The Miscellany News Since 1866 | miscellanynews.com
February 10, 2011
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
Volume CXLIV | Issue 14
Faculty survey reveals time distribution shift Joey Rearick Reporter
Eric Schuman/The Miscellany News
750 pieces of cake were served at Vassar’s “Birthday Party” on Thursday, Feb. 3, where the senior class also announced the 2011 All-School Gift. Read more about the party’s highlight, the cake competition, on Page 2.
irector of Institutional Research David Davis Van Atta delivered a presentation on Friday, Feb. 4 to a handful of faculty regarding the results of a Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) survey that Vassar professors took in 2008. The survey, conceived by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles and completed by dozens of college faculties across the country, was designed to gauge the experience of professors at their school. Davis Van Atta presented the results from Vassar professors, comparing their responses to those of faculties at similar small liberal arts schools and by comparing results to previous surveys. Davis Van Atta, who came to Vassar after decades of work in institutional research at Oberlin and Carleton Colleges, was excited to demonstrate the statistical principles that underlie his work. Recalling his childhood memories of working in a lab with his father, an
early neuroscientist, he stressed that he approached the statistical analysis “just the same way I would do science, according to good scientific principles.” Instead of making value judgments, or hoping to suggest Vassar shift policy in some way, Davis Van Atta said that he wanted to present the data in an impartial and understandable manner. His work with the results of the survey is perhaps his most visible since he arrived at Vassar to start the Institutional Research Department in 2007. “This year is sort of my Bar-Mitzvah,” he joked. “I’m coming out.” The presentation began with particular attention to the way professors at Vassar spend their working time. Davis Van Atta identified some statistically significant ways that Vassar professors have shifted their use of time over that threeyear interval. Professors increased the number of hours they work per week slightly, and, as might be expected, spent more time checking e-mail than they did in 2004. Professors also reported that they See SURVEY on page 4
All-school Sesquicentennial a gift joins campus-wide project Students, faculty meet two goals T in second annual game quicentennial that has perhaps influenced the historical bent of related programming. “It’s always seemed to me that it’s a wonderful thing to have a celebration, but since we’re after all a college, we might as well learn a little something at the same time,” she said. “You might say, ‘It’s wonderful here, I have all these opportunities,’ … but you don’t realize what’s behind all that—what happened 150 years ago that got you to where you’re at right now.” According to Kuretsky, planning for sesquicentennial programming began in early 2009, when the global financial downturn made it clear that the celebration would not have See SESQUI on page 6
Angela Aiuto Senior Editor
Caitlin Clevenger News Editor
Students hang in alternative space, UpCafé
assar’s biggest sporting event is here: Today marks the second annual Student-Faculty Basketball Game, a fundraiser for the 2011 All-School Gift. An audience of over 1,000 people—including students, professors, staff, families and alumnae/i—is expected to pack the Athletics and Fitness Center (AFC) to watch students take on Team “Old School.”
The festivities will commence at 8 p.m. when the doors to the AFC open (free refreshments will be provided for ticket holders). At 8:25 p.m., the Vassar College Choir will perform the National Anthem, followed by an 8:30 p.m. Tip-Off, tossed by President of the College Catharine Bond Hill. During halftime, there will be a performance by HYPE and other various contests brought to fans by the Office of Health Education. See BASKETBALL on page 18
Rachael Borné Arts Editor
Ira Glass, above, is the creator, producer and host of “This American Life.”
hen asked to sum up his job in one sentence for a New York Magazine article, Ira Glass responded, “I try to make things more fascinatinger.” And he most certainly does that. As producer, creator and host of the popular show “This American Life,” produced by Chicago Public Radio and Public Radio International. Glass makes a living communicating stories of the everyday, stories that don’t make the six o’clock news, stories of normal people— people just like you and me. A forerunner in the contemporary American writing and humor world, Glass is perfectly fit to speak at Vassar’s annual See GLASS on page 16
A week of complimentary eats at Vassar
Courtesy of Christopher Roellke
Inside this issue
This American Life host Ira Glass to lecture
Courtesy of Bigscreenlittlescreen.net
t the Sesquicentennial Birthday Celebration on Thursday, Feb. 3, Vassar followed cake with a gift. This year, in lieu of separate senior and sophomore class gifts, members of all four classes have joined forces in the creation of the 2011 All-School Gift, which will support the Annual Fund and, with two matching donations, amount to over $165,000. “In recent years, [the gifts] have been chosen to support some important priority of the College,” said President Catharine Bond Hill, introducing the Senior Gift Committee Chairs and Class of 2011 President Moe Byrne. She mentioned the fleet of shared pink bicycles and the repair of the bell atop Main Building, both of which were provided by recent class gifts. Hill then handed the podium over to co-Chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee Aaron Grober ’11 who announced that in honor of Vassar’s 150th year the entire student body would sponsor a gift for the College. The Senior and Sophomore Class Gift Committees combined into a single All-School Gift Committee that also includes representatives from the freshman and junior classes. The gift of a major contribution to the Annual Fund, said Grober, would further the Committee’s three priorities: supporting Vassar, sustainability and community building. “The Annual Fund makes the Vassar experience possible by supporting every aspect of the College,” said co-Chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee Becca Rose ’11. The Annual Fund is also one of the main three tenets of the $400 million “Vassar 150: World Changing” campaign. The All-School Gift is unusual both in that it is a combined gift from all of See GIFT on page 3
he College has been buzzing with activity since the advent of its 150th anniversary on Jan. 18. From a calendar jam-packed with events and a veritable landslide of birthday cake rises the inevitable question: Just who put all of this together, and how did they pay for it? The Sesquicentennial Committee, chaired by Professor of Art Susan Kuretsky ’63 and Senior Director of Regional Programs John Mihaly ’74, has been toiling for nearly two years to ensure that Vassar’s anniversary is a memorable one. From the outset, Kuretsky has held a pedagogical vision of the ses-
Dean of the College Chris Roellke takes a shot in last year’s Student-Faculty game. The Student-Faculty Basketball game will take place at 8:30 p.m. this evening.
Behind the scenes of the storied Art 105-106 course
The Miscellany News
February 10, 2011
Editor in Chief Molly Turpin Senior Editor Angela Aiuto
Contributing Editors Matthew Brock Lila Teeters
News Caitlin Clevenger Aashim Usgaonkar Features Mitchell Gilburne Jillian Scharr Opinions Joshua Rosen Humor & Satire Alanna Okun Arts Rachael Borné Sports Corey Cohn Andy Marmer Copy Katharine Austin Design Eric Estes Photography Juliana Halpert Online Erik Lorenzsonn Social Media Marie Dugo
The rear wing of Main Building was destroyed on Feb. 12, 1918 when a fire spread from the kitchens to the maids’ quarters above before burning through the fourth floor and roof. Most students living in the building lost few posessions, and many office records were saved. However, the majority of the maids lost everything. The College set up an emergency fund for the staff and gave each maid $10 in cash and fresh clothing immediately after the fire.
This Week in Vassar History Feb. 16, 1895
Recent curriculum changes appeared to bring to an end a long Vassar tradition, the “trig ceremonies” which marked the mid-year liberation of the sophomore class from trigonometry, the conclusion of the mathematics requirement. The custom of presenting an original play in honor of the sophomore’s escape was observed by a presentation called “Ye Last Dayes of Vassalem Wytchcraft,” in which Trigonometry was burned at the stake.
By Dean Emeritus Colton Johnson
Recovery Administration on Labor. The speakers included Charles Ervin from the Amalgamated Clothing Workers; Dr. William Leiserson, chairman of the Petroleum Advisory Board; Rossa B. Cooley, principal of the Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School; Ann Burlak, secretary of the National Textile Workers Union; and Mae Gippa of the Brookwood Labor College.
MacCracken also announced an anonymous gift of $50,000 for a low-cost faculty housing project that would give preference to faculty members in the lower income ranks. Feb. 10, 1942
Students were allowed weekend smoking privileges for the first time. They agreed to smoke only in their residence halls, to provide ashtrays and metal wastebaskets and to assume responsibility of any damage that might arise from the change in regulations.
President MacCracken informed the trustees of the gift to the college of prints and sculptures from the wife and children of financier Felix Warburg, in his memory. Warburg, who died in October of 1937, was a lifelong collector of art and had amassed an exceptional collection. The gift to Vassar consisted of 167 prints, including 54 by Dürer and 68 by Rembrandt, and 11 sculptures, including a late Greek marble figure and ten late medieval and Renaissance works.
Feb. 16, 1933
Feb. 12, 1940
Feb. 11, 1947
The United States Senate voted to repeal prohibition. Vassar announced that no liquor could be kept on campus, but students were allowed to drink at approved tearooms and restaurants.
Over 300 people attended a surprise dinner party given in Main Building for President Henry Noble MacCracken to mark his 25 years at Vassar. The president used the occasion to announce that the college was a bit over half way to the goal of raising $2 million by June to strengthen the salary and general endowments. The 75th anniversary fund, he said, stood at $1,004,000.
President Blanding announced that the board of trustees had voted to continue enrolling local veterans for the at least the next academic year, and 74 veterans were enrolled in the b term.
Feb. 14, 1915
Following the junior promenade, students were permitted to have male guests on campus on Sunday for the first time since the founding of the College.
Feb. 11, 1934
The Vassar Student Political Association held a conference on the influence of the National
Feb. 16, 1934
Assistant Feature Matthew Bock Assistant Copy Katie Cornish Stephen Loder Gretchen Maslin Assistant Photo Madeline Zappala Crossword Editor Jonathan Garfinkel Reporters Vee Benard Ruth Bolster Adam Buchsbaum Danielle Bukowski Emma Daniels Mary Huber Shruti Manian Kristine Olson Connor O’Neill Chelsea Peterson- Salahuddin Wilson Platt Joseph Rearick Dave Rosenkranz Nathan Tauger Columnists Hannah Blume Brittany Hunt Michael Mestitz Tom Renjilian Andy Sussman Nik Trkulja Photographers Christie Chea Katie de Heras Carlos Hernandez Jared Saunders Eric Schuman
—These dates are taken from an upcoming documentary chronicle of Vassar College by Dean Emeritus Colton Johnson.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
The Miscellany News is Vassar College’s weekly open forum for discussion of campus, local and national issues, and welcomes letters and opinions submissions from all readers. Letters to the Editor should not exceed 450 words, and they usually respond to a particular item or debate from the previous week’s issue. Opinions articles are longer pieces, up to 800 words, and take the form of a longer column. No letter or opinions article may be printed anonymously. If you are interested in contributing, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Editorial Board holds weekly meetings every Sunday at 9 p.m. in the Rose Parlor. All members of the Vassar community interested in joining the newspaper’s staff or in a critique of the current issue are welcome. The Miscellany News is not responsible for the views presented in the Opinions pages. The weekly staff editorial is the only article which reflects the opinion of the Editorial Board. The Miscellany News is published weekly by the students of Vassar College. The Miscellany News office is located in College Center Room 303, Vassar College.
February 10, 2011
Leng and Veazie win Birthday Bake-Off Aashim Usgaonkar
Founder’s Day Theme Announced
Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
escakecentennial”—a double-chocolate cake covered with 150 years of Vassar’s history—triumphed at the Sesquicentennial Birthday Bake-Off held in the Villard Room on Thursday, Feb. 3. Jessica Leng ’11 and Nick Veazie ’13 designed the winning creation. “Sescakecentennial” represented both key architecture on campus and defining moments in Vassar history since its inception in 1861; the former was in the form of the Cornaro Window in the Fredrick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library, the Vassar College Chapel and Main Building, and the latter in the form of a timeline that ran along the bottom circumference of the cake. “The cake ‘Sescakecentennial’ had an extraordinary combination of detail, creativity and flavor,” according to Judge and Senior Director of Campus Dining Maureen King. “[Veazie] and I have collaborated on baking projects before, but this was by far the largest cake we have ever attempted. We worked with the rest of our swim team (notably Alistair Hall ’11, Melisa Brower ’11, Amelia Couture ’12 and Marissa Mandel ’11) from Sunday to Thursday to complete the different components of the cake,” wrote Leng in an e-mailed statement. “We really wanted to celebrate the history of the College, so we did a lot of research to find the events, monuments and symbols from the past 150 years that have come to define Vassar today,” added Leng, describing the team’s vision for its cake. “When assembled, the different elements of the cake worked together to paint a picture that was truly representative of Vassar,” she wrote. Leng is not new to baking; she owns a firm—which operates mainly through her website, www. cakesbyjessica.org—that bakes
cakes to order for a number of occasions. Leng was also one of the top 12 finalists on the Food Network’s Ace of Cakes Valentine’s Day contest in Feb. 2009. “I’m grateful that I was able to participate in this competition because it allowed me to learn and practice cake decorating techniques that will undoubtedly be useful when I attend culinary school next fall,” wrote Leng. Judge and President of the College Catharine Bond Hill announced the winners and introduced the panel of judges, composed of Hill, King, Professor of Art and co-Chair of the Sesquicentennial Susan Kuretsky and co-Owner of Babycakes Café Susan Wysocki. Hill went on to bestow honorary titles on the remaining cakes. Each of the three other cakes received these titles, and all bakers received gift certificates to Babycakes Café as well as Bake-Off T-shirts. Receiving the title of best design, “Vassar: A Year in the Life” was designed by Class of 2012 President Pamela Vogel, Caryn Schwart ’12 and Alex Cheung ’12. The creation was a combination of chocolate stout cake and champagne cake, and featured emblems of the namesakes of Vassar’s dormitories. The cake also featured imagery of the Vassar Daisy Chain and was peppered with graduation caps. Lying atop the cake was Matthew Vassar, carved out of fondant by Vogel. “Our group started preparing for this cake as early as Winter Break,” said Vogel, who was enthusiastic about participating in the cake off when plans to hold it were announced last fall along with all the other sesquicentennial-themed programming. Vogel’s cake, however, only started taking shape the Sunday before the event, when she and her team went out shopping for ingredients. “Most of our baking took place in the [All Campus Dining Center],” to
“Sescakecentennial,” a double chocolate cake constructed by Jessica Leng ’11 and Nick Veazie ’13, took first place in the Bake-Off. which teams had access for the Monday and Tuesday before the event. Most teams, reports Vogel, experienced a similar trajectory in preparing their entries. The cake designed and baked by Hannah Lee Savio ’11 was adjudicated to have the best taste among all the entrants; the dessert was an arboretum-themed chocolate-whiskey cake with a maple syrup frosting. “A Magnificent Enterprise”— a cake by President of the Vassar Student Association Mathew Leonard ’11 and President of the Terrace Apartments Samantha Allen ’11—was judged to have
the best Vassar-related theme. The cake had three layers: an orange-raspberry pound cake, a chocolate-honey cake and a sponge cake with a glaze created by melted Jolly Rancher candies to create the Cornaro Window of the Thompson Memorial Library. Together, the cake’s components came together to create an image of the Library. Leonard and Allen also created a book out of the same materials. “All the cakes were incredible,” said King. “The student teams all did a wonderful job, and each of the cakes was unique, delicious and very creative.”
Brooks lecture challenges War on Drugs Dave Rosenkranz
f we’re fighting a war on drugs, we’ve lost it”, said retired Connecticut police officer Joseph Brooks in his lecture on Thurs, Feb. 4. Brooks spoke to Vassar students on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), an organization dedicated to disseminating information about the negative impact of America’s War on Drugs. The Libertarians of Vassar (LoV) invited Brooks to speak, in the hopes that he would help raise awareness on campus for the legalization movement. Why end the drug war? LoV Founder Paul Weinger ’13 believes that there are important safety concerns: “There’s a stigma. I can’t go into Health Services, and say I’m interested in learning about, say, cocaine. I can’t ask ‘What do you know about cocaine?’ Without that, I have to go online...and try to piecemeal together an education.” Weinger argues that if drugs were legalized, there might be more high-quality, public information. “Consider Vassar’s Alcoho Edu. We learn about what’s a standard drink and all that, and what it does to your body. There’s a certain openness about alcohol. We don’t talk about things that are illegal,” commented Weinger. It is difficult to gauge Vassar’s interest on this topic. Although the event was sparsely attended, the audience seemed engaged. “Seeing him speak so passionately about something he believes in just goes to show that there are people out there willing to take the extra step and do something about a cause,” said Marvin Ponce ’14. “I feel inspired in the sense that I
want to learn more about the War on Drugs.” Members of LoV believe that the War on Drugs is of vital interest to Vassar students. “Many of the original motivations for the prohibition of drugs were born from prejudice and misinformation; such laws need to be removed and are unacceptable, and I think most Vassar students would agree,” wrote LoV member Kelly Shortridge ’12 in an e-mailed statement. She believes that Vassar students consider social justice to be of utmost importance, and that the War on Drugs was founded on social injustice. Lack of public attention seems to be the primary obstacle for advocates of drug legalization. LEAP, for example, is trying to “build [its] base. [It] would like to speak for a million people in this country,” added Brooks toward the end of his lecture. To that end, 100 lawenforcement officials like Brooks are speaking across the country under LEAP’s banner. These men and women weren’t chosen lightly. Brooks, for example, was a member of the Manchester, Conn. Police Force for 30 years and commanded the town’s Narcotic Task Force. However, his experience with drugs doesn’t end at the enforcement level. “I am an addict. This is my drug of choice,” said Brooks before pulling out a box of cigarettes, citing his struggle against nicotine. While many agree that the United States’ current drug policies are a problem, opinions diverge when it comes to the issue of finding a solution. Some, like Ponce, believe that America’s anti-drug policy shouldn’t be abolished, but amended. “I don’t think it should be com-
pletely abandoned, I feel it is something that should be...restructured,” said Ponce. Some students in LoV disagree. Weinger, for example, prefers absolute legalization, saying, “How do you draw the line on what drugs should and shouldn’t be legalized?” LoV’s opinion on this controversial issue seems to be based on the tenets of its political philosophy. “The idea of libertarianism rests on the principle that each person should be able to live the life that he or she so chooses as long as it doesn’t infringe upon somebody else’s right to do the same. That being said, if somebody wants to smoke cannabis they ought to be able to,” declared Weinger. Despite mixed opinions about what kind of action needs to be taken, there is some consensus among those versed in the issue that action should be taken. Many proponents of drug reform agree that prohibition has become expensive. Specifically, they argue that prisons have become crowded with non-violent drug offenders, and that this overpopulation has put unnecessary strain on our country’s and states’ budgets. “All the money that the government puts into jails can be used for other services,” said Weinger. Looking to the future, both LoV and LEAP hope that Vassar students will consider their message when comparing candidates in next year’s election. In an e-mailed statement, Shortridge commented, “by researching and voting for candidates who support legalization, as well as getting more information from organizations such as LEAP, we can...hopefully make some change to the legislation.”
