The Miscellany News Since 1866 | miscellanynews.com
February 16 , 2012
Volume CXLV | Issue 15
Borowitz to speak at Krieger
Poll to vet opinion on smoking
Assistant News Editor
Assistant Arts Editor
N Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
enowned comedian Andy Borowitz will speak at this year’s Alex Krieger ’95 Memorial Lecture. Borowtiz, whose work often appears in The New Yorker and on his satirical website, BorowitzReport.com, has authored six books—most recently, he published The 50 Funniest American Writers: An Anthology from Mark Twain to the Onion—and is first-ever winner of the National Press Club’s humor award. Borowitz will deliver the Krieger Lecture on Tuesday Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. in the Students’ Building; a Q&A and book signing will follow. The Krieger lectures always emphasize humor and levity, but the event itself arose from the most tragic of circumstances: Alex Krieger ’95 was killed in an automobile accident during the spring semester of his freshman year. In light of Krieger’s passion for incisive, witty American writing, his family established a fund in his memory and honor that would help bring distinguished American humorists to Vassar. Through the family’s continued interest and generosity, the College continues to host this lecture annually. In the last several years, speakers have included Wendy Wasserstein, Calvin Trillin, Nora Ephron, Oliver See BOROWITZ on page 16
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
Above, Associate Professor of Art Laura Newman leads a Painting II class for both majors and non-majors. The Art Department will now offer a correlate sequence in studio art, allowing students to focus in subjects such as sculpture.
Addressing long-standing interest, VC to allow correlate in studio art Dave Rosenkranz
ments for a concentration. Students will need to take six units of studio art courses in order to earn a correlate. These courses must include Drawing 1 (full year, two units); three units at the 200-level in drawing, painting (full year, two units), sculpture (full year, two units), printmaking, photography, video or architectural design; and one unit at the 300-level in painting, sculpture, computer animation or architectural design. As with many
ecently, the Art Department sent out an email to all students currently enrolled in an art history or studio art course announcing the approval of a correlate for studio art. Students with an interest in design, drawing, painting, sculpture and architectural design can now receive formal recognition for their accomplishments in those fields without having to fulfill all of the require-
other departments, students can supplement their regular coursework in studio art with Independent Work, Fieldwork or Study Away. Unlike the studio art concentration declaration process, the correlate declaration process does not require students to submit a portfolio of their work at Vassar for review. Long-standing student interest was the department’s primary motivation for creating the new correlate. See CORRELATE on page 4
ext Monday, a single question will be emailed to the Vassar student body: “Do you support not allowing smoking on Vassar’s property?” The campus-wide poll is the result of talks within the Vassar Student Association (VSA) Student Life Committee and the Committee of College Life (CCL), which devoted its January meeting to the topic. “I want to stress that CCL seems reluctant to move forward with anything until we gather more information from the campus,” wrote VSA Vice President for Student Life Charlie Dobb ’12 in an emailed statement. “This poll is simply an information gathering tool. It will not determine policy, but merely inform CCL, and students sitting on it in particular, about student sentiment as the discussions continue.” The possibility of banning smoking on Vassar property is not a new issue. In 2010, the Drug and Alcohol Education Committee (DEC), a subcommittee of CCL, proposed a set of recommendations that would reduce smoking on campus in three phases. The first phase—most of which has been endorsed by CCL—involved unifying the College smoking policies across campus in regards to the “50 feet away from buildings” rule. The second phase would limit See SMOKING on page 4
Remler: student turned CEO 12th annual NonCon brings unique talents Ruth Bolster
Inside this issue
All College Day explores Change
Anveshi Guha Guest Reporter
M Carlos Hernandez/The Miscellany News
tarting a business is never easy, but for Harrison Remler ’14 and his childhood friend Joe Duarte, a combination of their love for music and savvy entrepreneurship has paid off. In May 2011, Remler and Duarte co-founded BlueRichard Media, LLC, a music marketing and tour management company that Remler operates out of his Lathrop dorm room. A self-described homespun talent management startup company, BlueRichard Media currently promotes nine musical groups and is continuing to grow. Remler and Duarte founded BlueRichard last Memorial Day weekend after hearing their two friends perform their hip-hop act, Upper West, in Remler’s Port Washington, N.Y. backyard. Disgruntled with their unpaid internships and looking for a more fulfilling way to occupy their time, Remler and Duarte offered to manage them. Although both had considered pursuing various business ideas before this, their decision to manage Upper West proved to be their entrepreneurial break. “Truthfully we had no idea what to do at first,” Duarte wrote in an emailed statement. “Harrison and I always halfheartedly came up with entrepreneurial ideas about what the next big thing was going to be, and then that one day
Harrison Remler ’14, pictured above, started BlueRichard Media, a music marketing and tour management company, with his childhood friend Joe Duarte. we made it a reality.” Duarte is currently pursuing a dual degree in economics and public policy at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Named after Remler and Duarte’s friend Richard Blue, the company strives to encompass what Remler describes as “360 media,” which incorporates music production, tour-consult-
ing, concert planning and booking. “While BlueRichard has its roots in management and booking, we are quickly growing, hoping to stay at the pinnacle of all facets of media. We believe the idea of having a PR firm, marketing, booking and event team in different places is archaic and stagnant, and our goal is to incorporate all See REMLER on page 8
International Socialist Group seeks revolution
embers of No Such Organization (NSO) are self-proclaimed nerds—and as proud nerds, the NSO will throw the 12th annual No Such Convention, or NonCon from Feb. 17 to 19. The science-fiction, fantasy, anime and manga convention hopes to offer a fun space for fellow nerds to share their fandom. This year’s theme is steampunk, a theme intended as broad and accessible to a wide audience. NSO President Genevieve Lenoir ’13 explained the theme for NonCon. “Steampunk was originally based on an alternate history for Victorian England,” Lenoir said. “It’s the idea that things we take for granted in the modern day, like digital devices, could be steam-powered analogs created from a non-digital basis.” NSO has confirmed three special guest for NonCon: real-life superhero Dark Guardian, webcomic creator and self-published author Peter Tarkulich, and henna artist and belly dancer Lauren Grover. Michelle Lessard ’13 had the idea of inviting a superhero—he searched online registries, and found Dark Guardian. His registry on superheroeslives. com relates his involvement in charity work, helping the homeless, assisting
the police and forming the nonprofit Worldwide Hero Organization. “He is a real-life superhero operating in the New York area. He’s a guy who has a regular job and a regular life,” Lessars said. “And then sometimes he dresses up in a costume and goes out and tries to prevent crime. and encourage people to be more actively involved in their public safety and stand up for themselves.” Dark Guardian will speak at 3 p.m. in room 240 of the College Center. Tarkulich is the designer of the webcomic “Bardsworth,” the story of a boy named Mike Cosley who finds a doorway to another world in his closet and enrolls at Bardsworth University to learn wizardly studies in this magical dimension. His website’s biography reads, “I’m a big geek. I’m into movies, music, webcomics and cartoons. I also draw fairies.” NonCon member Zachary Bodnar ’15 said, “Peter Tarkulich may not be the most well known webcomicer out there, but that doesn’t make his work any less important. Bodnar further said, “Webcomics are beginning to be noticed by the mainstream, and it is people like Pete who show us what it really means to live by their work.” Tarkulich’s panel See NONCON on page 14
Thespians prepare for 24hour theater
The Miscellany News
February 16, 2012
Editor in Chief Aashim Usgaonkar Senior Editors
Katharine Austin Mary Huber Erik Lorenzsonn
Contributing Editors Katie Cornish Carrie Hojnicki Jillian Scharr Molly Turpin
Above, a piece graces the walls of the Palmer Gallery as part of “the house-shaped hole.” Visit blogs.miscellanynews.com/exposure for an expanded look.
by Dave Rosenkranz and Joey Rearick, News Editors A YouTube series previewing weekly news stories
ver wish you could know what the News section is covering before it appears in print? Did you know YouTube is actually a repository of interesting videos, and not “just like Facebook, except with videos instead of pictures and baby pandas instead of people”? Good news for the impatient among us: The Miscellany News is now contributing to its own obsolescence by giving a video sneak peak of the news articles to be printed each week. It’s called “Paper Boyz,” and you can find it at miscellanynews.com and the paper’s YouTube Channel (plug “miscellanynews” into the search bar). My co-Editor Dave Rosenkranz ’14 and I will take you through quick-yet-tantalizing previews of the section’s contents several days before the paper comes rolling hot off the presses and into a large pile in the College Center. This feature, shot live from the Rose Parlor and quickly transferred to iMovie on a computer in Joss, is new but rapidly improving. Arts Editor Adam Buchsbaum ’14 and Online Editor Nathan Tauger ’14 are working hard to improve the production quality of the program each week with ingenious editing and the latest in film technology (Can you say iPhone 4s?). Some have said, “I don’t really like the sweater the kid on the right is wearing.” Others have hailed “Paper Boyz” as “the best online video with a couch in it I’ve seen in four days.” Hey, there’s no such thing as bad press. We should know. —Joey Rearick, News Editor
News Joey Rearick Dave Rosenkranz Features Danielle Bukowski Ruth Bolster Opinions Hannah Blume Lane Kisonak Humor & Satire Alanna Okun Arts Adam Buchsbaum Sports Corey Cohn Andy Marmer Photography Juliana Halpert Madeline Zappala Online Alex Koren Nathan Tauger Social Media Matt Ortilé Assistant News Assistant Features Assistant Opinions Assistant Arts Assistant Photo Assistant Copy Crossword Editor Columnists
Leighton Suen Jessica Tarantine Gabe Dunsmith Jack Owen Matthew Hauptman Carlos Hernandez Melissa Johnson Jonathan Garfinkel Sarah Begley Jean-Luc Bouchard Brittany Hunt Michael Mestitz Tom Renjilian Sam Scarritt-Selman Andy Sussman Emma Daniels Bethan Johnson Bobbie Lucas Burcu Noyan Rachel Garbade Katie De Heras Emily Lavieri-Scull Alex Schlesinger Jiajing Sun
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MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
February 16, 2012
Council passes election bylaws amendment VSA project Filing, campaigning periods no longer overlap to feature at Orientation Joey Rearick
Katharine Austin Senior Editor
A Emily Lavieri-Scull/The Miscellany News
fter several days of intense debate, the Vassar Student Association (VSA) Council passed an amendment to its Elections Bylaws last Sunday, altering the timeline in which students can file for candidacy and campaign for VSA positions. In future elections, a filing period will begin three weeks prior to the start of voting and conclude in a candidate’s meeting to be held 10 days before the start of voting. Candidates will then campaign in the remaining days before voting begins. No candidate will be allowed to campaign prior to the beginning of the campaigning period, or file after the candidate’s meeting has been held. Prior to the passage of the amendment, candidates were able to begin campaigning as soon as they had filed for candidacy. The amendment passed after a series of contentious discussions about the benefits of establishing two distinct periods for filing and campaigning. Proponents of such a system assert that separate periods prevent candidates who file early from gaining an advantage in campaign time over opponents who file later. Others vigorously opposed the amendment, arguing that the system in place was fair and had encouraged student participation in the VSA. South Commons representative and Board of Elections (BOE) co-chair Matthew Wheeler ’12 first presented an amendment that would establish a new elections timeline at the Council meeting held on Feb. 5. That initial amendment outlined a two-week filing period in which no campaigning would be conducted, followed by a one-week campaigning period. In his proposal, Wheeler wrote, “The current elections process as laid out in the Vassar Student Association Bylaws privileges those individuals who file earliest during the filing period by allowing them to begin campaigning immediately upon filing.” He also noted the bylaws contained contradictory language concerning the timing of the candidate’s meeting as they stood. Soon after Wheeler introduced his amendment, however, he met vocal criticism from his fellow BOE co-Chair Seth Warner, ’14 on the Council floor. Last spring, Warner helped write the set of bylaws that governed the elections system prior to the passage of Wheeler’s amendment on Sunday. He argued that Wheeler’s amendment was simply a reversion to a sys-
The Vassar Student Association Executive Board, center, leads a Council discussion regarding a proposed bylaw amendment at last Sunday’s meeting. The amendment sought to reform the election process. tem that the Council had voted to replace with his own last year. He added that the timeline he designed with overlapping campaign and filing periods had increased the number of candidates seeking office last spring, thus demonstrably encouraging student involvement. Because Wheeler was simply introducing his amendment at the Feb. 5 Council meeting, the bill moved to the VSA Operations Committee for approval before it could come to a vote last Sunday. That meeting, scheduled for Wednesday night, attracted a large crowd of concerned students and Council members. At the meeting, Warner introduced his own amendment intended to address the contradictory language that Wheeler had identified in the existing bylaws. “It’s pretty self-explanatory,” Warner said at the meeting. “There is a stray fragment in the elections bylaws, and this removes it.” Wheeler again explained that his amendment sought parity between candidates who file at different times. Some voiced support for a system that eliminated advantages for those who file early, but cautioned that a one-week campaigning period was too short a time for candidates to effectively reach potential constituents. “[The
amendment] decreases the amount of campaigning time in a way that I’m not comfortable with personally,” said Junior Class President Vincent Marchetta ’13. “I think longer than a week is needed for campaigning, especially for people who can’t drop everything.” In light of this suggestion, which many present echoed, Wheeler agreed to extend the campaigning period to ten days but maintain the separation of filing and campaigning. “I think it’s a good idea to split (the three weeks before voting) up the middle in a way that’s not messy,” he said. Warner continued to voice strong opposition to altering the system that was in place, but recognized that some change might win out. “It might even be the prudent thing to do to sit down and find some sort of compromise between the two,” he admitted. The committee members found both Wheeler’s and Warner’s amendments sound enough to stand before council as viable options. At the Council meeting last Sunday, Wheeler asked his colleagues to support an amendment to his amendment so that it would reflect a 10day campaigning period. The council then voted See BYLAWS on page 4
All College Day to explore theme of Change Bethan Johnson Reporter
Courtesy of AAVC
ext Wednesday, Feb. 22, Vassar will host the highly anticipated 12th annual All College Day. The Campus Life Resource Group (CLRG) has been carefully planning the all-day event since early October, and has chosen Change —individual, communal and institutional—to be this year’s theme. All College Day will be composed of three main events: the Soup and Substance lunch, which will give students, faculty and administrators the opportunity to discuss Change in a casual environment; the Poster Exhibit, which will showcase various student and faculty projects related to Change; and the Community Gathering and Dialogue, which will facilitate a campus conversation about individual, community and institutional change. The CLRG will also host the Mural Project in the North Atrium, where students can express their thoughts on Change through painting, writing and sketching. The CLRG will provide all of the equipment necessary for students to fill up each of the canvases. “All College Day is an opportunity for everyone to come together under one commonality: Vassar,” CLRG member Oscasio Willson ’13 wrote in an emailed statement. Choosing a theme was one of the biggest decisions that the CLRG has had to make this year with regards to All College Day. This year’s theme, Change, was inspired by the central topic of several CLRG conversation dinners, and the roughly 150 student re-
Above, a student adds a message to last year’s All College Day Mural Project. This year’s event, with a theme of Change, will feature similar activities, including a Soup and Substance lunch and a Poster Exhibit. sponses to last year’s All College Day, both of which featured the idea that Vassar is a rapidly changing environment. “As the times change, the needs and concerns of the community changes (campus-wide, city-wide and world-wide), and therefore it is important for us to reflect on the ways in whcih we, as individuals, might want to change; and to also reflect about the ways in which
we might want to change the institutions that impact our lives,” explained Willson. Associate Dean of Studies and CLRG Chair Edward Pittman believes that students can learn a lot from All College Day. “It’s important to be in the room not only to share your thoughts and observations, if you are inclined, but also to be a listener, to hear what others have to say.”
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
t the beginning of last semester, members of the Vassar Student Association’s (VSA) Student Life Committee began the Institutional Memory Project, which seeks to look back at the history of student radicalism at Vassar. Now a special project of the VSA President Tanay Tatum ’12, the Institutional Memory Project is slated to become a part of Freshman Orientation, encouraging new students to become a part of Vassar’s historical legacy. The concept for the Institutional Memory Project arose out of last year’s sesquicentennial events. A number of VSA Council members worried that not all Vassar student experiences and identities were represented during the ongoing celebrations. “Many current students could take a look at Vassar’s history and not see themselves as a part of that history because of their race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic background, sexuality or ability,” Class of 2012 President Pam Vogel ’12, who works on the project, wrote in an emailed statement. “This project is all about expanding our idea of what Vassar has always represented, and to showcase the ways that Vassar has fostered student initiative and radicalism from the very beginning,” Vogel wrote about the College’s legacy of activism and progressive pursuits. “The project has certainly evolved into a more positive and celebratory endeavor—and I view this as a chance to celebrate, quite specifically, the ‘alternative’ history of Vassar.” While the project initially consisted of members of the Student Life Committee, it has now become a special project of the VSA President, meeting weekly. The project has eight standing members: Tatum, Vogel, Class of 2015 President Benedict Nguyen ’15, South Commons Representative Matthew Wheeler ’12 and Lathrop House President Dallas Robinson ’14, as well as at-large student members Sharon Onga ’13, Stacia Penn ’12 and Shanaye Williams ’13. Vogel stressed the importance of at-large student participation in the Institutional Memory Project. “I think the presence of atlarge members on this committee has made a huge difference in the way we think and work, the whole dynamic. There’s a great energy around this project that comes partly from having different voices in the room, different ideas being shared,” Vogel wrote. Following a proposal to the New Student Orientation Committee last October, the Institutional Memory Project has secured a spot on the Orientation calendar. Held on Labor Day, student skits and presentations will educate incoming students about the historical and radical significance of campus locations and ultimately encourage them to see Vassar in a fresh context. A call for performers and script writers will be released early next week. Nguyen believes the addition of the Institutional Memory Project to Orientation will give the event an awareness he found missing last year. “We learn a lot about what it means to be a Vassar student but I think this project will help new students get an idea of what Vassar students have done in the past and what we can do in the future,” he wrote in an emailed statement. Tatum agreed. “Learning about Vassar’s history allows them to feel more connected to the institution,” she said. While rooted in the education of new students about Vassar’s history of student radicalism, Vogel maintains that the Institutional Memory Project seeks to encourage the entire Vassar community to celebrate its lasting legacy. “The project definitely has an historical aim and is centered in events from Vassar’s history, but its message is entirely contemporary,” Vogel wrote. “Our ultimate goal is to communicate the history of student radicalism at Vassar and to show incoming students—and, eventually, all students—how they can be a part of the past, present, and future of Vassar’s unique and dynamic spirit.”
February 16, 2012
Bylaw allows Art Department creates new correlate for 10 days of Students can minor in painting, sculpture campaigning
Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
BYLAWS continued from page 3 to alter the language of the bill to that end. After that change, a few members of Council pushed to table the new bill back to Operations, where its new content could be effectively vetted. Sophomore Class President Michael Moore, urging the Council to return the amendment to the consideration of the Operations Committee, said, “I think that this amendment still needs more work I think the conversation on this is not finished.” But all motions to table the bill failed to generate majority support, and the council moved to take a definitive vote on the proposed amendment. Warner spoke again to dissuade the Council from enacting the amendment. He noted that last year’s Council had unanimously endorsed his elections reforms as an alternative to a system much like Wheeler’s. “They voted to abandon this format,” he charged. In response, Senior Class President Pam Vogel ’12, who served on last year’s Council as well, said her support for the timeline Warner designed was seriously misguided. “I was wrong, and I regret ever having passed it. And I hope that’s a very strong statement,” she said. She said the amendment provided her an opportunity rectify the oversight of last year’s Council. “I don’t want to leave Vassar College having passed something that made elections less equal,” she said. Wheeler’s amendment required a two-thirds majority to pass; it did so with 19 members in support and three in opposition. Wheeler abstained from the vote, and VSA President Tanay Tatum ’12 was absent from the meeting because she was delayed while travelling from the city. In the wake of the amendment’s passage, Wheeler was quick to point out that the VSA’s discourse about improving elections is far from complete. “Of course I’m glad my amendment passed,” he said. “But I’m also excited it got the conversation going about elections.”
