. At the very least, it’s a great way to clean out a fridge and experiment in the kitchen. Whatever other ingredients cross your mind, feel free to add any of them, because it’s hard to go wrong with lasagna. A healthier version would have spinach, mushrooms, etc. It tastes best while warm so keep it in the oven with the heat off after baking until consumption. Overall, this makeshift lasagna is a messy, yet enjoyable dish to create. It’s also very guilt-inducing, unfortunately. I call it cheese on cheese on cheese on cheese...
Ingredients Shredded four cheese (pepper jack, mozzarella, cheddar, swiss) Can of stewed tomato sauce Two slices of uncured smoked ham Four servings of angel hair pasta 1 teaspoon of oregano 1 teaspoon of thyme Tools
A pot or pan Water Supply An oven Oven mitts An oven tray Tinfoil Boil water and add in pasta, stirring until well done. Drain the pasta and prepare an oven pan with sides to hold in the sauce from spilling. Open the can of tomato sauce and take out the cheese and ham from the refrigerator. Keep chili on standby depending on hunger levels. Drop any combination of the ingredients onto a tinfoil covered oven tray, making sure that no two layers repeat themselves and that cheese is there to keep the entire arrangement from falling apart. Sprinkle herbs onto the lasagna. The ends of the tinfoil should curve around the lasagna. Carefully place the tray into the oven. After fifteen minutes, remove the tray, unwrap the tinfoil, and wrap strands of baked cheese onto a plate to enjoy. Serve with a side of chili for additional flavor.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
January 30, 2014
THE MISCELLANY NEWS STAFF EDITORIAL
Policies regarding transfer credits should be made more available, comprehensive to students upon matriculation
n order to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree at Vassar College, a student must have a total of 34 credit units as part of their final transcript. Should students only take Vassar coursework to meet that 34 unit requirement, they must take between 4 and 4.5 credit units every semester. That said, the college requirement that students take more than 3.5 credit units is not explained in any student documents as needed for students to graduate on time. Instead, understanding these requirements—and determining one’s four-year track accordingly—depends solely upon frequent communication with academic advisors or for students. We at The Miscellany News do not want to place this responsibility only on student support resources like major advisors and class advisors. The College should make certain tools readily available to students to allow them more effective tracking capabilities with regard to credit-related graduation requirements. If students cannot—or choose not—to take 4 or more credit units per semester, there are other ways students can supplement their transcript either before or after matriculation. While at Vassar, students can elect to receive credit for coursework taken at community colleges and local schools
over the summer, as well as through field work and independent study opportunities. Those who have not yet matriculated can transfer no more than a total of eight credit units of work: four from either AP or IB programs and four from coursework taken at an accredited college or university. For the latter to be successfully counted, the coursework must not appear on the student’s high school transcript; the course must be taken on an accredited college campus with other students. Though it is not widely advertised, and not all students take or have access to prematriculation credit opportunities at their high schools, students can potentially receive up to an entire year’s worth of units before entering Vassar as first-year student. These policies can be found within “The Vassar College Catalogue,” which is published annually by the College’s Dean of Studies office. While these policies are indeed detailed by the catalogue, they remain as information that students must actively seek among many pages of documentation. Alternatively, students might possibly discover this information from communication with an advisor that is aware of the policy in order to stay knowledgeable. This creates a lot of anecdotal information on the subject of credit policies and leaves too much room
for miscommunication. The Dean of Studies office sets such policy and receives instructions by the faculty to carry out the policy. As a result, the exact purpose or intention behind these policies is left somewhat unclear for students. The policy’s obscurity within the catalog—what students can and cannot receive—clouds the policy’s inner workings. This is not to discredit the efforts of the student support network already in place— the major advisors and class advisors, for example—those who provide academic support for students and help students remain on a track toward graduation. However, we at The Miscellany News believe that a great way to support this existing system is to offer a tool that students can use to track and monitor academic progress on their owns, as a supplement to their transcript. Such a tool would easily explain to students what requirements they need to meet—and are working to meet—much like the transcript as it stands now. It would also include other important and necessary information, such as if their transcript meets distribution requirements and how many credit units they would need to take each semester in order to meet the 34-unit requirement to graduate within only four years.
This concept is not meant to replace any of the support resources already offered to students, but instead serve as an easy way for students to analyze their progress either before they are interested in reaching out to their advisors or while working with an advisor to ensure they meet graduation requirements. Another potentially helpful tool would be the creation of a virtual advising system, which was proposed several years ago by the Registrar’s Office—and advocated for by The Miscellany News in a staff editorial last spring (“Vassar must hasten digitalization of campus resources,” 2.7.13)— to assist students in tracking their academic requirements but has since received very little attention. Ultimately, we at The Miscellany News believe students should be proactive with their graduation requirements to ensure the most enjoyable college experience. Still, it would benefit our students to better articulate how students might plan their college careers accordingly. New sources will educate students on college policy and allow them to be better informed throughout their four years on how to stay on track for graduation. —Staff Editorial represents the opinions of at least 2/3 of the Editorial Board.
State life-support laws fail Hitting snooze button not to respect families’ wishes a more productive option Lily Elbaum
n Texas, there is a law which states that a life-sustaining treatment cannot be removed from a pregnant woman, no matter her end-oflife wishes. In other words, if a woman is in a vegetative state and cannot function or survive on her own, she must be kept alive regardless of her own or her family’s wishes. This law was recently implemented when a woman fell into a coma in November. At the time, she was fourteen weeks pregnant. She was kept on life support until Sunday, when it was removed at the request of her family and by order of a judge. Marlise Munoz fell unconscious on November 26. On January 14, her husband filed a suit to have life support removed (BBC, “Texas hospital ends life support for pregnant Marlise Munoz” 1/26/14). The hospital claimed that it was adhering to the law and stood by its decision to keep Munoz on life support, even though she was brain dead. In court documents, it was also revealed that the fetus was significantly abnormal due to oxygen deprivation. So even if Munoz had been kept on life support long enough to bring the fetus to term so that it could delivered by cesarean section, it may not have survived. The case brings to light an issue which has been hotly debated several times in recent years about whether patients who are brain dead or in vegetative states should be kept on life support. Perhaps the most famous case is that of Terri Schiavo, whose life was the subject of a media frenzy in 2005. Just as her husband had successfully argued in court for her to be taken off life support, the media got hold of the story and began a life watch on the vegetative Schiavo, turning what should have been a quiet affair into a public monstrosity. For seven more years, her husband was forced to wait until finally, in 2005, 15 years after she first suffered cardiac arrest, life support was removed and she was allowed to die (CNN, “Terri Schiavo has died,” 03/31/05). Unlike Schiavo, Munoz never “woke up” into a vegetative state. As her husband stated in the court documents, Munoz was legally dead—she had no brain activity and was kept alive solely through the efforts of the hospital. Her husband argued that because she was legally dead, she
could not be pregnant any longer. His suit was successful, which is for the best. Munoz was a paramedic, who was familiar with the debate over end-of-life wishes. According to her husband, she would not have wanted to be kept alive by tubes and machines. This raises anew the question about life support. Should a person, with no chance of functioning again, be kept alive? The “vegetative” state, as it’s called, is when a person is unable to support themselves. They cannot eat, breathe or speak of their own volition, but technically they are alive. Very often, family members request those persons to be taken off life support. To be in such a state is humiliating and degrading, and in order to maintain the person’s dignity and to reduce strain, the family will often request or sue to take the person off life support. As with the Schiavo case, this often results in public outrage, but why? The masses seem to regard this as inhumane or cruel, and usually there is some argument that the person could wake up and be as healthy and functioning as they were. However, this implies some sort of miracle that is basically impossible, given our current medical limitations. Perhaps my biggest qualm with the Texas law which kept Munoz alive as long as it did is that it refuses to acknowledge not only the family’s wishes but the patient’s own as well. Even if the patient has explicitly said that they do not wish to be kept alive through life support, the pregnancy overrules her will. This seems to go against all the protocols and norms by which our society operates. Even though pro-life advocates likely support the law for the child, what if the fetus isn’t viable or would be severely abnormal? It is unlikely that these questions will be resolved soon. Legislation which deals fairly and respects the wishes of all parties isn’t likely to come soon. With all of this controversy surrounding the issue for the time being, laws like the one in Texas will probably remain in place, only to be challenged by the families of the patients and add heartache. Hopefully, a day will come when families need not fight for the dignity of their loved ones. —Lily Elbaum ’16 is a prospective independent major.
e’ve all heard the saying, “the early bird gets the worm,” suggesting that early risers are more productive and get more work done. However most college students love and value their sleep, staying in bed as long as possible, and yes, hitting that snooze button for an extra nine minutes to avoid the coming morning. But is hitting the snooze button really the best thing for us? The answer: You snooze, you lose. Hitting the snooze button has actually been shown to produce grogginess and what has been termed “sleep inertia” by scientists in 1976 (upwave. com. “Is the snooze button bad for you?” 1.24.14). Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, FCCP, Medical Director of the Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, Ariz. explains how sleep inertia sets in. “When you hit the snooze button repeatedly, you’re doing two negative things to yourself: First, you’re fragmenting what little extra sleep you’re getting so it is of poor quality. Second, you’re starting to put yourself through a new sleep cycle that you aren’t giving yourself enough time to finish. This can result in persistent grogginess throughout the day.” So what exactly drives us to hitting the snooze button in the first place? It might be that you are just comfortable in bed and don’t want to get up, or you are attempting to avoid that dreaded 9 a.m. class, or it might even be due to something you may have never heard of. When we fall asleep, our body releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has been linked to happiness, into our bloodstream. Our body may just be craving this natural state of well being and when we give into the temptation by hitting snooze and closing our eyes again, our body doesn’t know we just want a few more minutes of rest (Gizmodo, “Why the Snooze Button is Ruining Your Sleep,” 10.17.12). When we hit the snooze button, our brain and body are tricked into thinking that we are going to get to stay in bed for the rest of the day instead of those measly nine more minutes that the alarm clock is set to wait until going off again. By hitting that button, we actually hurt ourselves for the day; our memory,
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
reaction time, ability to perform basic mathematical tasks, alertness, and even our attention span are all negatively impacted. Hitting the snooze button is the first decision of the day someone makes. If you hit the snooze button, you delay getting out of bed and essentially delay a lot of other important things you might need for the day (New Yorker, “Snoozers are, in fact, losers,” 12.10.13). So how do we break this habit? You could attempt to go cold turkey and force yourself to get up when the alarm goes off. A recommendation for this approach would be to set your alarm for about nine minutes later than you were planning to get up. In other words, build your snooze into your alarm clock when you set it. Having those extra minutes of rest without pressing the snooze button can still be quite beneficial. Still worried you can’t just give up the snooze button on your own cold turkey? Instead, you can try placing your alarm out of reach from your bed. By doing this, you’ll have to get out of bed to turn off your alarm when you hear it in the morning. This will make you less likely to press the snooze button and hopefully wake up for the day, as opposed to going back to bed. Don’t like that idea? Try placing your favorite dance song as your alarm so when you hear it you can get out of bed and get moving. Even if you don’t want to dance around your room, you might still sing along to the words of the song, which mentally stimulates your brain and helps you avoid hitting that snooze button so you can get your day started (Sleep Junkies, “The ultimate guide to breaking your snooze button addiction,” 11.2.13). Some of these ideas may seem a little bit silly at first look, but they ultimately could save you a lot of energy throughout the day and help you be more productive. Being more productive means you get things done faster throughout the day. Getting things done faster means more free time to do what you want, such as get more actual sleep, not just the “sleep” you get from nine minutes of the snooze button. Sleep on it! —Delaney Fischer ’15 is a neuroscience major.
January 30, 2014
Vassar students share insights from drone conference Various Guest Columnists
n Nov. 15, 2013, 12 Vassar students drove down to Washington D.C., joining 400 others in attending CODEPINK’s Drone Summit, “Drone Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance,” organized in part by Vassar Alum Noor Mir ’12 who is CODEPINK’s anti-drone campaign coordinator. The summit included a protest and march from the White House to General Atomics’ headquarters. The following day featured a number of panel discussions such as, “Legal Challenges to Drone Strikes,” and “View from Yemen,” to name a couple. There was also a film screening of “Wounds of Waziristan,” by Pakistani filmmaker Madiha Tahir. Associate Professor of Geography Joe Nevins was also present, and spoke on the “Domestic State of Drones” panel about the use of drones on the US-Mexico border. The students who attended were all profoundly impacted and driven to share this experience. Here are their accounts: Americans must be aware that drone use in Pakistan and Afghanistan prevents the wars that we have waged in both countries from coming to an end. Even if we are to take every last soldier out of those countries, our presence will remain within their borders and war will rage on, if only from a distance. Drone use currently legitimizes the idea of a global war that has no limits on geographical space or time. This is a concept that has no standing and is utterly inconceivable under international law, which was born out of the horrors of World War II, which disposed it towards a general prohibition on the use of military force. Thus drones are inherently oppositional to International Law. They are enabling military presence to become ever-present in the lives of those already victim to American imperialism. Drones have already killed innocent civilians in the name of freedom, when these very civilians were supporting our campaign against Al Qaeda in their home states. —Caroline Stanton ’14 is an American studies major. Drone warfare is supposedly justified because drones “save lives” and prevents the use
of American “boots on the ground.” We are told that drone attacks are pinpointed, strategic strikes that, for the most part, kill Islamic militants. In reality however, drone strikes kill innocent civilians on a daily basis. The blast from a drone attack strikes a wide radius, and most attacks kill groups of people rather than individuals. All males between the ages of 16 and 60 located in a zone of suspicion are considered combatants until proven to be civilians posthumously. Racism, Islamophobia and the rhetoric of American exceptionalism enable U.S. leaders to conduct drone attacks without acknowledging the humanity of those who are killed. Rather than combat terrorists, the U.S. drone program constitutes state terrorism. —Naomi Dann ’14 is an independent major in peace and justice studies. Fundamentally, drones are a human rights violation, immoral and counter to American ideals of democracy as well as international law. The deaths of innocent people are horrifying. Some say as many as 30 civilians die for every “target” killed. While this causes me great pain, the perspectives shared at the conference gave me equal sympathy for those left behind: the family of victims left to hear the constant buzz of the drones over their houses and the psychological repercussions for soldiers involved in this removed killing culture. The domestic impact of drones is terrifying; as Geography Professor Professor Nevins puts it, they shape policy and people, perpetuating the border industrial complex and promoting a war against racially and socioeconomically marginalized people. There are currently 10 drones in use as surveillance on the border and there are plans to increase this number dramatically in the near future. What’s next? This tragedy requires each and every one of us to be radical, to get up and speak our truth. —Emily Landsdale ’14 is an international studies and education double major. Drone surveillance leaves lasting psychological traumas in the towns they surveil. An adolescent Waziristani boy speaks about how his baby sister and other members of his family were killed in a drone strike. He says he has lost
all motivation to work in school and is filled with anger. Drones have been successful in galvanizing hatred and radicalizing young people, creating more terrorists than they are killing. —Theo Pravitz-Rosen ’14 is a sociology major. To the American public, drone warfare too often registers as little more than an extension of the United States’ military-industrial complex. Most of us understand enough to know that U.S. drones are killing people abroad, however in an age of constant military engagement, where for the past ten years we have turned on our TVs nightly to hear reports of three, six, eight more dead in the wars we wage in the Middle East, death by drone strike begins to feel like just another casualty of war. What we must learn to grasp, and to grasp quickly, is that drone warfare is not business as usual—even for the United States military. Drones introduce an inequity of warfare that enables the U.S. military to enter, kill and leave without risking American lives. We must ask what it means when we are willing to take the life of the enemy combatant, or more probably of the “enemy civilian” without simultaneously considering the other possibility of losing an American life. The American public’s distance from the horrifying impacts of drones for both victims and survivors is enabling a dangerous empathy gap to form between Americans and American-made atrocity abroad. We must see that drones are being used by the United States to terrorize innocent civilian populations in socalled enemy nations, and until we as a public can empathize with the Yemeni, or Pakistani, or Afghani publics to recognize the fear and sorrow created by drones, we as a public will remain complicit and implicated in the American reign of terror. If we know the toll drones take on the innocents of the world and still do not dissent to the actions of our government and military, our compassion as a society has surely failed. —Emma Burke ’14 is an international studies major. As discussed by other attendees, the use of drones abroad and along the US-Mexico border is immoral, illegal and fear-inspiring.