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
The Founder’s Day Committee announced the results of the Founder’s Day Theme Survey via Twitter just after midnight on Monday, Feb. 7. Of the suggested themes, “Vintage Vassar/1800s” won the most overall votes, so this year’s Founder’s Day will feature events and decorations that recall Vassar’s earlier years. The Committee described the theme in the survey with the question “What was the world like at the time Vassar was founded?” The losing themes included “Dinosaurs,” “Tricentennial,” “Tron,” “Outerspace,” “Birthday Party,” “Vassar Superheroes” and “Zodiac.” Previous themes have included 2010’s “Nickelodeon,” 2009’s “Nintendo” and 2008’s “Candyland.” The Founder’s Day Committee is welcoming thematic suggestions and volunteers. Founder’s Day Weekend is scheduled for Friday, April 29 through Saturday, April 30. It will also include the return of “Matthew’s Follies,” a variety show popular at Founder’s Days in the early 20th century. —Caitlin Clevenger, News Editor
Hot off the press At 1:25 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3, a student alerted Safety & Security to a pile of Miscellany News papers that had been lit on fire in the College Center circle. The fire was extinguished and caused no damage. —CC
Joss has a new single A Safety & Security officer discovered on Thursday, Feb. 3 that a hole had been kicked into the wall of Josselyn House’s fourth-floor hallway. —CC
Water you doing to that fountain? On Friday, Feb. 4 at 2:30 a.m. a water fountain on the fifth floor of Main Building was found knocked over onto its side. —CC
House-swarming party A sergeant patrolling the Town Houses at 9:48 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 4 came upon an unauthorized party consisting of 50 to 60 students standing outside holding beer cans. Upon the sergeant’s arrival the students scattered to avoid being identified by the officer; a beer pong table had been set up inside the offending Town House. —CC
The last of the Four Lokos At 11:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 4 a Safety & Security officer came upon an unauthorized party on the 9th floor of Jewett House’s tower. A student at the party spotted the officer, yelled “Security!” and the rest of the partygoers ran. The officer confiscated beer and Four Loko that was sitting out on a table. —CC
Take off your pants and jacket A student visiting the Town Houses on Saturday, Feb. 5 reported his jacket stolen. The jacket also contained his cell phone and iPod. —CC
Museum of Modern Art Safety & Security discovered graffiti written with marker on the first floor of Josselyn House and the first floors of Main Building on Monday, Feb. 7. —CC
Academy of Visual and Performing Arts Drawings and splashes of paint in the mens’ and womens’ bathrooms in the College Center were found early on the morning of Sunday, Feb. 6. A drawing in red paint found near the Vassar Student Association (VSA) Publishing Office read “AVPA”; the meaning of the letters is still unknown. —CC
February 10, 2011
Faculty spent Darwin Days to highlight evolution debate more time in committees S Aashim Usgaonkar News Editor
Courtesy of Vassar College Media Relations
“The Vassar College Reef,” modeled on the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef currently on display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., will be displayed in the North Atrium of the College Center. flict between their religious beliefs and acceptance of science (especially evolution),” wrote Schlessman. Additionally, Schlessman contends that “the Clergy Letter specifically says that we should use the big brains that we’re so proud of to figure out how the world works, we should not be living in ignorance or promoting ignorance.” Schlessman continued, referring to the relevance of Zimmerman’s lecture in the Darwin Days series, “I think that this year’s Darwin Days are especially timely in light of an article that just came out in Science, which shows that most high school biology teachers are afraid to teach evolution, and that 13 percent of high school biology teachers actually advocate creationism. In my experience, few of our students have reli-
gious difficulties with evolution (or at least few are willing to say so), but I do think that they should be prepared for what’s going on in the real world.” Aside from the lectures, there has always been a visual exhibit to accompany Darwin Days. This year, crochet pieces that represent the coral reef are going to be shown in a display case in the North Atrium of the College Center. “Vassar College Reef”—the project’s official title—is co-sponsored by the Departments of Earth Science, Geography, Mathematics, and the President’s Office and modeled on the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef currently on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
2011 creates first Fund bucket since 1995 GIFT continued from page 1 the classes and in that it does not support a single unified project. “People like really specific gifts,” said Class of 2011 President Moe Byrne ’11, “[but] for us, it was about leaving the legacy of something we can add to year after year.” The All-School Gift Committee has accounted for possible confusion about the nature of the All-School Gift in their fundraising strategies. “People will have questions because its an unconventional gift,” said co-Chair of the Sophomore Class Gift Committee Louise Dufresne ’13. “We’ll be going door-to-door and talking about why it’s important.” The All-School Gift will also have a table in the College Center at which donors will be able to write why they contributed to the gift and post their statement on the wall. As part of the gift, the Annual Fund will now specifically support a mission of sustainability. A new designation, or “bucket,” of the Annual Fund went into effect on Feb. 3, allowing contributors to the Fund to set aside their donation for sustainability projects. Each year funds from these designated gifts will be allocated by the College Committee on Sustainability, a joint committee chaired by Professor of Earth Science Jeff Walker. Designations were added to the Annual Fund in 1995 to support six areas of the college: Vassar’s Greatest Needs, The Library Program, Campus Preservation. Faculty Salaries and Research, Scholarship, Residential Life and Athletics. Director of the Annual Fund Jonathan B. Smith ’07 wrote in an e-mailed statement that these designations support “areas of the College of infinite need— we can never raise enough money for them.” Sustainability is the first designation added to the Annual Fund since the original six were created in 1995. Smith wrote, “The Class of 2011 has shown a strong commitment to sustainability and understands that it broadly impacts every aspect of the College’s operation, which is why it is a perfect fit for the Annual Fund.” According to Byrne, this part of the gift is the most significant to the senior class because it reflects its own priorities, and coming to this conlcusion for the All-school gift was not without its challenges. “I think it was a struggle for us to make our voices as students and as seniors come through in this pivotal point of our College’s history,” said Byrne. “We didn’t want to lose the
Courtesy of Eric Estes
SURVEY continued from page 1 spent less time teaching than they did in 2004, and almost an hour less per week doing what the survey termed “research and scholarship.” Davis Van Atta thought the numbers were “an important finding.” That both teaching hours and research hours declined from 2004 to 2007 separates Vassar statistically from many of its “peer colleges,” such as Pomona, Haverford, Hamilton, Colgate and Williams Colleges. Usually, those categories are inversely related; when professors spend more time doing research, they spend less time teaching and vice versa. But, for Vassar professors, this seems not to be the case. Davis Van Atta thinks the time may have gone towards time spent in committee meetings, which “almost doubled since 2004.” Apparently, departments and committees made more demands on professors to meet than they did three years earlier, which might explain the drop in both teaching time and research time. But he also warned, “Self-reported measures of time are notoriously bad,” diminishing the reliability of the results. Survey takers tend to overreport time spent doing things they don’t like, and underreport time spent doint things they do like. The report also documented how Vassar professors’ work interests compared to those of professors elsewhere. While the survey asked several specific questions related to the relative importance of teaching and research, Vassar’s faculty was generally slightly more interested in research than that of its peer colleges. Vassar ranked highest among its peer group in the number of professors responding that research was of “essential” importance, and more than half the faculty responded they would like to see more emphasis on research. “Vassar is different in this regard,” said Davis Van Atta. “We are not cookie cutters of [other small liberal arts colleges].” His report also touched on data from the section of the survey that asks professors to rate their satisfaction with various aspects of their experience at their given institution. In this section of his talk, Davis Van Atta was able to highlight some bright aspects of the faculty’s sentiment about their jobs. For one, Vassar faculty far outpaced their peer colleges in terms of satisfaction with the quality of students. “I was looking forward to presenting this data,” said Davis Van Atta. “Those are good schools with good students, so I don’t know why we are so much higher in this category.” In addition, Vassar professors feel much more satisfied with their, as the survey put it, “autonomy and independence.” There were, however, some areas of low satisfaction relative to the data from other colleges. For instance, there was a statistically significantly lower rate of satisfaction with health benefits as compared to the faculty of peer institutions. Davis Van Atta was unable to explain this, saying, “We have pretty good benefits, so I don’t know what’s behind these numbers.” Also an area of concern was the rate of satisfaction with departmental leadership. One of Vassar’s lowest categories for satisfaction, departmental leadership seems to concern Vassar professors more than it does academics working at other small colleges. “This area might need some work,” said Davis Van Atta. Then he stopped himself. “I’ve broken my rule,” he said lightheartedly. “No value judgments.” The survey also attempted to gauge faculty stress levels, with a majority of respondents reporting an “extensive” level of overall stress. A lack of personal time proved to be the top cause of stress for Vassar faculty, although teaching loads and colleagues also ranked high. Faculty reported low levels of stress associated with students, however, leaving Davis Van Atta to conclude, “We have a problem that’s more with ourselves.”
everal academic departments such as Earth Science, Geography and Mathematics have combined forces with the Darwin Days Committee to sponsor the third annual set of Darwin Days events to begin on Friday, Feb. 11. The series of lectures, panel discussions and exhibits are in honor of the birthday anniversary of the English naturalist Charles Darwin. The celebrations on Friday will commence in Ely Hall at 1 p.m. with a lecture delivered by Professor of Mathematics John McCleary entitled “Geometry in Darwin’s time.” At 1:45 p.m., Assistant Professor of Biology Jodi Schwarz will give a lecture called “Big Things Come in Small Packages, Lessons Learned from Coral.” The day will conclude with “Hyperbolic Nature” by Adjunct Associate Professor of Mathematics at Cornell University Daina Taimina. According to Director of Media Relations Jeff Kosmacher, the headlining act will be Professor of Biology at Butler university Michael Zimmerman, who will give a lecture entitled, “The Evolution/Creation Debate: Attempting to Civilize It and Being Attacked on All Sides.” Zimmerman is the founder of the Clergy Letter Project, “an endeavor designed to demonstrate that religion and science can be compatible and to elevate the quality of the debate of this issue,” according to the Project’s website. Zimmerman will deliver his lecture at 3 p.m. in the Villard Room. Professor of Biology Mark Schlessman is enthusiastic about Zimmerman’s talk on the last day of the series of events.“I’ve been following, writing about and speaking on creationist attacks on teaching evolution since for almost 40 years,” he in an e-mailed statement. Schlessman claims that he was attracted to the Clergy Letter Project for a number of reasons. “[The Clergy Letter Project] emphasizes that most denominations and most clergy don’t see a con-
The 2011 All-School Gift seeks to make a major donation to the College’s Annual Fund. With a total of $165,000 in potential matching gifts, it may be the largest student gift Vassar has ever recevied. opportunity to capitalize on the sesquicentennial.” According to Byrne, the theme of the gift reflects the legacy the Class of 2011 wishes to leave behind while the all-inclusive scope speaks to the significance of the year for all students. While the end dollar amount of the gift is large, the number that is perhaps the most important to students is participation. The 2011 All-School Gift Committee has set the goal for 1861 students to participate by giving to the gift, a significant number as Vassar was founded in 1861. To achieve this goal and as a result the $150,000 matching gift, 77.5 percent of the student body will have to make a contribution to the All-School Gift. “That’s $1,000 for every year in Vassar’s history,” Grober reminded students in his announcement. The Committee has set an even higher goal for the
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Senior Class, which they hope will reach a participation level of 80 percent. If the Class of 2011 can meet or exceed their participation goal, an anonymous alumna or alumnus has pledged to give $15,000 to the Sustainability designation of the Annual Fund. With a potential total of $165,000 in matching gifts, the 2011 All-School Gift is poised to be the biggest student gift the College has ever received. It would be at least twice as large as the Class of 2010 Senior Class Gift, which raised $68,070—including matching gifts—to create the 2010 Endowed Scholarship. But to the senior class, the creation of a Sustainability designation in the Annual Fund may be the most important aspect of the gift. According to Smith, in just this acheivement, “The senior class can be proud of the legacy that they are leaving behind at Vassar.”
February 10, 2011
Students enthusiastic about alternative space in UpC Mary Huber
Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
he new UpCafe opened last week with a big party, complete with free pizza (always a draw for hungry college students). The space, which includes ping-pong and pool tables, video games and comfy couches, is meant to provide an alternative to larger, all-campus parties. UpC was neither dead nor crowded at 10 p.m. last Friday. The Barefoot Monkeys practiced near the stage area while others played pool and ping pong. When asked why she hangs out at UpC, Hannah Trautner ’13 stated, “It’s something to do, and it doesn’t involve drinking, which is nice because there aren’t a lot of places on campus where that’s true. I mean, you have to be shit-faced to go to the Mug, which isn’t fun.” After a brief pause, she added, “And I like pool.” To Dean of the College Christopher Roellke and Assistant Dean of the College for Campus Activities Terry Quinn, the space is essential for students who want to avoid the drinking that is prevalent at some campus parties. “There are many places people can go—the living rooms or [multi-purpose rooms]—but no central, neutral space,” said Quinn. She hopes the space will help “avoid some of the activity you see leading up to all-campus parties.” Added Roellke, “My hope for the space is that it proves the students’ claim that having a fun, substance-free space that is readily available will promote wellness, sound decision-making and a healthier social scene on campus.” Some groups who have traditionally held events at UpC worry about where they will schedule their shows and dances next year;
UpCafe has been furnished with a number of amenities— including video games, board games, Foosball, and ping pong and pool tables—so that it might better serve as an alternative space for students. however, Roellke and Quinn doubt that limiting programming in UpC will cause many issues. “Most all-campus parties happen in the College Center,” said Quinn, who believes closing that space to programming would have posed a problem for campus. However, “the lounge is only open Thursday through Saturday nights; the rest of the week it’s programmed,” said Quinn. Roellke concurred: “It is my belief that
this space will have only a very modest impact on the scheduling of other events—this was a consideration of the task force in their work. The times of [Thursday, Friday and Saturday] nights between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. were not times that were heavily scheduled in UpC and with advanced planning this should work well.” Quinn pointed out, “The things that were already scheduled were left. There were only 10
events, including rain locations [for outdoor activities] scheduled for this semester.” Several House Presidents felt that the shift will benefit both students and the parties themselves. “I think the restrictions on UpC as a programming space will cause dorms to be more creative when choosing locations for parties,” said Noyes House President Jenna Konstantine ’13. “The change may lead to more outdoor events and more variety when it comes to programming content. While I love our all-campus dance parties, it may be time to try something different.” The most popular all-campus parties held in UpC are Harvest Ball in the fall and Roaring Twenties in the spring. “Especially since these events are not known as...”hot mess” events, the location in UpC seems to fit with the motivation for the space,” said Strong House President Sophia Wasserman ’13, expressing her concern for similar programming traditionally held at UpC. According to Dean of the College Christopher Roellke, the idea for the space grew out of several town hall meetings discussing alcohol use on campus, during which “the concept of healthy, substance-free programming space quickly emerged as a top priority.” Quinn also praised student involvement in the endeavor. “We really want to listen to students and partner with them, not think we can do it all by ourselves.” “It was a difficult decision,” admitted Quinn, acknowleding the challenges of catering to the needs of a diverse student body. “This [space] is sort of a compromise.” Still, she’s hopeful for the future. “It’s only been a week, and people are there and using the space,” said Quinn, “so we’ll see what happens.”
Dorm history: Jewett originally considered a ‘crime’ Jillian Scharr
So in 1907, Vassar Professor of Art Lewis Pilcher, part of the architectural firm Pilcher and Tachau, built a sixth dorm on the quad to accommodate the increased number of applicants. Pilcher’s design was not popular with the community. Its unusual shape, combined with a façade that did not match the other quad dorms, earned it the nickname “Pilcher’s Crime.” The College couldn’t find a donor who wanted their name on the dorm, so for eight years it was officially known as “North Hall.” In 1915, Henry Noble MacCracken became Vassar’s fifth president and renamed North Hall “Milo P. Jewett House.” MacCracken was a great admirer of Milo Jewett, said Daniels, but like the eponymous dorm, Jewett’s relationship to the College had rocky beginnings. In the late 1850s, wealthy brewer Matthew Vassar was looking for a way to give back to the Poughkeepsie community. And he thought he had found the perfect way: a hospital. His nephews Matthew Vassar Jr. and John Guy Vassar Jr. were already planning to build a hospital in the area and were very eager to get their uncle’s support. However, Matthew Vassar’s niece Lydia Booth, who ran a girls’ academy in Poughkeepsie, had been urging him to open a college for women. After she died in 1855, Jewett, a wellknown academic and advocator for women’s education who had worked with Booth, took up her fight and eventually convinced Vassar to build a women’s college instead of a hospital. “[Jewett] is the reason Vassar decided to build a college instead of a hospital,” said Daniels, “and that made the nephews very angry, because they were counting on Vassar to leave his money for the hospital.” Nevertheless, Vassar College was founded in 1861, and the Board of Trustees, led by Vassar, named Jewett its first president. However, Jew-
Carlos Hernandez/The Miscellany News
he sixth of Vassar’s nine dormitories, Milo P. Jewett has had a long and storied history—nine stories, to be exact. Towering over the Residential Quad’s north end, Milo P. Jewett house cuts a distinctive figure as the tallest of the College’s nine residential dorms. Its residents speak fondly of its unusual shape and the dorm culture that it engenders, but Jewett dorm, and its founder, weren’t always so fondly esteemed by the Vassar community. From 2011 back through its construction in 1907, and even further to Milo P. Jewett and his contribution to founding the College, here’s a look at Jewett dorm in retrospective. Jewett’s unusual layout contributes to its interior dorm culture. Each hall has at least one common area for students to study and socialize, a feature unique to Jewett and Davison, which Jewett House President Mariah Minigan ’13 pointed out as a central part of Jewett dorm culture. “You always run into people playing board games, studying, hanging out,” Minigan said. Particularly in the tower, she observed, “Fellow groups get really tight, which is something that doesn’t happen quite so often in the [rest of the] dorm. It’s definitely something that’s really important to Jewett culture.” Residents often have a lot to say about the tower, Jewett’s most unique feature. Some see the tower and the main body as somewhat separate. “Generally people who live in the tower stay in the tower,” said Evan Herdrich ’14. “The tower restricts people,” added Nikolas Goldberg ’12, whose freshman year fellow group was split between the third-floor tower and third-floor trans section. “I’ve known the tower people to be closer,” said Minigan. “It’s easier to be close to [hallmates in the tower] because you have to see them when you walk out of your door.” Those who live in the tower,
however, had only positive feedback. “Basically it’s an extended suite,” said Kris Yim ’14 of Jewett’s seventh floor common room. Seventh floor resident Eddie Livshits ’14 agreed: “I think living in the first four floors is like living in any other dorm.” Jewett is also known for its relative cleanliness, which Minigan partly attributes to its newness. The building was closed for the 2002-03 academic year for renovations, the principle focus of which was to add stairwells to the tower. “That was really one of the main reasons that Jewett was selected first [for renovations]; because of the fire egress issues,” said Executive Director of Buildings and Grounds Thomas Allen. Despite the small rooms and hotellike interior that Jewett now sports, residents express overall satisfaction with dorm life. Residents of Jewett may be surprised to learn, then, that their Vassar predecessors were less than pleased with Jewett House. The dorm was built to accommodate a new influx of students applying to Vassar at the turn of the 20th century, explained Vassar College Historian Elizabeth Daniels. When the College opened, professors found their students ill-prepared for a college-level education. So in its early years, Vassar was a prep school as well as a college. This worked well for the first few decades of the College, but it soon found that it was falling behind other women’s colleges because it didn’t require its students to complete a liberal arts education. Many students opted for certification in music or art instead of an actual liberal arts degree from Vassar. In the late 19th century, the prep school was phased out, art and music were absorbed into a more comprehensive liberal arts education, and Vassar’s curriculum was revamped. “After it became known that Vassar was on a different track…many more students began applying to Vassar,” said Daniels.
The design of Milo P. Jewett House was initially so disliked that the College, unable to find a donor who wanted their name on the building, simply referred to it as “North Hall.” ett’s perceived intervention hadn’t endeared him to Vassar’s nephews, who were now on the Board of Trustees. The College wasn’t scheduled to open until 1865—the delay due to Vassar’s concerns about the Civil War and its possibly deleterious effects on his finance— but Jewett thought this was too long to wait. In 1864 he
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tried to get the Board of Trustees to open the College early. But Vassar’s nephews, still bitter over their thwarted hospital plans, weren’t disposed to help him. In the end, Vassar and the Board of Trustees fired Jewett before the College opened with John H. Raymond as president. And the rest, as they say, is history.