CORRELATE continued from page 1 Associate Professor of Studio Art Laura Newman, who has taught drawing and painting at Vassar for 14 years, explained in an emailed statement that students have petitioned the department for a correlate for a long time. “I was pleased when it was announced because I know a number of students who have requested a correlate because they love art but don’t want to major in it and want some recognition for the many art courses they’re taking,” wrote Newman. Some Art Department faculty members, like Associate Professor of Studio Art Peter Charlap, also hope that this correlate will establish a parity between art history, which has had a correlate sequence for several years, and studio art. “The art historians had a correlate in art history, and we felt that [a studio art correlate] would make us more like their mirror. We wanted to have both sides of the department set up similarly,” recalled Charlap. Many students are glad for the opportunity to receive formal recognition for their efforts. History major Anna Tarshish ’12, for example, is happy that the Art Department has created a studio art correlate because, although she has completed almost all requirements for a studio art major, her interests in other fields of study have prevented her from earning all thirteen units. “It’s nice to get acknowledgment on my transcript ... hopefully it will benefit my resume,” wrote Tarshish in an emailed statement. “I am very excited that the correlate is happening—I think it’s about time,” added studio art major Charlotte Terry ’12 in an emailed statement. Although most students are excited for the new opportunity, some have expressed modest concern that the new correlate will come with an increase in the student-to-teacher ratio. “Painting 2 is the smallest art course I’ve taken at Vassar, and fewer students has corresponded to more individual attention, more time spent on each student’s work, and a stronger sense
Associate Professor of Art Laura Newman (right) consults Tess Alpern ‘12 (left) during a Painting II class. Alpern plans to pursue the departments newly created correlate sequence in studio art. of community/closeness in the class. I would be sorry for future students not to experience that,” explained Tarshish. Other students, like Terry, are slightly concerned that entrance to studio art classes might become even more competitive. “I do think that more students as majors/correlates will show Vassar that the courses should be offered more often, that we need more than just one section of a few classes. Art classes are very popular, and it’s a shame that there are students that have to be turned away from a class because there isn’t enough room,” wrote Terry. However, Art Department faculty isn’t worried. Neither Newman nor Art Depart-
DEC supports smoking ban Community poll on Monday SMOKING continued from page 1 smoking by designating certain smoke-free zones. The third phase, which has obviously not been implemented yet, is the DEC’s ultimate goal of establishing Vassar as a smokefree campus. “From the DEC’s standpoint, we still stand behind our initial recommendation of a gradual phased-in ban on smoking at Vassar,” wrote Chair of the DEC and Head Athletic Trainer Jeffrey Carter in an emailed statement. “The current DEC survey does show a low percentage of student daily smokers on the campus. It is on the lower spectrum of the national average.” The most recent campus-wide survey revealed that 83.7 percent of Vassar students smoke six times per year or less, out of a sample of 1095 students. “Recent data on smoking on our own campus suggests that very few students smoke on a regular basis, but we know less about staff, faculty and administration,” wrote Dean of the College Chris Roellke in an emailed statement. “Given the national landscape on this issue (now more than 600 campuses are smoke-free), I think [Vassar College’s] interest in the topic has accelerated some.” These colleges include all 23 City University of New York campuses, the largest smoke-free public university system in the country, and Barnard College, one of Vassar’s peer institutions. Barnard decided to go smoke-free in March 2011 after its Student Government Association administered a campus-wide poll that found 72 percent of students supported a ban. In addition, the Culinary Institute of America, located just a few miles from Vassar College, has implemented an intermediate option: their campus is smoke free with the exception of a few scattered gazebos in which students are permitted to smoke.
Carter echoed Roellke’s concerns about non-student members of the Vassar community. “One topic that needs to be addressed is that the smoking population on campus does not just encompass students, but includes faculty, staff, administrators and outside contractors/suppliers. To fully create a smokefree campus, these groups will need to be brought into the discussion. Programs for smoking cessation will need to be made available for both students and these individuals.” Low-cost smoking cessation workshops were first offered by the College in 2010 when the smoking ban was first recommended by the DEC, but they were cut the next year due to staffing and time restraints. Currently, the Office of Health Education offers one-on-one smoking cessation support to students. The results of the poll, which will be made public to all members of the campus community, are unlikely to result in any immediate policy changes. “[VSA] Council does not have the authority to implement this kind of policy. That can only be done by CCL, in accordance with its policies and procedures,” wrote Dobb. “All Council could do is suggest to CCL, likely in the form of a resolution, that a smoking ban be implemented. Council would likely use the poll as data in debating whether or not to issue that resolution, [and] that resolution, like all resolutions, would be debated and voted on on the Council floor.” Carter agreed that establishing Vassar as a smoke-free campus would require more time, research and discussion with the community. “Just because a poll [could potentially say] that students want a smoke-free campus, does not mean there will be no other hurdles to campus-wide implementation,” he concluded his email. “I do think that overall student support of the recommendation may get the ball rolling a little fast[er].”
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
ment Chair Molly Nesbit believe that there will be a significant influx of students into the department, and both think, on the offchance that there is, the department is well equipped to handle it. “We give our majors extraordinary attention including bi-monthly critiques and private studios and I don’t see how a correlate would affect that,” emphasized Newman in an emailed statement, adding, “Students don’t flood [departments that offer correlates] to the exclusion of departments that don’t.” Since the Art Department announced the new correlate in mid-January, several students have already declared.
February 16, 2012
Professors maintain relationship with Three Arts Christopher Gonzalez Guest Reporter
Rachel Garbade/The Miscellany News
he first free days before classes start give students the opportunity to rent or purchase their textbooks and required reading from the College Bookstore. Many professors, however, don’t put their list of texts up on the Barnes & Noble hosted website, instead ordering all books directly from the local Three Arts Bookstore. For faculty members that deal with the Three Arts exclusively, asking students to purchase through Three Arts instead of Barnes & Noble or Amazon is a conscious decision, fighting for the little guy among the book-ordering behemoths. Professor of History Maria Hoehn admitted that it was her students who provided the push for her to order her books from the Three Arts years ago. “Students were anxious about the survival of the store,” she wrote in an emailed statement. Assistant Professor of English Tyrone Simpson has been using the local bookseller for years; “My inclination is to support small businesses—make sure that the small local businesses in the area can sustain themselves,” he said. While professors express their concern for the sustainability of small businesses in the local environment, their support for the Three Arts can be found on a more personal level. The Three Arts has been on 3 Collegeview Ave since 1946, and the owner, Walter Effron, is one of the main reasons Vassar holds such a strong connection to the bookstore. As Hoehn noted, “Walter has been a neighbor of Vassar’s for years, and I am glad that through their purchases, our students can help him stay competitive in the community.” Just as professors appreciate the Three Art’s willingness to accommodate orders, Effron is appreciative of the business the faculty provides. “It’s nice of them to order from here because they don’t have to. It’s been fine working with them,” he said. “I’m friends with some of the faculty which is nice. I appreciate their support.” “My experience working with Walter Effron, owner of Three Arts, has been very good,” wrote Associate Professor of Religion Michael Walsh in an emailed statement. Walsh explained that by having his students purchase through the Three Arts, they have taken a step to support the business. “My larger classes—especially RELI/ASIA Religions of
The Three Arts Bookstore, pictured above, caters to many Vassar professors’ needs, ordering class texts. Run by owner Walter Effron, the bookstore has been on 3 Collegeview Avenue since 1946. Asia—with more than 30 students in them do, I think, help out the Three Arts Bookstore.” However, for other members of the faculty, the desire to support the Three Art’s stems from a dislike of corporate owned booksellers. “As a writer, I support independent bookstores. Their quirkiness and localized textures don’t of course fit in with the corporate homogeneity of the 21st century, and no doubt they’re on their way out.,” wrote Professor of English Paul Russell in an emailed statement. “Still, just because a fight is quixotic doesn’t mean it’s not worth fighting.” It was revealed in the 09.21.11 issue of The Miscellany News that Vassar would be moving ahead
with its plans—a plan that has been in the works since 2008—to utilize the Juliet building for the campus bookstore (“Plans to move bookstore advance”). The plan ultimately led to faculty thoughts on what this would mean for the independent bookseller. Not only is the Three Arts in competition with Barnes & Noble, but also with Amazon, which can sell books at a price unsustainable to any brick-and-mortar store. Associate Professor of English Peter Antelyes stated, “A shift to a much larger venue in the Juliet space, though, could only magnify the effects,” when referring to this plan in the 09.28.11 issue of the Miscellany (“Move raises questions over book-
store market”). Simpson expressed that there are other aspects to consider when discussing the plan to move the bookstore. “The Juliet is not only for the people at Vassar but seems to extend itself to the other aspects of the local community. I’m always in favor of public space and having spaces that are amenable to people coming together,” he said. “I thought it particularly galling and shortsighted of Vassar to decide to relocate Barnes & Noble next door to the Three Arts, which will effectively doom it,” wrote Russell. “It’s clear whose side Vassar is on in the struggle to preserve a bit of soulfulness in the world.” Russell continued, “For now, book sales to students seem to be helping the store.” Simpson also touched upon the assumption that a major corporation like Barnes & Noble would be able to process and handle more orders. Simpson, however, notes that while that may be true, he has never had any issues while working with the Three Arts. “I would much prefer someone who has a personal love for books, as well as a personal investment in and connection to his patrons,” he said. Associate Professor of Geography Mary Ann Cunningham additionally noted that working with the Barnes & Noble-run campus store has not been the most efficient experience. “[Three Arts] communicates more quickly and clearly about problems with orders than the Vassar Bookstore does (where we’ve sometimes had late and unpleasant surprises, with little or terse communication).” While campus store manager Paul Maggio does not know exactly how many professors order through Three Arts he estimates that up to 20 departments use the independent store, with the most coming from within the English Department. “The only thing with that,” Maggio stated, “is that students can’t use their financial aid to purchase books across the street. They’ll come in here and ask us to order the books for them, which is how we know what departments are placing those orders.” Some professors will try to split their orders between Three Arts and the campus store. In the face of Amazon selling books below market value and Vassar College Bookstore’s ability to buy used or rents, professors asking you to buy from the Three Arts help to maintain the rapport built with a solid member of the community.
International Socialist Group strives for revolution Jessica Tarantine
Assistant Features Editor
hile its short-term goals are varied and include causes ranging from women’s rights to the anti-foreclosure movement, its long-term goal is simple and succinct: revolution. Spanning across the United States, the International Socialist Organization (ISO) is an organization dedicated to furthering socialist causes, and a local branch was recently established at Vassar in September. Leading the effort to found a local, yet unoffical, branch is Bill Crane ’12, an Asian Studies major with a passion for equality issues. (Disclosure: Crane is a columnist for The Miscellany News) “The goal [of establishing the branch on campus] was being able to get involved in all the struggles of the left and also to organize training in activism and get people involved in those movements,” he said. While the Hudson Valley chapter is starting out with just under 10 members, there are over 80 offical chapters across the United States, including branches at New York University and Columbia University. A key part of the group activities is holding educational meetings and encouraging dialogue on a wide range of issues. Within the last few months, the local International Socialist Organization group has hosted a number of educational public gatherings. Talks were entitled “The Case for Socialism,” or “Capitalism and Resistance,” presented at the most recent one. In general, meetings are held weekly on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in Rockefeller Hall, the faculty commons or in another venue on campus. While the local ISO branch meets on Vassar’s campus, the group serves the Hudson Valley at large. A number of people drawn from the community attend the meetings regularly.
At the last meeting of the ISO on Feb. 8, about half of the attendees were from the surrounding area. Many of these members have been active members in the Occupy Poughkeepsie Movement. “Byran [Kelly], before the encampment was shut down, was going [to Occupy Poughkeepsie] every day to have political discussions with the other people who had been participating,” said Crane, explaining that Byran was an active member of the group and often served as a liasion to the Occupy Movement. While the group focuses on activism, the ISO stresses discussions as well. “Going to the meetings allows me to hear from other like-minded individuals with a greater knowledge base, and discuss what the issues in our society are, and how we can overcome them from a socialist perspective,” said member Hannah McDermott ’12. Meetings also often include short, 20-minute talks on important issues. At the Feb. 8 meeting, Kelly prepared a talk entitled “Marxism and Elections,” in which he spoke about the challenges of partipating in an political process that systematically discluded socalist third-party candidates due to the two-party system. The talk drew heavily on historical examples such as the Paris Commune and the Revolutions of 1848. Afterward, discussion was grounded more in the practical realm. In light of the upcoming presidential election, discourse centered on what to do in elections where no candidate was attractive to voters. “Which millionaire do we want to lie to us for the next four years?” remarked Kelly on the subject of choosing between a Republican and Democratic presidential candidate. “One of our goals is to make the political process more open. At present, there are two parties which are both capitalistic: and one that is very enthusiastic and one only slightly enthusiastic,” said Crane.
This was a sentiment shared by other members of the group. “I think the ISO benefits Vassar because students need to know that we do not have to conform to the U.S. two-party system. Radical politics are not as inaccessible as people are taught to believe,” McDermott later wrote in an emailed statement. Socalists often don’t see a meaningful distinction between the Republican Party and the Democrat Party, as they see that the two parties are still fundamentally in favor of capitalism. Overall, Crane remarked that the ISO is dedicated to radical politics and radical ideas. “ISO is a revolutionary party. Our purpose is to build an organization which supports revolution, but we’re not there yet. The ISO has about 1,500 members across the world,” he said. Gaining membership in the ISO is not a simple matter. Currently in the Hudson Valley chapter, there is only one official cardcarrying member: Crane. He received the card when he joined the organization in June of 2010, during the ISO’s annual Socialism Conference in Chicago. In addition to completing an application, the ISO requires monthly dues per person, which are based on a sliding scale beginning at $20 per month and increasing with income. In addition to sending out information that might be of interest to the members, the national branch of the ISO also publishes a publication, The Socialist Worker, which branches sell to the local community. The ISO will also be hosting a national convention that representatives of the local branches attend in Chicago. At the upcoming chapter, both Crane and Kelly will be in attendance. While two members of the Hudson Valley Chapter will be attending the conference, Crane said that there were challenges as the group lacked funding. “We are optimists and
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believe that a better world is possible but at present don’t have many resources,” he commented. Another challenge will be continuing to concentrate on activism. “A serious challenge is bridging the gap between theory and practice. We can convince people that Marx’s views were correct but it’s harder to make people see why it’s also a guide for action. We would consider it useless if confined only to theory,” said Crane. For some observers, a defining aspect of the club seemed to be a combination of the two. “I attended the Reform and Revolution meeting, and what I got out of it was a sense of solidarity [between members],” said Ethan Madore ’12. “It seemed as though the ISO was just a identity solidarity vanity movement obessed with inflating its own self-importance and made me realize that reasonability was more important than ideology.” While Madore had originally attended out of an interest in socialism, he said they seemed to lack an appreciation of the gravity of the things they were talking about. “People [at the meeting] seemed to be more interested in revolution than reform,” said Madore, explaining that he thought helping people more immediately and being reasonable could be more important. Madore went on to say that despite the ISO’s dedication to Occupy, it was not a true revolution, instead he called it a middle class or bourgeoisie effort to close the wage gap, not a revolution of the people. Regardless of the specifics of how to affect change, members of the ISO had optimism that the organization could make a positive impact. “Vassar should learn through the ISO that change and even revolution are possible, we just need to work for it. We cannot stand by passively and allow for continued oppression in our world,” said McDermott.
February 16, 2012
Top eight delicious changes, additions to the ACDC Casey Zuckerman
which is now located by the salad bar. It seemed that far fewer options had really put a damper on it,” he remarked. “However, I’ve noticed that they are making a clear effort to cycle the cheese that is there, and many other vegetables are available right at the salad bar. So, I am content with it [now].”
hen students returned to Vassar in January, the changes to the All Campus Dining Center (ACDC) enacted by the Campus Dining Review Committee (CDRC) were revealed. Enthusiastic upperclassmen and sophomores have been happily chattering about the dramatic difference from previous years, but even as a freshman I was able to appreciate the effort ACDC put into its new look. From eight to one, here is a list of the exciting new changes to the Dining Center that will have every senior begging you to swipe them in.
3) Carbo-Load: Pizza and Bread
Emily Lavieri-Scull/The Miscellany News
8) Healthy Choices Abound
This year’s emphasis is on healthy, fresh, simple foods, according to Senior Director of Campus Dining Maureen King.”So where last semester you saw the Home station, where you had the entrée that could already be sauced or a stewy kind of thing. Now some [meats and pastas] might have a sauce, some might be plain,” she said. The station devoted to vegetables is also new, and was particularly influenced by student input. Chair of the Student Food Committee and a member of the CDRC Rachel Schorr ’12 said, “I was very concerned with the number and variety of vegetables offered at ACDC [last semester] and pushed for the inclusion of more greens and steamed vegetables.”
expanded vegetable station is a good example of that, where [ACDC staff] are cleaning fresh beets, peeling parsnips, which we weren’t doing last fall.”
7) Menu Makeover
If you noticed that your food tastes different, that’s exactly what the CDRC intended. King elaborated, “We realized there was a lot of mystery about how the menus were developed. So for this semester, we invited all the members of the CDRC to work on the menus.” Schorr worked extensively with King this past fall. “We started off with a basic menu template from Aramark [Vassar College’s food provider] ... From there we looked in depth at each week’s offerings, the cohesiveness of meals each day, and more specifically at menu items themselves. I had really wanted take a look at the sorts of recipes being used, especially at the vegan station.” King added, “These new menus are more in the way of food production than before. The
President of Jewett House and member of the CDRC Clayton Masterman ’13 said, “[We] pushed for an increase in the number of selfserve stations in ACDC. After the peer review trip that the CDRC took [to Middlebury, Mount Holyoke and Bryn Mawr Colleges] we noticed that many of our peers had almost entirely selfserved dining halls. I felt that this gave students more control over the content of their meals, as well as their portions, and would lead to a better dining experience.” Said Kitchen Worker Debra Pastore, “It’s more demanding because we are multitasking so we’re not set at one particular job duty. So we’re getting cross-trained in other stations so we can be helpful to other employees, and that’s always a plus because we need to work as a team.”
Above, students make their way through the dinnertime rush at the All Campus Dining Center (ACDC). The ACDC recently installed several changes to better the food and dining experience. 5) Snazzy Signs
“New signage lets you see the ingredients, nutritional information and whether or not different foods are vegetarian, vegan or gluten free,” said King. Also, the signs for the different stations, like Just 4 You and Home, have been removed. King explained, “It all came down just to create more variety and flexibility. Because every day if you go in and see [the same signs] then you just assume it’s the same food every day.” 4) Do-Your-Own-Deli
In favor of customizability, the deli meats and cheeses have been moved to the end of the salad bar for students to self-serve. While you may be used to having your sandwiches made to order, King insists that so far it’s been very well received. Masterman had not liked this idea at the beginning. “Originally, I had been put off a bit by the changes to the sandwich station,
King regarded the pizza station as one of the biggest and best changes to ACDC. The pizza is fresher, cheesier, made-to-order and—by all accounts—tastier. Students also now have the ability to eat fresh bread with their meals. Homemade loaves are provided next to the pizza station, with tantalizing flavors such as cinnamon raison and standard baguettes.
2) Pop-up Restaurants
Did you like the little white tent serving wings in honor of the Super Bowl? It’s a pop-up restaurant and, King said, “ARAMARK does that in a lot of the colleges it services. So that was a concept that we liked and wanted to bring to Vassar.” 1) Student Input
The ACDC wants students to give their thoughts on the new changes. Students can fill out comment cards, email comments@ vassar.edu, speak to their Food Committee representative or use the QR code on the back of the napkin holders to fill out a survey. Student bands and other student performances are wanted, so if any student band wants to play for a night at ACDC they are encouraged to contact King at firstname.lastname@example.org. “It’s a plasure to come to ACDC, because everyone’s happy, as far as the workers and the students in terms of feedback to the management,” said Pastore. “It’s good to know that we are being appreciated for working hard.” King is very happy that students have enjoyed the changes, and while she hinted that more changes were coming after Spring Break, she would not disclose them.