Looking into the future, without widespread oppositional action, use of drone technology will only be expanding. As noted by one Yemeni presenter, use abroad is the test run for use at home. Drones thoroughly redefine surveillance and policing, potentially drastically stifling dissent and actions of civil disobedience. It is important during this time, when soundly positive uses for drones such as natural disaster relief and firefighting are being discussed alongside commercial, police and government use, to proactively create laws at home defining what, if any, drone use is acceptable. —Rocky Schwartz ’15 is a science, technology, and society major. One of the arguments for drones is that it keeps US army personal safe from harm. While it is true that being a drone technician generally keeps you safe from being shot at (at least compared to the soldiers who are on the ground), it does not necessarily spare you of the psychological and emotional effects of participating in war. The US military has realized that some of its drone operators are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. For regular soldiers, PTSD has been attributed to the dangers that these soldiers face when they are in combat situations. For drone operators, this stress cannot come from the dangers that they face. Maybe there is something about remote control killing, or even more simply about killing in general, that messes with the heads of those who do it. —Muriel Bruttin ’14 is a political science major. It’s still unbelievable the lack of restraint with which we fire missiles at crowded houses, weddings, and restaurants. That we call drone strikes surgical while we fire not just at crowds of people, but also at those who gather in the aftermath to help the victims, is crime in and of itself. —Robert Ronan ’15 is a math major. If you’d like to be involved in anti-drone organizing at Vassar, contact VassarDroneReader@ gmail.com. Those students who had attended the conference are planning a movie screening and some form of informational meeting later this semester.
Uber price strategy inconsiderate of regular customers Joshua Sherman Opinions Editor
tartups are always in the spotlight for being, for lack of a better word, new and edgy. They like to challenge business conventions (especially when they’re of the technology variant) and it often gives them a chance to get on the soapbox and show what they’re made up. However, I have some reservations about a popular startup called Uber which has been getting some positive and negative attention alike. Uber, for those who don’t know, is a startup trying to be a sort of black car and taxi service hybrid, plus a special pricing method. The idea is pretty interesting on paper: A taxi you can get via mobile app that handles everything quickly and conveniently, though it doesn’t charge a fixed rate. Instead, Uber users are charged based on what the “going market rate” of a taxi is, depending on the weather, demand and a number of other factors. While I think it’s great that a service like Uber is trying to bring legitimate and high-quality travel alternatives to major cities, I have serious reservations about the idea of its pricing model. The issue with Uber’s pricing model has to do with how it sees itself as a taxi company before a private, black car service, but in contrast its pricing model is one that is very exclusionary, not to mention just plain old bad business. Uber at first looks like a taxi rate, but a closer look reveals something else. While the company, just like you’d expect, features a base rate plus time or mileage cost, what it doesn’t show at first glance is its unique “surge price” feature to adjust prices. Uber claims this feature is what makes it a better taxi service. In order to get more drivers on the road during high-volume days, holidays, or poor weather, Uber may double, triple, or pretty much set whatever price it wants in order to attract more drivers to meet demand.
While the alternative means that there may be no drivers during hours that Uber cannot attract them at a standard rate, it also leaves a pricing model that is going to hurt itself in the long run.
“Uber at first looks like a taxi rate, but a closer look reveals something else.” The reason why this model hurts Uber is because the company is not trying to compete with the already-saturated market of black car and private travel services. It has clearly advertised itself as the cool, hip alternative to taxis. Taxis, in contrast, work by an everyday standard rate based on reliability, but also regulation. Taxis have to answer to city or even state authorities that control pricing to keep a balance between the drivers and the customers. Uber wants to be the every-day service, but it doesn’t have any of this regulation, and it changes prices as it sees fit. In case you needed another reason to not like this pricing method, it is completely elitist and exclusionary, and follows a principle that those who cannot afford it will simply not utilize the service. Sure, this is true, but it’s one thing to be a luxury service and always charge the luxury price. It’s a whole different ball game when you claim to be the revolutionary, every-person’s option, and then shift prices to maximize profitability, or to get more drivers on the world, or whatever excuse you want to give. Even if it is great economics by some business claims, it’s supporting a price model that is similar with
hotels and airlines, which are also known to “price surge,” or by its more common terminology, price gouge. The difference, though, is that even these businesses must disclose their caps at which they will not charge more. Uber has yet to do this. I’m a fan of technology when it collides with the real world, spurring awesome new products that try to improve on long-standing norms and just make our lives easier and more productive. We’ve seen innovation and improvement on steroids thanks to the innovations and efforts of things like smartphones, tablets, and many other gadgets that didn’t exist just a few years ago. That said, it doesn’t mean every idea takes into consideration the ways it respects social expectations and unspoken agreements for fair and good business. I don’t think Uber took this into consideration, seeing a higher price as always worth it, so long as people are willing to pay. Yet we have numerous examples in our society where this just doesn’t fit and I think there’s no excuse for this tech-savvy, potentially great, but still concerning startup. Even if Uber’s model is a unique one, it isn’t one I’d recommend, lest you appreciate alienating customers and promoting poor business practices. Let me note I am not an economist— far from it. That said, I think from a technological, business and ethical standpoint there is a reason you do not see this method of pricing across all services and products. When you head to the supermarket, the price of a gallon of milk may adjust to competitors, or to a national milk shortage, but not because the store is selling a lot of milk and wants to adjust pricing to take advantage of in-the-moment demand. When you hire a painter, you will not negotiate prices based on how many customers they have that day, but by what they see as their fair market value against other painters. Simply put, this “surge pricing” model of
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Uber allows for customers to pay many times the price of other users for the identical service, even if their orders are just minutes apart, depending on circumstances Uber sets. As a result it remains a service that lacks pretty much any consistency, which is a challenge Uber will face in the months to come once customers feel they like the company and what it offers, but then realize it costs a whole lot more than they thought. For now, Uber remains a competitive service, especially since it has a ton of seed funding and a long way to get where it wants to be. As a result, it will for the foreseeable future, in most cases, be a cheaper or equally affordable option to the local taxi company. Uber is already trying to win over the hearts and minds of customers by offering prices (most of the time) cheaper than immediate competitors, but heed that this method of pricing should not be encouraged at all, no matter how tech-savvy or easy to use it is compared to traditional services on the market.
“Even if Uber’s model is a unique one, it isn’t one I’d recommend...” Love Uber or hate it, it’s fine; think what you will of the company. I agree it looks appealing now because it’s still keeping prices low to try to compete with other taxi companies. Remember though, this pricing model, for what’s worth, is nothing more than price gouging, and it should be considered with caution. —Joshua Sherman ’16 is an English major.
January 30, 2014
Sherman perception misread by non-fans Lily Doyle
HumOr & satirE EditOr
f you were at all surprised by Richard Sherman’s post-game interview last Sunday, I’m going to assume you don’t watch a lot of football. At least, you definitely don’t watch the Seahawks on a regular basis, or listen to the trash talk that has gone on between the 49ers and the Seahawks for years. The post-game interview, now often referred to as “the post-game interview heard ‘round the world,’” involved Erin Andrews, a beautiful, blonde and tiny reporter for FOX Sports, asking Sherman to take her through the final play—the play that won the game and is taking the Seahawks into what could be (knock on wood, everyone) their first Superbowl franchise win in history. Sherman exploded. He yelled, “I am the best cornerback in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get! Don’t you ever talk about me!” Seconds after the interview, Twitter—what I have long considered the cave where all racists dwell—exploded, calling him a thug and a variety of racial slurs. A large number of Seahawks fans (and others) have since come to his defense, and it is easy to see a common theme in their arguments—Richard Sherman went to Stanford. While I do write to defend Richard Sherman, I will not make that argument in support of him. Yes, attending Stanford shows he is intelligent; so does graduating in the top of your class in Compton just as Sherman did. However, the school that you attend does not determine your personality, as the Yale frat bros who chanted “No means yes, yes means anal” proved quite well (Big Think,“‘No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal’ Frat Banned From Yale” 05.18.11). I am a believer in equality. I don’t believe that simply because Richard Sherman is a black man who attended Stanford means that he is not a thug—I believe that Richard Sherman is not a thug because I have watched Richard Sherman play for years.
Richard Sherman loves to make people mad. He thrives off of it. Last season, Trent Williams of the Redskins got so mad at Sherman’s trashtalking that he punched Sherman in the face. I would like someone who thinks that Sherman’s trash-talking is detrimental to the Seahawks to point me towards three things: First, proof that his trash-talking does not act as motivation for Sherman, and therefore enables him to play better. Second, I would like proof that Sherman’s trash-talking the day before the release of a Dre Beats commercial featuring himself was in no way strategic. Third, I would like someone to track the personal relationship between Crabtree and Sherman, and prove that Crabtree didn’t deserve to be yelled about. According to the Huffington Post article, this past off-season 31 NFL players were arrested for everything from gun charges and driving under the influence to murder (“What Richard Sherman Taught Us About America,” 01.20.14). Sherman’s record is clean. Not only has he never been arrested, he has founded a charity foundation to provide children in low-income families with school supplies. Not only has he never cursed in a post-game interview, but he is one of the smartest corner backs playing today, a player who examines his every move, strategizes, and makes a concerted effort, for example, to try and tip the ball to his teammates during one-on-one coverage—a play that is now taking the Seahawks to the Superbowl. Sherman has said, on multiple occasions, that trash-talking is a part of his personality, and that it is strategic. It fuels him, drives him, and is part of the reason he has been named First Team All-Pro twice. Granted, his post-game interview, especially at first glance, was adrenaline driven and immature. However, when juxtaposed with the commercial for Dre Beats that was released the very next day, it seems, at the very least, like incredibly fortuitous timing. The Beats commercial features Sherman being interviewed by the press, who ask him questions like “Do
you really think you are the best corner in the league?” and “Do you think your trash talking is a distraction to your teammates?” (to the latter, he answers that it doesn’t distract anyone, it motivates them, which is an answer that has been repeatedly backed up by other Seahawks players). This commercial is an almost direct duplication of his post-game interview, and, given Sherman’s communications major, I find it very likely that he was aware of the marketing advantage of saying what he said. It seems like a lot to ask of any human, let alone an NFL player moments after he made the game-winning play, to put aside a longstanding negative personal history with another person after that person shoves you in the face. I’m just going to say right now that I can think of three people I would head butt immediately upon getting shoved in the face by them, and that’s at any time, let alone right after a long and physical game that I was playing against them. Like Scrabble. Sherman has stated that he doesn’t like Crabtree, the sentiment has been returned, and the two have a background of offseason bickering. The 49ers have gone as far as to say that the 12th man isn’t important, which is enough to have the whole of Seattle at their throats. I was massively unsurprised by Richard Sherman’s comments, because I know Richard Sherman, I know the Seahawks and their relationship with the 49ers, and I know how it feels to be filled with adrenaline after a huge win. Post-game interviews are traditionally boring, with the coaches demurring that it was a good game for everyone and the quarterbacks saying enthusiastically that they will really have to work hard to prepare for their next game. Sherman, albeit loudly, provided the sports world with an interesting post-game interview that guaranteed the country will be watching him on Sunday night, and I cannot hold that against him.
rotests Escalate As Ukrainians Continue to Fight for New Governance In late Nov. 2013, people from all over Ukraine came together in the country’s capital, Kiev, to participate in peaceful protests. They advocated for a closer association with Europe as a step toward Western values and a step away from Soviet times and Russia’s historically controlling hand. Thousands of people gathered in Kiev’s Maidan, or Independence, Square, named by protesters “Euromaidan” in support of an Association Agreement with the European Union. For Ukrainians, ties to Europe represent economic and political development in a country ridden with massive corruption, lower standards of living and continual human rights violations. Right before sunrise on Nov. 30, police forces brutally beat groups of students gathered on the Euromaidan in an attempt to put an end to the protests. This had the opposite effect, as thousands of people poured into the streets in support of the students and in objection to these violent acts. The size of the crowd on the Maidan reached as many as half a million people. The protests quickly became less about the country’s conflicting allegiances to the European Union and Russia, and more about egregious human rights violations and a general disgust at Ukraine’s corrupt governance. Weeks, then months went on into the cold winter, temperatures dropping well below freezing. The numbers of protesters fluctuated, but the whole world watched as the Euromaidan movement continued to grow, setting the stage for political change in Ukraine. Three main opposition party leaders emerged, proposing a united front and the eventual ousting of the current government. These include Vitali Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxing champion with ties to Germany, who appears to be the favorite of the West. Klitschko’s party, The Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, or UDAR (literally meaning “punch” in Ukrainian), attempts to
appeal to a variety of people under a broad platform based mainly on fighting corruption. Arseniy Yatsenyuk is the leader of jailed former prime-minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s party Batkivshchyna, or Fatherland. This party is defined by its staunch opposition to the Party of Regions (President Viktor Yanukovych’s party) and the current system of government in Ukraine. Finally, the third and most ideological of the three parties is Svoboda, or Freedom, led by Oleh Tyahnybok. This party has been controversial, depicted as far-right and nationalist. These opposition leaders, who at first provided a source of unity for the protesters, have increasingly become another outlet for frustration. After encouraging the people to continue to take to the streets, the leaders have done little to facilitate change. Many of the protesters have now declared an apolitical movement geared towards ridding the country of its overall degenerate system of governance. The President of Ukraine initially ignored the protests and accepted a $15 billion loan deal from Russia which ensured lower gas prices and immediate economic inflows. Without a need for political reforms and institutional change, Russia’s deal was easy for Yanukovych to accept. As the protests became increasingly more chaotic, yet ever larger in numbers, undemocratic expressions of authority were implemented by the government. On January 16th, Yanukovych and his Party of Regions, for fear of completely losing power, passed a decree featuring a list of draconian laws targeted at the protesters. The long list includes laws against mass gatherings, crackdowns on press not “registered” with the government, as well as the requirement for NGOs to be recorded as “foreign agents.” These laws had the opposite effect of restoring order, and the protests became increasingly more violent and out of hand. Outraged protesters began rioting, throwing molotov cocktails, and setting fire to buses. Within a few days, five protesters were killed, activists and journalists were repeatedly threatened and kidnapped by what are suspected to be government-hired thugs,
on the street
On the 10th anniversary of “NippleGate,” who is most likely to have a nip-slip at the Super Bowl? “Russell Brand.” —Ben Chin ’15
“Jacqueline Bisset.” —Lily Platt ’16
—Lily Doyle ’14 is a political science major.