February 10, 2011
Sesquicentennial accomplished mainly with existing resources proposals relating to the sesquicentennial. The Eleanor Roosevelt Professorship, for example, will be one part of the On Educating the Global Citizen conference taking place next fall. The lecture’s inclusion is fitting: Roosevelt had been present at the World Youth Congress held at Vassar in 1938, and famously defended the College against attacks that it was housing communists in its walls. Of course, the College had a little help: Vassar Trustee John Arnhold, for example, who sits on the Jazz at the Lincoln Center’s Board of Directors, made a gift to the College underwriting a performance of Vassar Voices at the venue. But even the subsequent multi-city tour of Vassar Voices is just a form of what the Office of Alumnae/i Affairs already does, albeit with a sesquicentennial twist. “We already produce activities at Vassar and all over the country, so taking [Vassar Voices] on the road is not any different,” Mihaly said. This approach has kept the price tag of Vassar’s celebration quite low, especially compared to the cost of anniversaries at other colleges and universities. Consider Yale University’s tercentennial in 2001—a celebration that included a 300-pound birthday cake, an address delivered by former president Bill Clinton and a performance by the Counting Crows, which was made possible by a large gift from a generous alumnus. While Yale administrators refused to disclose the exact amount of the gift, according to The Yale Daily News,
they did state that it totaled less than $10 million. Yale’s anniversary was different from Vassar’s in another respect: The university had created a Tercentennial Office staffed by approximately 10 full-time employees—and occasionally aided by temporary workers— to plan and execute its celebration. Kuretsky noted that Vassar’s Sesquicentennial Committee, in contrast, drew its members from faculty and College administration. A Sesquicentennial Student Steering Committee was also formed to assist with developing on-campus programming. “It’s not just economical, it’s smart,” said Mihaly of the College’s in-house approach. “We’re going to get a much better result because the people working on this are the ones who really know the institution.” Nevertheless, the in-house approach does have its drawbacks. “It’s been difficult for people here, I will say,” Kuretsky admitted, noting that the individuals planning the sesquicentennial have taken on those responsibilities in addition to their regular jobs. “This has been something that...you’re happy to do, but it’s also been a considerable act of generosity.” This is the first time that Vassar’s administration has taken such a large role in anniversary planning. The College’s centennial in 1961 preceded the development of a College bureaucracy; the celebration was therefore largely organized by an autonomous group of Vassar alumnae, according
Courtesy of Vassar College Archives
SESQUI continued from page 1 a large budget. “We didn’t want to have something that would simply just be consuming resources,” she said, “but something that would be consisting of events that would be invented and executed by people here.” “There was almost no money, but there really didn’t need to be,” said Mihaly, noting that the College is already host to a large number of lectures, performances and other events. The Sesquicentennial Committee, he explained, had contacted various branches of the College in advance with the suggestion that they incorporate Vassar’s 150th anniversary into their regular programming. “We asked them to do what they ordinarily would’ve done, with the resources they already have, but with the sesquicentennial in mind,” said Mihaly. According to Mihaly, almost all of the College’s sesquicentennial programming has been accomplished in this way: by taking advantage of resources that already exist. Thus, student organizations are throwing sesquicentennial-themed events, like last month’s Sexycentennial Party, a joint effort between the Vassar Student Association (VSA) and Vassar College Entertanment (ViCE). The latest exhibits unveiled at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and the Thompson Memorial Library pay tribute to Vassar’s anniversary. And with respect to endowed lectureships, priority was given to those
Unlike the sesquicentennial, which has relied on the participation of students, faculty and administrators, Vassar’s 100th anniversary in 1961 was largely organized by alumnae. to Mihaly. The inclusive nature of the College’s sesquicentennial, which draws from student, faculty and administration for its programming, is a relatively novel idea. “This is a campus-wide activity in a way that nothing else has ever been,” Mihaly noted. While alumnae/i are no longer exclusively heading up the celebratory effort, the Sesquicentennial Committee has taken pains to keep far-flung graduates abreast of and included in the College’s celebrations. “What’s been so different about this particu-
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lar celebration is that we have everything online,” Kuretsky said. Kuretsky believes that the inclusion of alumnae/i is of particular importance to a celebration that seeks to celebrate the College’s 150year past. “The place is like a kind of glacier; there’s the part we see—the people who are here now,” said explained, “but below that is what you don’t see: tens of thousands of people who are alive all over the world who were once here before, and who care about the place enormously.”
February 10, 2011
More for your unofficial Top 10 ways to stuff your reading list: Profs’ picks wallet courtesy of Vassar Danielle Bukowski
he year 1861 saw the release of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, George Eliot’s Silas Marner and poetry by Charles Baudelaire. 150 years later, 2011 saw Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s book A Shore Thing. For timely students who need suggestions for more literature, seven professors across the Vassar academic departments have selected books they believe are essential for every student to discover. And though none would complain that Vassar Professors do not assign enough to read, rest assured that they are always prepared with a new and often challenging suggestion that invariably complements their academic interests. “Understanding our own human nature is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and for others,” said Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies Kathleen Hart. Her suggestion, Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, is one such work. Haidt is a social psychologist, and his book brings together ideas from some of the greatest thinkers from antiquity and the present. Said Professor Hart, “Self-righteousness and the tendency to vilify people who disagree with us is a huge problem today, including on college campuses.” Assistant Professor of History Hiraku Shimoda suggests that students read “anything that tests our quotidian sense of time and space.” Although admitting his colleagues in the hard sciences may disapprove, he suggests Steven Hawking’s A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, or Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. He also recommends Harvard professor and paleontologist Steven Jay Gould’s book Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle “for a discussion about the discovery of geological time.” Assistant Professor of English Molly McGlennen believes students should read Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. The book, considered to be one of the greatest works of Native American literature, chronicles a man’s return to his heritage after serving in World War II and coming back to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. “The book has changed peoples’ lives!” said McGlennen. For a book that delves into our country’s recent politics, Professor of Political Science Adelaide Villmoare suggests Will Bunch’s The Backlash. “Bunch pulls no punches in his study of the intersections of contemporary media and social forces supporting a backlash against Obama and virtually any style of liberal and quasi-liberal politics,” Professor Villmoare
wrote in an e-mailed statement. Villmoare’s Media and Politics class is currently reading the book. “Investigative journalism with a thoughtfully critical edge, this analysis probes today’s politics of fear in the United States.” Another suggestion regarding contemporary issues is Naomi Klein’s No Logo. Associate Professor of Sociology Leonard Nevarez recommends this work because it discusses consumerism and brand identities. “By the time American kids get to college, they’ve usually been force-fed some two decades of consumerism and corporate branding. Klein’s book is a great place to start thinking critically about where our popular culture and so-called individuality come from,” he said. Associate Professor of Drama Denise Walen highly recommends that all students read the complete works of Shakespeare. “Beyond the complexities of the texts, the interdisciplinary nature of the topics covered, and the intricate ideas the plays convey—which would sharpen the critical thinking skills of students from any discipline—the works of Shakespeare are deeply embedded in our popular culture,” Walen wrote in an e-mailed statement. Shakespeare’s plays have played an important role in our cultural discourse for several hundred years. “People from myriad backgrounds and cultures use Shakespeare, both the man and his works, to define, reshape and understand their world.” On a final note, Professor Walen suggests that everyone read A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh “because it always helps to think about kindness and friendship.” Henry Noble MacCracken Professor of English Robert DeMaria, Jr. would like to “put in a plea for reading poetry.” The reading of poetry requires a close attention to language and a good deal of imagination, and he suggests that students spend at least a few minutes every day with a poem. “The discipline of such reading prepares you for any activity in life and so does the effort to understand another imagination, another point of view,” he wrote in an e-mailed statement. His recommendations include: Out of Sight, a new collection by Vassar Professor Emeritus of English Eamon Grennan; the poems “The Garden” and “To His Coy Mistress” by 17th century British poet Andrew Marvell; and the Robert Fagles translation of Virgil’s The Aeneid. So start off February right with a great book—or five—recommended by our distinguished faculty. Every suggestion in this list has the potential to broaden minds, expand interests and teach us about ourselves and the world. Snooki’s book will probably only teach you how to do “the poof.”
Samantha Thompson Guest Reporter
hether they’ve already blown through their checking account at the Poughkeepsie Galleria, have their eye on the latest gadget, or are saving up for Graduate School, college students are not shy about their lack of funds or their desire for an income. So what exactly are the most popular jobs on Vassar’s campus? A chat with Administrative Assistant at the Student Employment Office Linda Ferraro revealed that the most popular work is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the kind that involves as little work as possible. She explains, “Any job where students can do their homework is an ideal job.” Keeping this in mind, below is a compilation of the most popular, exciting and, occasionally leisurely jobs Vassar has to offer. Wimpfheimer Nursery School Teacher’s Assistant
Perfect for the aspiring teacher, or simply someone who loves children, a position at our school’s renowned laboratory nursery school affords the opportunity to play and take care of kids ranging from two to five years old. The job does require an interview and hard work, but you’ll walk away with plenty of hilarious stories, and maybe even a summer babysitting job. Gym Security
Not only is this a great way to motivate yourself to work out, but it also requires the bare minimum of concentration and skill. One of the campus’ highly coveted jobs, this position provides ample time to do your homework. The drawbacks? As former employee Mickey Mahar ’12 reveals, laptops are prohibited. But on the bright side, it’s your first step towards becoming the next Roman Czula.
in the same position for long periods of time, the pay is decent, and you just might become the next (naked) Mona Lisa. Professor’s Assistant
Let’s be honest, whether it’s publishing award-winning books or getting quoted in The New York Times, Vassar’s professors are exceptionally impressive. So why not get involved in faculty research? The professors at Vassar have wide-ranging interests from medieval sheet music to the anthropology of death, so find one whose passions align with yours and work won’t feel like work at all. Lehman Loeb
If you actually attend Late Night at the Lehman Loeb to devour the art and not merely the hors d’oeuvres, this may be the job for you. With positions ranging from leading tours through the galleries, to helping restore the artwork, this is a great opportunity to become intimate with the over 17,000 works that the Center has to offer. Tour Guide
Consider applying if you have an affinity for memorizing quirky facts about the College and a high tolerance for a barrage of questions from concerned parents. School spirit and the ability to walk backwards are also must-haves. Campus Patrol
This in-demand position is rather self-explanatory. Responsibilities largely include walking around the campus in search of anything peculiar, as well as occasionally locking buildings and providing student escorts. Perks? Your security radio will make you look badass.
DJ at the Mug
One of Vassar’s best kept secrets, the Skinner Greenhouse is an oasis of warmth, greenery and tranquility. This position is ideal for anyone who enjoys a quiet atmosphere and has an appreciation for nature, as the greenhouse is home to plants and wildlife alike. Daily tasks include checking on the vegetation, planting seedlings and the occasional golf cart ride across campus to water the plants in various buildings.
Girl Talk’s got nothing on you. Entertain the sweaty masses as you drop your favorite beats. Disclaimer: You will probably have to indulge a Journey request or two, and working nights and weekends is a must, but with pay at $10 an hour, hitting the space bar on your Mac has never felt so good.
Is only one issue of SQUIRM a year simply not cutting it for you? Then why not disrobe for cash and sacrifice your entire body for art, literally. While it does require you to remain
Put that language requirement to good use and help your peers practice a foreign language in a comfortable setting. Hours vary depending on the language, and there is an interview and language requirement, but the position is a great way to spruce up your language skills while getting paid at the same time.
Colorful—and legal—option defeats decorating doldrums MItchell Gilburne Features Reporter
Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
Alexander Brody ’12, pictured above in his Main Building suite, has painted the walls of his dorm room a shade of purple called “Wild Wysteria.” He plans to paint the walls white again by the end of the year.
rom the first moment the “your space” section of the Vassar admissions application is undertaken until graduation day, Vassar students are expected to exhibit creativity and ingenuity in their pursuit of higher education. It should come as no surprise that such enterprising individualism leaps off of the paper and into students’ dorm rooms. One such room, decked out with a thick band of a moody shade of purple called “Wild Wysteria,” is occupied by Alexander (Harrison) Brody ’12 along with his suite mates. Brody recalls that the choice of color was a product of debate and compromise, but that the suite is thrilled with the final result. Brody explains his bold decision to paint the walls of his dorm room by citing tradition. “My boyfriend did it before me; he gave me the idea, and as long as you paint it back at the end of the year its legal.” Brody remembers an encounter with a Residential Operations Center (ROC) employee, explaining, “A woman from the ROC came in and saw [the paint] and asked if it was paint or wallpaper, and she said it looked nice and then left.” Accompanied by the typical assortment of modern and more weathered furniture, the pur-
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ple walls truly tie the individual pieces together while setting the space apart. Aside from its unique hue, Brody’s digs are further enhanced by an eclectic array of art, some of it of his own creation. Along with a dazzling depiction of a bottle of Chanel No. 5 of Brody’s design, the walls are decked out with various movie posters, the art of Roy Lichtenstein and even a large rainbow flag emblazoned with the word “peace.” “The Fine art is mine, and the movie posters are my roommates,” quips Brody, “but everyone loves the movie posters more,” he admits. The focal point of the room is inarguably an entertainment station, which boasts a large television accompanied by an Xbox 360 and a fine assortment of games. All of the technology is perched upon an antique coffee table and flanked by a sophisticated black lamp. The effect of the juxtaposition of old and new is immediately evident. Between the art, color scheme, furniture and technological trappings, there is no doubt that Brody and his suite mates have created a work of live-in art. While some are quick to lament the constraints of dorm living, Suite 319 in Main Building proves that initiative, imagination and a little elbow grease are all that separate you from a dorm with all the comforts of home.
Vassar activities prove there is such a thing as free lunch Jessica Tarantine
ushi, birthday cake and chocolate fountains—all these foods at just one event! Vassar College offers its students a multitude of delicious foods free of charge. In fact, some weeks it seems that having a meal plan is unnecessary, given the amount of free food students can find simply by being here. Why then—in the name of a better understanding of food culture at Vassar—not test the hypothesis? Can the stereotypical starving college student exist at Vassar subsiding only on free food? The answers, as I found out, were: hungry? No. Concerned about malnutrition in the long run? Quite possibly. For one week, I ate only food that I obtained without the use of my V-Card, real cash or other methods of payments. Simply put, I ate only free food that I mooched from various sources with no promise of repayment. I did not have any additional food other than what I had in my dorm room by chance. The highlight of the week was undoubtedly the Vassar College Sesquicentennial Birthday Bake-Off on Thursday night which provided a delightful variety of options both savory and sweet. There was double layered cake filled with whipped strawberry custard that was perfectly complemented by a rich chocolate icing. This delight was offset by a lighter fruit medley, and contrasted by cheeses and crackers. On the same night, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center held their weekly Late Night at the Loeb, which offers a selection of light refreshments. The week I attended, the Loeb was celebrating its fourth anniversary, and in commemoration offered a mini-layered vanilla cake with a bitter chocolate filling and fresh strawberries. While Thursday offered the most options, the rest of the week was not without scavenging opportunities. Study breaks hosted by dorms offered fun albeit unsubstantial snacks. My dorm, Noyes, was no exception: cookies and juice boxes on Wednesday night. In addition to my Study Break, on Wednesday I attended “Around the World: Latin America and the Caribbean,” part of the College’s monthly series focusing on
exploring world cultures, offering locals food from the area of study. Despite the wide variety of free-food options and their appeal, officially sponsored Vassar free food is simply insufficient to live on. Consider that on Monday and Tuesday there were no free-food events. What then is a student determined not to spend dining bucks, meal swipes or V-Cash to do? Several times I had to eat leftover provisions saved from previous free events. On Monday, for example, I first chose to eat provisions saved from the previous night’s Noyes at Night that had offered a selection of hot beverages, graham crackers and cookies. By Tuesday, however, the last few graham cracker crums had run out, and as the Episcopal Church at Vassar College Free for All Dinner Once was canceled due to weather, my flow of free food was effectively cut off. More than once I was forced to dip into the reserve food I found in my dorm, which included ramen noodles, Easy Mac and instant coffee. The rest of the food for the week included various items taken from the All Campus Dining Center by a sympathetic roommate. While it was certainly possible to go Monday through Friday without actually paying for food, it was in no way nutritious. The food at most events is generally offered to attract students to attend, and in an understandable fashion, the more unhealthy foods are enjoyed by the greatest number. Occasionally eating these foods—or even eating them more frequently and then supplementing with a healthier diet— would not necessary be problematic, but when consuming only Twisted Soul empanadas and three o’clock tea in Main (what happened to the cookies?) it’s unlikely you are getting the proper balance of nutrients. Vassar’s many free treats should be enjoyed, but only in moderation. In the end, it is far better to use your Vassar required meal plan to savor fresh produce and other healthy options. But should you have a desire for becoming the clichéd hungry college student in a sort of ironic way that externalizes an unsatisfied hunger for meaning, I can guarantee that the All Campus Dining Center will never taste better after a week of living on cake and cheese.
February 10, 2011
Cravings left unsatisfied at pricey Crave restaurant Mitchell Gilburne Features Editor
fter the tragic closing of the delectable Twist Restaurant in Hyde Park, Vassar’s gourmands have been forced to reassess local offerings of haute cuisine. The recently opened Crave, located at 129 Washington Street in Poughkeepsie, promises to deliver memorable meals at unsurprisingly steep prices. Candlelit, dominated by tables for two and with a bar set against exposed brick, Crave certainly looked the part. Entering without a reservation, my party was directed towards the bar where we chose to dine, eschewing a longer wait. Though the atmosphere lived up to expectations, the service was an exercise in buffoonery. Our waiter, who was performing double duty as the bartender, fluctuated between aggressive pushiness and absentminded neglect. After taking and serving my date’s drink order, I was left to twiddle my thumbs and contemplate a parched throat. Next we received white and wheat bread, which was doled out at the discretion of our waiter, leaving us with no room for a preference between the two varieties. This was followed up with a bungled delivery of a glorified (though bland) mozzarella stick of an amuse-bouche. When, after a pronounced delay in service, our orders were finally taken I opted for the octopus appetizer ($11) and the duck special ($29) while my accomplice in eating chose the ahi tuna ($28). The octopus arrived atop a monstrous serving of chickpeas in an oversized white bowl. Hardly appetizer sized, the presentation of this dish was immediately jarring. Unlike the medallions of octopus to which I have grown accustomed when prepared in this manner, my dish featured the full bodies of five small octopi weaving in and out of a veritable quarry of chickpeas. Though the taste was not unpleasant, and the texture of the whole octopus was surprisingly inoffensive, the overall depth of the dish was lacking, and the cornucopia of chickpeas in a less than dynamic sauce made for an overly
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heavy and ultimately regrettable first plate. The speedy arrival of our entrees was appreciated, but they too were revealed to be lackluster attempts to mimic the scrumptious dishes boasted in print by the menu. The duck, ordered medium-rare, was slightly overcooked, but delightfully crispy despite its naked presentation. The promised cherry-demi had been wasted atop an army of Brussels sprouts that suffered from being slightly underdone. In addition, the stems of the Brussels sprouts had been left attached and made for a tough surprise in a few unlucky bites. The simply prepared potatoes were the high point of an uninspired though well meaning dish. The tuna, seared rare and served atop a spicy peanut sauce, failed to differentiate itself from the various other faux-Asian dishes that have fast become tired on menus with fine dining aspirations. The peanut sauce in particular was thick and muddled with none of the aforementioned spice. In fact, it had an off-putting dairy flavor that felt out of place against the nearly raw fish. Garnished with a bitter salad of radish and scallion, this dish was less than the sum of its individually disappointing parts. With an array of mediocre dishes behind us, we turned eagerly to dessert with hopes of a sweet and satisfying finish manifest in a piece of red velvet cake ($7). Our hopefulness was answered with a dessert that was easily resisted and positively odd. Though the frosting was on point, the cake was dense and dry. Everything on the plate was intensely sweet, rendering the accompanying scoop of seemingly vanilla ice cream particularly enticing. The ice cream, however, was in fact flavored to match the taste of the cream cheese icing that frosted the cake. The unbalanced, saccharine symphony was entirely unwelcome after such a heavy meal, and the cake was left practically untouched. Before tax, the bill came to $82, a price befitting the type of restaurant Crave aims to be. Don’t be fooled by the warm glow and romantic allure, Crave is neither worthy of its namesake nor your money.
February 10, 2011
Miscellany News Staff Editorial
All-School Gift realizes senior, College priorities O
n Thursday, Feb. 3, the “2011 All-School Gift: On the Occasion of the Vassar Sesquicentennial” was announced by the senior class. The gift is comprised of two overlapping components: a call for all students to donate to the Annual Fund, and the creation of a new designation, or “bucket,” within the Annual Fund designated specifically for sustainability initiatives on campus. Both components of the gift come with matching donations from alumnae/i based on student participation. If 1,861 students donate, $150,000 will match the All-School Gift in the Annual Fund, while an additional $15,000 will be matched in the Sustainability bucket if 80 percent of the Class of 2011 gives. We believe that this groundbreaking gift is topical in terms of both form and content. In the aftermath of the recent global financial crisis, it is unrealistic to funnel money towards a more tangible pet project while other significant areas of the College risk going underfunded. A gift to the Annual Fund expresses a faith in Vassar that it can put our money to the best uses. Furthermore, the sustainability initiative speaks to the College’s and the student body’s, especially the senior class’s, commitment to environmental issues. The Sustainability bucket will help secure funding for the College’s current and future sustainability demands. This gift reflects how Vassar does not just teach its students how to be students, but also how to be conscientious, forward- and broad-thinking members of a larger, global community. The complex and more abstract nature of this year’s gift has raised contention and confusion among certain sectors of the student body. Historically, student giving has been re-
stricted to the sophomore and senior classes, with explicitly defined gifts from each class. This year’s shift in mentality is undoubtedly surprising to seniors, who may have anticipated putting their name on something concrete and exclusively funded by their own class. Further complaints were raised in an anonymous e-mail sent to some members of the Vassar community, which suggested that the gift’s conception and development were influenced by College forces other than the Senior Class Gift Committee. While some of the concerns were valid, the method used to convey them was cowardly and ineffective. They distracted from rather than added to any kind of dialogue or solution. As is the usual process, all seniors were invited to join the Class Gift Committee at the beginning of the year, and were also given opportunities to contribute throughout. Although the gift will come from the entire student body, we believe the Class of 2011 is nevertheless clearly at its head. The class should assume this leadership role when it comes to rallying their fellow students. Seniors should be proud that the Class of 2011 will be making Vassar history by breaking away from the norm and creating an unprecedented new bucket in the Annual Fund. The Sustainability bucket is the class’s doing, and the money put toward that cause will clearly come from the efforts of seniors. The bottom line is that a single class cannot accomplish what the entire school together can, both in terms of dollars and scope, and therefore the decision on behalf of the Class of 2011 to combine gifts is therefore a wise and mature one. Especially when measured against the $400 million the College plans to raise as part of the “Vassar 150: World Changing” Campaign, the
$150,000 gift to the Annual fund is not a great deal of money, However, it will be the largest amount of money a class has ever given as a gift, and it is not a negligible sum. The possibilities for $150,000 across every sector of the College are endless. Furthermore, the legacy of the 2011 All-School gift will endure through the Sustainability bucket within the Annual Fund, as well as the general example of giving that it will set and the spirit of community that it will foster. Even more than its direct financial effects, however, the gift represents an ideological shift in how Vassar students view giving. The gift’s leaders are asking us to give back to the College the way we will when we are older and can afford more than the $10 or $20 or $50 we can realistically donate now. What’s more, we’re being given an entirely new and relevant place to put that money. The generous matching donations from alumnae/i, as well as the efforts of the Office of Alumnae/i Affairs and Development, demonstrate that this is a collective philanthropic effort on behalf of the entire Vassar community. Unlike many past class gifts, the 2011 AllSchool Gift is not something onto which “Class of 2011” can be inscribed. It is not something tour guides can point out when herding around prospective students and their families. Instead, the Class of 2011 is giving an attitude, a legacy that promotes the collective spirit of Vassar. And what better way to do that in the College’s sesquicentennial year than with the collaborative effort of members from all four class years? —The Staff Editorial represents the opinion of at least two thirds of the 15-member Miscellany News Editorial Board.