Marco’s, Tony’s add extra flavor to local pizza joints Chelsea Peterson-Salahuddin Guest Reporter
Jiajing Sunlpert/The Miscellany News
o many Vassar students, the word pizza has become synonymous with the words Pizzeria Bacio, or simply Bacio’s. Often when students are looking for pizza, they immediately turn to Bacio’s, especially due to its late-night operational hours and close proximity to the north gate of campus. However, just beyond Collegeview Avenue, the Poughkeepsie area boasts other pizza joints that are worth checking out. Marco’s Gourmet Pizzeria and Tony’s Pizza Pit are both just a five- to 10-minute walk down Raymond Avenue, offering their particular pizza specialties to the Vassar community. Marco’s, located at 34 Raymond Avenue, is a family-run business that attributes a large part of its success to the many orders that come in from the Vassar community. In talking about the relationship between Vassar and Marco’s, owner Gino, who requested to be quoted as “Marco,” said, “We get lots of students coming here, most of them we know personally. It’s a really good connection.” Indeed, the connection between Marco’s and the Vassar community is visible in simply looking around the restaurant. The walls of Marco’s are adorned with Vassar paraphernalia such as t-shirts for different sports teams signed by team members and pictures showing Vassar students participating in the famous Marco’s Pizza Challenge. The Marco’s Pizza Challenge, one of Marco’s most distinguishing features, is a challenge in which two people attempt to finish a 30-inch meat-lovers pizza in 30 minutes for a $300 prize. Many Vassar students, particularly sports teams, come in to Marco’s to attempt its Pizza Challenge. So far the only winner of the challenge is Vassar graduate Brittany Davis ’11. Of the competition between pizza joints Marco said, “In the end, it depends who has the better pizza. People don’t mind walking over a
couple blocks for good pizza, so I’m not worried about competition.” He added, “We put our love into the pizza. We also get great reviews. And I greet [the customers] with my heart and love. We use good quality food so we know people will love it.” Marco’s also has fans among Vassar’s administrators. Said Assistant Director for Employer Relations Susan Smith, “When an employer is coming to host an information session, they usually know food is a draw, so they’ll ask us to suggest places, so we’ll give them Marco’s number.” Students walking further down Raymond Avenue will come to Tony’s Pizza Pit on 786 Main Street. Tony’s has been in its Poughkeepsie location since 1969 and is still owned by Tony, who no longer works in the restaurant but does come in at least once a week. The restaurant has maintained the same recipes and style since its opening over 40 years ago, and sees this as one of its main points of pride. General Manager of Tony’s Pizza Pit in both Poughkeepsie and Newburgh Juan Berrospi said, “What is popular here is the different slices. We usually have at least 10 different gourmet pizzas such as buffalo chicken and grandma style, which is traditional Italian style pizza.” However, due to the fact that Bacio’s is closer to Vassar’s campus, Berrospi noted that it is often hard for Tony’s to draw business from Vassar students. “There are a lot of restaurants in between [us and Vassar],” Berrospi said. Berrospi did note that Tony’s gets business from Vassar’s various administrative offices, which order for various events. Tony’s also has lunch specials Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering any slice for $5.99 and any hero for $6.95; the latter comes with fries and a small soda. Berrospi said, “Tony’s Pizza Pit, as the name says, is a pizza place. But people are often surprised by how good the food is. We have the quality of a real restaurant.” In 2007, Tony’s was
Gino, pictured above, is the owner of Marco’s Gourmet Pizza. A family-run business, one of Marco’s most distinguishing features is the Marco’s Pizza Challenge, which dares entrants to eat a 30-in pizza. voted the best pizza place in the Hudson Valley. However, many students choose Bacio’s over Marco’s and Tony’s not for convenience but for availability. Bacio’s caters its hours to the hunger schedules of college students, delivering until 2 a.m. and staying open until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays when Vassar is in session. Marco’s closes at 8:30 p.m. all week, and Tony’s closes at 11 p.m. on weekends; both deliver. In addition to these local pizza businesses, many students will order from chains Domino’s Pizza or Pizza Hut in Poughkeepsie. Rafael Ricaurte ’13 stated, “I usually order pizza from Domino’s because I’m able to do it online. I’ve also been a Domino’s customer for many years,
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so I have a preference for it. They always seem to have a lot of deals and many choices for toppings, which I love.” Julia Tsang ’13 said, “I either order from Bacio or Domino’s. Pizzeria Bacio is open later on the weekend, but Domino’s has cheesy bread.” Despite the great quality of other pizza operators around Vassar campus, Pizzeria Bacio is still the go-to place for cravings. According to Simone Levine ’13, “when I order pizza I order from Bacio’s because it is the Vassar pizza place.” However, convenience aside, students may find it worthwhile to walk a little farther down Raymond Avenue and explore the whole world of pizza that exists outside the realm of Pizzeria Bacio.
February 16, 2012
Millbrook Vineyard & Winery a Hudson Valley gem Sarah Begley
Courtesy of Sarah Begley
ven in winter when the vines are barren, the drive through the vineyards of Millbrook is bleakly striking. Ascending the road that cuts through the neat rows of vegetation, the driver can see nothing but grape vines on all sides— an uncommon and breathtaking view in the Hudson Valley. Millbrook Vineyards & Winery is just a halfhour drive from Poughkeepsie, and its wines are sold at the nearby Arlington Wine and Liquor. The company was established in 1985, and since then, winemaker John Graziano has perfected more than a dozen wines, such as Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Annually, the winery produces $2 million in sales and hosts 15,000 visitors, making it the fourth most popular tourist spot in Dutchess County. The winemaking process begins in the vineyards, of which there are 30 acres. Two employees work in the vineyards throughout the year, and during the harvest season in September and October, they bring in four to five extra workers. In March, they will begin pruning the plants for this year’s harvest. Before its life as a vineyard, the land was once used as dairy farm. As a result, the winery technically cannot market itself as organic because they don’t know what kind of chemicals may have once been used on the soil. Now the land is part of the Dutchess Land Conservancy, and they make a great effort to use natural farming techniques like composting all discarded stems, seeds and skins for the next year’s fertilizer. As Director of Sales Scott Koster explained, this attention to the quality of the growing conditions is critical because “you can’t make a good wine without good grapes.” From the vineyards, the grapes travel inside to the winery, where red and white wines are
processed in different rooms. “The biggest difference between making the red and the white,” Koster said, “is [for red] we need the skins. The longer the skins stay in, the more flavor and color.” Most of the whites are produced in large stainless steel open-top fermenters, but the reds rest in oak barrels for anywhere from nine months to one-and-a-half years. This, as well as aging the reds in French oak barrels, softens the tannins, which are astringent chemical compounds found in wood and other plant derrived materials. One exception to this division is the Chardonnay, about half of which gets barrel-fermented. The neutral-flavored French oak wood barrels give the wine it a “subtle, vanillin, caramel quality,” said Koster. While some wines, like Chardonnay, consist of only one grape varietal, many others are a blend. Koster explained, “the most important thing a winemaker does is blending,” and Graziano has spent a great deal of time finding the perfect balance in wines like their Hunt Country Red, which combines Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The barrels for the wine cost from $800 to $1000 and last 10 to 12 years, so they are a huge investment for the winery. Each barrel holds 300 bottles worth of wine, and during the bottling process, 400 to 500 cases can be bottled a day. Eventually, this long process pays off by showcasing the grapes in their best possible flavor profiles. Koster said of visitors to the winery, “People sometimes ask, how do you get this blueberry taste in the wine? Well, you don’t. That flavor is already in the grape. It’s very natural.” The vineyard’s proprietor, John Dyson, has a history of emphasizing excellence in agriculture. In 1975, he served as New York State’s
The Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, established in 1985, has perfected more than a dozen wines, including the Hunt Country Red and Chardonnay pictured above. The winery sees 15,000 annual visitors.
youngest-ever Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce. He owns vineyards in the Finger Lakes and on Long Island, whose grapes the winery often blends with those from Millbrook, as well as others in California and Italy. As Commissioner of Commerce in the ’70s, he oversaw the famous “I Love New York” tourism campaign, and the iconic logos from the advertisements are printed on the labels of the wine bottles and etched onto glasses at the winery. Koster said it’s especially interesting to produce wine in New York State because “all wines [here] are a little lighter in style, and
Seniors take on bucket lists Alyssa Aquino
o to VC Student Bodies and scroll down— there’s a picture of a naked woman, posed against dim lighting to make the black and white photograph all the more dramatic. Underneath this picture lies the explanation: “Bucket list.” There are a range of topics one could put on a Vassar bucket list, and not all as bold as posting a revealing photo online. When asking students what they want to do before leaving Vassar College, the responses range from things as innocuous as Shelby Johnson’s ’15 wish to “be in a play,” to criminal acts like “steal a Security cart,” which is on Anveshi Guha’s ’15 bucket list. Then there are the in-between responses, like those of Tim Behan ’15, that vary from the academic—“Take a Women’s Studies class”—to the philosophical: “Find my passion.” The importance of these bucket lists is dimmed for underclassmen, who are secure in the knowledge that they have many months to check off each item. However, the urgency takes on a new weight for seniors. Two weeks ago, they celebrated 100 Nights until their graduation and in less than three months, they will ascend to alumnae/i status. Some seniors have been ticking items off their lists since they arrived at Vassar. Thomas Enering ’12 insisted he had nothing left to do; his friend, Jonathan Wood ’12, cryptically explained, “He’s done everything he’s wanted to do.” However, Wood still has tasks that he would like to accomplish. “I want to go to a sports game for each sport that I have a friend on,” he said. He then added that to “go with my friends to the Mug not-ironically” is on his list. The need to go see sports games at a Division III explains why another senior, Elianne Schutze ’12 said, “I want to go to a sports game for every sport here.”Given that seniors have only spring-semester sports to view now, those with this task on their bucket list may want to start early. Some responses toe the line of doable within the three-month window until graduation. Joseph Brichacek ’12 said in complete serious-
ness, “I want to make a lasting enemy. I have three candidates already.” When told that his enemy would be an enemy for only a couple of weeks, he casually replied, “A lasting enemy is an enemy for life.” Samuel Stites ’12 has a fondness for high places. “Things I want to do before I leave Vassar?” he asked. “Be on the roof of Chicago. Be on the roof of the Library. Go to the swimming hole,” he ticks off on his fingers. “And [I want to] spend the entire night in the Library. Not the 24-hour room, but the closed-off section for the entire night.” In an emailed statement, Mitchell Gilburne ’12 listed, “Giving Cappy a RuPaul-inspired makeover. Getting in good enough shape to run naked at primal scream. Forget all of my [Facebook] invites and have a responsibly drunk sleep over with all of my closest friends.” “I want to have sex on top of Walker roof,” one senior said, anonymously so to not scare off potential suitors. When asked what he wants to do before graduation, Matt Wheeler ‘12 quickly responded, “Finish my thesis!” He then contemplated, “What haven’t I done? Hook up with a girl.” Some people were able to accomplish some of their goals during 100 Nights. Brandon Logans ’12 said, “I always wanted to cuss someone out. I did that during 100 Nights.” Logans continued, “I want to completely corrupt a freshman. I think the process will be complete in a month.” To maintain the secrecy of his operation, he refuses to disclose the name of the freshman or the implementation of the corruption. “I’m not making him into an image of myself,” he said when asked what he hopes to accomplish. “You don’t know what will happen when you want to corrupt, you just plant the seed.” He’s asked why having sex in the Library isn’t a part of his list. “I worked for the Library before,” he responded, “there was a time when the librarians were complaining about people hooking up, and they showed a security-camera clip of two people making out during a meeting. That’s not on my list.” When asked about her bucket list, Emma Lowe ’12 responded, “Graduate.”
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they have fabulous acidity, so they’re great with food.” Of course, the terrain presents certain challenges and limitations as well. Only cool condition grapes work here, and the humid summers can make the harvesting process unpredictable. When asked why Dyson chose Dutchess County, his home region, as a good place to make wine, Koster said, “I think it was a big challenge for the owner, and I think he wanted to prove it could be done. It’s one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the US, and he wanted to prove we could make a world-class wine here, and we’ve proved it.”
February 16, 2012
RSL Day commemorates radical love in different faiths Marie Solis
replaced that of the Beatles singing “All You Need is Love,” and the glow of white lights and paper lanterns of the Aula replaced the fluorescent lighting in College Center as the backdrop for RSL Day. Just a few hours after the excitement of games and chocolate, the same organizations gathered again in the Aula, this time for a more formal presentation of their spirituality and interpretations of love. The event not only included Vassar students and administration, but it also brought religious members from the community. The first of these religious figures was Imam Qari Muhammad Asil Khan, the Imam of the Mid-Hudson Islamic Association in Wappingers Falls. He started the assembly with a call to prayer, placing his hands on his face, closing his eyes and singing the words of his faith, letting his voice echo throughout the hall. At this time some watched him as he immersed himself into his prayer, but many more bowed their heads and closed their eyes. The audience’s respectfulness and eagerness to learn about other religious practices did not stop here. Soon after, Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre Director Katherine Wildberger led what she called a Movement Choir with the assistance of Cheng Peng ’12 calling for audience participation. Little by little, people took off their shoes and trickled out of their seats. “It’s a dance of meditation utilizing slow movements in the celebration of the human body,” Wildberger said. The movement, however, required a special technique: “It’s called graining—think of it as skat-
Courtesy of Vassar Media Relations
here was love in the air in the College Center on Feb. 8. However, it was not the usual kind that precedes Valentine’s Day—the kind involving mushy cards that leads those who are single to proclaim that they would be “forever alone.” Instead it was a Radical Love, the theme of this year’s Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) Day, that brought balloons, the smell of the popcorn and all of the religious organizations on campus together in one place. The main aim of the theme was to celebrate ideas of love from different faiths, according to Alicia Robinson-Welsh ’15. She was representing the Wholistic Group, which focuses on promoting healthy living in both body and spirit. The next booth over was that of the Vassar Islamic Society, which presented the 20 points of love in Islam. Not only did they seek to educate others about what love means in their religion, but they also had a list of words of endearment in Arabic. The Islamic Society also had people write love in different languages in a big heart, demonstrating a collaboration of both religion and culture. Vassar’s Catholic Community focused on shedding some light on the figure behind the day—St. Valentine—who is considered the patron saint of love, young people, and happy marriages. Their booth had rosary beads, magnets and members that encouraged people to write in the “Compassionate Heart,” expressing what they would like to see in the world.
“RSL Day’s mission is to make people aware that we’re a presence on campus,” said Stephanie Stone ’15. This day’s inherent purpose is to create a sense of presence on campus for the religious groups. However, when traveling from table to table it became increasingly clear that while it was important for Vassar’s religious organizations to spread their beliefs, they were committed to expanding the concept of radical love to inspire a universal compassion for each other. Although in itself this might not be considered too extreme, such love across all beliefs and faiths is not often thought of on Valentine’s Day. Some of the Religious and Spiritual student staff had a table and invited students to recreate store-bought Valentine’s Day cards by cutting or crossing out words and collaging together multiple cards together, in order to express their views of love in their own way. These leaders were the most explicit in their rejection of the commercialized Valentine’s Day sentiments. “We’re taking back Valentine’s Day from corporate Hallmark,” Religious and Spiritual Life Intern Benjamin Witkovsky ’12 stated. Taylor Dalton ’15 of the Christian Fellowship said, “There’s a stigma attached to Valentine’s Day: It either [brings] a feeling of love or of loneliness, but God is always there for us,” she said. She cited her faith as one of the many reasons why she believes Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be polarized by feelings of romantic love and loneliness. As evening approached, the sound of the Vassar Jazz Combo
Renowned composer Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, pictured above, led Religious and Spritiual LIfe Day attendees in one of her signature “Community Sings” on Feb. 8. ing over Mother Earth,” Wildberger encouraged, “become one organism.” The audience started moving, hesitantly at first, but soon certainly became what could be no better described as a choir of movement. “It’s like humming with your body,” explained Wildberger. The remainder of the program included dramatic readings of the
Song of Psalms, a love medley from the a capella group “Vassar Has Soul” and meditation events. Despite the concept of love having different traditions and understandings associated with it within each featured religion, RSL Day ultimately emphasized a love for ourselves and a love for humanity as a whole.
BlueRichard a music marketing, tour managing company
Carlos Hernandez/The Miscellany News
REMLER continued from page 1 facets of production,” wrote Remler in an emailed statement. Since agreeing to manage Upper West, the company has expanded. It currently employs four of Remler’s friends from home, as well as Vassar’s Ripley Sellers ’14, who was named BlueRichard’s chief financial officer last fall. “Harrison does amazing work setting things up and thinking of new ideas for the company, but he and Joe can’t be responsible for everything. I make sure we are making the smartest, most efficient use of our money, so Harrison can focus on the more innovative aspect of the business,” wrote Sellers in an emailed statement. Sellers is currently in the process of rewriting BlueRichard’s business plan. His other responsibilities include frequently meeting with Harrison to discuss tour dates, artists and fiscal policies, and traveling to shows on weekends to help represent the company. “It hasn’t been easy, but it has been an amazing experience and I have learned a lot,” stated Sellers. In addition to Upper West, BlueRichard manages and promotes The Fates, a self-described pop rock band from Boston; JHirsch, an electro-pop artist; and Levi Bazilio, an up-and-coming hiphop artist. Other musical groups that they organize tours for include Aer, The Dean’s List, Dylan Owen, Aziz and Tate Tucker. “There is a whole up-and-coming scene of music driven by blogs, so I reached out to a bunch of other artists and before you know it, we participated in our first New York City event on Aug. 10 in the Canal Room. It sold out—600 people attended,” said Remler. The Canal Room event was sponsored by CamelbackMusic.com, a music blog dedicated to promoting various new artists. After their first New York City event, BlueRichard then focused its efforts on orchestrating a tour featuring Upper West; The Dean’s List, a hip-hop group based out of Boston; and Aer, a rock with reggae roots group from Wayland, Mass. This tour was targeted toward prep school students across the Northeast. The largest concert they organized, as Remler noted, attracted 800 people.
Harrision Remler ’14, pictured above, runs his music marketing company Blue Richard from his Lathrop dorm room. The company manages and promotes musical groups such as Upper west and The Fates. “[Prep school students are] a great market because they are always online and sharing things,” said Remler. “The whole method behind it was to get them before they get to college so when they finally do go away to school, they could bring our artists to universities and colleges across the nation.” Over the past few months, Remler and Duarte have spent their weekends traveling to over 15 prep schools in New England and New York while promoting their artists. A few of the venues included Tabor Academy located in Marion, Mass.; the Milton Academy located in Milton, Mass.; and Choate Rosemary Hall, located in Wallingford, Conn. “Between Harrison and I, he mainly handles booking for the tour we’re running with these prep schools. He cuts the deals, books the artists and handles the finances,” stated Duarte. He continued, “I mainly oversee the production of the show. I manage the artists backstage and make sure they
are ready to go on. I also hype up the crowd for each show we run. On top of that I oversee the music production of Upper West.” “We compliment each other really well,” Remler added when commenting on his working relationship with Duarte. Although BlueRichard does not currently promote any Vassar-specific talent, Remler noted that he and Duarte are always looking for new, exciting groups and are open to the possibility of extending their reach into the liberal arts college music scene. While both Remler and Duarte enjoy helping recently discovered talent cultivate a fan base, both admit that touring during the academic year has not always been easy. “It definitely is a struggle to balance everything I have on my plate. Between playing baseball for Trinity College, taking five classes, running this
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
company and trying to squeeze a social life in, it has been tough,” stated Duarte. “However none of these are things that I would want to sacrifice so it is worth the struggle and the lack of time.” The difficulty lies primarily in the fact that the tour would force both Duarte and Remler to frequently leave their respective campuses. “For the first semester I was only here one weekend. I would leave on Friday and usually go to Manhattan for a meeting and Saturday we would usually have a show or an event,” Remler said. “Every other weekend I was in Connecticut or Massachusetts for the tour, so it was rough.” Both Remler and Duarte plan on turning this mutual passion for promoting artists into a longterm career. “Without a doubt this is something I would want to pursue after graduation,” stated Duarte. “On multiple occasions Harrison and I have both spoke about how this is something we want to build a life around.” We both have grinded out those long, Nine to five days and know how much we love doing what were doing now... As long as we can adjust and make intelligent decisions in this early stage of our company I feel like there is no limit for how big we can become,” Duarte continued. As Remler noted, setting long-term goals is an essential aspect of promoting the company’s future growth. “A lot of people get caught up in short term goals when managing a company, but we are trying to look ahead to the next three or four years. We spent the last six months building a network, so I know a bunch of new artists coming up,” said Remler. Sellers is also excited at the prospect of potentially continuing his role as BlueRichard’s CFO after graduation. “If Blue Richard continues to grow and be successful, I will absolutely continue to work with them. It is such a family environment at Blue Richard, and I could not ask for a better group of people to work with,” stated Sellers. He continued, “At this point in time were making money doing what we love. As long as Blue Richard remains a viable company, I am more than happy to stick around and watch our business grow.”