Ukraine riots continue to demand change GuEst COlumnist
demonstrators were arrested, and police used rubber bullets and water cannons (in freezing temperatures) on protesters. Today, the demonstrations continue to grow. Twelve Ukrainian regional governments have been taken over by the opposition, and protests have broken out all over the country, even in Yanukovych’s original strongholds in the east and south. The current government, desperate to put an end to the movement, has offered high government positions to the opposition leaders, who have refused. On Jan. 28, an emergency session of Parliament reassessed the fiercely controversial decree passed earlier in the month. As of Jan. 29, these laws are reported to have been repealed and Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov has resigned. Results from this action are so far undetermined. Although the protesters are often dismissed as political extremists or provocateurs by the government, a variety of demographics are in fact represented in today’s movement. Young students stand beside the elderly, football hooligans team up with academics. There is growing evidence that regions previously thought to be aligned with Yanukovych are increasingly well represented among the protesters. Unlike Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution, there is no clear political leadership or overwhelming demographic. Although this causes some discord and difficulty presenting political alternatives to the government, the movement is an organic expression of civil society and displays a passionate change of political mentality. Ukrainians from all walks of life are out in the streets calling for a discarding of the past and advocating for a new society. Continued unrest seems inevitable, but there is some hope. Ukrainians continue to demand democracy, human dignity, and a better life, and they are willing to risk their lives for it. —Zoe Ripecky ’14 is a member of The Euromaidan Journalist Collective, which provides updates and commentary on the situation in Ukraine in English. For more information, visit www.projectmaidan.com
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
“John Madden.” —Nick Olsen ’15
“My best friend’s girlfriend.” —Jay Lancaster ’15
“Red Hot Chili Peppers are gonna take their pants oﬀ.” —Mariah Ghant ’17
“Does anyone care?” —Nnennia Mazagwu ’17
Lily Doyle, Humor & Satire Editor Spencer Davis, Photo Editor
January 30, 2014
Sochi Games ignore genocide upon very same ground Clayton Marr
he 2014 Winter Olympics are to be held in the town of Sochi, on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, in the North Caucasus mountain range. The Olympics are supposed to celebrate peace between nations and the common achievement of all humans. The choice of this site for the Olympics could not be any less appropriate, imprudent and even insulting to the concept of common humanity and peace. It is a major location of massacre in Russia’s genocidal deportation of the native population of the region, called Circassia. To make matters worse, the 150th anniversary of this affair takes place during the Olympics themselves, and many of the parts of the stadium are being built upon very important historical sites to the Circassians. Russia wants to wipe these sites off the map, replacing them, and the perception of the world, with Russia’s Olympic Stadium. The Olympic stadium has literally been built upon mass graves of Circassians. This genocide, which took place in the matter of just four or five years, annihilated one to 1.5 million Circassians (along with numerous other neighboring peoples,) and deported much of the remainder. In the year 1864 alone, half a million Circassians were deported to the Ottoman Empire in deplorable conditions (Reuters, “145th Anniversary of the Circassian Genocide and the Sochi Issue,” 5.22.09). Some villages had their populations massacred on the spot, while others were deported across the Black Sea. Ships were stuffed well past their capacity with Circassians, who were not given adequate food or water for the journey. These conditions caused major outbreaks of disease and starvation. Thus, by the time they arrived at their destinations, the ships only carried a
portion of their human cargo. The Turks called them “floating graveyards.” Russia could have easily used some of the much larger ships of its enormous navy to transport the deportees and its excess grain, of which it was, and is still, the number one producer worldwide, but it chose instead to cram and starve them to death. Some people speculate that the Circassian genocide may have inspired the Armenian genocide, which in turn helped inspire the Holocaust. After all, the story of what happened to the Circassians was well known in Turkey, where many of them were deported (“The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus,” 2008). Russian motives for the Circassian Genocide were not based solely around a racist hatred for Circassians and other Caucasus peoples, although Russians did not lack these racial sentiments, and many do not lack them today. The motive was instead coldly strategic: Russia had been fighting to gain solid control of the conquered Circassia’s location for many generations, but the native Circassian people would not give up. The Russians found that villages that had surrendered were again resisting just months later. The Circassians were the strongest North Caucasian people, and Russia’s leadership wanted to remove the so-called strategic threat—i.e. the Circassian people as a whole. It was not only Circassians that were impacted however—many Chechens, Ingush, Georgians, Abkhaz and other peoples of the Caucasus were also deported. The Circassians were simply the only people designated to be completely removed from the area. Like the Armenians, Circassian diaspora communities are now spread around the globe. Throughout the 20th century, Circassians had largely given up on going home, but still tried hard to keep their language alive. There are even some Circassians in the United States,
mainly concentrated in New Jersey. The recognition of the Armenian Genocide paired with the Sochi issue, both during a time of reawakening of Circassian identity in the diaspora and of Circassian activist nationalism among the 100,000 living “back home,” has enraged Circassians like never before. The Circassians have thus far relied on completely non-violent methods to protest Russia’s historical and present policies towards them. The world should acknowledge their nonviolent appeals by listening to their plight. The Circassians may no longer live in their homeland, but they have watched Armenians’ growing success with regards to genocide recognition and they wonder why it is still acceptable to write Circassians out of history. Now they see Russia is going to hold the Olympics on the site of a major massacre—the town of Sochi—on the 150th anniversary of the genocide. The mountain that will be used for skiing, called “Red Hill” by Circassians, was the site of a last-ditch resistance by Circassian villagers against the deportations by the Tsarist Empire. When they lost, they were all slaughtered. The athletes will be skiing over their graves, and these Olympics are supposed to be a time of celebration (NorthJersey, “North Jersey Circassians ‘in exile’ launch Olympic protest,” 02.08.2010). Russia may no longer be the Tsarist Empire, but it is still the world’s largest state—a vestige of Tsarist conquests—and more or less the only European colonial power to retain the majority of its colonies. Russians resent the breakup of the Soviet Union, the contraction of their domain, and the perceived diminishment in their international power. There is a desire to recover these things, and to maintain a firm—even strangling—grip on what remains of the empire. Various Russian actions throughout the
last two decades show the imperialist mindset. These include the invasions of Georgia and Chechnya twice, followed by the establishment of a notoriously brutal totalitarian puppet regime that analysts consider to be one of the most oppressive in the world; propping up irredentist breakaway regimes in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova with their patterns of ethnic cleansing; the backing of autocrats throughout the former USSR; and political suppression of the North Caucasian republics. Other colonial-imperial powers have willingly let go of political control of most of their former colonies. In Russia, however, the voices calling for an end to imperialism are silenced by the increasingly authoritarian regime in Moscow. Russia’s placement of the Olympics in Sochi, along with the insensitive way Olympic facilities were built atop Circassian graves, sends a message to the rest of the world: It asserts, in the face of attempts by natives pursuing self-determination, that the Caucasus shall always stay Russia’s imperial domain, no matter the cost. That certainly should not be passively endorsed. Still, there is something even worse that we must also avoid endorsing. According to scholars, genocide, or the elimination of a people, has four stages. The fourth is the, perhaps subconscious, amnesia—the forgetting that the horror that happened, followed by forgetting the people. Thus, by erasing the memory of a people, they are wiped out from the mental world just as they previously were from the physical world, completing their annihilation. Thus, when watching the Olympics this year, it is important to remember the nation, Circassia, that once lived on the land. —Clayton Marr ’17 is a student at Vassar College.
The Miscellany Crossword by Jack Mullan, Crossword Editor
ACROSS 1 Drinking game with a 60-song playlist 10 Maj. discipline with courses on Albert Einstein and Infrastructure 13 Unmoving 15 Bath temperature tester 16 Moustachioed Looney Tunes cowboy 18 Barack Obama’s mother 19 Vassar Org. hosting the Eid Diwali Dinner 20 Avuncular “Harry Potter” figure 22 Math ratios 25 Vibrating effect 28 Dream grade 31 UK trade org: Abbr. 32 June 6, 1944 36 Popular ethnic enclave 37 One step ___ time 38 Exchanged notes?
39 Catalog clothing retailer since 1983 41 Tokyo airport acronym 42 2010 Natalie Portman drama 45 “Sexy Love” R&B singer 47 When doubled, Road Runner’s cry 48 $10 to $12 an hour, e.g. 49 Colorful brand name? 52 Friendly “Simpsons” neighbor 53 Polar bear’s domain 56 Fencing blade 59 Nutritional fig. 60 Indulgent dessert choice 66 Kick the bucket 67 “...baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more”
Answers to last week’s puzzle
song 68 Vassar dept. for post-graduate help 69 Packaging peanuts DOWN 1 “Gangnam Style” rapper 2 Chiwere-speaking tribe 3 Is past? 4 Summers in la cité 5 Terza ___ (Italian verse form) 6 Lift up 7 Smallest of the HOMES 8 OPEC member, briefly 9 Four Monopoly properties: Abbr. 10 Movie critic’s unit 11 “Beloved” author Morrison 12 Email command 14 Marissa Mayer’s company 17 Prefix with ware or practice 21 One-time Morgan Freeman role 22 Dot-chomping arcade character 23 Apple debut of 2007 24 Spring toy 26 “Gross!” 27 Kilimanjaro, e.g.: Abbr. 29 Québec article 30 “You don’t ___!” 33 “On the Origin of Species” author 34 Relaxed (2 words) 35 Showed boredom 39 Inits. of the creator
of 20-across 40 Gen. Lee’s cause 42 Old Turkish title 43 Soccer phenom Messi 44 Galore 46 Columbus Day mo. 47 South American parrot 50 Lung protector
51 Weak poker hand 53 Dining locale on campus: Abbr. 54 Drug bust, e.g. 55 Nile queen, informally 57 Petrol brand 58 Eritrean People’s Liberation Front: Abbr.
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61 British medicine org. 62 Assn. of Accounting Technicians: Abbr. 63 London stall 64 Archer’s wife in “The Maltese Falcon” 65 Pro ___ (for now)
HUMOR & SATIRE
January 30, 2014
From the desk of Lily Doyle, Humor & Satire Editor
New York Times subscription probably takes away the one dedicated reader that we used to have—bye Cappy
The Miscellany News Guide Boy Meets Road Trips: t’s to: living in perpetual fear safer to drive while awake Lily Doyle
Humor & Satire Editor
he older I get, the more terrifying the concept of flying becomes to me. I remember being eight and holding my Mom’s hand as the airplane took off, taking great pride in the fact that I could look into the temperature-controlled, complimentary-snack-providing face of danger while so many adults around me clearly wanted to pee themselves. This pretty much held over until a few years ago, when I began to ponder my own mortality. “They” (they being Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Billy the Kid, and Russian stay-at-home mothers) always say that teenagers think they are invincible. Something about frontal lobes. I beg to differ. When I was a teenager, I was pretty aware that if I got shot, the bullet wouldn’t just bounce off my chest like some Whopper a guy had thrown at me from across the cafeteria as he played the timeless game of “can I throw this piece of food down a girl’s shirt despite the fact she has never indicated an interest in having pieces of food thrown there.” So it wasn’t an issue of invincibility. It was more that I never really thought about the fact that sudden death is looming over us at all hours of the day. Unfortunately, at the wise old age of 21, I am now constantly on the lookout for the arrival of my inevitable future manfriend, the Grim Reaper. I probably shouldn’t assume Death is a guy, but if I’m going to personify death, it is going to be the type of human who smelled like farts for most of their adolescent years and drew many a penis on my math homework. I fly pretty often, but it wasn’t until recently that I had a flight experience that played directly to every single one of my fears, except for the one where a massive spider jumps from the ceiling and eats me. It was as thought the proprietors of United Airlines had teamed up with Ashton Kutcher to “punk” me, like on the MTV days of yore. Except that in my episode, they messed up and I never got to meet Ashton, which is the only thing that keeps being “punk’d” from being cruel and unusual punishment that is often likened to waterboarding. By me. I was flying the day before Thanksgiving, and the airport was packed. I was feeling the adrenaline usually reserved for sports games rush through my veins as I tried to simultaneously take off my jacket and shoes so that I wouldn’t hold up the security line. I finally made it through when the man behind me
tapped my shoulder, looked me directly in the eyes, and said “good luck”. He then walked off, disappearing into nearest Starbucks. I spent my walk to the terminal thinking about all the possible implications of a strange man wishing me good luck. He could have just been trying to be friendly, but if that was what he was going for, someone should give that guy classes on how to be friendly without ALSO being unbelievably terrifying. Does he also try to high five people while holding large knife blades? Does he answer the phone with the words “I’m watching you”? Does he perhaps watch too much Dane Cook? Nope, I decided, the only possible answer is that my flight is doomed, and I might as well accept it now. As I sat on the plane, I quickly realized that I had not accepted it. I looked anxiously around, debating how quickly I could run to the back should the suspicious looking woman in the front row all of a sudden head up to the cockpit to hijack the plane. Hindsight being 20/20, I am now almost positive running to the back of the plane in the case of a hijacking does literally nothing to help you. A few hours into the flight, the stewards announced a competition—whoever had a photo with the most members of their family in it would win a prize. Ever on the alert, this reasonable and familial themed competition terrified me. Why would they do this? This is new and new always means death-by-plane. Of course, the man DIRECTLY BEHIND ME has a photo with some ungodly number of family members in it, and he wins what appears to be a bottle of champagne. This raises a thousand new questions. How did they know the winner would be over 21? How did they get that much liquid on the plane when I had to chug my entire water bottle in front of an entire security line? I spent the rest of the flight convinced that it must be a liquid bomb and looking for any tell-tale signs that it would explode so that I could run to the back of the plane. Once again, running to the back of the plane WOULD NOT, I repeat, would not have fixed my problem. Of course, the plane landed safely, and I sprinted away from the man with his suspicious champagne as soon as was humanly possible, shoving a small child into a trashcan in my hurry to get the hell out of that deathtrap of an airport. In case you were wondering, I have flown three times since then and, coincidentally, my blood pressure has reached what most people have called “remarkably unstable and dangerous” levels.