VC students unconnected to Poughkeepsie Hannah Blume Columnist
assar’s Sesquicentennial celebration got me thinking. Like any good Vassar student should, I joined in observing our institution’s rich history. I attended the parties, exhibitions, concerts and talks. I combed through the throngs of photographs that swarmed across the Sesquicentennial webpage. I watched the inane celebritystudded videos. I read about the fundraisers at Lincoln Center, Palm Beach and even Athens. Extravagance aside, it was exciting. And then, I heard about “A Day at Vassar,” where, in the words of The Miscellany News, Vassar will “open its gates” in October 2011 to the larger Poughkeepsie area. The event was described as an opportunity to “experience what it feels like to be a member of the Vassar community.” The air of excitement suddenly felt stale. What, exactly, does it “feel like” to be a part of the Vassar community? Is it feeling important? Inspired? Creative? I really don’t know. Selfcenteredness must have something to do with it, because the idea that Poughkeepsie residents would eagerly flock to our campus, thirsty for a sip of the Vassar “experience” seems asinine. Do Vassar students really think that Vassar College is Poughkeepsie’s only asset? Do they know that the Poughkeepsie Journal is the nation’s third oldest active newspaper? Or that the Poughkeepsie Family Court Judge Joan Posner authored the Domestic Violence Bench Manual that has become a model for courts See POUGHKEEPSIE on page 12
Revolutions a reaction to tyranny, lack of opportunity Juan Dominguez
t’s everywhere: CNN, the New York Times, Facebook and Twitter. There’s a grass-roots revolution rocking the Arab world. It’s practically impossible to surf the Internet and not run into the pictures of a once tidy Tahrir Square turned to a war zone. Unfortunately, many people have written off the historic events as just ‘more Muslims trying to kill people.’ Let’s not let a great opportunity slip by to change the maybe justified perception of being arrogant, ignorant and patriarchal Yankees. Rather, I believe that the bread revolts that are occurring in the Middle East and North Africa could plausibly allow us to—eventually—get over the prejudices we have over the peoples of the Arab world. Although their dyed-in-the-wool religious and cultural practices may sometimes be at great odds with our own, we must understand that a majority of Arab people want simply to live a dignified life. The courage, passion and commitment that is being shown overseas should inspire us to alter our presumptions about Arabs. To recap, the common folk of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Jordan, among other countries, have had enough of what Babak Dehghanpisheh and Christopher Dickey termed “mafia states” in their Jan. 23, 2011 article in Newsweek. Some of these nations have been run by autocrats and their political allies for over 20 years. Namely, Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben-Ali in Egypt and Tunisia, respectively, “built extravagant seaside mansions, and threw lavish parties,” while high poverty levels, unemployment and inflation rates substantially harmed their constituents. In response, what began in December in Tunisia with modest marches escalated extremely quickly. Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Mootacem Mhiri, who is Tunisian, said “in terms of mobilizing and organizing, this revolution was utterly an autonomous and spontaneous popular movement that defies any textbook revolutionary scenario.” The final straw that caused the rioting in Tunisia occurred when Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, committed the desperate act of setting himself aflame eventually leading to his
death after a municipal official confiscated his food cart. Bouazizi’s act has been imitated by dozens of men and women across North Africa and the Middle East, according to Reuters , and served as the catalyst for the recent Tunisian uprisings, which helped cause the eventual social earthquake that has shaken the Arab world. Mhiri said, “the people’s spontaneous reflex to Bouazizi’s tragic and symbolic death was to come out in protest against the unjust social and economic conditions that led to [Bouazizi’s] act of desperation.” Thus, chaos has engulfed much of the region and people have taken to the streets in order to end these regimes, hoping for a better economic and political future. Some countries, like Egypt, have seen the development of quasi civil wars but others have proved to be successful in the first phase of their revolutions. The Tunisians saw their efforts rewarded with the resignation of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali on Friday, Jan. 14, ending his 23 years of authoritarian rule and so-called ‘soft dictatorship’. Results weren’t immediate though, as Mhiri said, because of confusing, contradictory reports and rumors of security forces who were terrorizing civilians. Mhiri was in his homeland when the unrest erupted, and attests to the unfortunate “acts of vandalism, looting and armed robbery targeting mostly the property of members of Ben Ali’s family and in-laws as well as several police stations and government facilities.” Newsweek reporters Dehghanpisheh and Dickey explain, “The [Ben Ali] family’s villas in Tunisia had been stripped bare” except for “empty boxes from Swarovski, Chanel and Prada.” They go on to describe “the smell of burned plastic mingled with the scent left by rioters who had urinated on the wreckage.” Some justify these “technically” criminal acts by pointing to how the Ben-Ali family would drive luxury cars around Tunis while a large majority of the middle class was unemployed. Mhiri doesn’t agree with the looting but does point out, “people took to the streets demanding a more equitable distribution of wealth.” He goes on to say that they were “urging the government to address the mounting desperation of tens of thousands of unemployed educated youth.” Thankfully, the harassment of citizens and
looting now occurs with less frequency, and Tunisians have been able to progress in their “revolution to proclaim citizenship rights to just economic development, human dignity and the accountability of [their] elected representatives,” Mhiri said. Their invasion of streets all over the North African nation and relentless commitment to truth and democracy serves as an example of true patriotism and offers Americans an incredible opportunity to rid ourselves of the prejudices towards the Arab society. The rebellion in Tunisia was led by “members of society with no political affiliation, for the most part, who have...implemented this march toward freedom,” according to Mhiri. Granted, there has been talk about the power vacuum that can occur if these crooked leaders are abruptly lifted from their thrones, as a New York Times article published Feb. 2, 2011 suggested, saying “American counterterrorism officials are concerned that radical factions in those countries could find a new foothold amid the chaos” . Radical groups like the Muslim Brotherhood haven’t been substantially connected to any aspects of the uprisings, however, according to National Public Radio. Not to mention that the recent violent clashes between anti- and pro-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir Square seem like prime pickings for those obsessed with waging the War on Terrorism. Yes, the Muslim Brotherhood seemed to be making a brief appearance from hiding on Thursday, Feb. 3 when it issued a statement that demanded the resignation of Mubarak. But not all is lost if this group proves to become even more powerful than it already is. As Scott Shane points out in a Feb. 3, 2011 article in the Times, the Muslim Brotherhood is “the oldest and largest Islamist movement in the world,” and is present in most Muslim countries, as well as in Europe and the United States. Political scientist and theorist Elmer Schattschneider believed that with greater numbers of members of organizations came more cleavages and an increased variety of interests and goals. Shane’s observations concur with this theory, for, as Shane notes, “the Brotherhood includes both practical reformers
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and firebrand ideologues,” stridently different factions. In Egypt, the expanding numbers of protesters in Tahrir Square and throughout Cairo—numbering in the “hundreds of thousands,” according to the Washington Post—will ensure that there are more divergent interests, which will slow the reform process. Thus, Egypt is somewhat behind Tunisia in the race towards political reform. Mhiri observed that “the Tunisian people... refused to compromise the achievements of their own revolution and demanded to see a government that cuts [ties] completely with the old regime.” The results of the Tuniasian revolution speak for themselves as “the second interim government [is] composed predominantly of the best young technocrats in the country, a group of highly skilled, motivated and patriotic ministers who will meet—no doubt—the challenges of preparing for fair and democratic elections in six months from now,” according to Mhiri. Furthermore, he says this was achieved by “a revolution with no ideology or party line.” Egypt’s revolts seem to be leading to a similar conclusion. In fact, according to the Washington Post, the Mubarak government is granting more and more concessions to the protesters. Considering that additional protesters are joining the ranks of the large crowds of demonstrators in Cairo, it seems likely that the protesters will begin to extract further promises from the Egyptian government. Let us not waste this chance to build a more understanding relationship with the Middle East and its people. Yes, our government may have its political agenda and calculate every step to portion out its loyalty to causes. And to the Egyptians, at least these are the wrong ones as we see images of Obama and Mubarak in arms on posters being held up by antigovernment protesters. But a big part of how people view a country revolves around the people who represent it. And that is us, the younger generation: we represent the future of the United States and can encourage the use of American influence to ensure that the peoples of the Arab world become part of a free, prosperous world. —Juan Bautista Dominguez ’13
February 10, 2011
Effort to repeal health care reform unproductive, destructive Joe Hoffheimer Guest Columnist
certain hysteria unseen since early 2010 recently returned to our political scene when Federal Judge Roger Vinson became the second to deem the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, more commonly known as health care reform, unconstitutional. Further adding to this resurgent Republican momentum against health care reform, the U.S. House of Representatives voted almost entirely along party lines to overturn what the Republican majority has wrongfully chosen to call either a “government takeover” or “ObamaCare.” While the recent events certainly happened within opportune timing of each other, I would tend to agree with the recent Senate vote against repeal and the equal number of judges who have heard similar cases and found that reform is, in fact, constitutional. I appreciate the recent impassioned column by Joshua Rosen ’13 (“Judge correct in finding health care law unconstitutional,” 02.02.11) defending Vinson’s decision. However, I would like to politely counter that, while health care reform certainly came into being via a convoluted legislative debacle. Additionally, I believe that though it could use some straightening out, repeal would at this point prove unproductive and, in fact, destructive. Just as repeal would result in dire consequences, so does the judicial activism of the two judges who recently ruled against health care reform. While the first judge in Virginia only ruled against the controversial “mandate” provision despite calls from the state’s attorney general—both he and the judge are Republicans—to nullify the whole thing, Vinson went so far as to do just that, using Tea Party language in the process. Republicans love to complain about judicial activism but, once again, they have proven themselves to be hypocrites by using the justice system when their first ef-
forts at defeating the legislation failed. In any case, if either of these cases make it all the way to the Supreme Court, as many predict, we can only expect more of the same, as activist Republican justices work to circumvent precedent and repeatedly side in favor of corporations and the super-wealthy. In launching his criticism of health care reform in last week’s column, Rosen both dismisses the law’s budgetary implications and cites debatable polling. First of all, Rosen does not disagree with the fact that the policy will heavily reduce deficits, as per the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Although the Republicans fighting the loudest to end “ObamaCare” won a House majority and several Senate seats on a platform of purported fiscal conservatism, the zeal to repeal health care reform joins the same party’s support of expensive wars in the Middle East and tax cuts for the wealthy in conveniently ignoring these facts. In dismissing the deficit to focus on the anti-reform opinions of physicians, certain facts also get lost in the process. 15 out of 16 physicians in the House may have voted to repeal health care reform, but this statistic occurred along party lines. A few Republicans—namely Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), a physician by training—truly believe in small government and do not see medicine as the government’s responsibility, but many more, such as our lavishly funded new congresswoman Representative Nan Hayworth (R-New York), also a physician, were bought and paid for by corporate interests in the health insurance industry and other anti-reform lobbies. During the earlier course of the bill’s implementation, a doctor of a very different ideology also played an important role. Chair of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean, a physician and former governor of Vermont, found health care reform flawed in that it did not provide a necessary public option and, there-
fore, did not go far enough. In fact, both Reuters and the New York Times/CBS News conducted polls showing that a large majority of Americans agreed with this prognosis. Paradoxically then, a majority of average Americans thought the policy did not go far enough and, yes, as we have repeatedly heard, opposed the bill as well. In terms of fixing the bill without repeal, Obama and the Senate have already provided a working example in the case of the 1099 provision, the bureaucratic stipulation Rosen takes particular issue with and sees as harmful to business. This provision requires businesses to file IRS form 1099 for each vendor for at which they spend $600 or more a year. In his State of the Union address Obama expressed a complete willingness to alter this and other components of the bill that needed tweaking. Consequently, the Senate promptly voted to overturn it—and the repeal is expected to be complete soon. Thus, for Rosen’s other issue with major corporations dropping employee health coverage, if this ends up as problematic as he claims, we have now seen a blueprint for change in the legislative reaction to the 1099 provision. Obama’s stated desire to fix the kinks in health care reform reveals an open approach to dealing with perceived problems and a far more constructive one than conservative judicial or legislative activism. Although heavily mishandled in its implementation, the legislation originated as a compromise, even when it included the public option, and the effort against repeal even had the votes of conservative Democrats who rarely vote along party lines. Certain components of the bill proved successful enough that, no joke, similar legislation recently passed the House of Representatives in Mississippi of all places. In short, health care reform is hardly the radical intervention some on the right have suddenly re-emerged kicking and screaming over. The claims that health care reform somehow
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violates individual rights or represents unnecessary government interference conveniently overlook other institutions we take for granted. In terms of mandates which, by the way, originated as a Republican idea, automobile ownership and driving in the rest of the country have become practically mandatory for decades, and common sense has correctly called for the near-universal mandate of car insurance. In addition, Rosen claims Americans only like government interference or protection in old age and national defense—except for the fact that we have proudly supported hundreds of more broadly-defined government institutions ranging from highly developed fire departments to Medicaid to a public education system, all of which protect and strengthen our country’s citizens in one way or another. Somehow, even with health care reform, we still remain the only country in any category we like to favorably compare ourselves with that does not guarantee health care to every citizen, a condition regressing to so-called “marketbased” reforms would only worsen. On top of flip-flops ranging from deficits to judicial activism, a return to the era preceding health care reform would result in several other inconvenient truths. While fixes to some of the issues Rosen raises, namely the bureaucratic 1099 provision, are soon to occur, total repeal or a negative judicial ruling would result in the ability of health insurance companies to decline care based on pre-existing conditions, leave thousands more Americans without insurance, and remove young people from their parents’ insurance rolls. In an age when Obama has now placed the United States within a competitive global reality, does our country really want to return to those levels again? —Joe Hoffheimer ’11 is an urban studies major and treasurer of the Vassar College Democrats.
February 10, 2011
Dialogue critical to functioning of society Juan Thompson Guest Columnist
n a society where the secularist thesis is dead, no longer should we expect religious people to jettison their beliefs once they step out into the public sphere. It is unrealistic, as illustrated by the period’s death, to expect human beings to wash themselves clean of their beliefs once he or she steps foot outside of his or her home. It is understandable though why some would latch onto this idea. Proponents envisioned a society with public sphere and private realm. Religious beliefs would play no role in the dialogue of the public sphere, but once the citizen enters the private realm he or she will have “full leeway of private practice,” as philosopher Charles Taylor wrote in A Secular Age. This thesis is often pursued with absolute zealousness that will totally exclude religion from the public sphere. Not only is this not entirely conceivable but it will also do great damage to society. Forcing people to remove their beliefs will cause resentment, as we have seen today in America, where conservative Christians feel their voices in the past have been silenced. This resentment gives birth to bitterness, which shuts down any chance of constructive dialogue between believers and non-believers. This ethic, too, is problematic because it is largely one where the non-believer has to push out religion—he lives in constant fear that the boundary is being crossed, so much so that he or she will attempt to push religion further out of the public sphere. This action will only anger the believers and lead to a breakdown of engagement between the two sides. The other solutions, though, are equally problematic. Preventing the government from backing one religion over another—the common ground theory—as the Constitution does, is little better. The critique of the
common ground theory centers around demographics, it seems. The common ground theory would be fine in a society where the citizens all share similar religions, but in America there has been an influx of various believers and thus any common ground will be difficult to attain. However, I am not wholly opposed to the solution pursued by the framers of the Constitution. It is true that American society had a common ground that was rooted in Christian thought; but as our society evolved and became more diverse, that ground has also shifted. Societies do not stay static: The values and beliefs change with the composition of the society. Neither is pluralism the right path to take. Society’s embrace of pluralism will not lead to a more just and understanding society. Pluralism, which always involves dialogue between fundamentally different constituencies, requires something that goes against basic human nature. How can anyone expect people to have generosity towards another person who may have engaged in dreadful activities? Decent people should not show magnanimity towards characters that cause great damage to society. Listening closely is one thing but being altruistic is another. It is not incumbent upon decent people to put themselves into the shoes of people who are not decent. The suggestion to the contrary, that actions are products of culture and that cultural diversity should be respected is, perhaps, a greater problem. Such an idea is akin to cultural relativism, which essentially means that anything goes. But there is a valid combination of ideas that allow individuals of different persuasions to work together peaceably. We must only accept broad political principles. In other words, there are some certain principles that are not subject to debate. After all, even the idea of human rights is just something con-
jured up by human beings. Yet people all over the globe are suffering on a daily basis; they go without food, water and shelter. I doubt they wish to engage in an elitist debate about the abstract roots of human rights. This idea of a consensus requires that we engage with those with whom we disagree, but it doesn’t require us to shed our beliefs—religious or not—in order for engagement to take place. It also doesn’t require us to put ourselves through agony over our beliefs, as pluralism does. There is no reason we must be in a constant state of agony concerning our beliefs. After all, we all question our beliefs routinely. But there is no need to put ourselves through agony to understand someone else, for all the suffering will accomplish is nothing. The truth of the matter is that sometimes a racist is just a racist. A homophobe is just a homophobe. A religious fanatic is just a fanatic. An anti-Semite is just an anti-Semite, and so on. Many students at Vassar have been blinded by the idea of pluralism. They have ignored the realities of human behavior. Pluralism is an unrealistic path to travel in this post-secular period. It is far too complicated and ambiguous. Once one moves past the ambiguity what one finds is an idealistically naïve take on the world. I will engage with those with whom I disagree, but there must be space to recognize the inherent problems with some forms of behavior: Not everything is permissible. Nonetheless a path must be taken that allows for dialogue, some understanding towards one another and basic human nature. Thus, while pluralism is far beyond the pale of practical organizing principles for a society, acceptance of some common principles is more than reasonable.
avarian Motor Works (BMW) is as American as blue jeans and Thanksgiving, or, at least, that’s what BMW’s marketing division would have American viewers of Super Bowl XLV believe. During this year’s Super Bowl, BMW aired a commercial touting the fact that one of their vehicles was both “designed in America [and] built in America.” BMW had built a plant in Spartanburg, S.C. in 2008, according to the BBC, as a consequence of the falling dollar at the time, which hurt the profitability of “firms that pay their costs in euros but receive payment in dollars.” Now, BMW is able to build cars in the United States—its main market for vehicles—and pay over 40 percent less to workers than BMW pays in Germany, according to The Washington Post . Of course, $15-per-hour is nothing to slouch at, especially for the once-unemployed workers whom The Washington Post described as “almost uniformly grateful for the opportunity” to work at BMW. Generally speaking, BMW was motivated by the bottom line: making profits for shareholders. To paraphrase Calvin Coolidge, the business of business is business. And the task of government is to ensure an environment where businesses can flourish, even foreign businesses that come to the United States to seek comparatively inexpensive skilled labor. However, President Barack Obama’s Feb. 7 speech at the United States Chamber of Commerce, the largest lobbying organization for businesses in the United State and abroad, took the wrong tack on encouraging businesses to expand American operations. Obama, attempting to channel his inner John F. Kennedy, asked business leaders to think of “what you can do for America” and to “hire more American workers...[,]support the American economy and invest in this nation.” At his weekly address on Saturday, Feb. 5, the president took a tone more befitting an elementary school principal than a booster for American businesses, telling corporate
leaders that they have a “responsibility” to “set up shop here and hire our workers and pay decent wages and invest in the future of this nation.” This supposition that businesses have a moral duty to American workers and the country itself is problematic, not that American businesses have been outsourcing— hiring workers and building factories and offices outside of the United States. As much as I would like to ask American businesses to invest in America on patriotic grounds, it is almost always correct to refrain from doing so. The free enterprise system in this country and the system of free trade that is mutually beneficial to all parties does not permit a patriotic exception. Even when nonfinancial businesses are holding on to $1.9 trillion on their balance sheets in a stable, albeit relatively weak economy, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, I am of the view that there is no ethical requirement whatsoever that businesses invest in America when it is not profitable to do so. Of course, it is the same system of free enterprise and free trade that causes American businesses to outsource—moving from countries like the United States where labor is often costlier than elsewhere, —that allows foreign companies such as BMW to build plants and hire workers in places far removed from Germany, whether in South Carolina or Alabama, both home to BMW factories. This is fundamentally beneficial for all parties, whether workers or consumers in the United States, or even BMW’s stockholders. The case of BMW should make it plain that rumors of the death of American manufacturing are far overblown. This anecdote, however, is no replacement for fact: The United States still has the single largest amount of manufacturing output in the world. As recently as 2009, U.S. manufacturing exports topped those of the two next largest manufacturers, China and Japan, not to mention Germany and South Korea, according to data from the United Nations (UN). In fact, the American manufacturing sector was
“Do people here date?”