February 16, 2012
Miscellany News Staff Editorials
Studio art correlate allows students to officially pursue their artistic interests Last week, Vassar’s Art Department announced in an email to all art faculty, majors and students currently or previously enrolled in its courses that the department plans to create a correlate sequence in Studio Art. [See “Addressing long-standing interest, VC to allow correlate in studio art” on page 8] Consisting of six total credits, the correlate will provide a new level of opportunity and commitment to the many Vassar students who are interested in pursuing their passion for art but who are unable to commit to the department’s varied and intensive major requirements. The Miscellany News Editorial Board would like to endorse the Art Department’s decision to create this correlate sequence, and to encourage other departments at Vassar to follow suit and consider creating similar programs within their own fields. A correlate sequence will only strengthen the Studio Art Department and its capacity to offer attention, guidance and resources to its students. The department—which falls under the Art Department’s curricular umbrella, alongside its well-established counterpart Art History—is a relatively new program at Vassar. In recent history, the Studio Art Department has worked hard to procure more resources for its students and demonstrate its growing popularity at the College. The Miscellany Editorial Board believes that a studio art correlate sequence will only increase that popularity among artists on campus. Tracked correlates like this one allow greater specificity within academic pursuits: After completing the Art 102 and 103 classes required for the correlate, students can choose their succeeding classes based on their own personal interests and talents,
whether that be in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, or architectural design. We find the introduction of a Studio Art correlate sequence particularly promising in light of the current economic climate. The College’s funding constraints have resulted in the cutting of a number of courses and sections from the catalogue. Creating a correlate sequence in Studio Art is an innovative and effective way to use the remaining classes in new ways and foster new academic benefits for the department and Vassar students. Most importantly, a correlate sequence in Studio Art allows students to formally pursue their focused artistic passions without necessarily having to take all fields required of a Studio Art major. We hope that this will allow more of Vassar’s talented artists to receive greater creative guidance, attention and resources, and ultimately showcase their talents on campus. Notwithstanding the benefits of a Studio Art correlate sequence, the Miscellany Editorial Board understands the potential conflicts involved. Because Studio Art courses teach through the production and examination of art, the department’s many disciplines—drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video and architecture—all require materials, equipment and space for its classes to function effectively. This makes the department particularly sensitive to fluctuations in funding and facility availability. It seems fair to suggest, however, that each is quite contingent upon the given major’s popularity at Vassar, as well as its demonstrated longevity. We anticipate that the creation of a correlate will both integrate more students into the department and fortify its curriculum.
The advantages of a correlate, however, extend beyond the Studio Art Department. The Miscellany Editorial Board encourages other departments currently without correlate sequences, such as the Sociology or Film Departments, to weigh the benefits of instituting one in their own fields. Correlates signify more than just another accomplishment on a student’s transcript. As we foresee the Studio Art correlate sequence will demonstrate, tracked correlates in any given department allow students to pursue specific subjects within a field of study, developing an existing passion or fostering a new one. While Vassar’s breadth of curriculum allows students to take classes in a variety of departments and explore many of their academic interests, correlate sequences serve to officialize a student’s partiality to a particular area. We also understand, however, that a department’s addition of a correlate sequence is not an effortless process. Distribution of funds and resources must go into consideration. And, ultimately, some departments and programs are simply not suited for correlate sequence offerings. Nevertheless, the Miscellany Editorial Board considers the benefits of a correlate sequence—the ability to formally pursue a number of personal academic passions—the essence of a liberal arts education. The addition of a Studio Art correlate sequence supports Vassar’s continued dedication towards providing its students with a well-rounded, diverse education.
wo pieces in last week’s Opinions section addressed recent issues pertaining to women’s access to reproductive services. Juan Thompson’s column (“HHS order violates nation’s right to freedom of religion”) argued that religious institutions should be permitted to forgo provision of contraceptive services, and Bill Crane’s column (“Komen Foundation decision reveals war against women”) argued that the Komen Foundation’s brief lapse in support for Planned Parenthood is part of a larger movement of gender- and class-based oppression. It took me a moment to realize that they were writing about different issues. They were in fact writing about the same thing: violence against women. Most behaviors falling under the heading of “violence against women,” such as rape and abuse, are not entirely sex-specific. These acts of violence can be and are perpetrated by and against all types of people (bearing in mind constraints of age and ability) with statistical patterns indicating disproportionate risk of exposure and perpetration depending on other demographic features. But abortion and emergency contraception are strictly, 100 percent sexed. This makes the withholding of reproductive medical services the most explicit form of violence against women that exists today in the United States. And it is incredibly violent. As Crane pointed out in his column, withholding these services from women is to force them to potentially (in the case of emergency contraception) or certainly (in the case of abortion) endure pregnancy and produce biological offspring. It is forced pregnancy. Like other forms of violence against women, forced pregnancy has no rational, secular argument to support it. But, like other forms of violence against women, forced pregnancy is excused by secular arguments that favor nonintervention. Thompson laid out this argument nicely in his column last week; the argument hinges on religious sovereignty. Thompson, ironically, chooses the rather oxymoronic term “religious freedom,” perhaps forgetting that the freedom in question is the freedom to restrict freedom—the freedom of healthcare organizations to restrict the freedom of women. Sovereignty defines freedom at the institutional
level. Liberals often fail to see how poorly this translates into freedom at the individual’s level. Independence from outsiders is secured in order to engage in oppressive behavior within a state, institution or household. These concepts enable an institution or agent to use freedom as an argument in defense of its oppressive behavior. This argument enables pharmacists and insurance companies to construe their misogynistic dominance as an exercise in religious freedom. And notice how effectively this rhetoric banishes the pregnant female from our consciousness; we’re too preoccupied with autonomy and liberty to even think about pregnant women—or pregnant girls. Or people who didn’t identify with their bodily sex in the first place and are now being punished for this nonconformity by enduring what society deems to be the proper function of that body—the production of new humans. I can’t even imagine how traumatizing that would be; no lifelong biological male can. And many of them don’t even try. Instead, they distance themselves psychologically from these issues by framing them in terms of liberty and other cheap, hokey, imageless words. This rhetoric also has the impressive ability to turn the entire reality of oppression on its head. Thompson exemplifies this strategy beautifully: “Directing a religious institution to violate their beliefs is an assault on those rights.” Did you see that? It’s saying that opponents of violence against women are guilty of assault. Amazing. Thompson also advanced a historical argument for allowing religious institutions to practice forced pregnancy. He points out that Catholic hospitals are an extension of a larger cultural system that Catholic immigrants set up to form a safe space for their marginalized religion. Again, notice how framing the issue this way enables someone to hijack buzzwords associated with feminism, like safe space and marginalized, and use them in defense of violence against women. Misogynies that have a distinctly Catholic flavor (like forcing women to endure pregnancy) are justified on the grounds that Catholicism is a threatened identity. Since when did that earn them the right to oppress subpopulations within that identity? Not to mention females are not really a subpopulation but comprise nearly half of the entire population.
ATF data should not be misinterpreted John Kenney
Empirical observations shed light on the way in which misogynistic Catholic ideology unfolds in real life. Consider findings from a national study of Catholic hospitals from Catholics for Free Choice in which female researchers, pretending to be patients, called the hospitals’ emergency departments and asked for emergency contraception. Only 10 percent of the hospitals offered it without restrictions. Others said that only rape victims were eligible to obtain emergency contraception, and some of these required that the victim report the rape to the police first. In 82 percent of cases, callers were told that even rape victims could not obtain emergency contraception. And only 14 percent of these hospitals offered referrals. Some staff hung up on the caller before she could ask for a referral. One caller was told, “This is an emergency room, and that is not an emergency.” In other words, pregnancy is the proper function of the female body and does not warrant medical intervention. These and other instances of rudeness serve to punish female insubordination. This is the exact opposite of religious freedom. By deliberately withholding information about alternatives, hospital staff were directly imposing their ideology upon the callers and sabotaging women’s attempts to prevent a potentially devastating event. The blatant coerciveness of this behavior, and the almost unrivaled specificity with which it targets women, is unequivocally misogynistic and undeniably violent. And even when hospitals provide referrals, this is insufficient to justify the withholding of treatment. As Crane pointed out, many women have insufficient resources to seek out those alternatives. Financial restrictions are an obvious concern, as is the possibility that females seeking emergency contraception are victims of ongoing abuse and may have extremely limited access to transportation. This neutralizes any lingering fantasies about women having abundant options when it comes to their reproductive health. It also unveils “religious freedom” as a euphemism for violence. A feminist perspective cuts right through these hallucinations and clarifies the role of forced pregnancy as an instrument of subordination.
s outlined in an article in the 02.09.12 issue of The Miscellany News, the Alcohol Task Force (ATF) has begun its efforts to better understand and address issues related to Vassar’s drinking culture (“ATF commences two-week alcohol study”). In his article, News Editor Joey Rearick cites two issues that the ATF aims to examine: the rise in alcohol-related incidents on campus in the past few years and Vassar College’s relation to the “college effect.” Before discussing my feelings on Vassar College and exhibition of the “college effect,” I wish to raise a few points about the rise in alcoholrelated incidents. Certainly efforts should be taken to minimize and reduce such incidents, but I wonder whether this rise indicates that the Vassar drinking culture has actually become more dangerous. Of course, I remember the “Four Loko Craze” that dominated the fall semester of my freshman year. The drink clearly fostered a toxic environment where students felt they could drink more alcohol because of the stimulant effect produced by the alcoholic energy drink. As the campus grappled with the increase in alcohol-related incidents, Four Loko was quickly identified as a source of the problem. Fortunately, the drink was banned in the state of New York by the time the spring semester commenced and a notorious component of a dangerous drinking culture was eliminated. Unfortunately, as demonstrated by the continued prevalence of alcohol-related incidents, there is still a dangerous element to the drinking culture at this school. While I understand the administration’s concern over these statistics and commend the creation of the ATF as an attempt to remedy the problem, I wonder if students should view these statistics in another light. Besides implying that the Vassar drinking culture has become more dangerous, couldn’t the rise in reported alcohol-related incidents imply that the school has simply become more skilled at identifying risky behavior and intervening before potentially fatal consequences could occur? Couldn’t it imply that students have become more vigilant about reporting their peers who are suffering from reckless behavior? Perhaps the rise in these reported incidents should not be looked at in a solely negative light. As for Vassar College’s relationship to the college effect outlined in Rearick’s article, I must admit that I am a bit concerned by the data the Vassar administration used to come to their conclusions. As described in the article, the college effect refers to the phenomenon where college freshmen consume more alcohol after entering college than they had previously. The administration fears that incoming Vassar freshmen are more extreme in their increased alcohol consumption than those at peer institutions because of data collected using AlcoholEdu. As someone who participated in the AlcoholEdu surveys, I warn against taking this data too seriously. The survey is self-reported and relies on students to simply be honest in their answers. There is no way that such information can be taken simply at face value because it is impossible for the program to detect participants that are providing false information. Hopefully, the ATF will consider the many implications of the data that it collects before coming to any conclusions about Vassar College’s drinking culture. I do not dispute that there is a dangerous element present in this college’s drinking scene, but I do think the data might make the problem appear worse than it actually is. I also wonder what solutions the College can actually propose to solve these alcohol-related incidents. As negative as it may seem, dangerous drinking habits on campuses are so engrained in the United States college drinking culture that I wonder what viable solutions would eliminate the associated problems short of making Vassar a dry campus.
—Carson Robinson ’12 is a psychology major.
—John Kenney ’14 is a student at Vassar College.
—The Staff Editorial represents the opinion of at least two thirds of the 23-member Miscellany News Editorial Board.
Birth control ban case of violence against women Carson Robinson
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
February 16, 2012
February 16, 2012
New election bylaw levels playing field Hannah Groch-Begley Guest Columnist
n Sunday night the Vassar Student Association (VSA) passed an amendment to the bylaws regarding elections. After reading that sentence, I assume most of you will just give up and go read the Humor & Satire section instead. Could this get more boring? Most of us don’t really know what a “bylaw” even is, or how it differs from the Constitution or why we should care. A post on SayAnything about guys with beards is more riveting than this stuff. And yet what happened on Sunday night was incredibly important and—amidst all the voting on voting on voting—terribly exciting. Last year, elections were changed to a system where filling and campaigning overlapped, which meant that those who filed first got more time to campaign than those who filed later, and therefore had an unfair advantage. The amendment which was passed on Sunday got rid of that overlap. [See “Council passes election bylaws amendment” on page 3] While that might seem like a simple, small, boring change, it fundamentally alters the way elections at this school happen. The issue was deeply contentious, and members of the VSA debated, and sometimes yelled, and sometimes cried, because making this system as fair as possible mattered. It mattered to the students on Council (and to some students not on Council— myself included), and it should matter to you.
Regardless of what you think of the VSA or how it does its job, thanks to Shared Governance the students on Council have a surprising amount of power at this school. Who gets elected, and what they do when they get there, influences more about your dayto-day life here at Vassar than you probably realize. So even if you care very little about anything else the VSA does or how they do it, you should probably care about elections. You should care that elections are as fair and open as they can possibly be, so that voices from every corner of this college can be heard. You should care that you and everyone you know has an equal opportunity to effect change at this institution, and you should care that your current representatives had the guts to do just that on Sunday night. There is not a lot of institutional memory among students at Vassar, but election by-laws have changed every year since I got here in 2008, and at least twice before that. We don’t revise our bylaws on a yearly basis because it’s fun, or because each new Council thinks last year’s Council were idiots. We revise our election by-laws every year because they matter—the process isn’t perfect yet, and we want it to be perfect. No one, I believe, has ever purposefully proposed an amendment to the bylaws that would make the election process worse. Last year, as happens every year, the bylaws were changed, and they were changed
with the best of intentions; but in retrospect, the changes led to a system that was unfair at a most basic level. The new, revised bylaws bring us back to a system that is fundamentally fair. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should probably point out that the system we have returned to is one that I personally helped construct two years ago when I was on Council and a Board of Elections co-chair. I can say with full honesty, however, that I don’t really care about that. I am far more proud to have been a part of the process this year, to have been one of those debating and yelling (and maybe crying just a little bit). And we’re not done yet. I believe the bylaws are a living, breathing document that must continue to change. There are still improvements to be made, but I am a senior, so this is the last time I can be a part of this process. I urge the Council not to let this issue fall through the cracks in the future. VSA Council has the power to get us to a system that works well 100 percent of the time. Now they can be proud that they are working from a foundation of fairness. You, the students of Vassar College, have the power to agitate for whatever further election reform you think is necessary. And trust me: It will be exciting. —Hannah Groch-Begley ’12 was Noyes House president and chair of the Board of Elections during 2009-10.
What would you like to see students play the faculty in?
Lexi Diamond ’13
Greek austerity bill passes amid recession Lane Kisonak
ast December, near the end of my semester abroad, I escaped a blustery Scotland with two of my friends to spend a few days in Greece. Our first sight upon emerging from the Athens Metro in the Thissio neighborhood, in search of a late supper, was the austere and time-worn Acropolis, bathed in golden light. We would spend hours at the Acropolis the next morning, snapping photos of the Parthenon and Erechtheum, and then descend back into modernity to grab lunch in Monastiraki and get fitted for a pair of custom sandals crafted by the famous poet sandal-maker, Stavros Melissinos—a few of the usual touristy things one does when pressed for time in a new and exotic place. Everywhere I went in Greece, including the port city of Piraeus, the island of Aegina and the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion, I looked for signs of the eurozone crisis in society. Indeed they presented themselves, chiefly in the form of children on the streets playing small accordions in hopes of a coin or two, and clusters of boarded-up shops lining the sidewalks. What I also found was a tremendous ability on the part of Greek society to compartmentalize its economic tribulations and preserve the integrity of its culture through its people, whose geniality and generosity made an impression on me that lasts to this day. Sadly, this past weekend a few hundred Athenians chose to lash out not only at their government but also at their fellow citizens. The rioting began on Sunday afternoon, in response to the Greek Parliament’s passing of a harsh new austerity bill on a vote of 199 to 74. What until then had been peaceful protests drawing tens of thousands to Syntagma Square quickly spun out of control, with rioters throwing rocks at police officers, who responded with streams of tear gas. Around 60 civilians were hurt, and 70 police officers injured. Then the vandals began to set fire to their city’s buildings. A stunning number of Athenian landmarks fell victim to the chaos; two cinemas and a Nazi resistance memorial were burnt to the ground. Buildings dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries were reduced to rubbish, 170 offices and shops damaged, and graffiti scrawled throughout the city. According to the National Confederation of Greek Commerce, any plans to rebuild and reopen the affected businesses and rehire displaced employees are likely impossible in the near term. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, speaking out against the violence, declared, “Vandalism and destruction have no place in a democracy and will not be tolerated.” Why did these few hundred people see fit to set their city ablaze? Why did they choose to undermine the moral authority of the peaceful
protests that had come before them and push hundreds of neighbors into the same kind of economic turmoil the country itself has been facing for so long? For the vast majority the trouble came with the terms of the new austerity deal, meant to secure 130 billion euros ($172 billion) in fresh loans for Greece from the “troika” of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, as well as a 50 percent “haircut” to the debt owed by Greece to private creditors. The bill is a sequel to a deal made in May 2010 for a bailout of 110 billion euro ($145 billion). The Greek coalition government hopes that the new funds, combined with austerity measures, will help set the country on the path to relative fiscal sustainability (the debt-to-GDP ratio is currently 133 percent; the current plan is to trim that to 120 percent by the end of the decade). To that end, they voted Monday to cut the national minimum wage by 22 percent, slash entitlement spending and lay off a fifth of all public workers by 2015. According to Der Spiegel, officials are also thinking about getting rid of the extra two months’ salary given each year to workers in the private sector. While the Greek government has displayed a pattern of promising cuts but not enacting them in the past, the lawmakers now clearly recognize how desperate the situation is (better late than never). The contagion of Greek debt remains a risk to the rest of the EU that must be contained, and a default could lead to a massive regional bank run as well as further collapse of the Greek economy. The two primary coalition parties, PASOK (Greece’s major socialist party) and New Democracy (the conservatives) had 22 and 21 legislators break ranks respectively in this weekend’s vote, and each party chose to expel all its dissenters. Of course in any democratic society such purging of the rank-and-file for an inconvenient vote should never be allowed to happen. That said, the maneuver demonstrates how much Greek party leaders want to show their potential European lenders, including Germany’s perpetually annoyed Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, how determined they are to make the harsh cuts they just passed. But in an economy with unemployment standing higher than 20 percent and an anticipated Q4 2011 GDP decline of more than four percent, even if one thinks that a 13th and 14th month’s salary is a sign of fiscal decadence, these measures could be legitimately considered draconian. Many commentators think they probably won’t even work; according to economist Simon Tilford, cited in The New York Times, austerity usually involves the devaluation of the country’s currency in order to increase foreign demand for domestic goods and services. The Greeks, however, cannot devalue the euro. Indeed, the
CBS News website states generally that austerity in recessionary environments fails to solve the key issues (American politicians, take note!). In terms of public support for the package, Greeks remain as split as they were several months ago. Back in November, 60 percent disapproved of the bailout, but 70 percent wished to remain in the eurozone. A national survey published last week in the newspaper Paron pegs support for the deal at 38 percent, but now it seems the number of those who want to default has shot up to 48 percent. It is hard to blame skeptics of the deal for wanting simply to break things off with the eurozone and return to the drachma. Der Spiegel reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a firm promise last week that she would not herself be part of any Greek exit from the eurozone. But while officials all around Europe have continually restated their personal dedication to the Greek rescue project, Greek citizens themselves have seen their society deteriorate in ways previously thought impossible. The most plausible timeline to restore the economy back to pre-crisis levels has been pushed back from 10 years to 20, and the stellar alignment of political wills amongst the troika, Greek Parliament and private creditors seems unlikely to emerge. For the Greeks who continue to negotiate daily life on the brink of economic disaster, it must surely be infuriating to be forced to watch from the sidelines as political elites fumble through the motions, many of them unsure if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Whether or not Greece is rescued, the scars left by this Sunday’s protests will likely mar the face of Athens for some time to come. Nonetheless, the millions of tourists who journey through Greece each year, myself included, can perceive none but the most strikingly visible signs of the crisis being endured. This is a testament both to the degree to which tourists willfully partake in the most pleasant and exciting parts of their destination—the foods, wines, temples, trinkets and such—and to the spirit of the Greek people, which should not be underestimated. But there is only so much hardship a society can take before something gives way; nearly 28 percent of Greeks found themselves in poverty or social exclusion in 2010 according to numbers released last week by Eurostat, and that number has surely only grown.” One can only hope Greece’s leaders, as well as Europe’s political and financial elite, guide them safely through the the months ahead. —Lane Kisonak ’13 is a political science major. He is also Opinions Editor of The Miscellany News.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Erik Snow ’12
Ryder O’Dell ’14
“Tug-of-war. In Noyes Circle. After a rain storm.