Chris Gonzalez Editor-in-Chief
ith a new semester spread out before us like a damp quilt left in the polar vortex, everyone wants to focus on the near future, specifically the summer. Personally, I find living in the past much more enjoyable. No, it’s not because I don’t have a summer internship lined up or that I’m not sure how I could ever afford to live on my own, and it most certainly does not, I repeat, does not, have anything to do with the fact that at 21 years old I haven’t figured out how to ride a bike and that’s all people seem to want to do when the sun is out...at least, back when I was in elementary school and had no friends because they were all out riding bikes and being all mobile while I stayed in my house watching episodes of “Emeril Live” and yelling “Bam!” around my house. Yeah, the past was great. Anyway, a few weeks before the semester started, my brother and I embarked on an 18hour drive from Brecksville, Ohio to Somewhere-That-Isn’t-Orlando, Florida. Senior Editor of The Miscellany News Marie Solis said the trip sounded very Kerouacian. Normally I’m all about making literary allusions, especially if I haven’t read the book or any works by the author—it feeds my English major ego and makes me feel like I’m important even when my close friends state otherwise—but I knew deep within the icy pits of my soul that she was wrong. It was very Cory and Eric Matthews from that one episode of Boy Meets World. Yes, that one. I like to think of my brother and myself as the real-life Cory and Eric, you know, if we were both white, went to the same university and had the same father. Technicalities aside, I’d say the trajectory of their relationship mirrors ours...kinda. Like Cory, I didn’t realize that I actually liked my brother until it was time for us to part ways. Since then I’ve grown fond of him as a person and enjoy our annual winter break trips to Buffalo Wild Wings and the occasional texts that we exchange every few months. So I was pretty stoked for this road trip. Just two men in their twenties, the open road and enough Monster to give the Energizer Bunny a heart attack. The trip was awful. Well, that’s not entirely true. I learned that I can outdrink my brother in the happiest place on Earth, so the bar for my life has been set at an unobtainably high level. The drive down had its fun moments, too.
We set out on the road just before the sun had a chance to fill the sky, flashes of Disney World and butterbeer dancing in our eyes. Then my brother told me I should stop rhyme-narrating our adventures, so I listened to music instead. And honestly, I was mostly just excited about the playlist I threw together for this trip. I spent the three days leading up to the trip “legally” downloading music between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. to fill my iPhone with songs that I thought I enjoyed at one point or another in my lifetime (you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find a song by searching “the one that goes la la dum ba la la doom doom psh I think” into YouTube). We bonded, we laughed and we both experienced dangerous caffeine highs. The trip back, however, was miserable. Nighttime driving isn’t the most friendly, and somehow you can’t help feeling every drop of sleep you’ve ever neglected in your lifetime smack you upside your head while you’re racing down an empty highway. Spoiler alert: We lived. If I didn’t have to play DJ for the ride, I probably would have passed out in the passenger seat. Looking back, maybe I could have done a little more to help the situation. I mean, at 4 a.m. when you can’t tell if your brother is intentionally driving toward the edge of the cliff, what else can you do but scroll through your playlist and select the most epic song for your inevitable death? I was torn between R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” and Ellie Goulding’s “Burn” when I realized my brother was, in fact, not veering off the road on purpose and we should probably pull over to sleep. I’m a hero. Feel free to give me a hug when you see me around campus. Or money. Probably money. I can’t exactly explain why I keep thinking about this trip, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with me being a mushy human being and I’m definitely sure it has everything to do with me living my life as cliché as possible. I’m a third-year student who has no idea what waits for him in the future (yeah, look how original I am), so maybe I don’t want to think about internships, careers, moving, marriage, kids, the upcoming summer or all of the things I need to prepare for or accomplish in the coming years. Not yet. Not now. I’d like a little more time to chill in the front seat next to my older brother. Just two guys, in their twenties, who have no qualms about playing High School Musical songs on full blast with the windows rolled down.
State of the Union: the geese really should migrate at somepoint, right? by Eliot Marcus, Guest Columnist
walked out of my house today, Jan. 27, and was met by a soothing tropical breeze. My phone said it was 29 degrees, but my body felt ready for margaritas and awkward tan lines. After days of temperatures ranging dangerously close to zero, I was ready to strip and go all Michael Phelps in Sunset Lake (no, not 4/20 Michael Phelps, Olympic Gold medalist Michael Phelps). This is the life we live in Poughkeepsie: one where weather predictions range from “rainy all day” to “beware: Dementors near!” Our grandparents may have grown up walking to school and back uphill both ways, but we grew up with polar vortices and twerking. This weather is having devastating effects on the student body. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve made my housemates to faint with disgust when they find that, for the third
straight day, I haven’t left the house and I’m wearing a stained gray sweatshirt with matching gray sweatpants, huddled over my laptop like some Neanderthal discovering fire for the first time. While it is true that there is some injustice in the fact that half of us show up to class during these tough times with runny noses and lips so chapped not even Burt’s Bees can help and the other half looks like they just stepped out of a Vassar Contrast article, nowhere is there a greater schism than in the TH duck/geese community. The one-percenters of the aviary world, the geese, spend most of their time on the baseball field, sleeping on a feathery bed of Americana. They mock the fate of the lone (plastic) wolf which Vassar has placed in center field as a mock-scarecrow to help keep the field goose-free. “Who is this commoner?
He who can watch, but not share in the consumption of wine, and soft-cheeses-for-sturdy-crackers,” remarks one of the geese to his winged brother. “We should send him to the stream,” he says, nose in the air. This brings up the 99 percenters, the ducks that spend their days with frozen feet as they float on the stream by the TH path and harass hungover seniors on their way to a Sunday library session. I can’t blame them; I’d be angry too. At best they sleep on a patch of ice and at worst they sleep on the murky water, their behinds easy prey for the three-headed fish and ghosts of Deece Cats Past which haunt the existential abyss that is the TH stream. Let us hope, for our sake and that of the college’s fauna, that we are blessed with an early spring. Let us hope that we will bear our fluorescent skin in the late days of March rather
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
than May 14 when you’re walking to the academic quad to turn in a 40-page paper. Realistically though, I’d settle for no snow at graduation. While I’m telling you things that I would settle for (a.k.a my deepest hopes and desires that I have never ever told anyone before), I’d also like to confess some things. I like to imagine that Deece Cat is living it up in kitty-heaven just snorting mountains of catnip while joy-riding around the pearly gates with Paul Walker. Deece Cat has like 18 person al belly-scratchers and all of the milk. In a perfect world, I will receive an email after this gets published saying that Deece Cat is alive…and so is Paul Walker. I am worried the geese/duck population will sue me for slander, or at the very least double their harassment efforts. Finally, the celebrity lookalike I get most is James Blunt. FML.
January 30, 2014
From curation to exhibition: an inside peek at the Loeb Isabella DeLeo GuEst rEpOrtEr
Mundy describes the museum’s growth as a series of increments over the past 150 years, although the Loeb’s resources have grown significantly over the past 20 due to generous gifts and bequests. Mundy and the two curators are planning on organizing an exhibition that will show both at Vassar and around the country every two or three years. The most recent of these major exhibits was titled “The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation.” After showing at Vassar, “The Polaroid Years” made its way to the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach. The show brought together Polaroid photographs from 40 widely celebrated artists, including Ansel Adams, Chuck Close, David Hockney and Andy Warhol.
Before “The Polaroid Years,” “Thomas Rowlandson: Pleasures and Pursuits in Georgian England” went to a museum at Northwestern University, and the 2008 exhibition, “Paris-New York: Modern Paintings in the 19th and 20th Century. Masterworks from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center” also journeyed to five different museums in Japan. Mundy and all those involved with organizing exhibitions are currently working on a for-travel exhibition based on the work of Richard Artschwager, a conceptual artist. Exhibitions presently on display at the Loeb include “Malick Sidibé: Chemises and Decolonizing the Exhibition: Contemporary Inuit Prints and Drawings from the Edward J. Guarino Collection.”
Spencer Davis/The Miscellany News
ften when we walk into museums, we become so absorbed in our own thoughts that we overlook those who helped bring the art in front of us to life. Often we just smile placidly at the docents who sometimes stand with their arms at their sides, in the periphery. Seldom do we reflect on the work of museum staff—the curators, collection managers, coordinators, docents and directors—that make the experience of being the museum as special as it is. “I’d like to think that we are one of the country’s finest art museums in terms of experience, although we do not rival many in terms of size of budget or staff,” wrote James Mundy, the Anne Hendricks Bass Director of the Frances Lehmen Loeb Art Center, in an emailed statement. “There are few museums where the visitor leaves more energized and stimulated than he or she arrived and that to my mind is a hallmark of a really good museum. I would like us to be one of those museums.” Mundy has served as the Anne Handricks Bass Director for over 23 years. He articulated the Loeb’s goal for any visitors. “We like to help facilitate the dialogue between the visitor and the art but the best thing we can do is to provide an environment where your experience of the art is under your control and you are responsible for its efficacy,” he wrote. To help foster such an environment, the docents who lead museum tours frequently engage with museum visitors and tourists. Calvin Lamothe ’17 elaborated upon the daily happenings for student docents (or tour-givers). “On any given day, a docent might be floating through the galleries, interacting with visitors, giving a daily guided tour or a group tour, researching pieces in the collection, or working on posts for the Art Center’s blog, Off the Wall,” Lamothe wrote in an emailed statement. “Giv-
ing tours is our main responsibility; we try to structure the daily-guided tours around the visitors’ interests. We work fairly closely with the museum’s curators as new exhibitions open, as they often walk us through the exhibits so that we are equipped to talk about them with visitors.” The two curators of the museum, Patricia Phagan, The Phillip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings, and Mary-Kay Lombino, the Emily Hargroves Fisher ’57 and Richard B. Fisher Curator and Assistant Director for Strategic Planning, work with some of the 19,000 works in the Loeb’s permanent collection. The curators, in organizing and relating works of art with each other, actively give new meaning and life to the pieces of work on display. According to Mundy, the process of curating is usually incremental. The exhibition begins with an idea and takes life as pieces, loaned or donated, join the collection. Phagan and Lombino often try to resurface works that have not been shown in the gallery for a while. Phagan is now working on a project that explores the use of light in art, and Lombino is currently working on a show based around the theme of Outsider Art. The show will be on display this summer. Director Mundy, meanwhile, is responsible for the entire artistic program of the museum. Much of his energy goes to looking after the projects that are underway, working with alumni and friends who support the museum’s programs, collection development and building maintenance. “We are open to the public and need to present a good face to the public and this requires attention to a lot of details, from making sure burned out lightbulbs are replaced to keeping the facility safe for works of art in terms of its environmental conditions,” Mundy wrote. “The most difficult part of my job is making people happy. The most rewarding part is making people happy.”
The Frances Lehmen Loeb Art Center houses over 19,000 works that are on display for the Vassar community. Additionally many temporary and internationally renowned exhibitions are housed here.
Student photographers support domestic violence victims Emma Daniels rEpOrtEr
o they can love again…/Find peace again…/And be whole again…” “Because we are human.” “For the children.” Emma Redden ’15 and Jeffrey From ’15 received these answers to the question, “Why is it important to support victims of domestic violence?” Last summer, the two juniors—Redden, an international studies major from Vermont, and From, a film major from New York City— took a 10,000 mile road trip across the United States and posed this question to people as part of their project, “Peace Bound: Portraits for Non-Violence.” Redden took pictures of the people they approached and had them write down their answers. She then photoshopped the pictures so each responder’s words, in his or her own handwriting, overlaid his or her portrait. She and From then posted the portraits on their
blog, www.peacebound.wordpress.com. Redden and From’s work culminated in a book launched on Wednesday, Jan. 29. Additionally, a local support group of women survivors of abuse came to the event, and some of them shared their experiences with domestic violence. The first 125 books will go out to the domestic violence programs and coalitions that Redden and From worked with this summer. The pair will sell copies to their friends and family, with the profits donated to agencies devoted to support work. “We are hoping to start promoting the book on different websites, writing essays, ideally, that we will try to publish online. We also plan on working again with the national domestic violence hotline as a way to sell and promote the book,” noted Redden. At the beginning of the summer, the friends set off in Vermont and drove through 25 states. They stopped in over 12 cities, including
Jacob Gorski/The Miscellany News
Jeffrey From ’15 and Emma Redden ’15 spent their summer traveling across the country to speak about the complexities of domestic violence. A book of photography from their project was launched this week.