Charlotte Delautre ’14
“Anywhere in Raymond.”
John Kenney ’14
—Juan Thompson ‘13 is a political science major.
Obama must do what’s best for business Opinions Editor
What’s your ideal on-campus date?
46 percent larger than China’s in 2009, according to the latest available UN data. And despite a loss of manufacturing jobs—not necessarily a regrettable loss, considering the tripling of per-worker output since 1972, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics— the American manufacturing sector has only continued to grow in terms of output. It certainly may seem that most products purchased by consumers are made outside the United States, but, true or not, the abundance of “low-tech, labor-intensive goods” that are made in nations such as China, as Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby commented in a Feb. 6 op-ed belies the existence of a powerful manufacturing muscle—one which builds cutting-edge aircraft and produces advanced pharmaceuticals—in the United States. If anything, the United States is an awfully successful manufacturing nation: high-technology products produced by skilled workers at relatively high wages are what the United States ought to be producing, not consumer non-durabless. In other words, the fact that low-tech goods are manufactured in China and hightech products are made in the United States reflects the law of comparative advantage: that the opportunity cost of manufacturing high-tech products is lower in the United States, with its educated workforce and abundance of capital, than in China, so each nation’s businesses tend to specialize in what they can produce at the lowest cost relative to what else they could be producing. After all, businesses are good at nothing if not seeking out efficiency and profit. While the manufacturing sector in the United States has no reason to fear extinction, the policies of President Obama certainly do. Whether the president likes it or not, the fundamental economic reality is that investing in America may not necessarily be the best choices for American businesses. Certainly, it is a reasonable position to try and encourage businesses to build in the United States and hire American workers, but it is far from the purview of the See BUSINESS on page 12
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Noelle Sawyer ’14
“The Sex Tree.”
Alex Parayannilam ’13
Hannah Bober ’13 —Juliana Halpert, Photography Editor Alanna Okun, Humor & Satire Editor
Word on the rubycramer
Ruby Cramer ’12
Babycakes coffee, a trip to the FLLAC, and then a walk around sunset lake...! 4 Feb via web in reply to miscellanynews
Carolyn Grabill ’11
Stay in with Baccio’s pizza, a bottle of wine, and a movie on Netflix. 5 Feb via Echofon in reply to miscellanynews
—Marie Dugo, Social Media Editor
February 10, 2011
Town-gown relations Free market system ensures health must be re-examined of American and foreign business POUGHKEEPSIE continued from page 9 statewide? Or that the Mill Street Loft, just minutes from campus, is renowned in the Hudson Valley as a cultural center for visual arts, poetry, and technology. Do they know that last June, Poughkeepsie hosted the Hudson Valley Main Street Summit, an educational forum on energy efficiency and the development of vibrant urban main streets? Do Vassar students care that the city is at risk of losing its Federal subsidy for the transit system? Why should they? After all, we have the Leprechaun Shuttle that chauffeurs us directly to our three most popular destinations: community service agencies, the train station and the mall. Meanwhile, Main Street is virtually non-existent in the Vassar psyche. The myth that Vassar students genuinely engage in their local community only amplifies our institution’s narcissism. It is a story we love to tell: We tear down a fence, invite our more affluent neighbors from the Town of Poughkeepsie to enjoy our concerts and talks, deploy our student body northwest into the City of Poughkeepsie for Field Work and call it a day. I have a hunch that these efforts have a lot more to do with reconciling our guilt as an institution rather than actually sharing a stake in our surrounding community. While programs like Field Work have had a positive impact, we need to recognize the difference between the type of community engagement that earns praise for Vassar and than the kind of unadulterated, instinctive curiosity about the place where we live. After all, if Vassar students really engaged with their community—if they saw themselves as citizens of
the Poughkeepsie—they would show an interest in City Hall’s recent efforts to plant surveillance cameras in areas of high crime or its plan to enact a curfew for those under the age of 16. But they don’t—and no amount of money that the Community Works campaign raises can possibly buy Vassar students a sense of interest in the area outside our campus. And so, for the next few months, I will write exclusively about Poughkeepsie—about its injustices, its politics and its people. My goal is not to write a series of token columns—that would reinforce the attitude that I am criticizing. Nor is it to romanticize Poughkeepsie or to assert myself as an authority on what is best for it. My hope is that a few students will think to check up on the Poughkeepsie Journal’s website, take a stroll down to Market Street or vote in local elections. It is to propose a new way of thinking about our home. This project is not in honor of Vassar’s Sesquicentennial—it is an attempt to balance it. As Vassar celebrates its 150th year, we need to be cognizant of the point at which inward reflection becomes self-obsession. If we are to celebrate Vassar in the spirit of its own mission, we need to move forward and confront those things that have haunted it for so long—to connect with the city Vassar has called home for 150 years. It is time for us to experience what it “feels like” to be a citizen of Poughkeepsie.
BUSINESS continued from page 11 Bully Pulpit to exhort American businesspersons to fulfill a “responsibility” to American workers, whomever they might be. If anyone has a responsibility, however, it is President Obama: The responsibility of the President of the United States to businesses is to provide a framework for entrepreneurship, growth, and research and development, not to hamper economic growth with a cumbersome regulatory system or burdensome taxes. Removing impediments of those sorts through agitating for legislative action is a role the president is well suited for, and if his promises have any value to him, President Obama will work to improve the American transportation infrastructure and educational system, among other aspects of the domestic infrastructure that businesses rely upon to further economic growth. It appears that some businesses have reacted favorably to the president’s words. According to
Bloomberg BusinessWeek, some “private forecasters raised their projections for the economy” subsequent to the president’s speech. I remain as-yet unconvinced that the president will be willing to deliver everything that is truly necessary to foster a climate favorable to businesses—and robust economic growth. After all, to date, the president’s domestic agenda does not seem to be one favoring economic growth. Not only has the president hiked taxes on multiple occasions, according to the Wall Street Journal—including at least three times on businesses in his health care bill alone —but his administration has also run up the deficit by spending $787 billion on a recovery act that produced a tepid recovery, and disincentivized work by extending unemployment insurance to 99 weeks. Of course, it is possible that the Chamber speech represents a sea change for the administration, and I would certainly hope this to be true. The signal that the speech
sends is certainly a positive one, but not enough to ensure growth. The president is now beholden to his own words: He is responsible for making America the most competitive country in the world, and the best place to do business. If the business of America is truly business, then President Obama must ensure that there is an environment conducive to the smooth functioning of businesses. And the businesses of America and the world, as it were, ought to pursue their fundamental mission: seeking profit. This is a sacred motive of sorts, and the United States certainly benefits from the success of businesses, foreign and domestic. Encouraging businesses to do what’s right for their bottom line is better for America than telling them to hire. The president would do well to keep this in mind. — Joshua Rosen ’13 is Opinions Editor of The Miscellany News and an economics major.
—Hannah Blume ’13 will be writing on the relationship between Vassar College and Poughkeepsie. She is a sociology major.
Crossword by Jonathan Garfinkel ACROSS 1. Format of bouts in the Octagon 4. High-speed connection, briefly 7. Plead 10. Org. for docs 13. Sr.’s group 15. Lead-in to “friendly” 16. “Same” prefix 17. “Of Mice and ___” 18. Icy track 19. Tuesday’s molecule of the day, perhaps (abbr.) 20. Radio button (abbr.) 21. What Snoop smokes whilst rolling down the
street 22. Run off 24. Despise 26. Actress Tara ____ 27. Bronte title heroine 29. Prefix with “game” 30. Musee d’_____ 31. Certain curve 34. XBOX live points 35. *String-pulling ability 37. “Hotel, motel, Holiday ___” (Pitbull lyric) 38. Drummer Ringo, and others 40. Degrade 42. “Tomb Raider” Croft, and others
Answers to last week’s puzzle
43. Judge 48. ‘59-’75 war, briefly 49. Daily prices 50. ___ Lingus 53. *Section now gone 56. Inca home 58. Director Welles, and others 61. Firm (in support) 62. Seattle outdoors co. 63. Author Joyce Carol _____ 67. With “out”, just barely make it 68. With “off”, doze 69. Don Draper for one 71. Cellular messenger (abbr.) 72. TV host Sajak and others 74. Big name in ballpoints 75. Deuce Bigalow, for one 77. Everyone’s favorite organic solvent 81. Break in the chaos 82. Certain citation style (abbr.) 83. Some window accessories, briefly 85. The Emerald Isle 86. Pie ___ mode 87. Car stat 88. DVD forerunner 89. Ms. Longoria and Ms. Mendes
90. Cam. type 91. Watch closely 92. “Is”, to Claudius 93. Annoyance DOWN 1. XY 2. Horned Darth ____ 3. Prefix with “naut” 4. Investigator (abbr.) 5. Haul 6. Cray-cray to Jose 7. Restaurant type 8. Deliberately avoid 9. *Is no more 10. Memory FAIL 11. Center barriers 12. Deliberately inoffensive 14. Cartoon Le pew 21. Fumble 23. Oglers 25. iPhone add-ons 28. Scripts, briefly 30. Cookie-creamcookie 31. Immigrant’s class, briefly 32. Ex-Soviet ending 33. Singer Bareilles 36. Harris of “Apollo 13” and others 39. Badass Johnny 41. Mark 43. Noah’s ride 44. Tree juice
45. Amtrak stop, briefly 46. Brain scan (abbr.) 47. L.A. to San Diego dir. 51. Paradise 52. Comedy Central’s “____ 911” 54. Soon, to Hamlet 55. Jefferson Davis’ domain, briefly 56. Mountain feature
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
57. The Clap, for one (abbr.) 58. “Are you a man ___ mouse?” 59. *It gives you wings! 60. *(So) alike 61. “Alias” 64. Like an acid trip 65. Involve 66. ___ Paulo 67. Eras
70. Oft-torn knee connector 73. High angled 75. Monopoly, for one 76. Wash, poetically 78. Bee’s crib 79. Times 80. Lounge about 81. ___ Vegas 84. Concord, briefly
HUMOR & SATIRE
February 10, 2011
Your questions answered Egypt, a new perspective Brittany Hunt Columnist
I have a major problem: No woman will ever love me because of the unbearably itchy, red skin that has infected my otherwise pristine abdomen. I have been trying to pick up chicks at bars, but whenever I bring them back to my pad and clothes come off, they run away for fear that I am either contagious or some sort of human/lizard hybrid. What is there to do? - Itchy and Sad Well Itchy, what it seems you suffer from is a case of eczema, a very common and treatable condition! Grab some cortisone cream and you will be ready to rock the casbah in no time! The slathering of lotions, even if these lotions are more “topical creams” than “sensual butters,” can be a very pleasing experience for both partners. Once you bring her back to your room, put on a little mood music (may I suggest a little Boyz II Men?) and ask your woman if she would like to soothe all your troubles, eczema included. More like SEXema, amirite?
(Not to be confused with Lugz, the stylish and affordable Timberland knockoffs.) Becoming a “Lesbian Until Graduation” is not at all shameful, but will keep you sexually satisfied now and will supply you with an interesting quirk to share at future dinner parties with your successful lawyer husband later. Another option is to date a gay dude. Put on a comfy sweater and some Pajama Jeans and start baking some cookies; when your gay boyfriend gets home from the Mug covered in another man’s sweat and semen, he will be hungry and ready to cuddle with YOU, the real love of his life.
Since coming to Vassar this fall, I have found that the female-to-male ratio is not working out in my favor. It’s like everywhere I go is girls, girls and more girls. How do I find a prime piece of man when there are statistically so few options? -Typical Freshman Girl It’s a problem many freshman girls face. You go from being hot stuff in your small private high school to being veritable kitty-litter when faced with the dreaded 60/40. Follow in the footsteps of your older female peers, who have faced the same challenges before you. Consider becoming a L.U.G.
There is this gorgeous boy in my Intro to Urban Studies class who I know would be perfect for me. He always throws me coy glances from across the room. He shops at Urban Outfitters, I shop at Urban Outfitters. He wears Sephora “Midnight Black” eyeliner, I wear Sephora “Midnight Black” eyeliner. It’s fate! The only problem is he has never spoken to me! What can I do to get his attention? - Looking for my Prince
Dear Looking for my Prince,
Coy, Shmoy! The only way to counteract his iciness is with a little heat! LITERALLY! Try bringing a platter of spicy buffalo wings to class and offer them to your peers. This will prove that you are domestically inclined, and a little sassy! Make sure your beau-to-be gets one, and don’t let him near the bleu cheese dressing. The intense spices in his mouth, paired with his looking at you—preferably in a sexy red dress—will condition his brain to associate you with hot!hot!hot!
*Ask Brittany has no expertise on the subject of love and has been single for three years. Her number is (212) 660-2245. Seriously. Girlfriend’s lonely.
Crandall thrust a fist into the air, sending a powerful wave of cheers through the crowd that reduced many in attendance to tears. or the past two weeks, the world has The student protesters rode this tide of watched with concern and interest as proemotion for the next hour, rallying even tests rage in Egypt. This past weekend, a far more to the cause with impassioned rendismaller population—that of Poughkeepsie, tions of spirituals, nude fire dances, and an New York—was treated to the human drama impromptu drag show. Dean of the College that played out on the Vassar College campus Chris Roellke, who had initially come out in when sophomore Clancy “Mutton Chops” support of ACDC after the Rodriguez Tweet, Hyde-Pierce Rodriguez ’13 was denied Diet was spotted watching the protest misty-eyed, Sierra Mist at an All-Campus Dining Center applauding wildly as two politically-impas(ACDC) soda fountain. Immediately followsioned students dry-humped eachother on ing the incident, Rodriguez tweeted: “Tried the ACDC steps, writhing in a sea of sweat to get Sierra Mist and got lemony seltzer. and glitter. WTF!” At the height of the The student response protests, Head of Camwas monumental and im“I think it was something pus Dining Maureen mediate. Droves of Vassarions, marching in time to about the...,” said Rodriguez, King addressed the “Students, we Electric Light Orchestra’s slowly trailing off and look- crowd: appreciate your pas“Evil Woman,” stormed ing into the distance. sion and your concern ACDC behind an anarfor the state of ACDC. chist-flag-waving RodriHowever, we feel obguez. Artemis “Pee-Wee” ligated to inform you that your decision to Crandall ’12, Rodriguez’s trusted sidekick and boycott the establishment is ill-founded, as occasional drunken hook-up, held a megayou have already paid for meal plans prior to phone to his lips and made the following the start of the semester. But given your obviannouncement: “We are boycotting ACDC ous outrage and determination, we have deuntil our demands are met—unless you have cided to grant each of you a free meal swipe. bacon at the Home Cooking station today. Is We hope you will accept our offer with good there bacon?” faith. God bless you.” After several minutes, an ACDC worker The crowd was left confused by the reemerged to inform the increasingly restless marks, evidently having completely forgotcrowd that, while there was no bacon, they ten why they were protesting after all the did have “small, dry sausages that were just excitement. “I think it was something about as good,” and that there would be “bacon a the...,” said Rodriguez, slowly trailing off little later, maybe around noon, at the sandand looking into the distance. “Yeah,” added wich station.” Crandall, “It had to do with snow days. DefiThe crowd voiced its indignation with nitely.” “Vegan! Vegan! VEGAN!!!!” added a chorus of boos and catcalls, sending the another protestor. frightened ACDC worker back from whence Regardless of what they were mad about, she came. Crandall took to the megaphone the students were very, very hungry after again, this time to articulate the demands of all that protesting and decided to grab a the now-incensed crowd: “A drastic increase bite to eat en masse. As they swarmed into in the soda syrup stock, Lucky Charms instead ACDC, one protestor, Jeff Sullivan ’11, said of those circular granola things, and less of that he was glad that the enormity of the that corned beef hash that looks suspiciously incident “would finally put things in perlike vomit.” To conclude, he added that plates spective—for you know, those Assyrians or with crust are fine, “as long as you can’t tell whatever.” from what food the crust was derived.” Here Guest Columnist
Weekly Calendar: 2/10 - 2/16 Thursday, 2/10
by Alanna Okun, Humor & Satire Editor
3 p.m. Tea. In honor of the orchestra of coughs and sniffles
this matriarchal, feminocentric attitude here at Vassar. Next year, WE’RE DOING THE PENIS DIALOGUES.” Shiva.
currently echoing across campus: diseases you probably have right now. Rose Parlor.
11 p.m. 100 Nights. 100 nights roughly equates to 700 cans
8:30 p.m. Student-Faculty Basketball Game. Fact: Last year’s
game was the only sporting event—game? match? whatever—I have ever attended at Vassar. Opinion: Walker needs more corndog vendors. Fitness Center.
Friday, 2/11 9:30 a.m. Darwin Days. Survival of the fittest gets even more
real when it plays out at the bagel station. Aula. 3 p.m. Tea. A sore throat, from scream-sing-slurring the
words to that Bruno Mars song at the top of your cigaretteash-encrusted lungs last night. Or from just regular screaming at the nimrods on your hall who did. Rose Parlor.
of PBR, 57 a cappella concerts, 10 bouts of sexiling and one trip to Acrop when you got cold halfway there and decided to turn back. Villard Room.
Sunday, 2/13 5 p.m. Catholic Mass. Bonus God points if you wear your
paint-and-Andre-splattered toga from the previous weekend. Chapel.
Monday, 2/14 3 p.m. Tea. The common cold, from traipsing through the snow in those ridiculous heels last weekend all the way to the TAs, just because you had. To. Get. Some. Rose Parlor.
Saturday, 2/12 8 p.m. The Vagina Monologues. “You guys, I’m totally sick of
Tuesday, 2/15 3 p.m. Tea. Food poisoning, from that time at the DC you fi-
nally snapped and just started shoving raw hamburger meat and vegannaise haphazardly into your mouth because you couldn’t wait in $&!^%#~*%ing line another $^#!*#^$~ing second. Rose Parlor. 8 p.m. Annual Kreiger Memorial Lecture: Ira Glass. If “This Alanna-can Life” isn’t a thing by 10 p.m. on Tuesday, I will have failed. UpC.
Wednesday, 2/16 3 p.m. Tea. The black plague, kidney cancer, some autoim-
healthy, sustainable adult relationships than the good people of Vassar College? Aula.
mune failure so exotic doctors haven’t even named it yet. According to the infallible WebMD.com, anyone with a headache and a touch of fatigue doesn’t have a hope of survival. Rose Parlor.
10 p.m. Trivia Night. Question #32: Which is the more ro-
5 p.m. Philosopher’s Holiday. Options include Barbados
mantic Valentine’s Day option: surprising your lover with a Pesto Chicken Ciabatta after his or her three-hour-long VSA
with Kant, Tijuana with Nietzsche and the Florida Keys with Socrates. Taylor 203.
7:30 p.m. Valentine Social. Because who better to foster 10 p.m. DayGlo Toga. Note to all freshmen: Get pumped to wash neon paint out of orifices you didn’t even know you had. College Center.
meeting, or strewing his or her favorite shower stall with fake flowers from the bookstore? Answer: Bacio’s gift card. Faculty Commons.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
February 10, 2011
Professor Sassone to read from first novel Jack Owen
Katie De Heras/The Miscellany News
Above, Assistant Professor of Art Yvonne Elet discusses an Art 105-106 slideshow with a technician. With digitization, the slideshows—central to the survey course—are now able to include videos, panoramas and even a 3D feature.