Layla Fassa ’15
“The Carmen Sandiego obstacle course.”
Aidan Kahn ’14
“Legends of the Hidden Temple.”
Katharine Austin ’12 —Juliana Halpert, Photography Editor Alanna Okun, Humor & Satire Editor
Letter to the Editor
f you’ve been reading the Miscellany lately, you’ve probably noticed a lot of discussion surrounding elections in the Vassar Student Association (VSA). There has been talk of filing periods, campaigning periods, candidate meetings and the rest of it. The discussions we have engaged in are valuable, but none of it is to forget the most important part of elections: You! So long as elected candidates speak and voters choose, VSA elections are very much defined by the people who engage in them. As April approaches, and we begin to prepare for the annual democratic ritual of spring elections, your participation will be a vital contribution to student government and, in turn, to life here at Vassar. Now that might seem daunting, so here’s the even better news: Whoever you are, and whatever your personal experiences or goals, there is a part for you to play. Maybe you’re ready to take the lead role. Elected positions exist in several capacities, from the VSA Executive Board to house teams to special committee positions. Perhaps you would rather be a supporting character. Most VSA meetings are open to the public, and most committees welcome new members from at large. Even if you prefer a spot in the seats, there is still a role to fulfill. Contact your representative, speak up about what you see and be sure to vote. Just as actors perform, representatives exist to serve you. Help them to do their jobs more fully, and you will probably find that you’re helping yourself out too. —Seth Warner ’14 and Matthew Wheeler ’12 are co-Chairs of the Board of Elections.
February 16, 2012
Secular laws must trump religious beliefs Institutions must respect individual freedom Jack Mullan
n the 02.09.12 edition of The Miscellany News, Juan Thompson penned a column arguing against the Obama administration’s decision to make it mandatory that all health insurance plans—including those offered by Catholic universities and charities—provide birth control to women without any co-pay (“HHS order violates nation’s right to freedom of religion”). Thompson took the position that the verdict reached by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) violated our Constitution’s freedom of religion, stating that “no bureaucrat at HHS should be ordering America’s churches what to do,” and even ending his piece with a Jeffersonian flourish. While I appreciate that Thompson, along with others of his persuasion, clearly wants to respect the religious pluralism in our country and honor the rights that Jefferson sought to preserve, I believe he has put forward a misguided interpretation of the effects of this requirement. To begin, it would be convenient to review what the law actually does. Thompson used the umbrella-term “religious institutions” rather liberally, but it is important to understand the nuanced and somewhat opaque distinctions that the HHS has made. Under the conscience clause, an employer would be considered religiously affiliated (and, thus, granted exemption from the mandate) if its main purpose is to spread religious beliefs and if a large proportion of its employees are of the same faith. In fact, in the time since last week’s publication, the White House has scaled the law back even further, enabling any non-exempt employers to outsource coverage to a private insurer if they remain morally opposed to providing birth con-
trol. But it is worth revisiting the specific circumstances which Thompson was addressing, because they invite an intriguing discussion on the meaning of religious freedoms. Under the provisions outlined by the HHS, a Catholic parish would meet the standard for exemption but, much to Thompson’s lament, a church-run soup kitchen or Georgetown University would more likely be forced to comply with the law. Is this a radical infringement of their freedoms? Absolutely not.
Religiously-affiliated institutions should honor the individual freedoms of their employees±—especially the right to choose when to start a family. The government is neither obligating churchgoers to use contraceptives nor asking Catholic hospitals to distribute Plan B in their lobbies; rather, the regulation stipulates that these institutions must indirectly subsidize birth control for their employees, which some faiths see as forced participation in evil. The issue here is that these enterprises are only nominally religious entities, unlike churches, and they have chosen to venture into the broader market for employment, where private actions are to be governed by public rules.
Thompson’s retort in his column is that “anyone who chooses to be employed at such a place knows what the church’s dogma is,” and “no one is forced to work” at these institutions. This is a lazy non sequitur that implies neglect for the very individual freedoms Thompson is trying to defend. Why must a woman “choosing” to be employed at a Jesuit hospital surrender her individual rights to the institution’s dogma? If this were fair, then why should a Randian executive observe minimum-wage laws, or why should these same Catholic associations offer paid maternity leave to homosexual employees? These businesses are partially funded by public, secular, taxpayer money, so it is incumbent upon them to play by the same public, secular rules to which our society has consented. If it is the freedom to believe and act upon whatever one wants that Thompson is seeking to protect, then these non-exempt institutions should duly honor the individual freedoms of those whom they employ—especially one as significant as the right to choose when to start a family. To reframe this argument in more empirical terms, a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 58 percent of Catholics support the mandate, and, despite the church’s teachings, 98 percent of Catholic women use contraception. This decision will have no binding effect on the slim margin of Catholics who opt not to use the pill. As for those 98 percent, as well as women of all different faiths across the United States, access to free birth control—either from employer-sponsored or private insurance companies—represents not an assault on freedom, but an ascent toward liberty. —Jack Mullan ’14 is a political science major.
The Miscellany Crossword by Jonathan Garfinkel, Crosswords Editor ACROSS 1. Academic period, briefly 4. Electric Nikola 9. “Angel dust” 12. Hollywood’s Thurman 13. Harry Potter, for one 14. Corrida cry 15. With 17-across, line one of a campus poster 17. See 15-across 19. Where one may be stuck 20. “Do You _______?” (hit by poster’s subject) 22. With 65-across, leader of the poster’s
subject 24. Guadalajara snack 25. Go grey 26. “It’s a simple, _____ no question!” 29. Kathmandu’s turf 32. Morns, briefly 34. Mr. Flanders 36. Seattle outdoor outfitter 38. Omega preceder 39. Lady Antebellum’s, “_______ Now” 43. High school for Prince William 44. With 45 and
Answers to last week’s puzzle
46-across, line two of the poster 45. See 44-across 46. See 44-across 47. Sword’s superior, perhaps 48. Designer Oscar de ______ 49. Obstacle for aspiring J.D.’s 50. Wiretapping org. 52. Watchmaker ___ Heuer 53. “___-la-la” 54. Berliner’s dark hours 57. Played tortoise and hare 60. Italian fashion house 61. Flight datum, briefly 62. “_______ Battles the Pink Robots” (album of 20- across) 65. See 22-across 68. With 69-across, final line of the poster 69. See 68-across 73. Heart jump-starter, briefly 75. Rocky Mountain native tribe 76. Vassar’s favorite daughter, perhaps 77. “Before” (prefix) 78. Cookie container 79. “There was a time...” 80. Popular ISP
DOWN 1. Soccer mom- mobile, briefly 2. Mideast elite 3. Riot squad spray 4. Yoga pose 5. Some albums, briefly 6. Not he 7. Certain nerdy party type 8. Cav’s forward Jamison 9. Smut 10. Colonel Mustard’s game 11. Cat, dog, or boa constrictor 13. Italian rice dishes 16. Devour 17. Old Indian currency 18. Wise guy, perhaps 21. Big name in chips 23. Informal affirmative 27. “_______ as it is in heaven” 28. Beef 30. Entertainer 31. Certain sexy print 32. Wan 33. Demeanors 35. On the way out 37. “Right now” (prefix) 38. Napster’s M.O. 39. Group for the Giants 40. Standardized test-
ing area, briefly 41. Toronto’s prov. 42. NCAA Bulldogs 43. Chicago not-sosubway, say 51. The study of humanity, briefly 55. Entourage’s Gold, and others
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
56. Deep sleeps 57. Go over 58. “That’s not ____!” 59. Islet 60. NYC time Oct-Mar 62. Abominable snowman 63. Some cart pullers 64. “What’s ____ you?”
66. Wine country 67. Architect Saarinen 68. Crazy one 70. Funerary vase 71. Camcorder button, briefly 72. Barely passing, perhaps 74. Ctrl+Alt+___
HUMOR & SATIRE
February 16, 2012
Mr. Bouchard’s guide to Surviving the sophomore the second-semester funk slump (or at least trying to) Jean-Luc Bouchard Columnist
ach year, between Winter and Spring Breaks, college students across the nation experience a “second-semester funk,” catapulting them into a nightmarish world of more work than they predicted and less sleep than they would have liked. If there is a God, truly He be a cruel one, as He allows us to endure such soul-shatteringly inhumane acts as warm-then-cold-then-warm-again weather, a do-it-yourself sandwich station in the Deece and people you hate returning from JYA. But fear not, fellow oppressed! Don’t let the fact that we have an endless two-some-odd weeks before our next break ruin your semester— follow these few simple rules, and turn that funk into fun!
1. Homework is a social construct.
I mean, I guess it’s okay, assuming you want to be oppressed. Oh wait, you don’t? Then drop that book, burn those problem sets, uninstall OpenOffice and watch the free time roll on in! With time, your professors will understand that it’s wrong to subject their students to participate in an inherently biased system, in which those who do their work are always graded better than those who watch 10 hours of Yu-Gi-Oh! a day. If you stop participating in the homeworkgrade machine, I guarantee you’ll see a big change in your life; whether it’s good or bad depends on the Dean of Studies. 2. Sleeping at night is a social construct. Psychologists at the University of State Tech recently published research showing a direct link between the amount of sunlight we take in daily and our general happiness. I didn’t actually bother reading the rest of the article, but I can only assume that it justified my life-long fear of the sun’s rays and their joy-destroying, happiness-sapping photons. Solution? Start sleeping from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Don’t worry—you can still make it to one of those super-late macro classes.) You’ll find that the massive Vitamin D deficiency will be well-worth the bursts of glee you’ll receive from being alone in the dark for hours at a time, watching everyone else enjoy sleep as the skin on your forearms visibly pales and shrivels before your eyes. The neverending madness, loneliness and paranoia will certainly jar you out of your funk. Heck, you may be too terrified of the noises you hear
outside your window all night to actually feel other emotion. Emily Dickinson did most of her writing alone at night, with nothing more than a dim candlelight as her company, and she was famously un-depressed! 3. Eating healthy? Social construct.
I believe it was some stranger I met crouching in bushes outside of Cushing who said, “I ain’t never met a bowl of salad that could recite the quadratic equation.” Powerful stuff. And as he robbed me blind and cut off my hair lock by glorious lock, I took his words to heart and vowed to never let healthy eating ruin my day again. We live in such troubled times—failing economy, conflicts overseas, Joe Biden—why should we have to also stop eating sticks of butter covered in M&Ms? No more mumbojumbo words like “fennel” or “sauce” or “locally grown” or “(insert any word that isn’t cheese) soup.” I say, a world without my Taiwanese shrimp-soda-and-saltine-surprise pie is a world begging to be de-funked. Do what comes naturally—prepare for the winter via massive caloric hoarding. May I suggest Chili Wednesday? 4. Surprisingly, friends are not social constructs. (But they are heteronormative.)
“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” Sun-tzu. That Chinese general who lived 2000 years before we were born has an incredibly relevant point: A life filled with friends will never bring you the same energy and singularity of purpose that a life filled with hateful and malicious enemies can provide. Friends support you, listen to you, make you laugh—in other words, make you weak. Enemies keep you on your toes (and possibly Zoloft prescription), constantly belittling your actions and endangering your life. Is it possible to feel swamped with work when you’re tied to a metal table, trying to convince a villain with an eye-patch and quasi-Bulgarian accent not to activate the laser cannon? I think not. Friends want to split an order of fries and hear about how tough your week has been; enemies want to go back in time and sterilize your grandfather. Talk about your welcomed distractions!
ave you ever thought that there might be more to life than getting biddies (is there) ? Is your bed a nest of last week’s clothing, Retreat receipts and 40s bottles? Are you finally feeling the white guilt mentioned in your Gender, Race and Sexuality in Post-Colonial [insert Third World country here] class? Well, congratulations. You might be a jaded sophomore. I’ve been told that sophomore year is the most grueling part of our Vassar careers. Every morning, I spend a good 10 minutes asking myself why I get out of bed, and most of the time the answer is so I can get unlimited Diet Coke at the Deece. As sophomores, many of the things we’ve previously held dear have lost their luster. No longer are we graced with the blissful ignorance and pleasure of drunkenly stumbling into a random senior’s TH and being forced to chug the 40 she’s been keeping in her coat pocket since last weekend. We’re old news. We’re like Villard Room parties. Now, we could probably drown small children in the amount of reading and applications we have to do. JYA applications, picking a major, summer internships have become the very bane of our existence. These summer applications bring a new meaning to “desperaternship” (not to be confused with “desperationship,” another defining term of sophomore year) as we scavenge our contact lists to connect with our longlost rich uncles in hopes of spending the summer fetching coffee and getting shat on by everyone.
Sophomore year is the year of the pretentious email signature. It’s basically a mini resume, and an even more desperate proclamation of our feeble daily lives. We just want everyone to know that we’re co-president of a million clubs and doing an independent major on “existence.” Bonus points if your signatures are longer than the majority of your emails. The most satisfying part of our days is to complain about all the work we have to do. These days, people who “work hard play hard” actually “work hard and spend their spare time telling everyone how tired they are.” On weekends, you either enter a fierce competition for the title of Drunkest Bitch at the Party, or you’re cooped up in your dorm room playing countless hours of Words With Friends. The walk to the THs felt so much shorter freshman year, and now the only way you can get me to walk over there is if you bribe me with a paper extension or a slice of Bacio’s. Keep your head up, sophomore. Soon you’ll be going abroad to Europe or to some obscure Third World country that still hasn’t discovered utensils. And for those who are staying, you’ll no longer have to see that annoying girl in your economics class that spends the whole period shopping for Victoria Secret lingerie. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Oh, wait. Not really. That’s just the dimly lit campus shuttle leaving the TH path. Let’s get it together, guys. Rail that last line of emergency Adderall and finish those last million pages of reading, right in time for your 9 a.m.
5. Social constructs are social constructs.
Seriously, you’ll feel a lot better once you stop saying “social construct” every day in my English class. Or at least I will.
Weekly Calendar: 02/16-02/22 by Alanna Okun, Humor & Satire Editor Thursday, 2/16 3 p.m. Tea. In light of the proposed smoking ban (quick, you guys, get on SayAnything STAT): other stuff we should ban. Rose Parlor. 6 p.m. Pour Some Sugar on Me. Or like, red pepper hummus and some Strawberry Andre. Whatever’s on hand. Villard 7 p.m. Festival of Mexican Cinema. I’ll be there. And I’m bringing tu mama tambien. Chicago.
Friday, 2/17 3 p.m. Tea. That delightful phenomenon whereby sometimes Kismat doesn’t show up to Tasty Tuesday and your whole entire trip to campus is wasted. (“Class” and “extracurricular activities” are all just thinly veiled excuses.) Rose Parlor.
Saturday, 2/18 9 a.m. No Such Convention. The keynote speaker is a unicorn with a horn made of Nilda’s who really believes that
Democrats and Republicans can find some common ground if they only just spent more time power-cuddling. College Center. 7:30 p.m. Student-Faculty Basketball Game. This event should be about community-building and team spirit, not divisiveness and intoxication. So with that in mind, drink every time a certain dean of the college is thoughtful and generous to the opposing team. Walker.
LaundryView yet? How about one that tells you when UpC is out of ice cream? Or whether the person you’re grinding with has hooked up with more than 50 percent of your freshmen fellow group? WELL WHY THE FUCK NOT?” Aula. 3 p.m. Tea. People who Skype in the Library. People who don’t know how whenisgood works. People who think “MidC” is a thing. Rose Parlor.
8 p.m. Squirm Sex Toy Silent Auction. Won’t be so silent once you win the auction. ZIIIIIIIIIIIIING. Jade Parlor.
3 p.m. Tea. Any romantic partner who believes it’s okay to stick his or her whole entire tongue in your ear. Rose Parlor.
12 p.m. “the house-shaped hole—what happened while my parents were out.” I threw a rager and three people got pregnant, duh. Just kidding, I actually spent the whole weekend feng-shui-ing the dining room and eating chocolate chips directly from the bag. Palmer Gallery. (Ongoing.)
10 a.m. All College Day 2012. This year’s theme is The Vassar Community: Everyone’s Included: Except for You, High Schooler from Michigan: And Actually You 75 High School Students Too: Sorry, We Still Feel Kind of Like DBags: But Here’s a Bouncy Castle. College Center.
3 p.m. Tea. Bucket lists. Sports. Cuffed jeans. Patriarchy. Moodle posts. Bylaws. Rose Parlor.