Poughkeepsie, Nashville, Austin, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Boise. Redden and From came to the idea in October 2012 after deciding to spend the summer doing meaningful work together. At the time, Redden worked at Domestic Violence Services as a counselor in Poughkeepsie. “As I became more involved and invested in my work at Domestic Violence Services, the idea of pursuing this type of peace-work became very formative in our summer planning,” said Redden. The two then came across and applied to the Davis Foundation’s 100 Projects for Peace, a program that gives $10,000 grants for students to execute a project during their summer break that promotes peace and addresses the root causes of conflict. Recently deceased philanthropist and activist Kathryn Davis founded the organization in Feb. 2007, upon her 100th birthday. A statement from Davis on the organization’s website reads, “I want to use my 100th birthday to help young people launch some immediate initiatives—things that they can do during the summer of 2007—that will bring new thinking to the prospects of peace in the world.” And every summer since, students have pioneered various Projects for Peace. Following in the footsteps of the other grantees, From and Redden decided to use visual language to create an accessible message of solidarity and support for victims of domestic violence. “A big thing shaping the decisions that we made in terms of how we conducted our project was that we wanted to create something visual,” From noted. “Because of the unbelievable range of people that this issue affects, we wanted our final project to be an understandable and accessible resource.” “Photography speaks to people in a different way,” said Redden after recently receiving an email from a woman working at a shelter in Texas. That woman noted that having the book of photos around is a great alternative to pamphlets or pieces of writing. Furthermore, From and Redden wanted to represent support in an artistic way beyond simply transcribing the answers provided to them. “We wanted to capture this idea of real
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
intimate support, and having that support be personally connected with the responder’s identity,” From said. “Our project is about raising voices from all over the country and ways to visualize that are not only through distinctions in what responders look like and the location and backgrounds of the photo but differences in handwriting.” As they traveled from city to city, Redden and From fine-tuned just how to go about creating these personalized portraits in a way that promoted peace and equality. They ultimately canvassed on busy street corners. Initially they approached individuals arbitrarily, but that often proved alienating. So, when they stood on the street corner, they made it clear that they were talking to everyone—and that the project was ultimately one for peace. “We felt that sometimes when people heard the term domestic violence, they initially felt that they were labeled as a part of the issue, regardless of how clearly we thought we explained that we were talking to anyone and everyone regardless of one’s own experience,” Redden noted. “Because really the project is about engaging people who don’t identify as survivors and may even believe intimate partner violence doesn’t affect them at all.” Redden described one memorable moment. “One day I walked into a fireworks store in Tennessee, went up to two women sitting at the counter, explained the project, and asked if they were interested in participating. Their response read to me as one of hurt,” Redden said. “At that moment we realized that approaching people individually, no matter what language we used to explain the project, reinforced the very feeling of isolation we were trying to address. It was at this point that we only approached strangers on a sidewalk where it was very clear we were talking to everyone who passed.” By the summer’s end, Redden and From had collected a range of voices from across the country. “Our book acts as a piece of art that can stand in solidarity with incredible women that overcome unthinkable challenges, and remind advocates and survivors alike that support exists,” said From.
January 30, 2014
Schuster teaches children bevy of theater techniques Victoria Youngblood GuEst rEpOrtEr
courtesy of Kelly Schuster
ver winter vacation, Kelly Schuster ’15 took a break from her career as a drama student and assumed the role of drama teacher, offering her skills to a group of young international students at the American School of Bombay (ASB). Schuster traveled with her mother to India to teach dance and drama at ASB’s Intersession Program. There, they led workshops for groups of students that ranged from kindergarten to 6th grade and came from a wide array of cultural backgrounds. Schuster found out about the program at ASB through her mother, who works at the Singapore American School, and became interested in the Intersession program for its emphasis on cultural exposure and academic specialization. The Intersession program does not exclusively accept ASB students and offers free attendance to all of its students, allowing for rich diversity. “It was important to me that the classes would consist of students from a variety of places and economic backgrounds as this multitude of perspectives can make for a powerful and interesting theater space,” Schuster said. The classes included students from Korea, Japan, India, America, Mexico, Italy, Indonesia and Ghana. The students had varying levels of proficiency with the English language. For this reason, Schuster said, “We tried to not privilege English as the primary method of communication in our classroom. To do so we had many activities that focused on artistic expression through other forms besides verbal communication, such as story-telling through movement, pantomime, song, dance, visual art and games where we used ‘gibberish.’” Culture and identity became a consistent theme for the workshops. Schuster, like many of the students she taught, moved around between international schools and struggled to locate where home, being a moving target,
was. She found that sharing this common experience of dislocation to the learning process’ advantage. She worked with the 6th graders on monologues about traveling, changing homes and haikus about personal experiences, which were then transformed into movement theater pieces. Schuster described several educational techniques from her and her mother’s backgrounds, including the Laban technique and Ann Bogart’s “Viewpoints” method, which she employed for the movement theater pieces. Laban “Movement Analysis” interprets movement by focusing on different aspects of the body. “Viewpoints” uses movement improvisation to explore theatrical spaces and stories. But she also got to learn and embrace the theatrical methods India had to offer. “It was important to us to allow our immediate context to inform our theater making and incorporate what we were learning into our classes,” Schuster said. The concept of Rasa, which in Sanskrit translates loosely to “essence” or “flavor” and refers to the theme or emotion evoked by an artistic concept, particularly attracted Schuster’s attention. The evolution and changes in Rasa between different scenes is important in how a given theater scene or play operates. The younger students explored this idea through practicing transitions between different emotions, while the older students worked on tracking the changing Rasas within their monologues. ASB’s Intersession program appealed to Schuster for its commitment to individualization of the learning experience and concentration on specific subjects. The program brings in instructors like Schuster from around the world to work intensively with interested students. Collaboration between teacher and student are important to its core philosophy. “So that no one student (nor teacher) ever monopolized the class time, we made sure to let the students lead different exercises and dances to
Kelly Schuster ’15 and her mother traveled to India over winter break to teach dance and drama in Bombay, India. The children in their classes ranged from kindergarten to 6th grade. help them trust themselves and each other as theater-makers,” Schuster said. One of ASB’s goals is experimentation with alternative school year calendars, as exemplified by the Intersession program which is in part a research tool. Schuster wrote, “By having classes and workshops available during school year breaks, ASB is moving towards a more balanced model that is in line with their plan to continually evolve their school structure to make it relevant for their current students.” Schuster hopes to pursue devised theater that centers on female adolescence, which nicely ties into Schuster’s decision to work with 6th graders. Devised theater refers to pieces that are created collaboratively and originally, rather than from a script. “I think adolescence is a
Film examines heart of hedonistic Italy Taylor Thewes
The Great Beauty Paolo Sorrentino Italian Medusa Film
had never seen a stage performance quite like one that a female character gives in the film “The Great Beauty.” As the girl takes the stage, clad in her birthday suit, she lets the audience know she is communist by creatively shaving a hammer and sickle into her pubic area. This compelling tactic of devotion to a political party helps contribute to one of the many eclectic characters that run amok in their own self indulgence, building up the city of Rome as a superficial void entrapping the artistic hedonists who built it and the sufferers trying to escape. “The Great Beauty” explores the relationship between a man, his peers, his city, his art and his love. This man is Jep Gambardella, a writer who, after his sole novel was hailed as a masterpiece four decades ago, has decided to live a life of excessive partying among a heap of scantily clad, youthful vixens and horny, sartorially inclined elder statesmen, while hardly finding the desire to write anymore. “The Great Beauty” is a beautiful portrait of a man whose once lost love for writing returns as his self-realization of his toxic environment begins to form. Jep attends the scene with the bare performing artist in order to conduct interviews with the artist afterwards, something he frequently does. Jep announces to the artist that he did not find the performance art to his liking. This artist embodies everyone else around Jep in the self-destructive Rome in which they live. Everyone claims to be artists. However, the art they produce does not click with Jep, who seems to have sided with the voice of reason and sensibility over society’s egoism and self-indulgence, all of which is blanketed by pseudo-intellectualism. Jep asks this artist what she hopes to tell though her art, how she lives through the vibrations that she claims guide her life, what
those vibrations even are. She simply responds with the claim, “I am an artist. I don’t have to explain jack shit.” Jep’s peers consistently express this. All wanting to be artists, these people think that they can just make art. We see a woman who is bored with her life of being an actress yet has not acted in anything because she cannot find any roles suitable for her high-brow palette. She then decides, spur of the moment, that she will instead be a director. We see this faux-artistic nature transform into a lifestyle when, at a party, one of Jep’s friends claims that she does not know a famous television actress because shew does not own a television. At first this appears refreshing, someone finally cut off from the constant bombardment of entertainment and art, as well as the need to be in the know. However, another character, after hearing this statement, replies that she knows the woman does not own a television; she likes to proclaim her television-less life frequently. While we do not live in Italy, the consumption of this faux-intellectual lifestyle seems relevant in our life at Vassar. These old folks are living in a time where the ability to call oneself an artist is simple. Money is power, and since these folks have it, they can create the art they want. They can even be hipsters without televisions, but if they choose that route, they want everyone to know, obviously. It is this accessible, excessive output of art that dilutes the very beauty of true art.
“The consumption of this faux-intellectual lifestyle seems relevant to our life at Vassar.” Most characters in the film represent the entangling, seductive grip that Rome has on its inhabitants, but there are a select few that help Jep rediscover the feeling of love his art he had
when he wrote that first book so many years ago. These people are the ones who do not ask Jep why he did not write a second book, which is a reoccurring question asked by the shallow socialites throughout the film. The most prominent figure is an 104-year-old saint. She is the quintessential representative of the old beauty within the city that the younger generation has failed to see. There is a scene where the saint stands absolutely still, while hoards of people come up next to her to take selfies with her. Obvious in its statement, yes, but we can just see the lack of appreciation that the people have for what the city used to mean. The city’s meaning differs depending on which group from which the point of view comes. To most of Jep’s acquaintances, it is the hub that allows them to experience the best sex, drugs and attention possible. On the other end of the scale, Jep says that tourists lie there. He believes that tourists are the best people in Rome. They see the city with wide eyes, an almost childlike sense of wonder. Whereas the inhabitants have become dull to the city, tourists are overwhelmed with the beauty presented before them. So much so that, in the opening prologue, we see a tourist snapping pictures of the city until eventually he collapses as the beauty was so strong that it killed him. Following this prologue, Jep is told of his former lover, the girl who he first experienced the luscious lips of love with as he wrote his first novel, has died. This sparks Jep’s rekindled quest. The quest that would end with his next book soon. The quest that allowed him to see the difference between the saint and the sinner. The quest that he had originally embarked on to write his next book years ago. This quest was-and is--to find the great beauty. The great beauty that so many have failed to see. Jep, during a heated conversation with another artist, mentions that nobody can truly explain the meaning of art. In this review, this was my best attempt at understanding this film. Dense with ideas and images of art, love and beauty, “The Great Beauty” invites the viewer to take part in the subject’s individual perspectives. There is no doubt, however, that in Jep’s journey to find the great beauty, the film presents itself in such a beautiful way.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
critical time to give them a safe space where they can express themselves as artists and their individual voices are valued in a society so ready to silence them in most other aspects of their lives,” Schuster wrote. Indeed, Schuster is also pursuing a correlate in women’s studies in addition to her drama major. Schuster also found working with her mother, who has a background in the Laban technique and elementary physical education, to be particularly valuable. “I felt honored to work with my mother because growing up she was one of the best teachers I ever had, both in and out of the classroom,” she said. When her mother left for Singapore toward the program’s end, Schuster took over for the youngest class’ final performance.
The Artist’s Palate
Through Jan. 307 Main St. Poughkeepsie, N.Y. “It’s Not a Painting.” Works by Barbara Todd. Gallery doubles as restaurant. Hours: Mon. - Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Woodstock Jewish Congregation
Through April 8 1682 Glasco Turnpike Woodstock, N.Y. The “Winter Fine Arts Show” features work by members of the arts committee and their spouses.
Mill Street Loft
Throughout the year 45 Pershing Avenue Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Gallery 45 displays both a wide variety of art exhibitions and plays host to workshops and events throughout the year. Hours: Mon-Fri. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
SUNY Ulster’s Muroff-Kotler Gallery
491 Cottekill Rd., Stone Ridge, N.Y. “Place” by Tim Rowan. Pre-industrial ceramic creations made with native, unprocessed clay. Hours: Mon. – Fri., 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Prose to read excerpts from latest novel
Actors invigorate tired detective genre Max Rook Columnist
True Detective Nic Pizzolatto HBO
PROSE continued from page 1
spring semester. Beforehand, Prose served as a Visiting Professor of English at Bard College. At Vassar, she will attend classes, meet Vassar students and faculty, and read aspiring writers’ manuscripts. “In the days that follow, she will be reading the work of the students in Senior Composition. I’m teaching that course this year and am very excited about Prose giving feedback to my students,” stated English Professor Amitava Kumar. Like many of the writers she will work with at Vassar, Prose always knew she wanted to be an author. “I always wrote,” Prose said. “I wrote when I was in grade school, I wrote when I was in high school, I wrote when I was in college. And after I got out of college, I sent it to a former professor of mine and he sent it to his editor and the book got published!” From college onward, Prose began an industrious career. She has since written nineteen novels and two picture books and has received numerous awards and grants—including the esteemed PEN Translation Prize in 1988 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1991. In 2009, Prose released a work of non-fiction titled “Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife.” Beyond Anne Frank’s story, Prose wrote about the process of the diary’s publication, as well as the history of the diary in schools. “I reread “The Diary of Anne Frank” and it seemed to me that it has never really been talked about as a book of literature. As soon as I started writing about it I kept finding out more and more, and the book got bigger and bigger,” Prose said. Prose’s work has earned her a wide array of recognition. She tackled the topics of obsessive love and sexual harassment on college campuses in her novel “Blue Angel,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2000. Her novel “The Glorious Ones” was adapted into a musical of the same name, which was performed in New York City’s Lincoln Center in the fall season of 2007. Additionally, one of her other novels, “Household Saints,” was adapted into a movie. While the inspiration for each of her books varies, Prose rarely deviates from her writing process. “I write from the beginning to the end. I rewrite constantly and endlessly, and it takes me a very long time,” Prose said. “I spend a lot of hours a day working. But again, each book is different, so each book requires a different style and a different process and a different set of standards and a different way of thinking of it, so it’s hard to generalize from one piece of work to the next.” Though Prose often finds inspiration in day-today events, she finds herself writing on specific topics at the request of publishing houses or fellow writers. “I did a book about gluttony because Oxford University Press was doing a series on the seven deadly sins and they asked me which sin I wanted to write about,” Prose said. Another time, for example, Prose’s friend was busy editing a series entitled “Greek Lives” and asked Prose to write for the series. This resulted in one of Prose’s two picture books, “Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles.” Within this book, Prose responds to the Italian baroque painter Caravaggio’s works. As writer-in-residence, Prose will incorporate her experiences as a bestselling author into teaching Vassar writers. “Prose is a wonderful novelist as well as one of the best-regarded critics in the country. I think my students will get to learn from her not only about how to be better writers but also how to be better readers,” added Kumar. Kumar’s English 306 Composition class is currently reading “Blue Angel.” “It is a funny and cutting novel and deals with the drama of a writing workshop. It is also a satire about the academy. We are also reading portions of Prose’s “Reading Like a Writer.” I believe other colleagues in the English department are also teaching her work,” Kumar said. “During her stay at Vassar, Francine Prose will be visiting other classes...her stay here will advance our own conversations about particular books but also about the profession.” Prose will speak in Sanders Classroom’s Spitzer Auditorium (Room 212) on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. The event will be free and open to the public.