Team-taught Art 105-106 a Vassar classroom classic from the start Adam Buchsbaum Reporter
hree days a week, students flock from far and wide to attend one of the oldest and most renowned courses the college has to offer. At 12 o’clock sharp, students fill Taylor 102 to the brim as they wait for the Art 105/106 lecture to commence. The theater seating boasts nearly 200 wooden chairs, each dimly lit with a small glowing bulb. Students pull out their notebooks and pens as they prepare to spend the next 50 minutes taking detailed notes, all the while gazing towards the wide, looming projection screen at the front of the room. I was introduced to the famous Art 105/106 course last Friday, Feb. 5. Students stared directly at the screen, mesmerized by images of the Italian Renaissance. A landscape painting with the Virgin Mary and Joseph was projected clearly across the screen, and two zoomed-in images followed on the next slide, pointing to subtle details of the painting. Professor of Art Karen Lucic had a description in mind for the lecture. “It’s a wonderful spectacle,” she said. What is perhaps most unique about the course is the fact that each professor in the Art History Department takes a turn lecturing behind the podium. Each professor shares his or her personal expertise of a certain art historical period. This method keeps the lectures engaging and diverse, simply because a new perspective is offered every few weeks. Fitting entire periods of art historical material into such a small span of time is a challenge, to say the least. Professors must judiciously pick and choose the pieces they see more important to imparting a broad cultural familiarity with art. “We try to choose the works that best represent the fields in which we are specialists-the “masterpieces” that end up in the survey books and decorate the calendars and chocolate boxes and appear in New Yorker cartoons,” explained Professor of Art Susan Kuretsky. Though the lectures are highly informative, students are given individual attention in weekly conference sessions. Students meet in smaller groups with a professor to look more closely at works of art
and have the opportunity to discuss critically their opinions and personal responses. And often, the discussions leave the classroom and enter the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. “We have so many wonderful works of art in the Loeb that serve as our kind of laboratory of study,” Lucic said. “We actually take our students downstairs and look at original works of art.” Its vast collection, comprising over 17,000 works, allows students the unique and valuable chance to see art in person, not just in a slideshow. “It’s really a time for the students to learn to speak and come up with their own interpretations,” Lucic said. The saying ”don’t fix it if it ain’t broke,” certainly applies to the history of Art 105/106. The class has changed little since its inception in 1928, the year the survey was first listed in the catalogue. The course travels in chronological order through the history of Western art using multiple professors. Back then, as now, it was three lectures and a conference each week. The ever-changing direction of art historical research has, however, guided the curriculum of the course to some degree over the years. Though the course’s primary focus is still on Western art, now there are occasional detours into non-Western art to give students a more diverse perspective. These detours include topics like Asian art, Muslim art and African art. Another significant change came with the advent of digital technology. The slideshow—the most important, effective and necessary part of the course—facilitates an incredible range of possibilities. “[It] utterly transformed the course. You can see these enormous, perfect images come up in color,” Kuretsky said. “They don’t fade. They’re not out of focus.” In addition to crisp, clear and colorful images, slide shows in this day and age afford some serious special effects. By using a digital slideshow, professors have been able to embed videos. Professors have even shown panoramas that allow highly interactive views of interior architecture. And even more unique, there once was a 3D component of the presentation. The topic was Medieval
Architecture, and requisite glasses were handed out, allowing students take in the Hagia Sophia in 3D. This technological highlight began in 2008 and has continued ever since. “It’s just remarkable. It’s unbelievable,” Kuretsky said. The resources available to students beyond the slideshow have also changed with technology. Much of the art was posted in the Library as black-and-white photographs. Students had to come into the Library to view these artworks. Back in the 1980s, students received university prints in order to view notable works. “The entire syllabus would be represented on these black and white prints that were bound, and the students used that as their study guide,” Lucic said. “Those prints were so ugly and so old.” But now, these prints are available in color and high-resolution online. It is more flexible for students and makes studying a heck of a lot easier. Despite its role as a critical course in Vassar’s Art History Department, this particular kind of class—that is, a faculty-led survey course—has become increasingly rare at colleges. Many are now taught by a single professor, with teaching fellows to help with certain periods and grades. “A lot of places really don’t give survey courses anymore,” Kuretsky said. “This is a very precious thing we have here.” Kuretsky thinks the reason survey courses like Vassar’s have waned is because they require a lot of work and agreement among the faculty. “It really is a labor of love that we do together. It’d be a lot easier not to do it, but fortunately we like doing it,” she said. And professors and students here still stand by its value. Year in and year out, the course continues to attract students. “I think the quality of teaching in this course is extremely high,” Lucic said. “And that’s why we continue to get gobs of students.” Kuretsky noted that when alumnae/i discuss their years at Vassar, Introduction to the History of Art stays with them as a shared and precious experience. “I think that students connect more to the world visually afterwards. You might have been expecting that I would say that they learn more about art, and they know what to look for going into museums,”
alph Sassone, an Adjunct Associate Professor of English here at Vassar, has a rather erratic agenda, which is no surprise considering his first novel, The Intimates, will be released on Tuesday. “I feel relief to have had my first novel published,” he said, “especially in a challenging and recessive publishing environment.” Luckily for the Vassar community, Sassone is able to squeeze a reading of his promising new novel into his tight schedule on Thursday, Feb. 10 in Sanders Classroom 212, the Spitzer Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. The Intimates explores the significance and sacredness of friendship. Maize and Robbie, the two protagonists, meet in high school and quickly recognize that their relationship will never become sexual. However, rather than see this as problematic, they become extremely close friends, sharing their secrets and thoughts over a span of many years. The two friends, through their connection, attain deeper self-discovery, even finding that their empathy for one another grounds them during pivotal life moments. However, they eventually have to break through the surface of their strong intimacy and address their relationship headon. .” Beneath their partnership is a building tension as they face the typical struggles of life away from one another. “The Intimates came partly from encountering college applicants who’d been pressured not only to excel academically but to package themselves— present an impressive and seemingly resolved identity,” said Sassone. Sassone, having taught at Brown University, Haverford College and Vassar College, has certainly seen the stress that college students undergo while trying to find themselves. “Through my two main characters, I wanted to explore the complexities and ambiguities and questions of identity that are inevitable in adolescence and early adulthood,” said Sassone. Fascinatingly, he explores these complexities and ambiguities by telling the story of a male and female who have an exceptionally close, but platonic relationship. “It occurred to me that I hadn’t read very many serious adult literary novels where deep, intense, lasting friendship was the primary focus,” said Sassone. He has found that most adult novels emphasize sexual relationships over friendships; however, he believes that friendships can be just as durable and fulfilling.
Kuretsky said. “And that’s certainly good. But I think the most precious part of it all is they learn how to notice more in life,” said Kuretsky. This means that when entering a building you notice its architecture and the way the light hits it at that certain angle, rather than just seeing a building. The course teaches a sharpening of perception. Students can approach the visual world in a new, analytical and knowledgable way. “Art is a springboard for understanding a whole cultural context,” Lucic said. “All artworks, if they’re excellent artworks, are as complicated as human beings are.” And that the course remains popular, relevant and affecting is all the more
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“I wanted to show how a passionate friendship can be a form of romance—a significant romance that affects other emotional attachments—without falling into the trap of romanticizing it,” he said, “because of course friendship has its undersides and complications as well.” Evidently, he achieves this goal very convincingly. Publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Booklist and The Rumpus.net have given the novel positive reviews. In addition, Sassone said that he “has gotten some very generous and positive advance comments from fiction writers he admires,” including Mary Gaitskill, last year’s Vassar writer-in-residence. Sassone was fortunate enough to work with an editor he admires as well. “I feel especially lucky to have had Jonathan Galassi, a brilliant and extraordinary man of letters, as my editor. He understands writing from the inside out,” he exclaimed. “It was wonderful to work on my novel with someone whose suggestions and advice I could trust implicitly.” Galassi is the president and publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, as well as a distinguished poet and translator of Italian literature. Sassone has given two readings from the novel at Vassar before, bothwhile he was waiting for his work to be published. Each time he read the exact same scene. “I’m sure that this time I’ll read something new,” he stated, but he has yet to decide on a specific passage. The Intimates can pique the interest of a broad audience beyond just young adults. Because it delves into the intricacies, struggles and joys of deep friendship, it is relatable to anyone, young or old, who has thoughtfully approached their relationships. However, the novel could be of particular interest to Vassar students, seeing as it deals with issues they face as young people. Also, students of Sassone may see parallels between his novel and the courses they’ve taken with him. “The classes I teach at Vassar are mostly focused on the writing of fiction, so there’s certainly overlap between what I do and what I ask of my students,” said Sassone, “but I don’t think the classes I’ve taught necessarily reflect my writing style—if I could even describe what it is—nor would I wish my students to adopt my style.” On the contrary, Sassone encourages his students to develop their own distinctive styles. “Individualism reflects the independent spirit that’s part of Vassar’s DNA, and I suspect it’s the same individualism that probably makes students choose Vassar over other first-rate institutions.”
evidence of the power and intricacy of art. “It teaches students not just to look, but to see,” Kuretsky explained. In addition to her absolute passion for the course, Kuretsky noted two of the biggest frustrations of Art 105/106 lecturing professors. Not surprisingly, they include when students arrive late, as the course is a mere 50-minutes long, and when students prematurely being to rustle their papers and zip their backpacks in preparation to leave. Despite this, however, Kuretsky concluded, “The experience of lecturing to students is unlike any other kind of teaching--when they connect to the work on the screen, you can tell and it feels like flying.”
February 10, 2011
“Vagina Monologues” to celebrate V-Day its own way Emma Daniels Reporter
Ramirez first saw the show her senior year of high school on a college visit to another institution. She said, “It was really moving, so I decided to audition my freshman year.” After the powerful experience of acting in the show, Ramirez felt more than ready to serve as co-director. “Being in it helped my confidence more than anything. Working with this group of very strong, secure women, you’re not afraid to go up on stage and say vagina, vagina, vagina,” she said. Like previous years, “The Vagina Monologues” will take place in the Shiva Theater, a venue that allows audiences and actors to really connect. “A big goal for our production is to make it comfortable for the audience, and the Shiva is a comfortable space, because the ‘Vagina Monologues’ are always done there,” said Ramirez. “Also, if we had it in an alternate space, like Rocky, there isn’t the same amount of privacy, and having a production in a place like a classroom brings up connotations not associated with performance.” Both Ramirez and Attman hope the safe and welcoming environment will facilitate conversation and active inquiry. According to Attman, “We encourage the people who come to the production to be open to messages and whatever changes they experience, but also to be critical of the pieces themselves. Ask questions afterwards, like, why did Eve choose these voices to be expressed? Is the particular woman’s experience universal?” Ideally, after critically viewing the production, audience members will be more likely to proactively assert their opposition to female oppression. Attman explained,“First you’ve got to feel
Courtesy of Kelley Van Dilla
assar is known for its many annual traditions: serenading, primal scream and Founders Day, to name a few. These traditions are no doubt important to the life of the College; however other Vassar traditions are often overlooked. For example, one of Philaletheis’s special events, the annual production of “The Vagina Monologues.” The production, technically titled “A V-Day Benefit Performance of ‘The Vagina Monologues’: Vassar College,” is put to the stage every year during February. The show was written by actress and playwright, Eve Ensler. It’s comprised of monologues with a common and very important theme: the vagina. Ensler wrote it after interviewing over 200 women about their opinions on sex, relationships and violence against women. It was originally performed off Broadway in 1996, and now is performed yearly at thousands of venues worldwide in February and March, to raise funds and awareness for V-Day. V-Day is an organization founded in part by Ensler in 1998; its goal is to fundraise for local groups, shelters and crisis centers working to end violence against women. So far, it has raised over $75 million. According to Cat Ramirez ’13, who is co-directing this year’s show with Carly Attman ’12, “The main point of putting on the show is activism.” By producing a show with such eyeopening and serious themes, Ramirez and Attman hope audiences will be more mindful of the critical issues facing women every day. Attman explained, “The goal, as I see it, is to
eradicate women’s lives of shame and violence. But these themes of abuse and shame are pretty universally experienced, regardless of gender. That said, I suppose it’s about healing the world and everyone in it. That’s a pretty incredible objective.” Ramirez explained, “There are topics that come up that are unsettling, and we want to make sure we know exactly what we’re telling the audience,” adding “We have to be wary not only about what we’re putting out there, but also how.” The show consists of one group piece, one three-women piece and 14 monologues. Each monologue, although centered explicitly on the vagina, covers a variety of topics. The monologues range from one about girls’ first menstrual period, to one about a traumatic sexual experience, to one about the career of a sex worker, to one about Bosnian women subject to rape camps, to one about the birth of Ensler’s granddaughter. Furthermore, each year a new spotlight monologue is added by Ensler to highlight a current issue that affects women around the world; this year, the monologue is about sexual abuse in Haiti. All of these topics are relevant in some way to the women at Vassar, and therefore the audition process for “The Vagina Monologues” is different from the audition process for other shows. Ramirez noted that those most passionate about the show were the ones offered parts: “We didn’t cast based on who’s the best actor or anything. We cast based on who needed to be in the show; this show more than anything is about creating a community of strong women.”
This year’s Philaletheis production of The Vagina Monologues, directed by Cat Ramirez ’13 and Carly Attman ’12. will be performed in the Shiva on Thursday through Saturday. it. Then you’ve gotta do something about it.” Whether male, female, young or old, everyone’s interested in the vagina to some degree. Audiences will have a chance to sympathize, empathize, connect and learn some of the most intimate details tied to the fe-
male form. All this while watching a production that remains a powerful reminder of the realities in women’s lives here at Vassar and all over the world. “The Vagina Monologues” will be performed in the Shiva Theater on Feb. 10, 11 and 12 from 8 to 10 p.m.
Ballroom Dance, SQUIRM team up in the name of love Shruti Manian Reporter
ith bare trees, frosty weather and almost no sunlight, February seems to span out as a mildly depressing and mundane month. But in the second week of this month, there is cause for excitement--an almost worldwide celebration of love. Brightening up this February at Vassar, the Ballroom Dancing Club and SQUIRM present the Valentine’s Day Social. “Valentine’s Day is on a Monday this year. And it’s not like you can really go out very far for a romantic evening on a weekday. But this is an event on campus and not too time consuming,” said President of the Ballroom Dancing Club Alex Wang ’12. “It’s a great chance to have a nice time in a pretty setting,” seconded President of SQUIRM Rebecca Levin ’11. In what seems to appear an unconventional and unusual combination, both SQUIRM and the Ballroom Dancing Club blend their unique perspectives of love to create an event that is fresh, fun and seductive. In fact the two organizations seem to add to each other’s allure. “I see a lot of people shrinking back from SQUIRM. When they hear erotica magazine, they think porn, which is not at all what we do,” said Levin. The relationship is symbiotic in that it allows SQUIRM to widen it’s audience on campus by getting involved with the Ballroom Club, and at the same time, SQUIRM gives the event a sexy edge. While dance has always been one of the most popular ways of celebrating being in love, it seems equally natural that any Valentine’s Day celebrations at Vassar would include Vassar’s only amorous organization. As Wang puts it, “When I thought of love and passion, I immediately thought of SQUIRM.” The Social will kick off with a half-hour rumba lesson for anyone interested in learning the basics of the extremely popular and passionate Latin dance. Following the short
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lesson are four performances put on by the members of the Ballroom Dancing Club at 8 p.m. Each of the performances expresses love in its diverse forms. The performances run the gamut from fun, frothy and light pieces to more sophisticated and complex dances. Ranging from the waltz, which Wang describes as “very elegant and romantic,” to the Argentine tango, which has a flirty, youthful appeal, the Ballroom Dancing Club attempts to create an atmosphere that is steeped in the magical romance that Valentine’s Day is known for. Ballroom dancing is considered by most of our generation as a relic of the the past, but with this Social, Vassar students get the opportunity to explore and rediscover the levity and spirited appeal that ballroom dances hold. After the four performances the dance floor is open to everyone. While Valentine’s Day is traditionally a celebration for couples, the Social is also a wonderful chance to meet someone new. Both organizations greatly encourage people who do not have a date to also attend. According to Chris Flynn ‘14, who will be performing at the social, “The event is great way to spend Valentine’s Day with someone you love. And if you’re not with someone, it’s a great way to meet new people. Basically any reason to dance is a good reason.” While chiefly being a celebration of love, the event promises to be a fun filled night for everyone—in love or not. Other than the dancing, the Social will provide all guests with hot chocolate and a delicious array of desserts. SQUIRM is also selling raffle tickets for an opportunity to win 12 original posters created by SQUIRM artists and photographers. “Without ever opening SQUIRM, most people expect sex, but these posters depict the kind of art that SQUIRM actually creates. It’s all erotica and not porn,” said Levin. Monday, Feb. 14 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Aula.
Glass to share insight on radio storytelling
Shin shines in set design, visual arts Lacy Dent
s I walked up to Vassar’s Doubleday Studio Art Building, Samantha Shin ’12 met me there wearing a very intricate and fuzzy snow leopard hat, one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen. She gave off a really spirited, vibrant vive as she happily let me into her world of sculpture making, oil painting and design. A visual arts major, Shin enthusiastically shared her latest ideas about a project she started with a photo that she took on her cell phone, now being hashed into a much larger spectacular work of art. Specializing in visual art and theatrical set design, Shin was first inspired to be an artist at a young age. Born into a family of two musicians, the apple did not fall far from the tree. She would sit in the loft of her church during mass with crayons drawing pictures with her younger sister. According to Shin, art was always the go-to for her. Instead of buying her the typical toddler toys like Furbies or Barbie dolls her parents would say to her, “you have paper, go crazy.” As soon as her parents started to see her interest in art, they would send her to paint with local artists after school, pushing her to get better and work harder. Her love and passion to create has only escalated in her more recent years as an artist. She has a relentlessly strong work ethic-commenting that if she is not pulling allnighters in the studio then it is not a project that she is invested in. For Shin, there always has to be a challenge when it comes to creating art. When approaching a new project she says, “I tend to go crazy, and I tend to go big. I can’t get excited about it until I know that I have work to do.” One of her goals is to achieve a sense of wholeness in her projects, which she believes comes when her work is large, permanent and does not look like student art. Shin strives to create work that doesn’t answer exclusively to an assignment and that deviates from what ‘has already been done.’ She said, “I always start with my own experience to approach an assignment, by considering quality, presentation, and that I can stay original by having art historical knowledge and actively being aware of that knowledge when I work.” Because of her love of wholeness in her work, she sometimes has difficulty with
Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
GLASS continued from page 1 Alex Krieger ’95 Memorial Lecture. His talk, entitled “Radio Stories & Other Stories,” will take place Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. in the Students’ Building. The lecture series is named for Vassar student Alex Krieger, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident during his freshman year. However, his legacy as an extraordinary individual and a lover of humor and American literature live on. According to Assistant Dean for Campus Activities Terry Quinn, who organized the event in conjunction with Krieger’s parents, “The real goal is to bring someone to campus that the students will really enjoy,” adding, “It’s a wonderful opportunity that Alex’s parents have provided for Vassar to have the memory of their son continue on.” Past lecturers have included Davis Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day), John Irving (The World According to Garp), Augusten Burroughs (Running With Scissors), Tom Wolfe (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test) and Wendy Wasserstein (The Heidi Chronicles), to name a few. Guests run the gamut as playwrights, radio hosts, novelists, journalists, screenwriters and cartoonists, but share a common thread as distinguished writers who place a particular emphasis on humor. Glass’ presentation will give audiences special insights into the making and development of “This American Life,” a program honored high and wide for its journalistic excellence and its place in the radio vanguard revolution. In addition, Glass will use real audio material including monologues, interviews, field recordings and music to illustrate the many components that make up quality public radio. Finally, Glass will explain the process through which he frames narratives, edits raw material and sifts through life experiences with a creative imagination to communicate solid, compelling stories. Said Quinn excitedly, “He’s going to do a fabulous talk, and he’s really excited to come here.” What makes “This American Life” so special is the incredible humanity that backs up each and every story. In an article published by New York Magazine, Glass explained, “We’re documenting things with no particularly uplifting social mission. The mission is that of an ambitious novel or movie: to point out universal feelings and moments.” For those less familiar with “This American Life,” the show airs weekly and is centered loosely around a particular theme. These themes are then examined through the lenses of various “acts”— each presented through first-person narratives. The truth is, though, it’s pretty tough to get across the gist of “This American Life” without tuning in to hear the show itself. In fact, for appreciation’s sake, it would probably be best to listen to a story or two before seeing the real deal. Uncovering tales of the humorous, the thoughtprovoking, the ironic and even the gloomy may define “This American Life,” however, Glass did not always have such a keen ear for storytelling. “I’m a natural interviewer, a natural listener, but I’m not a natural storyteller. When I think about a story today, I think about it in a very mechanical way; I’m very aware of the structural parts of it and what I need for it to work,” he said in an interview with Slate magazine. Glass attended Brown University as a semiotics major, which despite its pretentious qualities, ended up helping him understand the inner-workings of interesting stories. Of the many questions semiotic theory asks, one is: “How does a story give pleasure?” Glass explained one component of a pleasurable story as the unexpected—when narratives conceal honest information, convince you of the opposite, then go out with a bang as they reveal the truth in the end. Though currently one of the most well-respected public radio hosts in the country, Glass started his career not unlike many Vassar kids—at the young age of 19, working his way through various internships, trying to make it big time. The upcoming Krieger Memorial Lecture will no doubt be a treat for all members of the Vassar community as Glass is likely a household name among the many radiophiles on this campus who instinctively turn their dials to NPR. Above all of that, though, there’s no denying that everyone loves a good story.