12 p.m. Google Apps Q&A. “So like, do they have an app for
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
February 16, 2012
VC welcomes Through oil paints, Hall depicts live figures its first real-life M superhero Jasmine Timan Guest Reporter
Emily Lavieri-Scull/The Miscellany News
NONCON continued from page 1 on webcomics will happen on Feb. 19 at 1:30 p.m. in room 204 of the College Center. Grover is a returning attendee of the convention. “She’s a vendor who’s come to NonCon for a number of years now. She sent us an email saying she had done panels in the past, and she was willing to talk about all kinds of geeky topics,” said Lenoir. Grover explained the workshops she will put on for this year’s NonCon. “One will be Intro to Henna, which will be a primer on henna body art, including a little on the history and traditions, how to choose and mix it, how to apply for best results and a little on designs,” Grover wrote in an emailed statement. “The other is Bellydance Basics, where we’ll learn some essential moves and combinations that make up this fun traditional dance.” The henna workshop is slated for Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. in room 204 of the College Center; her belly dancing workshop is at 1 p.m. in the same room. In addition, NSO will throw a rave in Matthew’s Mug for the first time, featuring two as of yet unknown student DJs. “What we want to do is make a big collection of geeky music—from video games, techno music—and have a DJ and have a party!” Lenoir said. “To my knowledge, we’ve never just had a NonCon party.” NonCon will feature its usual festivities. Throughout the College Center there will be video games, role-playing games, anime, manga and other aspects of nerd-dom. The North Atrium will be filled with vendors, selling everything from dice for role-playing games to henna and spices. The Villard Room will house video games—open-play and tournaments. There will be rooms for card games, table-top games and Magic the Gathering—a magic-themed collectible trading card game. The aforementioned invited guests will speak in rooms 204 and 240 of the College Center only. NonCon will also have cosplay—that is, when fans dress up as their favorite characters from video games or anime. Members of the NSO will judge the cosplayers in a contest. The contest is not limited to the steampunk theme; the only stipulation is that costumes be hand-made or hand-assembled. The judging will be private, allowing individual participants to go before the panel and explain their costumes. A masquerade will follow, so all its participants can parade through the Retreat with their creations. Workshops and tournaments throughout the weekend will cater to students. A popular chainmail workshop will likely make a recurrence this year. The chainmail workshop will provide the appropriate tools, materials and direction for students to make anything from jewelry to a full, chainmail shirt. Workshops will also teach students how to play certain games—like how to play Magic the Gathering, for example—for any students interested in entering the tournaments, but without the requisite knowledge. Belly dancing and henna workshops may also happen this year. Discussion groups and presentations, like fan-fueled discussions about a book or a look into the presence of death within Japanese culture through its manga and anime, are slated for the convention. The many tournaments will include up to six videogame tournaments, a Fus-Ro-Dah shouting competition—in honor of recent popular videogame Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim— and a Magic the Gathering tournament. Goofiness too will abound, with games like “which video game character would win in a fight” and a public reading of “My Immortal,” a Harry Potter fanfiction infamous for its comically poor, even parodic writing style. NonCon is free and open to all Vassar students with I.D. Non-student tickets cost $15, and NSO will also sell T-shirts for $15. “One of NonCon’s aims is to bring people of similar interests together and give them a place they can feel comfortable with each other,” NSO Secretary Catharine Morgan ’15 said. “Have fun and make new friends.”
oorea Hall ’15 is an oil painter, taught to embrace learning through creativity at a young age. Her talent for the arts flourished, and Hall took art classes every year in public school. There in high school, Hall met who she dubbed her most influential mentor—her art teacher, Tom Holland. “My art teacher, Tom Holland, really pushed me to try new methods,” Hall said. “He taught himself how to use glaze first, which is an old master skill that Renaissance painters used to use. He later on taught this skill to me.” Her work began with direct painting, when the paint is transferred directly on to the canvas with brushes. Hall switched her paintbrush for a palette knife, to further manipulate the paints. “Pallete knife painting allows more free expression for the artist,” Hall said. “A lot of the stress from painting comes from the need to follow the drawing lines.” Direct painting creates a blurrier image; palette a sharper, well-blended image. Hall often thought about Holland’s teachings to help inspire her work, appreciating his outlook on life. “He was funny, a little wry, but very encouraging without being flattering,” Hall said. “He always pushed me to be better.” Hall noted the qualities of painting with glazes specfically as a medium. “Glaze is very translucent, so you just layer and layer and layer to get this luminescent glow,” Hall explained. “Unlike normal oil paint, painting with glaze is extremely time consuming, so you can only work for an hour a day. You paint a layer, then wait until it dries and layer on top. Otherwise, you would just be pushing paint off the surface each time.” One of Hall’s favorite subjects is live figures. “For a while I was interested in doing backs and shoulders. I liked how the muscles catch the light and how the skin’s color changes with the light,” Hall said. “I’m also interested in painting ballerinas because after taking [a] figure drawing class I want to catch the best part of the figure in action.” Hall enjoys the grace and elegance of ballet, and its accompanying ballerina dancers. “Like me, ballerinas are very detail oriented. I like how they are so dedicated to perfection. Every move they make is calculated, and it’s hard to catch one of those moves and immortalize it,” Hall said. “So if can capture it through a painting, that one second of perfection from months of training is captured.”
Moorea Hall ’15, pictured above, began to develop her passion for oil painting from an early age. One of Hall’s favorite subjects is live figures. She particularly likes the grace and elegance of ballerinas. Her favorite piece from among her works is Ballerina I. Its subject was based on “Swan Lake.” To create the final image, she used stock photos and live models as sources. This was the first time Hall had to create the background from imagination. “I definitely worked hardest on this piece. It took a total of two months, four hours a week,” Hall said. “I was really trying to find my own style, which is difficult when you are using models. The background came out straight out of my mind, and this was a big step, definitely.” Hall has used photographs before to compose
A weekly space highlighting the creative pursuits of student-artists
ne year I went on a pastel pencil rampage, and right after that my high school art teacher taught me how to glaze paint portraits like the old masters. Whether ink, pastel, graphite, tinted papers, nudes, glazes, oil paints or watercolor, I want to try everything. Each time I try a new style it’s like I’m learning all over again. My last few paintings have been done entirely with a palette knife. New challenges keep my art fresh and exciting (although my portfolio is not the most cohesive.) I call this painting “Ballerina I,” and it’s one of my all-time favorites. I was inspired by a pose in Karl Lagerfeld’s “Swan Lake” costume photo shoot for the London Ballet. I think ballerinas are the most graceful and powerful figures to portray. Their beautifully impossible poses are an exquisite example of the human form in action. Again, I went on a ballerina spree for a few months, but they’re only a small part of my portfolio. For the rest, my website is www. mooreahall.com. -Moorea Hall ’15
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
her images, sometimes taking multiple photos to inspire painted, unique composites. Hall isn’t enrolled in any art classes currently, but still has made time for her passion. “I would love to take a painting class. I don’t agree with the drawing requirements. I already had to take three Intro Drawing classes in the past six years because I moved around so much,” Hall said. Hall added, “Art is more of a hobby for me. I plan to major in Art History and want to be an art conservator, particularly for Renaissance and Baroque art.”
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February 16 , 2012
Published author Means straddles creativity and pedagogy Emma Daniels Reporter
Courtesy of therumpus.net
t the end of the Fall 2011 semester, Evan Schlaich ’14 compiled a list of his professor’s musings that he shared with his entire Freshmen Writing Seminar class. The class? Intro to the Apocalyptic Landscape with Visiting Associate Professor of English David Means. The list’s title? “Shit David Means says.” Schlaich’s quotes range from Means’ thoughts about literature and fiction, like “There’s a certain authority in the printed page,” to his ideas about existence, like “I know a plumber: He’s a fascist, he’s a nut, he’s intriguing. I talk to him every chance I get. The whole world is against him,” or to his ideas about history and culture: “Abraham Lincoln was a prophet.” “Some of those statements are hilariously out of context,” contended Means. But it says something about the Vassar professor and esteemed short-story writer that he made enough statements worth quoting to fill three and a half pages. Joe Lovizio ’14, who was also in the class, said, “He would just say things, nonstop. He was like a philosopher, and made me think about literature and reading in a way I never thought about before.” At Vassar, Means teaches freshmen writing seminars and creative writing. Professionally, almost 50 of his short stories have been published in various outlets, including Esquire, The New Yorker, Harper’s and the Paris Review, among others. He has also written four collections of short stories: A Quick Kiss of Redemption, Assorted Fire Events, The Secret Goldfish, and most recently, The Spot. The Spot was selected as a 2010 Notable Book by The New York Times, and won an O. Henry Prize. He is also in the process of working on a currently untitled novel. Most of his work is dark fiction, centered on the United States and the American landscape. The Spot is a collection of 13 stories, all of which revolve around a spot, a particular nar-
Visiting Associate Professor of English David Means, pictured above, teaches the Freshman Writing Seminar Intro to the Apocolyptic Landscape. Means has written four collections of short stories. rative center. For example, in one story, it’s an old blacksmith shed in which three men tweeze apart the intricacies of a botched bank robbery. And in another, it’s a park on the Hudson River, where two lovers sense their affair is about to come to an end. “Part of being an American writer is this mad, crazy, dark unspoken history we have. I’m kind of into that,” Means said. “When I’m writing, I try to tell the stories that need to be told,
those that would otherwise be unspoken and then gone forever.” “Professor Means is really into old, weird America,” explained Lovizio, “and always talked about how literature takes you places that you don’t want to go, so you can see them.” Means originally hails from Michigan, where some of his stories are set. As an undergraduate, he attended the University of Wooster, and he then went on to Columbia University, where
he received his MFA in poetry. Means started writing poetry at the College of Wooster, where he also studied medicine. “One day I threw in the towel and said, ‘Okay, I got to be creative,’” Means said about his undergraduate experience. But that’s not to say Means has completely abandoned his background in science. “I’m always trying to tell students inspiration comes from a lot of different sources. It’s not only about reading literature, but it’s about looking at art, looking at photography, listening to music, all of that other stuff,” Means noted. “Even biology and medicine can inform your creative process.” Means’s influences include writers such as Anton Chekhov, William Faulkner, Alice Munro, but also more untraditional artists and groups, one being the popular band Radiohead. “Pop music and short stories are connected and I’m always saying this; there are similarities between a song and a story in the structure,” he said. In general, all aspects of pop culture fascinate Means, and one of the reasons why he’s such a sought-after professor is his approaches to teaching and writing that are multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted and timely. Lovizio said, “I loved the way he encompassed all aspects of American culture in his class. Sometimes, we’d listen to a song at the beginning of class. Other times we’d talk about art, or philosophy.” Although Lovizio, Schlaich and Means’s other students rave about his influence on their work, Means noted that another one of his inspirations are his students. “To me there’s like a symbiotic energy in teaching; my students’ creativity feeds me. It’s kind of selfish but that’s the way it is,” Means said. “Writing is just as hard after doing it for years as it is when you’re just starting, so in class I feel strongly that we’re all in the same boat, trying to find stories, shifting though different ways of expressing ourselves on the page,” he said.
Student dramatists prep for speedy theater Nicole Wong
cyborg turned into a mother on-stage last year. The delirium is none other than a product of the sleeplessness and silliness that always accompanies the semesterly 24-Hour Theater project. Members of Unbound and Inktank—student directors, writers, actors and designers— meet at 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night. 24 hours later, they will put on four different shows— all written, made and produced in that very 24 hours. Stephanie Mischell ’12 and Benny Witkovsky ’12 introduced the event—24-Hour Theater—to Vassar two years ago. After members of Unbound and Inktank sort out who will write, direct and perform they will meet on Friday night. Unbound is devoted solely to experimental, non-traditional and even atypical theater. Inktank is a subgroup of Unbound, a playwriting collective. Four writers from Inktank will receive prompts, and use their next 12 hours to write and devise their respective plays. 12 hours later at 9 a.m. the next Saturday morning, the writers will pack it up and go home to finally rest. Four new teams of directors, tech designers, and actors will take up their new plays and work until the directors have finished directing, the actors have memorized their lines—well, they still have to improvise sometimes—and tech has figured out logistics and lights. Right before the show starts, groups of people will be scrambling around campus looking for costumes and props that they can borrow from anybody they can find. Then at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night, the show will go on. Sleep isn’t ever scheduled into the 24-hour period. “I think that’s why Benny and I started this: because we like theater and we don’t like sleeping, so let’s just stay awake!” Mischell joked. “It’s an excuse to drink a lot of coffee.”
Mischell explained 24-Hour Theater with an apt comparison. “It definitely forces you to be creative,” Mischell said. “It’s like that Calvin and Hobbes comic where Calvin says, ‘You can’t rush creativity,’ and Hobbes says, ‘What makes creativity work?’ And Calvin says, ‘Last minute desperation!’” And that is what 24-Hour Theater is all about.” Mischell was partially responsible for bringing 24-Hour Theater back to Vassar’s campus. “You can really feel all of the excitement and all of the energy of both groups and it’s crazy to think about,” Mischell said, “because each group really only has 12 hours to do a whole show, and it kind of becomes your whole world for that day. I’m always amazed at how well it works out in the end.” Mischell appreciates Vassar’s many theater projects, but still thinks there is a special place for 24-Hour Theater. “There’s a ton of theater on this campus. We have all these amazing shows that people work so hard on and that are incredible and that I know I could never do,” Mischell said. She added, “But what’s great about 24 Hour Theater is that it’s kind of a show for the rest of us. It’s great for me and I think for a lot of people because it’s an opportunity to do theater that’s really just aimed at challenging yourself and having fun.” A biology major, Mischell helped reestablish 24-Hour Theater at Vassar along with her friend Witkovsky, a Peace and Conflicts major, in their sophomore year. Mischell used to perform a lot more, but considers 24-Hour Theater alone now enough. Mischell joined Unbound during her freshman year. She had done theater in high school, but never been behind a production. Loving it, she continued her theatrical interests through Unbound’s 24-Hour Theater. “What’s great about it is that Benny and I both love theater and have done a lot of theater, but are not necessarily theater people,” Mischell said.
Both Mischell and Witkovsky often go beyond the duties of hosting for the chaotic event. “We often take on random jobs,” Mischell said. “We’ve written before, we’ve directed and this semester we might be cowriting.” In previous years, 24-Hour Theater took place in the Susan Shiva Stein Theater. Mischell partly likes the new setting for its extra seating availability, but also for its novelty. “As much as we love the Shiva, there’s a lot of different things that you can do in Sanders that you can’t in the Shiva,” Mischell said. “We have the big projector and the blackboards. We need something new.” Having acted in last semester’s performance of 24-Hour Theater, Benjamin Olneck-Brown ’15 encouraged people to be a part of 24-Hour Theater this year, or subsequent ones. “It’s hilarious. It’s unlike anything you’ll ever see. It’s one of a kind,” Olneck-Brown said. “This is something that’s been created in the last 24-hours, and it’s the only time that it will ever be performed. Not very often will you be able to see a new piece of theater like this.” This semester’s production, set for Saturday, Feb. 18 at 9:30 p.m. in Sanders Classroom should be as hectic and sleepdeprived as ever. It takes place right after the student-faculty basketball game, making it a nice stop for your theater fix after your sports mix. “It’s a short, high-energy show and it’s a great opportunity to see people who you know and love on campus just making complete fools of themselves,” Mischell said. “But then you remember that they just did that in the last ten hours and you’re like, ‘That’s impressive.’” Olneck-Brown echoed Mischell’s enthusiasm. “24-Hour Theater was a really great experience,” he said, “because it was really exciting to see theater come together in such a short period of time.”
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
African-American Cultural Exhibition Mid-Hudson Heritage Center Until February 28 Free The Heritage Center, located right by the bus stop for the Hudson Civic Center, presents artwork made by local contemporary African-American artists in celebration of Black History Month.
Library movie series Adriance Memorial Library February 16, 12 p.m. Catch a screening of State Fair (1945), which features the lovely music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. While at the Library, also check out its Jewish Songwriters exhibition that the film complements.
New Directions 2012 Barret Art Center Until March 9 Wednesday to Friday: 9 a.m. 5 p.m. Saturdays: 11am-3pm Come see the 27th annual iteration of this national juried contemporary art exhibit. And be sure to return every year!
February 16, 2012
Satirist Borowitz to feature in annual Krieger lecture
Courtesy of Getty Images
BOROWITZ continued from page 1 Sacks, Tony Kushner, Michael Chabon, David Sedaris, Gail Collins, Ira Glass and Frank Rich. “It’s an incredibly generous gift to Vassar,” said Assistant Dean of the College for Campus Activities Teresa Quinn. Originally from Shaker Heights, Ohio, Borowitz graduated from Harvard University in 1980 and served as president of the Harvard Lampoon, a renowned undergraduate humor publication that has helped launch the careers of several aspiring, Harvard-educated comedians, including Conan O’Brien. In one online interview from August 2000, Borowitz discussed the origins of his career. “Once I was in college, I was on the Harvard Lampoon and there was a guy named Jim Downey who had graduated a few years before I had and had gone on to write for Saturday Night Live,” Borowitz said. “Somebody at one point told me that Jim Downey made as much as a lawyer did. And I thought that was the best joke I’d ever heard.“ He continued, “I couldn’t believe that it was true. That someone would actually pay you for what we were doing at the Lampoon, which was basically sitting around making fun of TV and screwing up our grade point averages.” Borowitz’s other credits include creating the acclaimed 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of BelAir and co-producing the 1998 film Pleaseantville. But he also has had extensive experience doing standup comedy, screenwriting, and filmmaking; he has even taught film classes at New York University. In 2001, he founded the Borowitz Report, a site that posts one 250-word news satire every weekday. The site led to greater fame and widespread
Satirist Andy Borowitz, right, entertains the proctor at The New Yorker Festival. Borowitz, whose credits include Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, will give the Alex Kreger ’95 Memorial Lecture on Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. attention for Borowitz as a political satirist. Explaining the origins of the website, Borowitz said in a 2006 interview with TheBitterCup.com, “I had started writing fake news when I was an editor of The Harvard Lampoon in college. When I started going online (shockingly late, in 1997 or so) I started writing fake news stories and sending them to friends,” Borowitz said. Borowitz added, “I started the site in 2001 just to make it easier to send the stories out. I
was really just doing it for me and my friends— I had no idea that millions of people would someday read it.” In 2007 he started blogging for the progressive blog The Huffington Post. His posts were featured on the home page of the blog and quickly became one of its most popular features. His popularity surged during the 2008 campaign, leading The Daily Beast to call him “America’s satire king.”
Quinn pointed out that in selecting a speaker each year, the College tries to find someone who will be a good fit. “The donors really want someone who resonates with students,” explained Quinn. Borowitz had been on the College’s radar for a long time, but it wasn’t until this year that his schedule allowed for him to come to Vassar at the schedule date of the lecture. Borowitz has not indicated what his lecture will cover, but Quinn suspects that he will most likely reflect upon his own college experiences and the challenges of his post-college life, topics that will surely speak to students’ interests. “In terms of sharing his experience with students, I think students will find a lot to relate to. He’s extremely funny but also very genuine,” Quinn said. Quinn also anticipates that Borowitz will enjoy his time spent at Vassar, not least because of the warm reception that he will likely receive from students. “Speakers always love meeting students because they’re so engaged, interested and curious,” she said. In years past, students have often benefited from various exchanges that they have had with various Krieger lecturers. Quinn recalls the year in which Chabon came to deliver the lecture. Not only did he arrive on campus earlier than expected, he also spent time with several students in the Library and conducted a writing workshop with them. Quinn suggested these invaluable interactions between the speakers and students have proven formative to students’ experiences at Vassar. “Every year, students have nothing but good things to say about the speakers and their interactions with them,” Quinn said.
Student a cappella group delivers a taste of Broadway Jack Owen
Assistant Arts Editor
Cassady Bergevin/The Miscellany News
tudents don’t have to head for Broadway to hear its tunes—instead, students only have to watch a performance by BAM, or Broadway and More a cappella. BAM is one of the most recent additions to Vassar’s diverse array of a cappella groups. “We’re a newer group on campus so it’s great that we’ve already made a name for ourselves,” BAM member Melanie Harrison ’14 said, “and have developed a reputation for having fun and entertaining concerts.” A co-ed group that specializes in Broadway music, BAM was founded in Fall 2006, gaining most of its members later in Spring 2007. BAM works to make their concerts fun, interactive performances. “Musical theater songs don’t lend themselves to be arranged a cappella so we try to pick pieces that will involve the group as much as possible,” explained Melanie Harrison ’14. Harrison, an alto, joined BAM last year and sings the solos for “Aquarius,” from the musical “Hair,” and “Maybe this Time,” from the musical “Cabaret.” Harrison, a musical buff, also had a leading role in musical-making Future Waitstaff of America’s (FWA) “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” and was recently cast in FWA’s upcoming spring show “Hair.” BAM is distinctive because most a cappella groups do not perform show tunes. Most a cappella groups perform pop or standard songs, and some even explicitly ask that performers do not sing a musical theater piece during auditions. The group’s repertoire, however, also includes music outside of musical theater, including themes from television shows. One singer, Paul Spanagel ’14 for example, sings a rendition of “On the Rise” from popular musical miniseries Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Still, there focus is clear: Broadway. “We’re trying to expand into TV themes soon. I just really want to sing ‘That’s So Raven!’” said Reeve Johnson ’14 with a laugh. Johnson, a tenor, sings the solo parts of “Run Freedom Run” from the musical Urinetown and “Totally Fucked” from the musical “Spring Awakening.” Johnson, like Harrison and his fellow BAM members is an avid musical fan; it should come as no surprise then he was also music director of FWA’s “She Loves Me” last semester, and recently casted in “Into the Woods,” the classic Sondheim musical, for the spring semester.