January 30, 2014
t feels like every time I sit down to write about a new TV show, it’s some variation on the same story: two detectives, usually straight white men, attempt to catch a vicious serial killer while struggling with problems in their own personal lives. Last year was particularly rich with these types of shows, between NBC’s “Hannibal,” Fox’s “The Following,” BBC America’s “Broadchurch,” and more, which range in quality from very good to terrible. So of course one of the first new shows of 2014 is HBO’s “True Detective,” yet another serial killer story. Thankfully, the show’s lack of originality in its premise is more than made up for in its execution. “True Detective” is a stylish, magnetic story, one absolutely worth your time if you can get past the fatigue over a well-worn genre. “True Detective” is an anthology show in the vein of “American Horror Story,” so each season will feature an entirely new cast and plotline. That means that we know the story’s mysteries will be solved by the end of the season, and it also means that HBO was able to entice some impressive personnel to sign on for the limited engagement. First and foremost, the show has two bona-fide movie stars for leads in Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, our grizzled detectives. HBO also managed to sign crime novelist Nic Pizzolatto and film director Cary Joji Fukunaga for the entire eight-episode run. It’s rare to have such a consistent, creative team in American TV, but it is extremely effective here in establishing the show’s tone, making each episode seem like a part of a whole.
I won’t spend much time describing the plot. With only a few episodes under the show’s belt, it’s basically what you’d expect from a serial killer story albeit in the somewhat atypical setting of rural Louisiana. The only wrinkle the show adds to that plot is its flashback structure: The investigation in question takes place in 1995, but we also see McConaughey and Harrelson’s characters interviewed about those events in the present day, years after some mysterious falling out destroyed their partnership. The show spends the majority of its time in the first time period, so the flashback structure mostly works as a clever way to spice up what could have been dry voice-over narration, but it also helps to enhance the show’s sense of foreboding. We get hints of what is to come, and it doesn’t sound good. So if the plot isn’t anything special, at least so far, what makes the show worth checking out? Simply put: McConaughey and Harrelson. Both men give tremendous performances here, which manage to elevate the show above the plot’s clichés it sometimes relies on. They’re both cast slightly against type here, with Harrelson as the straight-arrow family man and McConaughey as his recluse partner, but they both sink deeply into their roles, giving performances as good as anything they’ve done in their film appearances. McConaughey is particularly good, playing the absurdly-named Rustin “Rust” Cohle, a man broken by a tragedy in his past and still struggling to piece himself back together. Pizzolatto’s scripts give Cohle some pseudo-philosophical monologues that could be laughable in the hands of a lesser actor, but McConaughey makes them both mesmerizing and meaningful. True Detective is at its best during those monologues and other similar moments, when it nails its chilly tone perfectly. Fukunaga, best known for the 2011 version of “Jane Eyre” starring Mia Wasikowska, is instrumental to that tone, and he is aided by mu-
sic from seemingly ubiquitous producer “T Bone” Burnett. The show spends a surprising amount of time with McConaughey and Harrelson in their car, driving from one location to the next. While on many other shows that would seem like a tedious waste of time, in this case it is an excellent showcase for the two men’s chemistry. They are apparently close friends in real life, and reportedly agreed to this project primarily to work with each other, and it shows. Together, they make for one of the most engaging pairings on television right now. Hopefully subsequent episodes will improve on the show’s storytelling issues, but for now the two lead performances are enough to make it worth watching. Unfortunately, “True Detective” doesn’t avoid some of the serial-killer genre’s most egregious problems. As is the case with many similar shows, the female characters can mostly be split into two categories: murder victims and prostitutes. The only regular female cast member is Michelle Monaghan, who is entirely underserved by her role as Harrelson’s nagging wife. The show appears to be trying to say something meaningful about modern masculinity, and may well succeed in that goal, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t also have fully-formed female characters. If you’re interested in a show that deviates a little more from the genre’s clichés, I’d recommend you seek out FX’s “The Bridge,” which takes place at the US-Mexico border and uses that setting to explore issues unseen elsewhere on TV, or Sundance’s “Top of the Lake,” or Jane Campion’s “Australian.” “True Detective” has its fair share of problems, but between McConaughey and Harrelson’s performances and the promise that it will wrap up its mystery by the end of the season, it makes a promising first impression. If you aren’t yet tired of diabolical serial killers and detectives with messy personal lives, give “True Detective” a shot.
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January 30, 2014
‘Looking,’ the gay male version of ‘Girls’ Lily Sloss COlumnist
Looking Michael Lannan and Andrew Haigh HBO
n my desire to move on from “Girls,” or at the very least, take a break, I watched the premiere episode of “Looking,” HBO’s new series about three men “looking” for love in San Francisco. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, HBO. “Looking” is essentially “Girls” for the homosexual man. Within the context of the semi-erotic world in which these three gay males live, everyone speaks in the same manner, responds similarly to events and participates in unplanned yet casual sexual experiences. The characters, at first introduction, seem cute and trite. The show was faintly amusing and easy to digest, like an episode of “New Girl” or leaving “Friends” on for background accompaniment. In its premiere, “Looking for Now,” main character Patrick (Jonathan Groff) is concerned about an upcoming event: the engagement party of his ex-boyfriend. He begs his two friends to come with him, and Dom (Murray Bartlett) accepts begrudgingly. Patrick’s baby-face antics throughout the first episode are humorous. Bearing the burden of a hypercritical mother, he goes on a date with a man from OkCupid who might have a lazy eye but at least has an impressive degree. The date is a smashing failure. Patrick drains his wine like a fish, reveals his sketchy relationship past (“I think my longest relationship was six months”) and tries (and fails) to relate to his date’s occupation as an oncologist. The evening comes to an abrupt stop when the “cancer doctor” suggests they pay the check, since chemistry should not feel “so forced.” Patrick’s other best friend, Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) embodies a semi-successful relationship. He suggests to his boyfriend Frank
(O.T. Fagbenle) that he move in with him in Oakland because San Fran is so expensive. Frank is disappointed by Agustín’s lack of romance, but agrees. Later on, the couple, while constructing an art piece for a client, meet Scotty (Tanner Cohen). Scotty lacks a back story but is replete with a long, lean body and a whimsical tattoo of Dolly Parton’s signature—all grounds for a threesome. Initiated by Agustín, the three men move from casual conversation to casual sex without remark. Afterwards, Agustín comments that “it was exciting” and Frank responds, “Of course it was.” The transition from sex between two members of a relationship to three members is thus prescribed. Exciting, yes, but significant? No.
“Looking is essentially ‘Girls’ for the homosexual man.” While somewhat fantastical that nearly every person on “Looking” is a gay male, I suppose we suspend reality when watching shows like these—the worlds are created, obviously. Every person in Brooklyn is not a privileged white female, but we (somewhat) buy that on “Girls.” “Looking” succeeds where “Girls” does not, however, in its accessibility despite its failings in diversity. Just as “Girls” provokes laughs in a very particular subset, an audience that has experienced just the situation of the protagonist, or laugh at the absurdity of the characters, “Looking” provides situational or experiential humor which a more diverse audience can appreciate. For example, while waiting tables at a restaurant, Dom serves a couple of asshole businessmen and complains to the other waiters. Patrick gets hit on while riding public transportation. Agustín deals with the complexities of a relationship in transition. The jokes and situations are easily enjoyed. Nothing feels “so forced.”
The show is set in San Francisco, and unlike other shows which might merely present a facade while shooting in a cheaper locale, “Looking” depicts the real deal. Lengthy shots of the Golden Gate Bridge and apartments on the hill present a loving, if somewhat dark, representation of the city. The shots, in general, feel somewhat darker and more intimate than one might expect in the city. Without being from the area, a viewer can feel welcome in the atmosphere “Looking” presents—one of picturesque views and a lively, if somewhat uncomfortable, park area fraught with potential homosexual grazing. However, the show sometimes seems torn between reflecting a group of complex male friends and “doing a gay show.” I say that not to offend, but to criticize. It felt at times that I was viewing stereotypes of gay males. Just as “Girls” gives two-dimensional outlines of real women, “Looking” sometimes filled gaps in narrative with “oh my god!”s and “SO cute, right?” in a manner unpleasantly reminiscent of ignorant satire. I worry, then, that in “Looking”’s effort to reach an audience that is not exclusively queer, the writers may be representing a population falsely to meet expectations of stereotypes. However, thankfully, these moments are few and far between. As opposed to being “a gay show,” as creator Andrew Haigh fears it will be branded, “Looking” is a sweet, comfortable show. It is warm, funny, and telling of the lives of three men, not settled, living in their late thirties and forties in San Francisco, attempting to maneuver relationships in which they can be happy. I imagine that, ultimately, “Looking” will be able to garner a far larger audience than “Girls” because of its accessibility and (mainly) skillful writing. These are stories of relationships, not specific to a sexuality or locale, but to a moment of transition, whether experienced in your twenties, thirties or fifties. Hopefully the mixed press will attract a broad audience and viewers of all strata can discover whether it is the perfect late night comfort show for them, or not.
A weekly space highlighting the creative pursuits of student-artists
A letter to the privileged (white people): Sometimes I get tired of those days When we spread so much hate that it Scares us half to death. In bodies that are vessels to entities of oppression Don’t feel alarmed to be hated Don’t ever think you are intrinsically flawed Because the oppressed hates the oppressor Not as an individual, But as an entity that manifests in you You may have never stepped across explicit factions of violence You may never even felt like you’ve oppressed someone But you did, you have, and will do so for an extended amount of time Now you have to understand that violence upon the oppressed Has existed as reality. It leaves cuts, bruises and scars that will never fade Even centuries from now Memories will exist And families will persist To continue to tell their story As much as I will with my children I embody oppressed and oppressor Where silence breeds And my past speaks in a melody
only understood by the people I face. I am a heterosexual cis-male I am mexicano americano I am Chicano And that breeds in sexism and power and influence In my own community. I am in between the lines And on the margins. I am oppressed and oppressor I try to understand That this world is not only mine. This world is not only what I’ve been raised to see. I have privilege and power, I know that and I see, That I am able to walk through, tolerate, survive and talk. Interact. I am blessed, I am thankful. You ought to be too, But face the music because hate comes everywhere And I lived on streets where I once believed the biggest threat was someone like me with a gun But I saw that the threat was not on the streets. It was the white men in suits, not those in hoods
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Because hoods hide fear and those in suits Have no fear to look you down eye to eye Paper to pen, Only to keep you down with no remorse. And now you, you tell me That our language is violent. It is the language that we’ve always wanted show The one we never thought of bringing to the table But you made us. You brought us here And our interactions bring in hate, But a hate with a history That is still being written And I don’t know where to begin. I am too frustrated to speak and you are too offended to talk And we ask ourselves what more is there? How much more will you give up? All I ask in the end is for you to Start listening Start reflecting Start understanding our pain. Come. Listen. Ask. I am ready to speak.
It was my senior year of high school when my teacher created the poetry club and took us on Tuesday nights to a poetry venue called Da Poetry Lounge, where I first saw Rudy Francisco, my first inspiration for writing. Ever since then, I wanted to become a poet who could move a crowd by the honesty in their words. In “A Letter to the Privileged,” I wanted to be the most honest and direct I could be. As a Latino cis-male I wanted to speak to my frustrations, my privileges and willingness to speak. I wanted to talk about anger and violence and the connections to history, and I believe my poetry helps me find those opportunities to share my own history. I want to inspire, just like Rudy did with me. —Leonel Torres ’15
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Excuse me, What fictional place would you like to live in?