February 10, 2011
Samantha Shin ’12, pictured above, is a visual arts major who has served as the leading set designer in several campus productions, including last year’s Philaletheis show, “Dog Sees God.” abstract art, but this does not mean to say that she does not have an appreciation for it. When asked about her favorite style of art she said that she had none, and this is because she feels as though every style and every medium has a certain importance to be understood. Shin claims that her talent is partly due to the appreciation that she has for the old masters of art that she has studied throughout her life. According to her, only after learning about the artists that came before her can she attempt to reinvent. Although deeply involved with the Art Department now, Shin was set on becoming a drama major when she first came to Vassar. She said, “I was involved in theater since 6th grade and I definitely loved to perform, and I loved being able to live alternate realities.” In the end, though, Shin realized she was better fit to work on the set design side of theater: “Theater design has stayed with me, however, because in a grand sense it is the creation of an entire world, and in a more practical sense it’s an exercise in problem solving but with much higher stakes because so many people count on you to not mess up,” she explained. Here at
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Vassar, Shin has served as leading set designer in several theatrical productions including last year’s Philaletheis production of “A Dog Sees God.” This year she is even more excited to be working on the set of an upcoming production called “The Fantasticks,” a play within a play about a Fairy tale that goes wrong. In the future, Shin hopes to travel to Ghent, Belgium to study northern Renaissance art, a period she is especially fond of because of the strict attention to detail and incredibly rendering of human subjects. As more of a long-term goal, she sees herself doing something with art therapy. This goal was inspired by her job at the on-campus nursery where she was assigned to look after a child with autism who ended up being really artistically inclined. The projects that she and Debbie Falscow, another worker at the nursery, do with the kids are fascinating and fun to watch; they speak to the unique personalities of everyone involved. Shin believes that if she keeps doing what she is doing, with any luck she won’t be eating ramen for the rest of her life. And at this point, she’s right on track.
February 10, 2011
James Blake tranfixes with synths, vocals James Blake James Blake [A&M Records]
am convinced that the first notes of “The Wilhelm Scream,” featured on James Blake’s self-titled debut album, are the same that start Usher’s “Confessions Part II.” Considering this British electronic musician’s earlier EP releases, which were laden with vocal samples of Usher’s 1990s R&B contemporaries, the comparison makes perfect sense. This album, however, is less cluttered with other voices and instead features piano-based songs putting Blake’s own voice at the forefront. So the parallel with “Confessions” is more indirect, yet it captures the same spirit. The songs of Blake are tortured, filled with empty spaces and sad refrains simultaneously reminiscent of and deconstructing the histrionics that shot Usher up the pop charts. It seems odd to tag a debut album as a departure in style and yet Blake has made such a name for himself with two EP releases in 2010. CMYK was a jolt of schizo-pop with warped voices calling to each other in between pulsing synths that pushed him to the front of the wave of post-dubstep (a nebulous label at best and one that Blake seems to be working to shrug off) and October’s Klavierwerke already saw Blake exploring new territory—more piano and more soul, downbeat and murky. Blake is more a logical extension of the latter and the change in sound should be considered more a refining of a style than a departure. The harsh drum cracks against the soft synth piano that starts the album on “Unlucky” call to mind a Kid A-era Radiohead. And like Radiohead, each sound
seems meticulously placed, chosen as much for its own effect as it is for the silence it leaves. The album leaves its mark through negative space and atmospherics. Hear the way the rippling, dissonant synth lines begin to fill the void left by the refrain in “I Never Learnt to Share.” “My brother and sister don’t speak to me/But I don’t blame them, but I don’t blame them,” the line goes, again and again. The words never change yet the instrumentation behind them takes them to increasingly grimer places. Two minutes in, the vocals cut out and the drums kick in. When the line returns, the dissonance increases. Perhaps the most unnerving moment of the album comes at the 3:30 mark when the piano lines begin to tear into you and you start to get the idea of why his siblings stopped speaking to him. He is alone in these sparse landscapes, crafting paeans to estranged relatives. He follows that up with the two-part song “Lindisfarne.” “We can all fly too high,” he croons through auto tune. The sedated and warped vocals seem almost soothing after “I Never Learnt to Share,” but it’s impossible to be completely at ease with only an autotuned voice. And he can’t resist an Icarus reference while his voice explores the limits of mechanized manipulation. Blake never quite relents, and for all the album owes to R&B, you never want to jump out of your seat and dance. You don’t want to move at all. The songs are transfixing. The centerpiece of the album is undoubtedly “Limit to Your Love,” a cover of indiepop-darling Feist. The song nods not only to pop but also to a dubstep sound, one whose back pocket he has ostensibly come out of. When the piano line pauses a minute in, a wobbling synth cloud descends on the song, threatening rain but the heavens never fully open up. Blake remains restrained. And he seems to be most at home on this song, con-
fident in his singing and master of his craft, blending his voices together and keeping a jagged, heavy hand on the piano, effacing Feist’s lilt. Although he is sampling less, he is still at his best when he blends source material of others with his own impulses. This cover has made the biggest splash for Blake, earning him the runner up spot in BBC’s Sound of 2011 pool. I am sure the irony is not lost on Blake that the winner was British songstress Jessie J, who co-wrote Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” and is number one in Britain with her song “Price Tag”— a song whose guitar line is a straw sitting high atop the back of the R&B camel. Blake remains the minimalist bone collector, wandering through that desert on foot. The most striking sounds of the album come when his voice is met with those of others, preferably female. Whether in harmony or in counterpoint, pure or run through a vocoder, the vocal convergences bear weight. He misses his mark on songs like “Give Me My Month,” a straightforward piano-based song (he is classically trained), free of effects and lacking in impact. Songs like “The Wilhelm Scream”and “Measurements,” situated at the top and bottom of the album, succeed with gut-rotting blips and choruses of voices crying out against their stark backgrounds. The vocals in each of these songs run the gauntlet, from untouched to heaping with filters and effects. The experience of listening to them is like plotting their every move and warp. Indeed, the cover of the album is a long exposure photograph of Blake from the neck up, his head a blur, moving from left to right. And so Blake sings on “The Wilhelm Screm:” “All I know is that I’m falling, falling falling.” Lucky for us the young artist is really just falling farther into the depths of his bold artistic impulses, and we’re left to track the progression.
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The Flying Karamazov Brothers Sunday, March 6, 2011, 3 p.m. The Bardavon Theater $35 A perfect field trip for Vassar’s Barefoot Monkeys or anyone interested in the circuslike theatrics afforded by experimental comedy, music and juggling. The Flying Karamazov Brothers cater to all ages with their unique fusion of performance art, improvisation and word play. Each brother will bring his special expertise to the performance. Together, Mark Ettinger (Alexei), Rod Kimball (Pavel), Paul Magid (Dmitri), Nick Flint (Maximov) and Stephen Bent (Zossima) create a crew of juggling, writing, directing, music playing, composing and conducting savants ready to hit the stage. The Flying Karamazov Brothers’ Credo: Errors make us human but by working together we approach the divine. For us juggling is dropping.
Thoughts of Home On view until March 18, 2011, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz $5 Suggested Donation An exhibition of photographs from the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s permanent print collection. The photos center on the unofficial theme of “the familiar,” a subject matter increasingly popular among photographers in the latter part of the 20th century. Photos depict the intimate, and often taken for granted, aspects of our daily lives—the furniture, rugs, art work and chotchkies. These elements comprise our sense of identity and also reflect the identities of those with whom we’re closely tied. As a whole, the collection highlights common threads by capitalizing on personal narrative, memory and beauty.
The 2011 Price Chopper Black History Month Step Off Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at 7 p.m. The Bardavon Theater $17 Adult, $12 Student
“Second Skin” by Katie De Heras Aug. 26, 2010 was my 19th birthday, and the day I decided to begin a 365 Project, a challenge in which a photographer takes one special photo a day for an entire year. At the time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into; I’d been using a DSLR camera for about a year and a half, and while I was fairly competent at simply taking pictures, I wanted to become an actual photographer. Almost six months and 160-something photos later, I’m astounded by how much I have learned about photography and myself as an artist. I’ve come to view the world in 35-mm format, constantly analyzing my surroundings, the weather, my mood and even the music I listen to for a prospective 365 photo. I’ve photographed musicians, oceans, friends, city skylines, horse races and, most frequently, myself, striving to capture in each shot not only the subject, but a specific mood and my own unique viewpoint. This particular photograph was taken on that infamous -12-degree morning, and was inspired by the hauntingly beautiful and voyeuristic work of famed photographer Diane Arbus.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
So you think you can dance? Come see some of the most skilled, dynamic dance moves of regional and local step teams as they compete on the Bardavon stage. Stepping, a movement art popularized through black fraternity organizations, is a complex dance form that finds its roots in a larger history of African-American traditions and aesthetics. Within the last 50 years, stepping has evolved into an even more complicated movement, as it incorporates a wide variety of popular artistic forms. The dance remains a distinct style, but adds to the mix martial arts, acrobatics, hip-hop, tap dancing, cheerleading and military drills, among others.
February 10, 2011
Students look Student, faculty players weigh in on game to avenge last T year’s defeat Nathan Tauger Reporter
BASKETBALL continued from page 1 Although both teams have expressed their desires and expectations to win, Professor of Sociology Diane Harriford, who shares coaching duties with Professor of Physical Education Roman Czula, emphasized that “it’s more than a basketball game; it’s community building.” After a difficult Fall 2009 semester at Vassar, one marked by budget and department cuts, Dean of the College Chris Roellke decided to team up with thenVice President of Operations Brian Farkas ’10 and the senior class to raise money for financial aid. And the result was a student-faculty basketball game, which “seemed like a terrific way to bring the community together. It worked!” wrote Roellke in an e-mailed response. The overarching hope for this year’s game is similar, with a focus on fundraising and building community between Vassar’s various divisions. Old School’s roster boasts over 30 individuals this year, compared to the student team’s 25. “Anyone who wants to play can come,” says Harriford. “There are no tryouts and the more the better.” Although Harriford does not play basketball, she likes participating as a coach in order to get to know her fellow Vassar faculty and administration better, and to work towards building a stronger sense of community at Vassar. While the students do not have a formal team name, Head Coach Katharine Frost ’11 wrote in an e-mailed statement that “you might catch some people calling us the ‘Whippers n’ Snappers.’” There’s no doubt that team Old School is taking the competition seriously: recruiting new players and practicing with the guidance of coaches Harriford and Czula. And specifics about these practices are being kept secret so that the students will not know what to expect, said Harriford. Czula revealed, however, that practices have been “irregular, a-regular, non-regular” when asked whether the team has held regular practices. Even so, Harriford assures that the team is in better condition than last year, or at least suffers from fewer injuries. Preparing off the court, “Old School has been carefully studying game film from last year and will be viewing the film Hoosiers for inspiration,” wrote Roellke. On the court, Old School’s strategy boils down to defense. “We heard the students will be running a lot,” said Harriford. “And in football, there’s a saying that the best offense is a good defense.” “We have just one team rule—when in doubt, shoot the rock!” added Roellke. Based on the differences in age and running ability, and the application of football strategies to basketball, this game will doubtlessly be what Roellke terms: “Extravaganza, Baby!” It doesn’t even matter whether or not you are a basketball fan, because tonight’s unconventional basketball game will transcend the conventional sports fan base. Fierce competition, fundraising, community building, halftime activities, cheerleading—this event is all-inclusive. Coach Czula also offered this reason to watch the game: “It is a classic example of everything that is good about sport.” Better yet, it will be an opportunity “to see nonvarsity student-athletes prove why they are nonvarsity student athletes. To see over-the-hill faculty/admin/staff players being pushed, shoved and kicked on their collective ass-pirations by a group of non-varsity athletes,” wrote Czula. In contrast to Coach Czula, Coach Harriford is optimistically looking to her “tall guys,” Warehouse Clerk Brian Silvers and American Council on Education Fellow Russell Frohardt , “Development Duo” Vice President for Alumnae/i Affairs and Development Cathy Baer and Associate Vice President for Operations Mary Carole Starke, and “Fearless Leader” Roellke to carry the team to a decisive victory over the students, unlike last year’s one-point win. But all in all, Coach Harriford pointed out, the game serves to bring men, women, 20-somethings, older-somethings, students, professors, administrators, Buildings and Grounds, Security, Vassar and Poughkeepsie together to have fun and encourage regular exercise. And of course, it’s all for a good cause. “Fundraising is always good,” wrote Coach Czula, “fundraising for Vassar is even better.” And as an annual fundraiser for Vassar’s All-School Gift, said Harriford: “Whoever wins, Vassar wins.”
he Super Bowl and Bowl Championship Series Championship Game each have a media day; the hype for the Vassar StudentFaculty Basketball Game has been going on for weeks. For your enjoyment, compiled here are the responses and jabs of some of the biggest players at the most anticipated Vassar basketball game of the year. All of the following are e-mailed responses by participants discussing the game in their own words. For more information, see “Students, faculty meet in 2nd annual game” on Page 1.
Who is your favorite player on each team and why?
Diane Harriford, Coach, Faculty: We don’t have favorites on the team. Everyone has an important role. Kiese Laymon, “KANGSWANG,” Faculty #32: My favorite player on the student team is Kendall Coleman [’11], because he’s a great loser. Being good at losing takes talent and [Coleman] is awesome at that. My favorite player on our team is Carlos “Puerto Rican Bruce Bowen” Alamo because we’ve beaten [Coleman] probably 12 times in three years. [Alamo] doesn’t take his foot off of students’ necks when they’re down. Collete Cann, “CANN,” Faculty #23: Aaaaah, it’s a close call between Ed “Money” Pittman and Eve “Nothing But Net” Dunbar. If he hadn’t put four up in my face on Sunday from two feet BEHIND the three point line, I mighta said “C Se Puede.” There’s another team besides Old School? Ed Pittman, “STEADY,” Faculty #20: Favorite player on the team is Rachad Fryar because we went to the same high school. At this stage too, he’s the only dunker with finesse. Nik Trkulja, ’11 (Full Disclosure: Nik Trkulja is a columnist for The Miscellany News), Students: Wait, someone else is playing...? On the
other team, it’s got to be Dean Roellke—overconfidence is just always so admirable. Chris Roellke, “ROLKS,” Faculty #7: My favorite player on our team is ANNABELLE JONES (#3)—she comes to every practice with great spirit and is all about the TEAM! I have no favorite players on the student team—I respect them all greatly, but I would lose my edge if I chose a favorite! Basketball Rivalries, Which Team is: Duke University/University of North Carolina (UNC)?
Laymon: Man, we’re Duke because we’re the champions. They’re UNC-Asheville because they’re not very good. Pittman: We’d have to be UNC over Duke. In my era it was James Worthy, Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins who put the Blue Devils to shame. Funny story (back-story in fact)—when I traveled with the [Vassar College men’s basketball] team on a southern swing in 1980 we stayed near Chapel Hill and ran into Worthy at a local student spot. His hands were bigger than you can imagine. Trkulja: We’ve got to be Duke. Success is all we know, we’ve got the “crazies” on our side, and let’s face it—we’ve got the best coach(es). Harriford: We are UNC because UNC leads the all-time series 130-99. We will see a similar situation here since the faculty will win the majority of the faculty/student games in the coming years. Roellke: We are Duke—my dad played for Duke in the 1940s, so I have no choice there but to pick Duke! Cann: I have no idea. Really. Not one. So, Duke. Alphabetical choice. Boston Celtics/Los Angeles Lakers
Pittman: No question, we’re the Lakers over the Celtics. Laymon: We’re the Celtics because we’re old and green. They can be the Lakers if they
want. Kobe would be a great addition to their team. All style, no substance, weak chin. Cann: CLEARLY Old School is LAKERS, baby! I’m talkin’ no look passes, too tight shorts, too tall socks, but yet somehow always in style Lakers of the ’80s. It was about style, playing past your prime and still schoolin’ (get it) the other team with a hook shot (which NEVER gets old). Back when Byron Scott was the new kid on the block Lakers. Students are presentday Lakers, all about the publicity, all about the show, all about the rap album. Roellke: We are the Celtics as we are more about fundamentals--the students are the Lakers because of their more modern celebrity status. Trkulja: The students are all about “Showtime.” We plan to run, put up points and entertain Lakers-style. Harriford: We are the Celtics because we believe in unselfish team play and we also have quick, good-looking point guards. Late ’80s Chicago Bulls/Detroit Pistons
Cann: Old school’s got a little Charles Barkley elbow throwing, in your face selfrighteousness, bullying and smack talk. But, we also have all the UNDENIABLE Jordan talent. Students are Michael Jackson dancing in the background in Jam. Trkulja: ’80s Bulls. We’re young, we’re athletic and let’s face it we’re destined to be the best. Laymon: We’re late ’80s Pistons because we will strike you if we start to lose. Harriford: We are actually neither. I think we are more like the Lakers of the late ’80s because they were clearly the best team throughout the ’80s. Roellke: We are the early 1970s KNICKS— WALT CLYDE FRAZIER (MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE PLAYER), BILL BRADLEY, WILLIS REED—great combination of skill, muscle, See INTERVIEWS on page 20
Profiling the Eastern Conference roster Andy Sussman
ith the NBA All-Star Game approaching on Feb. 20 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., I have decided to break down both the Eastern and Western Conference rosters over the next two weeks. This week, we start with the beasts from the East (and Chris Bosh). Starting Point Guard: Derrick Rose. In his third season, Rose has proven that he can be a true franchise talent, averaging 24.6 points and over eight assists per game for the Chicago Bulls, who are third in the Eastern Conference standings. He has accomplished this on rather efficient numbers from both the three-point line and the free-throw line, not to mention without stud center Joakim Noah for the past five weeks. Most impressively, however, is that Rose has become the first star player under collegiate coach John Calipari not to be ruled ineligible in college in Calipari’s 20-year coaching career. Starting Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade. Wade’s season has been a rather interesting one. There are times when he is the best player in the NBA, driving at will and getting to the free-throw line throughout the game. At others, however, he will turn the ball over in every conceivable way, and by the third quarter he will just give the ball to LeBron James or Bosh. Overall, Wade, along with the Miami Heat as a whole, is still having an All-Star season and at the moment probably does not have regrets about keeping his talents in South Beach. Wade will look to repeat his performance from last year’s game, where he was named the Most Valuable Player. Starting Small Forward: LeBron James. My guess is you haven’t heard much about this guy; he tends to fly under the radar due to his great deal of humility. Yes, James’ numbers are slightly down this year from his past two MVP seasons when he was with “the franchise formerly known as the Cleveland Cavaliers,” but the main reason for this is that he has Wade to share the ball with throughout the game and thus does not get
involved in as many possessions. Nevertheless, in today’s NBA only the King can have nights like the 50-point, 11-rebound and 8-assist game against one of the better teams in the NBA, the Orlando Magic. Also, only James and Elmo from Sesame Street are skilled enough at frequently using the third person. Starting Power Forward: Amar’e Stoudemire. The most talented player with an apostrophe in his name, Stoudemire has proven that he does not need Steve Nash feeding him passes to be an elite offensive option. Despite the New York Knicks’ relative lack of depth, Stoudemire and company have the Knicks in position to make the playoffs for the first time since it was cool to see the Backstreet Boys in concert. He’s still a defensive liability, but we all know that doesn’t matter one bit in the All-Star Game, in fact his skills are so proficient that he will be an assistant coach for the Rookie team in the annual Rookie-Sophomore Game. Starting Center: Dwight Howard. Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith has drastically revamped the team over the past year, but Howard remains the constant—the best big man in the league, particularly on defense. This year, Howard has been even better on offense than he has in the past, even though he continues to think free throws cost money to make. Even with the Magic playing inconsistently, Howard continues to dunk, block and put on capes better than pretty much anybody else in the NBA. Let’s go rapid-fire for the bench spots, since they are pretty much all Boston Celtics anyway. Kevin Garnett: He may be in his 74th year in the NBA (I’m not sure if I’m exaggerating), but Garnett is still the defensive anchor for the Celtics, the East’s best first-half team. He will treat the All-Star Game like he treats Charlie Villanueva, so everybody on the court should look out. Ray Allen: Amazingly Allen, the ultimate three-point shooter, is this season shooting at the highest three-point percentage in his career. In addition, he can still beat Denzel
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Washington in one-on-one and continues to call himself Jesus Shuttlesworth. Paul Pierce: Pierce has become so efficient that the Toyota Prius in considering renaming itself the Toyota Pierce. Wheelchair parts will be sold separately. Rajon Rondo: The fourth Boston Celtic to make the roster, Rondo leads the NBA in assists per game. He also shoots the ball once every five or six games. Shaquille O’Neal: The Boston Celtics became the first team in NBA history to have all five of their starters named to the All-Star roster. The Big Aristotle will be appearing in his 16th All-Star Game, putting him just three behind Hall-of-Famer Kareem AbdulJabbar. Ok, you caught me, I made this whole part up. Shaq was not named an All-Star--but admit it, you believed me. Still, the Boston Celtics did set a record by having four players named to the team. Al Horford: Horford is having an excellent under-the-radar campaign for the Atlanta Hawks this season. He is proving to be one of the best rebounding and passing big men in the game while helping the Hawks have a winning record thus far. Think of him as Tim Duncan, only even more boring. Joe Johnson: He may be overpaid, but Johnson is still a quality player who is the face of the Hawks’ franchise. However, Johnson misses more shots in one game than Rondo takes in a career. Chris Bosh: Despite being called soft and criticized for his lack of contributions early in the season, Bosh has picked up his game, proving to be a solid third option for the Heat. Bosh makes the All-Star Game under the little-known “Taylor Swift Rule,” requiring that teams have at least one giraffe on their roster. Head Coach: Doc Rivers. It was just a few short years ago that Celtics fans wanted Rivers fired. However, in the past three years he has led his team to two NBA Finals appearances and one championship. The jury is out on whether or not Rivers will be as successful without Brian Scalabrine cheering his team on from the end of the bench.