Above, members of the Broadway and More A Capella (BAM) group pose during a rehearsal. Founded in 2006, BAM is one of the most recent additions to Vassar’s diverse array of a capella groups. BAM works to incorporate comedy, choreography and dialogue into their concerts, which makes their shows feel more like performances from a musical rather than simply a typical a cappella concert. “We’re a lot of fun. We make an effort to do songs that are entertaining and will make people laugh too,” said Sarah Spitz ’14. A soprano, Spitz is in Vassar’s Women’s Chorus, and sings the solos of BAM’s rendition of “Summer Nights” from the musical “Grease.” “Our final concert last year was Glee-themed, and we
made it kind of like an episode of Glee, which was really fun. We also throw the best parties,” Spitz said. BAM is one of the College’s largest a cappella groups, with 14 singers currently on campus. In spite of its size, the group is very egalitarian and everyone gets a say in what songs will be performed. “People just arrange a bunch of songs, and anyone can bring a song to the table. Then we’ll vote on which we would like to actually perform,” said Johnson. In turn, because BAM is a newer group, they try to keep songs
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
in their repertoire for no more than two semesters to encourage variety. “If we have a lot of new stuff arranged, then we will talk about what has been done the most and what direction we want to go in,” further added Harrison. “Compared to other groups on campus we have fewer staple songs because we’re newer.” Many of BAM’s members will study abroad next semester, so they held auditions both first and second semester this year. When looking for new members, BAM seeks singers who are not only vocally talented, but also funny and comfortable with being quirky on stage. BAM hopes to gain many group members because their a cappella numbers, including the recently added “La vie Boheme” from the musical “Rent” often necessitate a large group, because of their performative nature and lack of soloists to lead them. Last year, BAM entered Dove’s Hair Care Brush with Greatness Sing 4 All. The competition solicited glee clubs and singing groups from all over to submit videos of themselves singing “My Favorite Things” from the musical “The Sound of Music,” and viewers voted for their favorite rendition online. The competition and audience narrowed down its myriad submissions to four finalists. The winning group gained the opportunity to perform the song at Radio City Music Hall that December. BAM came in third place, and earned a chat and musical coaching session over Skype with one of the most renowned Broadway icons of our generation, Idina Menzel. Menzel starred as Maureen Johnson in “Rent,” and won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her role as Elphaba in “Wicked.” Menzel also happened to have a recurring role on Glee, in a fitting link to BAM’s Glee-themed concert last year. “She was so nice!” exclaimed Spitz. “It was amazing. We sang ‘Totally Fucked’ and ‘My Favorite Things’ for her and asked her questions about her life and career. She said she really wanted us to win, and that we had the most intricate harmonies.” BAM will perform at the All Families Concert at the beginning of April, and will perform their annual spring concert sometime at the end of this spring semester. “Our concerts aren’t just for Broadway buffs; they’re for anyone who is looking to hear some good music and hear Broadway done in a different way,” Harrison concluded.
February 16 , 2012
The best songs of 2012, one month in Erik Lorenzsonn Senior Editor
leigh Bells? More like Sleigh Smells. Lana del Rey? Try Lana del Okay… at best. Leonard Cohen? Not even—how about…um…Leonard’s blowin’? Yeah, I’m just going to quit while I’m ahead. For the record, Leonard Cohen is actually amazing, and from what I’ve heard of his new album on All Songs Considered, he’s still got it. And as for those other two major acts that have already released material in the nascent year, Lana Del Rey and Sleigh Bells, I don’t exclusively hate; I actually mostly appreciate. Del Rey’s ballad “Video Games” was unequivocally the best single of 2011, and it’s hard not to admire a stadium-rock waltz like Sleigh Bell’s “Born to Lose” for its energy and scope—and of course their 2010 album Treats was absolutely fantastic. Nevertheless, from what I’ve heard of del Rey’s Born to Die and Sleigh Bell’s Reign of Terror—I feel just underwhelmed. Maybe I just need to sit down and give these artists another listen before railing on them, especially since I know many who disagree. Regardless, once you get past the question marks of 2012, it’s hard not to get pumped about some of the delightful songs that have already been released. Here are four of the best cuts the year has already offered up, and only two months into the rat race at that! “Simple Song,” The Shins
The Shins were more than just the darling of the indie music genre in their mid2000s heyday; they defined the indie music genre, what with the quality of their craft, and of course the shoutouts from Natalie Portman. But after five years of radio silence and questionable overhauls to the band’s lineup, there was every reason in the world to view their return to the music scene with a dubious eye.
But when “Simple Song” debuted on Jan. 9, all fears were allayed. In a sense, it’s more of the same old Shins—the song would easily fit right in on 2007’s Wincing the Night Away. But even though it’s treaded ground, it works because the Shins have molded their craft into pop-rock perfection. From the chirpy guitars to the upbeat bassline and the rousing lyrics, “Simple Song” hits a sweet spot. And the first time you hit the magical 1:30 mark, when James Mercer begins to yelp the chorus a lá “Turn on Me,” you’ll be transported to a bittersweet realm of high school nostalgia. It’s enough to raise your dorsal hairs on end. Do also check out “September,” the second single from Port of Morrow—I kid you not when I say that these two cuts are possibly the greatest songs The Shins have released, period. “Cartoons & Cereal,” by Kendrick Lamar
Talk about hot off the presses; this song was streaming through my earbuds for the first time a mere five hours ago. But despite its freshness, this single is probably the best hip-hop track to have dropped in 2012. And that’s saying a lot, considering the potpourri of offerings that have already graced the blogosphere. Consider “I Do,” for starters, a superstar-laden collaboration between Young Jeezy, Jay Z, Drake and my all-time favorite emcee Andre 3000; the cinematic track rocks a sublimely choral beat that recalls 2007’s classic “International Players Anthem,” by UGK and Outkast. On another stellar track, Tony Williams’s “Another You,” Kanye West positively kills his guest spot. But Kendrick Lamar’s “Cartoons & Cereal” stands out due to its superlatively singular production from the get-go. The opening seconds of the song weave together samples of Bugs Bunny and other Saturday morning cartoon snippets. The samples are juxtaposed with a tinny, alien-sounding
hook from Lamar, dripping with dark, surreal and biting imagery. Lamar sings: “The next day I woke up in the morning, seen you on the news / Looked in the mirror, then realized I had something to prove / You told me, ‘Don’t be like me, just finish watching cartoons,’ / Which is funny now cause all I see is Wile E. Coyotes in the room.” The interwoven production and lyrics create a resonant tapestry, that mixes childhood memories of Apple Jacks and Looney Tunes with a grim surround of adulthood. It’s a lengthy track, and not exactly light fare, but is well-worth with a contemplative listen.
“A Stephen King book.”
“Tonight,” Saint Etienne
If you think fans of the Shins have had to wait a long time for their band of choice to release some new music, consider the (albeit smaller) fan-base of the synth-pop ensemble Saint Etienne. They’ve been waiting seven years for their artist-of-choice to announce their grand return. But finally, it’s happening; the trio has announced a new album and dropped a fresh single, the riveting dance number “Tonight.” Saint Etienne has been around for over two decades, and their experience shines through on this track. The synth sparkles, the strings swell and lead singer Sarah Cracknell gently croons with seasoned restraint—an infectious recipe indeed. But what really takes the cake with “Tonight” is the absolutely charming subject matter: the unbridled joy of seeing your favorite band play at a concert. As Cracknell muses over whether they will play “an album track or a top-five hit,” you can palpably sense her excitement to see her favorite artist on stage. This combo of shimmering pop production with such an unpretentious narrative of concert-going is simply lovely. Seven years may have past, but Saint Etienne has not lost the ability to sweep you away.
O’Doherty to grace the stage for lecture
Nick Chianese ’14
“The First Deadly Sin, a murder mystery.”
Nicholas Graham ’15
“An Einstein biography by Isaacson.”
Kristen Schau ’12
Adam Buchsbaum Arts Editor
“My emails.” Courtesy of Grey Art Gallery, New York University
rian O’Doherty made a portrait of famed artist Marcel Duchamp with an electrocardiogram, not a brush. O’Doherty’s portrait only uses the electrocardiogram graph, printed out of a machine on now aging paper. “Marcel Duchamp, 4/4/46,” it reads— just one portrait of many O’Doherty would make using the measurement. O’Doherty will discuss his Duchamp portraits, and himself, in his upcoming lecture for the Art Department entitled “Duchamp’s Heart and My Multiple Selves.” The lecture will take place on Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. in Taylor Hall 102. Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art Tyler Rowland proposed bringing O’Doherty to Vassar. “It was my time to suggest someone again,” Rowland said. “But a lot of the time we don’t have a living legend, and that’s what Brian O’Doherty is.” O’Doherty is a living Renaissance man to many—having been a medical doctor, art critic, novelist and television host, among other things. “He’s not only a man who wears multiple hats,” Rowland said, “each hat fits really well.” His book, Inside the White Cube, introduced an entirely novel concept: thinking of the art gallery as an ideological space, whose very sanitized, “white cube” style necessarily affects the viewing experience of art. “To be honest no one at that point had thought of the gallery space,” Rowland said. “It paved new ways for artists to think of making work for galleries.” His lecture and appearance means three of his works are planned to come to Vassar. The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center will hold three of his works, including “The Body and Its Discontents” and “The Alphabet Print.” “The Body and Its Discontents” is a small, wooden box divided as a grid into 60 compartments, and within each compartment are blocks with categories. “Alphabet Print” is one of his more recent works, and deals with O’Doherty’s Irish roots and language.
Artist Brian O’Doherty’s famous work, “Aspen 5+6,” pictured above, has been heralded as one of the earliest conceptual exhibitions. O’Doherty will speak at an upcoming lecgture on Feb. 21. The third work is his aforementioned portrait of Marcel Duchamp, an 8.5 x 11 inches paper with ink and typewriter in electrocardiograph form. The Art Library will house one more work by O’Doherty, his “Aspen Magazine 5 + 6.” A conceptual work commissioned for legendary art journal Aspen, the work is a box filled with items like audiotapes and films non-traditional to magazines, in addition to written works. “He’s one of the sages of the art world,” Chair of the Art Department Molly Nesbit said. “[He] is someone who’s able to communicate wisdom, and the wisdom of a lifetime—and not just his own lifetime.” The lecturer himself will first focus on his Duchamp portraits, and then talk about his multiple selves. Rowland explained, “He has these five different alter egos.” O’Doherty, an expatriate of Ireland has created work under the name
Patrick Ireland, for example, in protest of 1972’s Bloody Sunday. Further detail is still unknown until the lecture’s delivery. The lecture is part of the Agnes Claflin Lecture series, sponsored by the Friends of the Loeb Center. “It’s a way of continuing to bring the best in the arts to Vassar. And we are very lucky,” Nesbit said. Its lectures hope to bring in a swath of people from the art world from historians to upcoming contemporary artists. Nesbit characterizes the lecturers in each Claflin lecture succinctly: “People who are making a difference.” Rowland is excited for O’Doherty’s arrival. “He’s constantly investigating and experimenting,” Rowland said. “He’s not interested in creating distilled styles or pre-packaged one-liners. He’s interested in setting up a way of working that becomes expansive, rather than exclusive.”
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Sueli Shaw ’12
Stephanie Corrigan ’15
“Three Kingdoms, a really old Chinese history novel.”
Mel Corrigan ’14
—Adam Buchsbaum Arts Editor
February 16, 2012
Healing helps Brewers basketball finish season strong Jessica Tarantine
Assistant Features Editor
Celia Garrity/The Miscellany News
s the men’s basketball season comes to an end this Saturday against Hobart College, Assistant Coach Matthew Healing finishes his first year in the position. Healing has been a key contributor to an ongoing turnaround for the team and has high hopes for the future. Though it is his first time as an assistant coach at Vassar, he is no stranger to the position or the College. In the 2009-2010 season, Healing served as the volunteer assistant coach for Vassar’s team before becoming assistant coach at Centenary College in Hackettstown, N.J., where he had previously been the volunteer assistant coach. “When I started out, I was coaching at Centenary. I was there for a year and then I came here to Vassar for a year, and then back to Centenary for a year and now I’m back here at Vassar. So I’ve spent two years at both places but it’s just been not consecutive,” Healing clarified. A native of New Jersey, Healing went to college at Monmouth University where he studied communications, which made him well suited as an assistant information sports director during his time at Centenary. “Each time I moved, it was a step up on the coaching ladder ... I’ve been working my way up,” explained Healing. Healing, who did not play basketball in college and coached for two years as an assistant coach for the boys’ varsity team at Randolph High School in New Jersey, saw this movement as instrumental in his development as a coach, which was a career path he was very dedicated to and passionate about. “When I was here [at Vassar as a volunteer assistant coach] I was very committed to this being my career so I was here pretty much all the time. I would say the biggest difference
[from the time I spent here as a volunteer assistant coach] is myself. I’m much more confident now than I was just a few years ago and much more knowledgeable about the game and coaching than I was. I can help out more and I think that’s helping the team,” he explained. Overall, Healing explained that he thought the team was on an upward swing. This year the team has won eight games, more than the five total wins of the last two years combined. Healing credited the turnaround to a renewed focus on defense. “We really decided to focus on defense this year. We had changed up the offense and so we felt very good about the direction we were going in offensively,” said Healing. “We were scoring more than we were in the past, but if we didn’t keep up our defensive effort, the fact that we were scoring more wasn’t really going to help us.” The hard work and attention to detail has paid off on the scoreboard. “We focused on defense from day one and I think it has shown,” Healing expressed. “We just came off Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University, two very good teams, and we held them to under 60 points, which is [a] pretty big feat.” The team won both games against Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University on the road, which was the first time they accomplished the feat since the 2007 season. In addition, it was the first time the team won two Liberty League games in a row since 2009. In addition to the attention to defense this season, Healing credited Head Coach Del Harris as a large part of the team’s success, as well as his own positive experience as a coach this year. “I am very appreciative to work under a great head coach. [Harris] relates well to the players and is very energetic,” he said.
In his first season, men’s basketball Assitant Coach Matthew Healing, pictured above, helped the Brewers finish their season on an upward swing, winning two Liberty Legue games in a row. Healing went on to say that his own coaching style took after Harris’. “I think I am a very hard-working coach and a very passionate coach ... He’s really a player’s coach, hard on the guys when he needs to be but a very real person.” He continued, “I would say we are very honest in our feedback to our guys.” Harris reciprocated Healing’s praise. “He does a great job relating to our players on and off the court, His passion and knowledge of the game has been key in the success of our team this year,” explained Harris. With only two games left before the end of the season, Healing said the team would concentrate on finishing the season strong
before setting their sights on next year. As only two seniors are currently on the team, he is optimistic that the team will continue to improve with the return of veteran players. “[Our goal] is to get better every year and every day,” he said. “It’s something we preach to our guys: never take a day off, and every day is a chance to get better. We look at the season as a whole in the same regards. Last year we had three wins and this year we already have eight— hopefully 10—and our goal is to to continue to improve on that, whether that’s 10 wins, 12 or to make the playoffs. We just want to continue to get better. I feel like we will.”
‘Linsanity’ takes the world of pro basketball by storm Sam Scarritt-Selman Columnist
ot all people tell knock-knock jokes. A rare few of us can produce authentically trenchant satire, but, even then, only a slightly larger circle of people can justifiably claim that they really “get the joke.” However, pretty much everyone makes a pun at one point or another in his or her life. The pun is not without its critics, though. Ambrose Bierce once referred to the pun as “a form of wit, to which wise men stoop and fools aspire,” and I suppose this is a fair assessment of our culture’s complicated relationship with the humor device. We tend to treat it as an alternatingly elitist and base mode of joke-telling—some regard the pun as a useful vessel to concisely showcase one’s wit, while others see it as a lazy ploy for laughter that merely produces the illusion of cleverness. It seems to me, though, that these are complaints better lodged at the types of people that make bad puns than at the very institution of puns. I bring up all of these disjointed thoughts about puns because, for the past two weeks, an almost absurd amount of people, from varied walks of life, have all been making puns about New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. They say that this phenomenon is part of a broader movement of “Linsanity,” a reference to the most popular Jeremy Lin pun as well as an umbrella term for our sudden collective obsession with the man. Some noteworthy examples of these puns are variations on the theme of winning (here called “Linning”) or inspiration (“Linspirational”… you get the idea). It’s important to note that several Jeremy Lin puns are forced and awkward attempts (“Lin-tastic!” or “Lin-sational!”) that evince a general mis-Lin-terpretation of how successful puns are constructed. However, it would be Lin-considerate of me point and laugh at the un-Lin-tentional comedy of bad Jeremy Lin puns, and, besides, this risks missing the point of the trend entirely, which to some extent would amount to some Linjustice. See, people are not making Jeremy Lin puns simply because “Lin” is phonemically convenient. Rather, these puns are
our strange way of responding to something compel-Lin about Jeremy Lin himself. I should probably start explaining who exactly Jeremy Lin is and why he resonates so much with us. In brief, Jeremy Lin is a Taiwanese-American basketball player from Northern California who, after going undrafted out of Harvard University and being cut from two other NBA teams this year, has recently emerged as not only the new starting point guard for the New York Knicks but one of the most exciting players in the league. Over the course of the past six games, Lin has led an underachieving Knicks team on a six-game winning streak, including two wins against playoff contenders. During this stretch, Lin’s play was exceptional—26.8 points per game, highlighted by a stunning 38-point performance against the Los Angeles Lakers in front of a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd. This is made all the more remarkable for two key reasons: 1) these past six games constitute the first meaningful minutes of Lin’s career, including his first five professional starts— players that inexperienced simply are not that good so soon; 2) the Knicks were playing without both Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks’ two highest-paid players and franchise cornerstones, meaning that Lin was thrown into an uncertain situation wherein he was expected to rely on a lot of unheralded players playing outside of their normal role. Lin has exceeded every expectation people ever thought they would have of him, yet these outstanding statistical achievements only begin to demonstrate the extent of Lin’s heroic contribution to the Knicks. Prior to Lin’s improbable ascent from benchwarmer to starting point guard, the Knicks played a disorganized, extremely unwatchable brand of basketball. Though Head Coach Mike D’Antoni’s system is supposed to be fast-paced, fluid and unstructured, it requires both a certain team identity and strong, creative point-guard play in order to be successful. These Knicks, though, were without a reliable floor-general, and, consequently, they lacked any identity at all: thus, the high-octane offense promised to Knicks’ fans was often stagnant, even lazy. Lin im-
mediately changed the culture of the team. Over these last games, these Knicks have played a tough, spirited brand of basketball, underwritten by a well-functioning offense. Most of the credit for this development goes to the nuanced aplomb with which Lin plays the game. Lin may not have rescued the Knicks’ season, but he’s made it a lot more fun to watch. That makes a lot of people very excited. Of course, some of our fascination with Lin stems from the issue of race. While Lin’s
Our acknowledgement of the importance of Lin’ s race risks becoming a pernicious otherism when we become obsessed with the idea of a Harvard-educated, Asian-American basketball player as a novelty. numbers have been objectively impressive and his underdog story plays in any city, they gain greater magnitude from the fact all of this is coming from an Asian-American athlete. This is both good and bad. On the one hand, it is refreshing that so many people appreciate how important it is that an AsianAmerican is attaining success in the NBA. Asian-Americans have long been boxed out of professional basketball, even as the game itself has become internationalized. To whatever extent his presence evokes a sense of pride and representation, Jeremy Lin matters on some level. However, our acknowledgement of the importance of Lin’s race risks becoming a pernicious otherism when we become obsessed with the idea of a Harvardeducated Asian-American basketball player as a novelty. An unfortunate element of “Linsanity” has been the resuscitation of certain
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Asian stereotypes, even in instances when one is trying to show how they do not apply to Lin. One moderately popular Internet meme depicted Jeremy Lin going hard to the basket accompanied by the words “Who Said Asians Can’t Drive?” In another instance, a journalist tweeted in response to Lin’s 38-point game against the Lakers, “Some lucky lady is going to feel several inches of pain tonight.” Throughout high school and college, Lin has had to fight the far-too-prevalent stereotype of the emasculated Asian male, so perhaps it is to be expected that he’d encounter some form of prejudice at the professional level. Nevertheless, it seems as though a lot of praise for Jeremy Lin so far has taken the form of “How great is it that an Asian-American can find success in basketball?” which is a coded way of implying that Jeremy Lin’s success has come in spite of his race. Such a view helps no one. One must also address the possibility that racial prejudice has something to with why we view Lin as an underdog in the first place. Part of why Lin wound up at Harvard was because Stanford University rejected him and UCLA would not recruit him. It is highly unlikely that Lin suddenly became this good a couple weeks ago, and, though his college coaches clearly prepared him for the NBA, I doubt Harvard taught him everything he knows about basketball. Lin possesses a couple unteachable attributes as a basketball player, most notably a quick first-step, exceptional court vision and intuitive grasp of how to operate within an offense. To what extent were these qualities overlooked on the basis of his race? It’s impossible to say. Consider this, though: Following the KnicksLakers game, All-Star and future Hall-ofFamer Kobe Bryant said of Jeremy Lin, “Players playing that well don’t usually come out of nowhere. It seems like they come out of nowhere, but if you can go back and take a look, his skill level was probably there from the beginning. It probably just went unnoticed.” However fun it may be to make puns about how “all he does is Lin,” it is probably best that we take Jeremy Lin seriously as a basketball player.