“Stars Hollow.” —Rebecca Bauer ’14
“Candyland.” —Katherine Giesa ’16
“A world where Vassar is more critical of itself.” —Elena Fregoso ’14
“The Shire!” —Sarah King ’16
“Hogwarts.” —Kyle Whelan ’16
“The Harry Potter universe, but as a wizard.” —Al-Donn Riddick ’15
Spencer Davis, Photo Editor Adam Buchsbaum, Contributing Editor
January 30, 2014
Freshman Cunningham begins record-breaking career Tina Caso
Emily Lavieri-Scull/The Miscellany News
n Jan. 16, freshman Julia Cunningham of the women’s swimming and diving team broke a 10-year-old school record in the 100 Yard Butterfly. At the Seven Sisters Tournament less than one week later, she bested her previous record-breaking time in the 200 Yard Butterfly, remaining on top. The Liberty League has named Cunningham Rookie of the Week on two occasions, and she was also named to the All-Seven Sisters Team. The freshman from Yardley, PA has achieved all of this in the span of five months. Cunningham started swimming when she was eight years old. “I was the kid whose parents threw me into a bunch of mini-league sports,” she explained in an emailed statement. “Swimming was basically the only one I was any good at. From then on, it just integrated itself into my life.” During her high school career, Cunningham was awarded the AAU Joel Ferrell Award in 2010 at the AAU Junior Olympic Games and also earned the Ballou Memorial Swimming Trophy in 2013. Cunningham eventually came to Vassar because she wanted a small liberal arts school with Division III athletics, but mostly because of her gut feeling about the college. “Coming to Vassar was very much a gut feeling. When I was on campus, it just felt like the right place to be. I looked at a lot of colleges,” she wrote. “It was very hard to isolate one thing about any of the colleges that stood out to me, so it basically came down to what felt ‘right.’” According to Head Coach Lisl Prater-Lee and Assistant Coach Danny Koenig, Cunningham has integrated into the program very well. “[Cunningham] came to us in great physical shape and mentally prepared for a strong start to a college career,” wrote Koenig. “It became obvious to us very quickly that she was a great athlete and, more importantly, a tremendous worker.” According to Cunningham, the team practiced for a week before the September 30 season kick-off in order to prepare for the upcoming season. “To stay in shape…we had a few captains’ practices and, before that, the freshmen practiced together a few times as well,” she wrote. “Swimming definitely helped with my initial transition into Vassar. It was something that was very familiar to me from high school and, to be honest, it gave me an initial
group of really close friends.” In her second match of the season on November 9, Cunningham took the team to a 164130 win over Skidmore College. She swam the 200 Yard Butterfly in 2:08.11, breaking an eight year-old record previously held by Katie Hickman ’05 (2:10.03). She received a NCAA provisional B qualification cut for this performance. She also got two first-place finishes in the 100 Yard Butterfly. On November 16, in a meet vs. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Cunningham swam 58.96 in the 100 Yard Butterfly, beating out the 10 year-old school record by Devon Chen ’03 (59.16). She also took first place in the 200 Yard Butterfly vs. RPI. On January 19, the team finished third overall in the annual Seven Sisters Tournament held at Kresge Pool. Cunningham was named to the All-Seven Sisters Team after taking wins in both the 100 and 200 Yard Butterfly. She also broke her personal record in the 200 Yard Butterfly with a time of 2:06.44. According to Assistant Coach Koenig, “[Cunningham’s] performance at Seven Sisters was simply phenomenal. It was the first time we saw her take a big leap in terms of meet performance. That’s not to say she wasn’t meeting expectations prior to that meet; however, to string together a series of impressive races over the course of three difficult sessions was truly astounding.” He continued, “Despite coming off a school record-shattering race, she was able to turn around in a matter of minutes and grind out a second school and meet record-breaking performance. We trust in her ability to bring her best when asked and put the team above herself when it matters most.” For Cunningham, she was not necessarily expecting such success at the Seven Sisters meet. “The first session on Saturday went well, but I wasn’t expecting to have an incredible meet. I definitely was nervous for the afternoon session: I had what I think of as one of the most strenuous events — the 400IM — immediately followed by the 100 fly. I barely had five minutes between the events. From the minute I dove in the pool for the start of the 400, however, I knew I would do well. When I finished, I was shocked to see that I had earned my second NCAA qualifying time by five seconds,” she wrote. “Not only that, I went six seconds faster than my fastest time ever and beat our school record by nine seconds. After that race,
Freshman swimmer Julia Cunningham is one of the many incoming swimmers and divers from the class of 2017. Cunningham recently broke a 10 year-old school record in the 100 Yard Butterfly race I was all adrenaline so I was really pumped for the 100 fly. I won the race and dropped almost a full second to get closer to an NCAA qualifying time. Despite winning and swimming a best time on Sunday for the 200 butterfly, the swim was a little disappointing: I had wanted to go a second faster than I did. I still had the most fun swimming this meet than I have before.” According to senior teammate McKenzie Quinn, “[Cunningham] raced one of the fastest girls at our Seven Sisters meet in the 400IM and they both ended up going best times and getting NCAA B cuts for nationals. It was one of the greatest and most exciting races I have ever watched.” Cunningham also enjoyed the camaraderie of the tournament and getting to know swimmers from other schools. “The Seven Sisters Banquet took place Saturday after the first two sessions of competition were complete. No more than two swimmers from each team sat at a table to have dinner together. The banquet took place in UpC and was catered by Bacio’s,” she explained. “It was really great being able to speak with girls from other teams as real human beings in a more relaxed setting rather
than as just athletes.” Cunningham also enjoys the team aspect of the swimming and diving program at Vassar as well. “[Cunningham] is very team-driven. [She] does what she needs to do to get better but she does so in a manner that brings others with her,” explained Prater-Lee. “We have the team, too, that can be very supportive…of great swimming and diving and great people. So [she] has had a great season start, but part of that is a tribute to the team, too.” Cunningham herself and the team’s coaches expect much more in the upcoming matches and in the rest of the season. “Julia has just scratched the surface of what she can do,” wrote Prater-Lee. “We are all pointed forward and, with two more meets and some rest, we look forward to a great four-day UNYSCSA championships in February and NCAAs in March.” According to Assistant Coach Koenig, “Furthermore, we believe that she can earn the right to compete against the best in the country at the NCAA Championships in March. As an athlete with her type of focus and dedication, reaching the NCAA Championships will be the goal every year.”
Women’s fencing sees success in Midwest matches FENCING continued from page 1
feated. The Brewers then faced No. 7 ranked Harvard and No. 2 ranked Princeton, and fell to both teams. However, junior foil Anastasia Stevens had one win in épée vs. Harvard. Against Princeton, Lewis had a win in épée. The team ended up going 4-2 vs. Cleveland State University (CSU). In the first match of the day, the Brewers beat Cleveland State 19-8, and then went on to beat opponent Detroit-Mercy 17-10. In its third match vs. Wayne State University, the team lost 16-11, but went on to beat both Case Western Reserve University and the University of Florida. However, the team lost the
last match of the day vs. University of Michigan with a score of 14-3. Sophomore Lily Elbaum went undefeated in sabre vs. host CSU, and Stoff went undefeated in foil. In addition to these wins, Sawyer and Lewis were both undefeated in épée. According to Coach Gillman, this 2011 record is the standard to which the Vassar fencing team now holds itself. “The best team that Vassar has ever had was the Northeast Conference Championship team in 2011,” he explained. “This team has a lot of new faces. They need experience. We will have more next year and we are moving
courtesy of Vassar College Athletics
we are moving. All of the coaches are pleased to be working with such a great group of student-athletes. I am more confident than I was last semester, but we have some tough teams to face in the weeks ahead.” The team currently sports a 10-19 overall record, including its conference play from this past weekend in a tournament at Boston College. Heading into the weekend, Sawyer wrote, “We are very excited about conference play to see where we stand against others that we play every year.” To get ready for conference play this year, including a tournament at Cleveland State University, the team had to come back a week early from winter break to fit in its practice schedule. Head Coach Gillman wrote that he did so in order to prepare the team for its tournament by also getting in a few days of practice before leaving. Sawyer explained, “We came back a week early this year to practice for a few days and then to travel to a match at Cleveland State, which was a grueling eight hour bus ride! The last time the team went was three years ago, so coming back early is not a regular thing. I was very proud of us for coming back early and jumping straight out of winter break mode and back into practice. We may have grumbled and complained, but we got here, worked hard, and the early days of practice really played off at our match.” Before break on Dec. 9, the team traveled to Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT and dropped five matches, four of which were against ranked teams in the nation. In its match vs. New York University, the épée team had a highlight performance, led by sophomore Rachel Messbauer who went undefeated. In foil vs. NYU, freshman Elsa Stoff also went unde-
Many of the underclassman on the women’s fencing team have shown themselves to be competitive for the squad. The women’s fencing team will next head to New Haven, CT to battle Yale University.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
towards having a team equal to the 2011 team within the next two years. I am very excited.” Along with junior co-captain Megan Lewis, junior Kathleen Konno is sabre squad leader and Stoff is the foil squad leader. Sawyer explained the confusion and differences between squad leaders and team captains: “Since there are three weapons (épée, foil and sabre), the team is divided into three squads, one for each weapon. During meets, the team can get separated by weapon; therefore, each squad has to have the ability to be autonomous and make decisions about who to start and when to make substitutions.” Sawyer added, “Elsa Stoff is the standout in foil, with [freshman] Claudia Carcamo not far behind. Kathleen Konno has the best sabre record right now. All of the épée women have great records—[freshman] Olivia Weiss’s is currently the best, with both Megan Lewis and Rachel Messbauer following closely.” For those unfamiliar with fencing, Sawyer provided a breakdown of the game in an emailed statement. “Not many people know much about fencing, because it is not the most spectator friendly sport. Each weapon has its own set of rules, valid target area and style of fencing. The way that collegiate matches work is that we fence one team per round and there are several rounds per meet,” she wrote. “Each squad has three slots to start people in, and each of our three fencers will fence each of the other teams’ three fencers. That makes nine bouts per squad, and twenty-seven bouts per round. To win the round, we need fourteen or more individuals wins across the whole team. Fencing is both an individual and team sport. Your individual bouts do not affect individual teammates, but the teams performance can be dependent on your individual bouts. It is both liberating and burdensome.”
January 30, 2014
Sherman enlivens post-game interviews Clyff Young
he weekend between the NFL Conference Championship games and the Super Bowl is always a little bit sad. It is more than a little bit sad, actually—it is full-on disheartening and boring. The build-up and the excitement surrounding the Super Bowl is always great. Alas, for me, the fear of the season finally being over usually outweighs the joy of watching the season’s final game, the first Sunday of February. The first weekend without professional football in almost six months was not this bad, though. And that is all thanks to a vociferous cornerback who went to Stanford and plays for the Seattle Seahawks named Richard Sherman, a.k.a my new favorite player in the NFL. As many of you undoubtedly already know, Sherman burst onto the national media stage Sunday, January 19, after making the play of the season, sealing a Seahawk victory by tipping a ball to a teammate for the game-clinching interception against their arch rivals, the San Francisco 49ers. The play was great. The post-game interview with sideline reporter Erin Andrews of ESPN was better. The brief interaction in which Sherman proclaimed himself the greatest cornerback in the NFL and Michael Crabtree, the receiver who was playing opposite him on the aforementioned play, a sorry, mediocre receiver has caused quite a stir. Sherman is now the most polarizing personality in the league. From what I have gathered, there is no middle ground on the issue of Sherman or his post-game interview with Andrews. People either love him or hate him, think he is justified or else an arrogant punk. I must note that the word “class” is thrown around in the sports world too often. Just google Tom Brady and you will immediately see what I mean. Headline after headline reads something like “Tom Brady is the classiest guy in the NFL.”
Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. Let’s do an experiment. Think of the classiest thing you can think of. After you have thought of that classy thing, think of the diametric opposite. In other words, think of the least classy thing you can think of. Close your eyes and think. Have you done it? Maybe you didn’t think of playing football as the least classy thing, but it had to be close. Football is, traditionally, not a very classy sport. A sport that pays enormous men to run into one another at full speed, and whose athletes suffer from traumatic brain problems when their careers are over is hardly haute culture, right? That is the absolute farthest thing from classy. But the media and the sports-watching public have always sought to label athletes as “class-acts” or some variation of schmuck.
“But the media and the sports-watching public have always sought to label athletes as ‘class-acts’ or some variation of schmuck.” Sherman has been branded the latter and worse, way worse, by many Americans. If at any point in time you feel the need to be angry at the USA, go to Twitter and read some of the comments that the Sherman interview provoked. I personally guarantee your indignation. For all intents and purpose, though, Richard Sherman is classy, highly intelligent and a real role model. He is classier, and probably smarter, than all those who have criticized him so vocally throughout the past week.
Here’s a guy that grew up in a rough neighborhood in Compton, got an athletic scholarship to Stanford where he played four years, excelled academically, was drafted in the fifth round of the NFL draft and has worked his tail off to become — arguably — the best at his position in football. He made the most exciting play of the NFL season, and he is great for soundbites. Seriously, what is not to like about this dude? Judging him off a moment when he has just made the biggest play of his young career, in the biggest moment of the biggest game he has ever played in is simply unfair. He didn’t swear, or say anything that offensive, really. Considering how jacked his adrenaline must have been, I found his comments to be rather tame. Trash talk is one of the many parts of sports that makes them great. The greatest trash talkers have also been some of the greatest champions. Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, et al. never backed down from a bit of verbal sparring. Now, it is hard to compare those two to Richard Sherman, for those are the greatest of all time in the respective sports. But there is no denying they are all loquacious. Classy has become synonymous with boring. We want athletes to win and lose graciously, to express no emotion in the throes of victory or defeat. How dull. Roger Goodell even went as far as to fine Sherman close to $8,000 for his comments. That is preposterous. I’m sick of the robotic post-game interviews we see everyday. It was refreshing to see someone be himself after a game for once. So I say this to Richard Sherman’s critics: enjoy not having any personality, whatsoever. And that fine for those innocuous comments? Please. Sherman is riding his mouth all the way to the bank. I only hope that act two is as good as act one, and that Sherman’s post-Super Bowl speech lives up to the one he gave after the NFC Championship.
Anthony refreshes mediocre NY Knicks Zach Rippe Columnist
ven casual fans should have heard by now of Carmelo Anthony’s 62 point outing last Friday night at Madison Square Garden. The media went crazy, documenting what was the greatest scoring output in MSG history. Melo beat Kobe Bryant’s 61 point performance on February 2, 2009 and remarkably did so without committing a turnover. And for once this season in NYC, everything seemed alright. The Knicks have been struggling mightily this season. Whether it’s been injuries, aging players, underperformance from new arrivals like Andrea Bargnani, JR Smith trying to untie peoples shoes, or just a lack of cohesiveness and “flow” to their game, New York has found itself out of playoff contention in a weak Eastern Conference. And here is Carmelo Anthony, the superstar-scoring champion who was brought here to give the Knicks what their administration, their fans and their team itself would need to help get them to the next level and perhaps reach lofty championship aspirations. Yet, for all of the optimism Anthony once held, it seems as if this season, plans are starting to change.
“Yet, for all of the optimism Anthony once held, it seems as if this season, plans are starting to change. ” For Carmelo, it is fairly obvious that winning is extremely important. He is one of the most talented basketball players in the league. He is now in the prime of his career and does not (as presumably all NBA players don’t) want to waste these years in a mediocre or losing effort. History shows that for all of his ability to score and produce, Carmelo Antho-
ny’s postseason career has not been overly successful. Ironically, Anthony has made the playoffs every season of his career. He clearly has talent and deserves to be a professional basketball player in the league today. Yet, he has the worst winning percentage of any player that has played in at least 50 playoff games and has only gotten out of the first round twice. Other than his 2009 Western Conference Finals appearance, Anthony has not been even a remote success as the star and leader of his teams. When Carmelo joined the Knicks in 2011, the MSG speakers blasted “I’m Coming Home” over the loudspeakers as if to play up Anthony’s prodigal return to the city of his youth, although he did move to Baltimore when he was eight. Yet Anthony’s arrival in New York was seen as the start of brighter days for the Knicks. Last year, the team got off to its best start since 1993 and finished second in the east with 54 wins. They capped off the season by winning their first playoff series since 2000 before bowing out against the Pacers in six games. Things seemed to be on the rise as Anthony was able to successfully lead his new team slowly into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. Then this season happened. With the Knicks a mess, sources from everywhere have proclaimed that Anthony will opt to become a free agent at the end of this season. Despite claims that Anthony is a selfish scorer, it’s fairly obvious that he wants nothing more than to win. Although New York was where he wanted to be when he got himself out of Denver, it is safe to say that no destination is a preferred destination when your team is losing. Anthony has been visibly frustrated on the court many times this season, shaking his head in disgust or loudly voicing his frustration with these losses. Possible destinations include anywhere from the Los Angeles to Houston, with Kobe Bryant even giving passive public advice in the sense that Anthony
should not be happy with an organization that is not tirelessly working to shake a developing culture of losing. But then last Friday happened. Suddenly, Carmelo Anthony was the hero again. Here he was, the talk of the NBA, somehow lifting the franchise, its fans and their faith in him with one great game. And to be fair, it was a historic performance. That’s the thing about the NBA: Certain games have the potential to alleviate the pain of a rough season, to float the stress away, if only temporarily. But let’s say the Knicks don’t begin to turn things around. Let’s say they miss the playoffs. Heck, even if they made it this season, they’d most likely get ousted in the first round. Can the Knicks improve?
“Let’s say they miss the playoffs. Heck, even if they made it this season, they’d most likely get ousted in the first round.” Can Carmelo Anthony wait? He’s impatient, and in an era where LeBron James can hold his own press conference on ESPN to change teams, there’s no reason why Melo shouldn’t feel as if he holds the power to change his team at any demand. No one is saying this is cool, but it’s become the culture of the NBA. Stars, both present and aging, are seeking for their one shot, their last shot, their potential dynasty. Carmelo’s numbers certainly justify contracts and willing buyers. While his playoff history begs to differ, there are few teams in the league that won’t be willing to pick up a former NBA scoring champ in the prime of his career. I’m not saying Melo will leave the Knicks, but if he does… well, Denver seemed to have recovered nicely.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
All-Star game favors fan picks Eli J. Vargas I Columnist
very year, when the NBA All-Star game starters are announced, people are disappointed since fans choose who starts the game. People go to the NBA All-Star game in mid-February annually to see a show. When the league’s best players are all assembled, there are bound to be fireworks. But to maintain that balance, the league’s truly most dynamic and most talented players from each season must be selected, no matter their track record. There should be no favorites that sneak their way into the All-Star Classic, because the players who have been working hard all year and possibly even their entire careers for this opportunity are being snubbed for someone who has been deserving in the past but not in the present. Players such as Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant, who have been significantly affected by injuries to the point where they can no longer compete at a high level during the All-Star game, should sit out and give more deserving players the opportunity to stand in the spotlight and create some fireworks. So when Kobe Bryant told basketball fans in an interview that they should vote for younger, more deserving players, he was not brushing aside the importance of the All-Star game because he has already had 15 All-Star selections in a long and successful career over the past seasons that he has played. Instead, he was elevating the importance of the game by acknowledging that since he has only played six games in an injury-ravaged season, there are others more deserving of the honor of being in the All-Star game this season. Being chosen for the All-Star game despite only playing in six games this season is a testament to how Kobe’s effort during the All-Star game has pleased fans, and more players should realize the amount of respect given by fans for effort and try to emulate the same amount of effort every year. In a recent All-Star game, Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat’s “Big 3” elbowed Kobe Bryant in the face for being too aggressive in the All-Star game because many players feel that the game should not be taken too seriously. I prefer Kobe’s take on the matter. If you’re going to play a game with the best players in the league, you want to try your hardest so you can see if you are one of the best players from the group. The fans love it when AllStar games get close and the players begin to treat it like it is a real game. And why shouldn’t they if they are paying lucrative amounts to see this one game? I understand that players don’t want to risk being injured, but there should be some pride in their selection as one of the best players in the game. I would hate to see All-Star weekend, which is filled with exciting events like the dunk contest, go the way that the NFL’s Pro Bowl has. For example, baseball has produced very exciting and competitive games since they have instituted this new rule, and why shouldn’t it work for the NBA, where home court can sometimes decide a hotly-contested series? The NBA is fortunate to have such a successful exhibition as the All-Star game, because the NFL has found itself constantly reformatting the process of how its best players are selected and how the game is played due to lack of interest from the general public and lack of effort from players participating. The National Basketball Association, however, is not the NFL because football is a more physical sport and results in more serious injuries to the players overall during a full season, which contributes to the lack of effort from players who really do not want to try hard enough to hurt themselves or others in a game that does not matter. The problem posed by this dynamic in the NFL is understandable, and the NFL is struggling to simply keep its own Pro-Bowl going. But as the US’ third favorite sport, behind the MLB, the NBA All-Star Game is highly successful. This success is due to the effort given forth by players who are exciting to watch and deserving of their selections, but a more successful All-Star game can potentially elevate the status of the NBA as a whole. By putting more on the line during this exhibition game, players will put forth more effort to help achieve this goal.
January 30, 2014
Talent, experience on men’s fencing spans full roster Amreen Bhasin rEpOrtEr
courtesy of Vassar College Athletics
ne of the least understood sports on the Vassar College campus is fencing. Despite this, the Brewers have been having a very successful overall season this year, bolstered by the performance of many talented freshmen. The team stands with a winning record of 1513 overall. This is even more impressive when considering the schools the fencing team faces. The level of competition the Brewers face spans to not only other DIII teams in the area but to large university clubs and many top DI Fencing schools as well. For example, the next four schools the team will face include Yale University, Drew University, Columbia University and NYU. Columbia in particular is currently ranked first in men’s collegiate fencing. Much of the team’s success this year has been due to not only the hard work of many upperclassmen but also the introduction of new freshmen starters to the team. Senior Giovanni Zaccheo, a foil fencer, had nothing but positive words about the new freshmen men this year. In an emailed statement, he praised their contribution to the team both on and off the strip: “The freshmen as a whole have been very engaged and have contributed greatly to a positive social environment this season. They are also contributing on the strip, especially with the sabre and épée squads, providing not only young talent but a depth that has been missing on the team in recent years.” Sophomore sabre fencer Elam Coalson echoed Gio’s words. ”They all fit the team dynamic really well and many of them are extremely talented fencers as well.” This year’s team also boasts a wealth of experience and talent that spans all three weapons and all four years. Freshman sabre fencer Campbell Woods has been impressed by the level of competition he’s seen from all three squads. “I’d say watch out for Ry Farley, Elam Coalson and Johnny Arden. Ry is a freshman on the épée squad and, simply put, he’s already at a level where he can beat most anyone he goes up against if he’s fencing at his best, and
he still has three years after this, during which he can only improve. Elam is a sophomore on the men’s sabre team, and after only a year of fencing competitively, he has become a strong starter on our team, leading the way in not only sabre squad victories but also in men’s squad victories. Finally, Johnny arguably has the most experience of any member of the Vassar team: he beat two out of three of Brown’s starters. Simply put, he’s a very strong fencer who will consistently get results.” Coalson, too noted Farley and Arden’s success this year and additionally praised two key foilists: junior Tre Artis and senior Matt Steinschneider. “Tre Artis may be the biggest x-factor on the team. He can beat anybody when he’s fencing well. Ry Farley and Matt Steinschneider are always solid and can be depended on to win key matches. Johnny Arden is coming back to fencing after a hiatus, but I think he could have one of the biggest effects on the team in this second part of the season.” Zaccheo discussed how quickly Coalson was able to become a consistently winning starter for the Brewers and how important Artis would be for the future of the foil squad. “Ry Farley, a freshman on the épée squad, is probably our best bet to qualify for NCAA championships this year. Senior captain Johnny Arden on the sabre squad just returned from a semester off and, despite his break, has already hit the ground running, winning some impressive bouts over the weekend. We missed him while he was gone and he is a key part of our success as a team. Elam Coalson, also on the sabre squad, has improved tremendously in his two years on the team and is also a key contributor (he had a great day in Cleveland and was Vassar Athletics’ Athlete of the Week). On the foil side, senior captain Matt Steinschneider is consistently strong as always and leads our squad in wins. Tre Artis has also picked up his game significantly this season, in line with his development since freshman year, and he will be counted on as a leader for the foil squad and the team next year as our several seniors graduate.”
The Vassar men’s fencing team competed at the Boston College Invitational last Saturday, going 2-3 on the afternoon over five matches. The team will look to face Yale University next Saturday. This past weekend, the team traveled to Boston College, leaving Poughkeepsie at 5:30 AM to face MIT, Boston College, Tufts University, Brandeis University and Brown University. The team managed to pull out two wins against Boston College and Tufts but was unable to match their success from their meet at Cleveland State over winter break. Zaccheo summarized the team’s feelings on the weekend. “We had a very tough schedule this weekend. We had trouble with the varsity squads in attendance: we barely squeaked by BC in a hardfought win in front of a lively home crowd, and our only other victory was against Tufts, a club team. A win or closer loss to MIT would have been preferable, as we have beaten them before. Brown is always a strong team, and this year Brandeis is very good as well, so the fact that we even won some bouts was encouraging. A lot of the individual losses against those
schools were very close and the final scores don’t reflect the strength of our performance. We were able to take a lot away from this weekend, especially in the matches we lost. We’ve only had four practices total this semester but had to fence eleven schools already, so our conditioning and technique should only improve from here and that might influence the results of closer matches like our loss to MIT.” Despite the hard fought losses, there were many positives on the day. Freshman épéeist Ry Farley was very proud of his squad’s performance throughout the day. “Everyone on the épée squad did great both in Boston and in Cleveland. Both [freshman] Jackson [Dammann] and [junior] Bobby [Maiocco] pulled off some fantastic wins against some tough fencers. Even the matches that we didn’t win, we definitely put everything in and fenced as hard as we could.”
Director of athletics resigns after ten years with College Chris Brown spOrts EditOr
one set to three. Freshman female player Carly Scher matched her opponent point for point in three tight sets, losing all three by two points. However, her next match was a win against opponent Amanda Georgesco. She won in four sets, losing the first but picking up the last three. The squash team will compete next on February 2 against Fordham University and New York University in Bronx, NY.
On Jan. 25, Vassar’s men’s and women’s squash teams faced the Haverford College Fords at the Kenyon Hall Squash Courts. The team lost the match 0-9 after tight matches between players. Senior team captain Ricardo Espinosa played a tight four set match, winning the third 11-9, but eventually losing the match
The men’s basketball team at Vassar College continued to add to their winning record on January 24 with a win against Clarkson University. Vassar won the game 69-51, bringing their total match wins compared to losses to 10 to 2. Junior forward Alex Synder led three other Brewers in double-digit scoring with his 17
This week in women’s basketball, the team went up against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on the January 28. The beginning of the match started off relatively even, with both teams scoring 15 points within the first few minutes of the game. Vassar then went on a 19 point streak, extending their lead to 34-17. By the halfway point, the Brewers were up 44 to RPI’s 23 points. Vassar continued to hold the lead for the remainder of the game, winning in the end with a total score of 81-60. Senior
points. Sophomore guard Johnny Mrlik, sophomore guard Erikson Wasyl and junior guard Curtis Smith had 16, 15 and 13 points, respectively, following Snyder. The match remained tight into the half, with Vassar up 29-25. The Brewers then went on a 15 point run, bringing the team to the biggest lead of the match at 4428. Men’s Volleyball
courtesy of Vassar College Athletics
assar Athletics Program Director Dr. Sharon Beverly recently resigned from her post as Director of Athletics and Physical Education at Vassar College to accept the position as the new assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Executive Director of Athletics and Recreation at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, NJ. Beverly made history during her time at Vassar as the first female athletic director at Vassar College. In 2010, she was the recipient of the ECAC Woman Administrator of the Year Award. She oversaw the $11 million renovation of Prentiss Field, turning it into the premier place for Vassar athletics. Under Beverly’s leadership, the department has grown to include seven new full-time coaches, including our first full-time Strength & Conditioning Coach, additional assistant coaches and administrative support. She also fostered the addition of both men’s and women’s track to the department, with both programs debuting in 2008. In addition, she was selected by Dr. Charlotte Westerhaus, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for the NCAA, as one of four athletics directors to redesign of the NCAA Fellows Program. In 2009, Beverly was a selected panelist for the Women of Color Symposium, sponsored by the NCAA and the Black Women’s Sports Foundation.
Cydni Matsuoka connected on seven of her 14 shots from the field, bringing her total points to 17 by the end of the match. Junior Allyson Pemberton scored a career high 17 points during the match, tying Matsuoka for the most points from a player that game. The Brewers will take the next week off before returning to the road for a Liberty League match-up with Bard College on Tuesday, February 9.
Dr. Sharon Beverly, the Director of Athletics and Physical Education at Vassar College, recently resigned from her position to pursue other opportunities. Beverly has worked for Vassar for 10 years.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Vassar’s men’s volleyball team suffered a tough loss this past week, losing to Baruch College on Jan. 24 in four tight sets. The Brewers lost one set to three. The opening set was back-and-forth over the first 20 points, but the visiting Bearcats used an 8-2 run to take control of the first set. Vassar would pull to within four points from the lead on four different occasions, but Baruch posted the last three points of the game to earn a 25-18 set victory. Vassar came back to win the second set 26-24 after an ace serve from senior captain Joe Pyne. In the fourth set, the Brewers took an early lead, but Baruch ended up winning the set with 25 points compared to the Brewers 23. Vassar College now looks to take on Hudson Valley rival school New Paltz in their next match in the first United Volleyball Conference match of the season for both teams. Swimming and Diving
The men’s and women’s swimming and diving team held a home match against the New York University on Jan. 25 this past week. Both the men’s and the women’s team lost to NYU. The women’s team lost 101-193 while the men’s team 103-186. Junior Luc Amodio and freshman Chris Cerutti got a solid time on the 100 yard backstroke with times of 56.22 and 59.43, respectively. They ended up pulling out second and third place during the meet. The Brewers will look to take on multiple teams at the Vassar Sprint Invitational. The tournament will be held on this upcoming Sunday, Feb. 2.