February 16, 2012
Roellke brings competitive spirit to court Pros deserve a relaxing D offseason Erik Lorenzsonn Senior Editor
Andy Sussman Columnist
A Courtesy of Christopher Roellke
ean of the College Chris Roellke has a motto he likes to dust off at this time of year: “When in doubt, shoot the rock.” Meaning that when it comes time for the annual student-faculty basketball game, Roellke is all about the attack. “I tell it to all the Old School players,” wrote Roellke in an emailed statement. “I hope that the game will have lots of scoring, which is more exciting to watch then a defensive battle!” The sentiment speaks to the dean’s notorious enthusiasm for the perennial event in which a squad of faculty and staff—Old School—squares off against a team of students—New School—in a basketball match to help raise funds for the senior class gift. Roellke, who will start in his third consecutive student-faculty game this Saturday at 7:30 p.m., is routinely one of the most spirited players on the court. “His energy allows students to become excited about the game,” said Vassar Student Association President Tanay Tatum ’12, who will be playing on the New School squad. “It helps bring anticipation for it.” Sam Scarritt-Selman ’12, the coach of New School, agrees with Tatum’s assessment: “He’s clearly the emotional leader of the team. He’s at times an overwhelming force, for whom you have to game-plan.” (Disclosure: Scarritt-Selman is a columnist for The Miscellany News) Roellke’s passion, however, is not entirely attributable to the excitement generated by the popular rivalry. His enthusiasm also reflects a devotion to athletics of all stripes at Vassar. “I formerly served as the Faculty Athletics representative at Vassar, and like to attend as many intercollegiate contests as I am able,” wrote Roellke, who says he is especially fond of watching both the men and women’s basketball teams. When it comes to the student-faculty basketball game, Roellke’s energy is further fueled by not only a proclivity for competition, but also pride for what he sees the game to represent: community.
Above, Dean of the College Chris Roellke moves to score at last year’s student-faculty basketball game. This year’s game against New School and Old School will take place this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Roellke’s zest for both the student-faculty contest and Vassar athletics is grounded in a childhood imbued with sports and athleticism. “Coming from a family with six older siblings, I cannot remember a time during my childhood when I was not playing something,” wrote Roellke. When he was in high school, Roellke competed on cross-country, basketball and baseball teams; when he attended Wesleyan University, he played both basketball and baseball. Today, Roellke stays active by playing on the Dutchess County Pirates, a men’s senior baseball league, of which Director of Residential Life Luis Inoa is also a member. Roellke has been on the team for six years, and says he values his time with them immensely. “Something special happens when you become teammates with someone outside of the workplace,” wrote Roellke. “That is what I enjoy so much about Old School and the Dutchess County Pirates team.”
He has also remained active thanks to his three daughters, all of whom follow in his footsteps in their dedication to athletics. “I am an assistant coach for my daughter’s [Amateur Athletic Union] basketball team, which has been a great way for me to get to know a wide range of adults and young people in our community,” wrote Roellke. Roellke’s athleticism will be tested on the Athletics and Fitness Center courts Saturday; according to Scarritt-Selman, New School has a game plan for their contest against the faculty. “We want to take advantage of the fact that we’re younger than them,” said ScarrittSelman. “We want to make them feel old.” If Roellke has anything to say about it, Old School will take a different tack with their game plan by sticking with a tried and true approach. Should they get in a pinch, the faculty will know what to do: shoot the rock.
Men’s basketball sweeps LL weekend Andy Marmer Sports Editor
Jacob Gorski /The Miscellany News
hanks to a clutch shot from Johnny Mrlik ’15, the Vassar men’s basketball team put together its first 2-0 Liberty League weekend since Feb. 2009. However, three days later a similar late-game shot was not enough for the Brewers to overcome Bard College. The men’s basketball team is one of many finishing the season on strong run. In their first game of the weekend, the men’s basketball team (now 8-15, 4-10 in the Liberty League) capitalized on a 15-1 run to start the second half to overcome Clarkson University 63-54. Captain Nick Justiz ’12 and Jon Herzog ’13 spurred the offensive charge, combining for 13 of the 15 points. Herzog continued a string of strong games, besting a season-high of 19 points set on Feb. 4 against Union College, with a 22-point outing. The next day, the Brewers jumped out to an 11-3 lead over host St. Lawrence University behind strong shooting from Herzog and Mrlik, but trailed 33-26 at the half. With 1:02 to play in the contest and the game tied, Mrlik nailed a three-pointer to give Vassar a 58-55 lead. Although the Brewers conceded a layup seven seconds later, their defense held firm, holding on for the victory over the second-place squad, 58-57. Once again it was Herzog leading the way for the Brewers with 21 points. In their next game, the visiting Brewers fell just short of Bard, 56-55 this past Tuesday. In a finish remarkably similar to their previous game, Mrlik hit a three with 58 seconds to play, giving his team a one-point lead. This time, though, the hosts answered back with a jumper of their own 20 seconds later, creating the final margin. Mrlik led the way for Vassar with 17 points and eight rebounds. While the men’s basketball team finds itself outside the playoff picture, the women’s team is in the midst of a hard-fought race for
Women’s basketball Captain Cydni Matsuoka ’14, dribbles the ball down the court in a game against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Brewers are currently fighting for a postseason berth. a postseason berth. This past week, the 14-9 (8-6 in the Liberty League) Brewers went 2-1, with wins over eighth-place Clarkson and winless cellar-dweller Bard and an eightpoint loss to first-place St. Lawrence, who has not yet been beaten in conference play. Against Clarkson, Captain Cydni Matsuoka ’14 led the way as she has throughout the year with 24 points. The Brewers shot 68 percent in the first half, building a 42-26 halftime lead. Vassar also displayed a tenacious defense, holding the Golden Knights to 24 percent shooting. While Vassar successfully avoided the upset, they were unable to pull one of their
own the next day. St. Lawrence jumped out to a 19-3 lead, and although the Brewers fought back to eventually hold a 32-31 lead, they were ultimately overcome 70-62. Captain Brittany Parks ’12 and Matsuoka each contributed 15 points in the loss, while Colleen O’Connell ’15 notched a doubledouble with 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Brewers recovered with a 79-36 victory over Bard College this Tuesday. Parks led the way with 14 points on an efficient 6-11 shooting. Men’s and women’s fencing also find their seasons winding down. Both teams competed See BASKETBALL on page 20
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fter last week’s devastating Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and tackle Matt Light were photographed dancing at a club and having a good time. Three days later, former Patriots safety (and now NFL analyst) Rodney Harrison remarked, “I guarantee you this, if [former Patriots] Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Larry Izzo, Richard Seymour or myself had been at that party, [Gronkowski] probably would have got his head rung. There’s no reason for that to happen.” Gronkowski in particular received criticism from Harrison, both because of his historic season and that his sprained ankle limited him in the Super Bowl. But none of this should matter at all. Just because Gronkowski and Light decided to go out and have fun instead of sulking in a corner after the game does not mean that they should be ostracized. People react to losses differently. And that’s the key that Harrison overlooks: Athletes are people. They are not machines, despite what we fans often project them to be. Every time that a tragedy happens in the sporting world, we all pontificate that “everything is kept in perspective,” and that “in the scheme of things, sports don’t really matter.” However, we forget this time and time again, and expect athletes to start working out for five straight months as soon as their season is over. Does anyone legitimately think that Gronkowski faked or exaggerated his injury, that he did not try his absolute hardest in the biggest game of his life, just so he could save his energy so that he could dance in a club? Gronkowski and Light, along with the other 51 members of the Patriots roster worked their behinds off throughout the entire season. No one went clubbing the night before the Super Bowl: By late Sunday night, the season was over. Acting as if these two players betrayed their teammates is absurd. On Friday, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick was spotted at the Pebble Beach Pro Am, a golf tournament in California. Nobody has more of a reputation as a hard worker than Belichick, and he managed to find himself playing golf at a beautiful resort. Why? Because it’s the offseason, and even the most dedicated to their jobs deserve some time off. The five-day window makes no difference; there is no “too soon” in starting one’s vacation from his vocation. Just as much as anyone, Belichick earned some time away from his job, and he has every right to enjoy himself. Do you know what is wrong, though? Using Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to play football, despite it being a banned substance in the NFL. Gronkowski and Light never have tested positive for HGH, but Harrison did, in 2007. Harrison was subsequently suspended for four games, or a quarter of the regular season. Isn’t breaking NFL rules and missing a large chunk of your season much more of a betrayal to your teammates than simply going out during the offseason? It is so easy to judge others from a distance. The logic is as follows: If I am upset about my favorite team losing and am not really in the mood to go out, then why should those players be able to do so? However, Gronkowski, Light and every professional athlete who has ever lived happen to be humans that play a sport for a living. It’s true, I swear. They are incredible physical specimens, but they are still just like anyone else. This may sound obvious, but it is actually rather inexplicable how often we forget. If Harrison says that he would never go out after a loss, I have no reason not to believe him. And, of course, that is perfectly acceptable. However, he needs to get down from his proverbial soapbox and accept that these are young men who may want to simply celebrate how far they came this year and how hard they worked to get there.
February 16, 2012
Vassar sports teams put together a week of triumphs
Cassady Bergevin/The Miscellany News
BASKETBALL continued from page 19 in their final dual meet of the season at the North East Conference Multi-Meet #3 this past Saturday. The women’s team went 5-1 on the day, while the men’s team went 3-2 at the event hosted by the University of Massachusetts. To start the day, both the women’s and men’s teams overcame the host—the women 24-3, the men 17-10. After the women’s team beat Wellesley College 17-10, both teams continued the winning ways over the University of New Hampshire with a 19-8 victory for the women and a 22-5 win for the men. The women improved to 5-0 on the day with a 16-11 win over Dartmouth College and an 18-9 victory over Boston University. While the men slipped up against Dartmouth, 15-12, they recovered with a 22-5 win over Boston University. However, both teams were overcome in their final matches of the day against Sacred Heart University, 19-8 for the men and 15-12 for the women. Captain Brooke Schieffer ’12, who went 16-1 in the sabre, and Katie LeClair ’13, who had a 16-2 mark in the foil, led the women’s team. Additionally, the entire epee squad had a strong day as Veronica Weser ’13 (14-3), Caitlin Clevenger ’13 (13-5) and Megan Lewis ’14 (14-3) all turned in stellar performances. Epeeists Nick Johnson ’12 (13-2) and Brian Rouse ’12 (11-4), foilists Alex Bue ’14 (12-3) and Alex Vastola ’13 (11-4) and sabreur Matt Steinscheider ’14 (10-5) led the men’s team. The men’s fencing team holds a 16-16 record while the women maintain a 21-17 mark. Both teams will next fence at the New England Championships hosted by Vassar on Feb. 25. After the women’s swimming and diving team captured the Sprint Invitational last weekend, the men’s team bested a five-team meet for their fifth consecutive championship
Above, a member of the Vassar men’s squash teams squares off with a Bard College opponent this past Saturday. The Brewers defeated Bard 9-0, finishing the season 9-13. The women’s team finished 4-12.
with a score of 278. Skidmore College (257) was second, followed by Mt. St. Vincent College (51), Bard (25) and Sarah Lawrence College (13) on Saturday, Feb. 11. The highlight of the meet for Vassar was Luc Amodio ’15 breaking Jeremy Shiman’s ’10 program record in the 50-yard backstroke, while simultaneously shattering the meet’s record. Amodio covered the distance in 25.38. Jack Smart ’12 also had a strong meet, winning three individual races as well as one as part of a relay team.
Men’s and women’s squash finished home play with a total of five matches. On Senior Day, the No. 41 men’s team was overcome by No. 20 Wesleyan University 9-0; however, the team rebounded with a pair of sweeps the next day over No. 58 Bard College and No. 59 Siena College. The men’s team finishes the regular season 9-13. The No. 27 Brewers women’s squash team lost to No. 20 Wesleyan, 9-0 and No. 23 Tufts University, 8-1. The Brewers finished the season 4-12. Meanwhile, men’s volleyball entered the meat of its conference schedule with the first
of two scheduled United Volleyball Conference Crossover meets. The No. 11 Brewers dropped their first match of the event 3-2 (2522, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25,18-16) to No. 6 Nazareth College. Despite Nazareth winning just one more point on the afternoon, the Golden Flyers were victorious. Matt Elgin ’13 led the way for the Brewers with a career-high 21 kills on a .417 hitting percentage. Junior John Konow registered his ninth career double-double in the loss with 45 assists and 10 digs. Vassar rebounded with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-13 and 25-20) sweep of No. 10 Medaille College. Elgin once again led the way with 11 kills on just 18 attempts with two errors, a .500 hitting percentage. Konow notched 31 assists in the victory. Against Elmira College the next day, the Brewers once again went five sets, dropping a tight match 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 20-25, 1511) match. Elgin continued his dominance with 18 kills on 30 attempts with only one error, a .557 hitting percentage. Konow registered 42 assists in the match. The men’s tennis team began play with a pair of 9-0 sweeps of Baruch College and Farmingdale State College before dropping a match to Division I Army. For more on the Brewers tennis team see. The Vassar rowing team also kicked off their spring season, as both the men’s and women’s teams sent three representatives to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Indoor Rowing “Ergatta.” All six Brewers turned in strong performances, with Hannah Siebens ’12 winning the Women’s Collegiate Openweight 2000-meter event. Siebens’ time was the fastest of any female performer. On Thursday and Friday the Brewers will host an Erg-a-thon in the College Center.
Men’s tennis ready to build on past years’ successes Corey Cohn
Cassady Bergevin/The Miscellany News
assar’s men’s tennis team entered the 2011 spring season with two goals: win the Liberty League Championship and win a round at the NCAA Championships. The team finished second in the conference and qualified for the national tournament for the fourth straight year—all after enduring the toughest schedule in program history. But the Brewers failed to complete either of their main objectives. “In the most concrete way, we weren’t satisfied,” Ben Guzick ’12 stated. Now a week into the spring season, the tennis team established the same two goals for 2012. But this year’s team—with seven returning players on a nine-man roster—isn’t simply pressing the reset button. They believe their experiences from last year will help shape this season’s performance. “We had a lot of really close matches last year,” Andrew Guzick ’13 recalled. “The only way to win really tight matches is by being in that situation enough times.” The Brewers’ tougher losses last year provided somewhat of a moral victory, given the high quality of many of their opponents; Vassar faced 10 nationally ranked programs last season. More importantly, the team is looking to move forward, using 2011 as a teaching tool. “The way I see it, last year’s tough schedule was just the beginning for us,” Nick Jasso ’13 wrote in an emailed statement. “Now, we’re looking forward to even tougher schedules and proving that Vassar has every bit of capability to be the premier name in Division III tennis.” This year’s schedule, difficult in its own right, includes several familiar names, including perennial conference powerhouse Skidmore College, who will visit Poughkeepsie on Feb. 26. “[The match against Skidmore] is a big one,” Andrew Guzick said. “We’ve been seeing them at the top of the Liberty League since I’ve been here.” Brother Ben concurred, mentioning that Skidmore has a couple of new, highly touted recruits this season. “We’re going to have to step up our game,” he concluded. Ben Guzick added that the quality of the rest of the conference has improved as well, affirming, “We can’t take any match for granted.” The Brewers will face challenges out of conference as well, with top-five teams Amherst College (No. 1; defending champions),
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges (No. 3) and Williams College (No. 4) scheduled this spring. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will be a stop on the team’s Spring Break trip to California, during which the Brewers will also square off against Whittier College for the second straight year. Andrew Guzick remembers that match as a particularly spirited affair. “There were arguments between players, banter on the sideline—it got pretty heated,” he said. The younger Guzick added that this year’s rematch “will be a great challenge for us.” Another challenge for the Brewers will be moving on without Josh Jasso ’11 and Max Willner ’11, a duo that combined for 199 wins over their four seasons. The current roster is stacked with upperclassmen—five juniors and one senior—who are prepared to fill the leadership void together. “I know that it’s time for myself and the rest of the junior class to step up and take the reins,” Nick Jasso (Josh’s brother) wrote. “We miss our graduates, but this is an amazing opportunity to prove that our current team is primed to be even better than last year.” The Brewers also enter this season without an assigned captain, a non-issue it seems for this particular group. “We’re small enough and tight enough as a group to feel comfortable voicing our opinions,” Ben Guzick assured. Plus, he said with a laugh, “[Head] Coach [John Cox] has enough leadership for all of us.” Second-year Head Coach Cox enters his first full season after taking over for Ki Kroll in December 2010. The Brewers have been satisfied thus far with the job he has done with the program in his hands. Jasso commented on Cox’s intensity, writing, “He is really great at bringing a positive energy every day and it catches like wildfire.” Ben Guzick discussed his coach’s attitude. “He’s really big on focusing on stuff you can control—he really preaches that,” he said. The elder Guzick also noted that Cox brings a holistic approach to the court, adding, “The way he frames things, he keeps in mind how lessons in tennis can be applied to lessons in life.” Andrew Guzick emphasized Cox’s recruiting ability, but he also admired his coach’s commitment. “He puts everything into this team,” he said. “He’s very devoted to us.” Cox’s players mirror this devotion through their personal, year-round dedication to their
Men’s tennis player Wilson Platt ’14, pictured above, practices his backhand in the Walker Bays.The Brewers, now a week into the spring season, hopes to improve upon last year’s Liberty League success. sport. Tennis is one of the dual-season sports at Vassar, rendering the offseason a formative period in terms of physical maintenance. “Offseason training is, quite frankly, a matter of self-motivation,” Jasso wrote. “And each team member is incredibly self-motivated. The team reserved court times so that we could meet about four times a week and practice with each other. Some of us hit on our own as well, and put in that extra time.” The Guzick brothers both mentioned footwork as one of the key things they worked on during the recess in between seasons. Andrew also emphasized physical fitness. Last spring, he became the first player in program history to reach the quarterfinals of the singles competition at the NCAA Division III Championships—and it was at that unprecedented point that he realized how crucial it was to maintain his condition. “I learned [after nationals] that I needed to get in better shape,” he said. “I played great during my first two matches—I couldn’t have been happier—but I just couldn’t sustain it,” he said. Andrew Guzick’s quest to return to the national singles tournament is one of many indi-
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vidual goals the Brewers have in mind, but the strength of this team appears to be its unified spirit and motivation. Ben Guzick stated that although the squad maintains the same two goals as last year, there exist more critical, less tangible elements in the big picture. “[Winning the Liberty League and winning a round at nationals] are outcome-based goals, which you have to have to work towards something concrete,” he said. “But what’s more important are individual, how-you-feel-aboutyourself goals.” He clarified: “At the end of the day, you yourself know how you feel about the work you put in.” The Brewers began the spring season in resounding fashion on Saturday, overtaking Farmingdale State College and Baruch College with back-to-back 9-0 sweeps. The Brewers lost their match on Sunday on the road against Division I Army, 6-1. Nevertheless, Jasso said the dominant wins on Saturday set the stage well for the Brewers’ season. “It builds confidence,” he wrote. “It really helps bring about the self-belief that’s needed to compete at our highest levels. It’s just a sign of things to come.”