February 10, 2011
Brewers spend weekend competing away Andy Marmer Sports Editor
t’s now been three weeks since winter break concluded and sometimes it helps just to get away from Poughkeepsie. For Vassar’s winter teams, this past weekend provided that opportunity, as there were no games taking place on campus.
Alina von Korff
Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
This past weekend, the women’s fencing team earned the first fencing championship in Vassar history, with an undefeated day at a Northeast Conference multi-meet. The Brewers were largely unchallenged for the day, with their one narrow victory coming at the expense of Wellesley College, a 16-11 Vassar triumph. A number of Vassar fencers had strong days, as Sophie Courser ’11 led the way with a perfect 17-0 record in epee. In foil, Katie LeClair ’13 went 14-4, while Jacqueline Kory ’11 finished 152. The sabre squad also had a good day as Julie Carlsen ’11 finished 15-1 and Brooke Schieffer ’12 earned an impressive 17-1 record.
Lucas Wager ’14, pictured above, faces off against Hamilton College. Vassar’s men’s basketball team has been struggling this season, most recently losing matches against St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
The men’s fencing team finished 4-1 in a Northeast Conference multi-meet last Sunday, Feb. 6, a record good enough to tie the Brewers for a second-place finish in the conference. Vassar earned solid victories over four competitors, but could not top Sacred Heart University, which eventually won the conference. The combined results from the men’s and women’s fencing teams were enough to earn Vassar the men’s and women’s combined conference title. Additionally, Vassar’s second place finish in the conference is the highest position the Brewers have ever finished. Women’s Basketball:
The women’s basketball team dropped a pair of Liberty League contests against St. Lawrence University and Clarkson University. The defeats drop the Brewers to 5-4 in Liberty League play, in a three-way tie for fourth place as the team continues its drive for a playoff appearance. In the first contest, Hannah Senftleber ’14 scored a career-high 28 points, but it was not enough for the Brewers to overcome a Saints squad that shot 34-37 from the free throw line, including a perfect 22-22 in the second half. In their second game of the weekend, Vassar shot just 25 percent from the field and, despite 24 points from Brittany Parks ’12, couldn’t knock off Clarkson. Clarkson shot over 50 percent from the field to overcome the Brewers, led by four scorers in double figures.
Despite 18 points from junior Caleb McGraw, the men’s basketball team could not overcome a hot-shooting St. Lawrence team that made 60 percent of its field goals. McGraw shot 50 percent from the field, including 4-8 from threepoint range; however, 10 St. Lawrence scorers found the bottom of the hoop, overwhelming the Vassar defense. Looking to rebound, the squad traveled to Clarkson, visiting the lone team they have defeated in a Liberty League contest. While Ethan Shanley ’12 led the way with 17 points and eight rebounds, the Brewers went into the half trailing by 21. Behind five straight three-pointers, the Brewers were able to cut the deficit to 10 points. However, they were unable to overcome their first half struggles, losing by a margin of 17, 67-50. Men’s Volleyball:
In their first United Volleyball Conference crossover match of the season, Vassar dropped a tight 3-1 (26-28, 25-20, 22-25, 23-25) decision to Medaille College. The Brewers saw strong hitting performances from Matt Elgin ’13 (12 kills, 0 errors) and Evan Fredericksen ’11 (20 kills, four errors) but it was not enough to overcome the host. In their second game, also played at Medaille, sophomore Charles Caldwell commanded the Brewers’ attack with a career-high 12 kills
as Vassar overcame Elmira College 3-1 (25-17, 20-25, 25-20, 25-19). Fredericksen contributed to the victory with 10 kills, while Lucas Rathjens ’12 and Patrick Donahue ’13 each contributed eight. Women’s Squash:
The women’s squash team spent last Saturday at Smith College, competing in the Seven Sisters Championship. Although the Brewers were able to overcome Wellesley College, 8-1 to reach their sixth straight championship match, they ultimately lost to Mount Holyoke College, 9-0, which captured its fifth straight tournament title. Men’s Squash:
The men’s squash team picked up its third victory of the 2010-2011 campaign, with a 6-3 victory over nearby Fordham University. The victory avenged a 5-4 loss earlier in the season to the Rams. Women’s Swimming and Diving:
With 243 points, the Brewers conquered host Skidmore College (130 points), but could not quite muster a victory over William Smith College (271 points), finishing second out of three teams. Senior Samantha Jones’ performance earned her recognition as the Liberty League Swimmer of the Week. Jones finished first in the 100 butterfly (103.71), the 50 butterfly (28.26) and the 50 backstroke (29.24).
Pettitte and Favre show true colors in exit Corey Cohn
uring the past couple of weeks, two of the sports world’s most notorious indecisive retirees have officially announced the ends of their illustrious careers—for now, anyway. 20-year NFL veteran Brett Favre, who owns too many league records to count, including consecutive games started, career passing yards and career passing touchdowns, filed his retirement papers on Jan. 17. This marked the third time he’s announced his retirement and the 9,856th time “Brett Favre” and “retirement” appeared in the same headline on ESPN.com. As beloved as Favre became, first in Green Bay, later in Minnesota and always in John Madden’s heart, he eventually came to be known just as much for his wishy-washy attitude during the offseason as for his tremendous play on the field. It has been at least four years since fans first heard speculation that Favre would close the book on his gridiron days. During that time, they’ve seen a standing ovation for Favre at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the Vikings’ front office held in limbo waiting for Favre’s next decision and Ed Werder pitching a tent on Favre’s front lawn, calling it home. It is unfair to minimize what Favre accomplished during what will certainly be a Hallof-Fame career. But that is exactly what “The Gunslinger” has done to himself. Part of it is due to the sheer longevity of his career—his one Super Bowl win came 14 years ago—but it is much easier to remember Favre as the hesitant, melodramatic and, frankly, quite annoy-
Crew takes on first full year as club
ing character than the legendary, fun-loving All-American hero. On the other side, you have Andy Pettitte, a star of lesser magnitude but one just as appreciated by his home team, which except for a rather forgettable three years with the Houston Astros (marked by an equally forgettable 2005 World Series) was the New York Yankees. During the tail end of Pettitte’s career, it became clear that he had other priorities that were pulling him away from baseball. A devoted family man with a wife and four children, he continually hinted that he felt a growing need to be at home. But Pettitte never staged a media circus to follow his will-he-stay-or-will-he-go story. Granted, he was never the league-wide icon that Favre was, but Pettitte’s decision was always immediately relevant to New York, a market that sometimes seems as if it’s as big as Major League Baseball itself. Instead, Pettitte kept his deliberations to himself, and each time he decided to return, he declared so with plenty of time to get ready for Spring Training—unlike Favre, who usually parlayed his star status into getting out of the wearand-tear of NFL training camp. Yes, Pettitte did take a bit longer than usual to reach his decision this time around. But he was considering just as much, if not more, the state of the team he’s leaving behind than his own desires. The Yankees now more than in seasons past could use the reliability of the veteran lefty. As sad as fans were to see Pettitte, a homegrown talent who won five championships in the Bronx, say goodbye, they were just as worried about the impending blow to
their 2011 starting rotation. It could be said that Favre’s inevitable departure from his sport was always, in a sense, larger than himself. Favre represented an era and an attitude that fans of all allegiances embraced. It is hard to let someone like that go. Only Favre never seemed to outwardly acknowledge that element of his decision. He always had trouble deciding whether it was the best time for him to leave, if he personally felt he had nothing left to give. And even though he reached these conclusions several times, he kept coming back and changing his mind. Pettitte, meanwhile, has always provided solid, reasonable explanations for why he has come to the decision he’s made. After the 2008 season, he wanted to return to pitch in the new Yankee Stadium. After the 2009 season, he felt obligated to defend the team’s most recent World Series title. After the 2010 season, he realized the “hunger,” as he put it, was simply not there any longer. These are understandable, respectable reasons emblematic of time well spent considering his options. That kind of thoughtful deliberation has never been associated with Favre. It has seemed more likely that Favre was simply waiting for his right arm to fall off before “deciding” that maybe he can’t do this anymore. With both of these former stars now leaving, the reactions from their respective fan bases are the most telling in evaluating their decisions. Yankee loyalists were begging Pettitte to come back. Most football enthusiasts were pushing Favre out the door.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
ne semester into our first year as a non-varsity sport, the rowing team remains in limbo, somewhere between a varsity and club sport. While we no longer receive funding from the Athletics Department, we have remained an entity separate from the Vassar Student Association. Our operating budget now consists of a combination of funds from team fundraisers, team dues paid by each athlete and a contribution from the College. With our significantly reduced funding, each rower has had to step up to ensure the survival as well as success of the team. Like any varsity team, we have captains who serve to motivate their fellow athletes. However, unlike our varsity counterparts, we also have an athlete-run executive board, which organizes the logistics of race entries, fundraising, transportation to and from practices and regattas, maintenance of gear and equipment, and updating of alumnae/i. On top of asking executive board members to work with our coaches to do the work formerly done by Athletics Department staff, we have had to ask each team member to commit to both team and individual fundraising. Unlike varsity teams, who conduct fundraisers to subsidize a training trip, we fundraise so that we may have the chance to compete. Through a significant fundraising push during our 24-hour Erg-a-thon last November, we were able to fundraise about $7,000, all of which went to supporting our day-to-day operations. On top of this, team members work. They rake, shovel and clean for professors and local residents through our Rent-a-Rower program to cover the costs of their individual dues and training trip expenses. Having spent three years as a varsity rower and now one semester in limbo, I have witnessed firsthand the difference made by having the support of the Athletics Department. While my biggest concern freshman year was whether or not I had picked up the correct freshly laundered uniform, I now face real problems, like whether there are enough parents and alumnae/i near a race site to house the entire team. Instead of worrying about which seat to sit in on the bus to our next race, I find myself contemplating whether we have enough student drivers to drive vans to our next regatta so that we may save money by not taking a bus. As rowers, we have been asked not only to be competitive as students and athletes, but also to dedicate what minimal free time we have to the continued success of the team. Without the fiscal support of the Athletics Department, Vassar has asked of its nonvarsity athletes more than it does of those competing at a “varsity” level. Fortunately, the Office of the Dean of Academic Planning and our new coaching staff have helped ease our transition away from the Athletics Department. The loss of our varsity status coincided with a change in coaching staff and mindset that has allowed us to open a new, positive chapter in the history of Vassar rowing. The extra work we have had to put in has made us an even more closely-knit team. Practicing six days per week nearly year-round, the team is planning to send athletes to two of the most competitive collegiate rowing competitions: the Charles River All Star Has-Been Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championship on Feb. 20 and the Dad Vail Regatta in the spring (the largest intercollegiate regatta in the nation). Thus, although we are no longer varsity in name, we are determined to retain the same level of competition and we look forward to continuing to bring home medals season after season. We may fundraise like a club but we certainly compete like a team. —Alina von Korff ’11, President of the Vassar Rowing Team
February 10, 2011
Polo continues to grow while searching for recognition Corey Cohn
Courtesy of Nicole Engelhardt
penly admitting to the captains of a sports team that you had only learned of their team’s existence a few days earlier is probably not the best strategy for beginning an interview with them. But in the case of polo co-Captains Lucy Weaver ’11 and Kaylin Myers ’11, it’s nothing unfamiliar. “It’s a pretty common reaction,” Myers responded with a laugh. Why this is so is another matter entirely. Maybe it’s because polo is a club sport, devoid of the recognition (and funding) granted to varsity sports on campus. Maybe it’s because the team has to travel 40 minutes to practice and play its home games. Maybe it’s because students probably know more about water polo than about the kind that involves horses. Whatever the reason, polo definitely warrants a higher sense of awareness, for it combines a rich history with a contemporary passion from its current players. Founded in 2001 as part of a revival of the sport at Vassar, polo’s origin on campus dates back to the 1920s, when the Brewers became the first all-women’s collegiate polo team. Now, the team is technically co-ed, but the roster as it currently stands consists entirely of women. “We fully encourage guys to join, but it might be a little intimidating to join an all-girls team,” Myers explained. “It’s weird, because polo is predominantly a men’s sport.” Weaver added, “Schools that fund polo generally have separate men’s and women’s teams.” Indeed, funding (or, rather, lack thereof) causes a number of obstacles for Vassar polo. The club receives $4,500 from the Vassar Student Association (VSA) to cover the entire school year, when in actuality it costs $7,000 to rent horses, equipment, arena space and time from Gardnertown Polo, the Brewers’ “home” barn. “What’s tricky,” Weaver commented, “is that [the VSA] actually gives us a lot of money compared to other clubs [at Vassar]. And $3,500 a semester is actually a really good price.” As good a price as it may be, it still leaves $2,500 left for the team to come up with on its own—not to mention the additional $500 price Gardnertown Polo charges per player. “We always have to fundraise; people don’t understand when we ask for money because our team only has seven people,” Weaver said. She added that bake sales, though numerous in her experience, only get them so far. Myers remarked that the money issue not only serves as a constant concern, but it also prevents potential members from committing to polo. “For everything that Bill [Dencker, who
Vassar’s polo team, led by co-Captains Lucy Weaver ’11 and Kaylin Myers ’11, won its first game of the season last Friday against University of Massachusetts at Amherst. As a club sport, the team receives a stipend through the Vassar Student Association rather than funding from the Athletics Department. runs Gardnertown Polo] lets us do—he lets us come by whenever we want—it’s a really good deal, but it deters people from joining. For people in horse culture, it’s an understandable price.” Myers and Weaver certainly appreciate “horse culture.” They have been riding since they were seven and nine years old, respectively, though neither one was ever particularly attracted to polo before coming to Vassar. Things changed for Weaver during her overnight stay at the College prior to beginning her freshman year. “I was introduced to the polo team,” she recalled. “At the time, I was heartbroken about not being able to ride in college.” After meeting and getting along well with the members of the team, Weaver joined her first semester at Vassar and has never looked back. Myers’ path to polo featured a slight detour in the beginning. “I was on the equestrian team the first semester of freshman year,” she said. “But the sport seemed too proper.” After that first semester, Myers attended one polo practice, met Weaver and decided this was the right team for her. That is not to say Myers didn’t have her doubts. “I honestly thought it was the most ridiculous sport ever [when I first saw it],” she admitted. Given their somewhat limited knowledge of the sport, it helps immensely to have other re-
Players talk tough prior to Student-Faculty match-up INTERVIEWS continued from page 18 smarts—we are also as old as Frazier, Bradley and Reed. Do you have any personal rivalries from last year?
Roellke: No personal rivalries—again, its all about the TEAM! Pittman: Every student player is a personal rivalry. Their speed scares me. Yet, experience prevails. I’d have to say that playing against students is akin to the way my office tries to engage them in dialogue—gentle but steady pressure until we get them talking and sharing their thoughts. In this case, it would be turnovers and missed shots. Cann: I’m losing my smack talk edge. It’s 1 a.m. and I think I blew it all in the first three questions. But if I had any left in me, I’d choose Jake [Berzoff-Cohen ‘11] purely for offending my delicate eyes with the retro, throw back, 1970s Globetrotter outfit. I could hardly get past it to focus on the game. Every time he came onto the court it was a crime against good judgment. Harriford: We will keep Jake Berzoff-Cohen in check. He confuses youth with skill and he’s been selling a few woof tickets. Do you play differently against former students
or former professors? What is that like?
Harriford: We play the same. We play to win. Trkulja: I would “never” play differently against anybody, it would be unbecoming. Cann: As in throwing fewer elbows? Puhleez. Roellke is my hero. He was a flagrant foul away from a red card and he kept bringing his game. Roellke: NO—the game is played the same, regardless of the opponent—sound, fundamental basketball, hustle, teamwork and when it doubt, shoot the rock. Who is the most aggressive player on each team?
Harriford: We have not paid that much attention to the student team. Our team relies on solid fundamentals, finesse, experience and inspired coaching. Too much aggression may get in the way. Cann: Refer to my previous response. Laymon is a close second (review the tape of the foul under the basket, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011 at 4 p.m.). Laymon: Roellke is the commissioner of the league and the most aggressive player on the court. Cann is a close second. Trkulja: Let’s face it, everybody knows Dean Roellke plays harder than anyone. Pittman: They just should hope I have no flashbacks [to] 1980—but, between us, that is unlikely to happen.
sources. In addition to Dencker, who provides all the services the polo team needs, there is Duncan Huyler, a volunteer coach who helps explain the game to newcomers and hone the techniques of veteran players. Myers and Weaver greatly appreciate Huyler’s aid. “I feel qualified to teach riding, but not polo,” Myers said. Still, the two co-captains have held tremendous responsibility during their tenure. “[Myers] and I have basically led the team for three years, which is unusual for a [school] organization,” Weaver remarked. Weaver helps Huyler teach the sport to new players, while Myers schedules games and “tacks up” her teammates—that is, she prepares them and their horses with the proper equipment. Weaver says they are trying to generate a sense of delegation this semester, so the underclassmen currently on the roster will learn how to run the team before she and Myers graduate. They aren’t particularly worried about the team they’re leaving behind, though. Weaver said the players currently on the roster are all “very capable” and “very enthusiastic.” She and Myers both mentioned Mary Claire Walker ’14, who was named the Polo Training Foundation 2010 Interscholastic Player of the Year in July, as one of the most spirited members of the team. “She’s the most energetic person I’ve ever seen,” Myers said. “It’s nice to have a freshman so gung-ho about the team.” Despite their confidence in the future of the
team, Weaver and Myers still see a need for improvement in the club’s presence at Vassar. “It’d be great to have more players, more spectators,” Weaver said hopefully. “We would love for it to be a bigger influence on campus.” There is an effort being made to encourage higher attendance at home games. Professor of Earth Science Jeff Walker will be offering transportation for the next three Friday home games for a select number of students—roughly seven to 12—who want to cheer on their classmates. Walker’s three oldest children all are past or present Vassar polo players. Anyone who is interested (or wants to take their own car and needs directions) should contact Weaver or Myers. The two co-captains also say they’ll stay involved with Vassar polo even after they graduate. Myers remarked that she’ll most certainly want to keep in touch with the current members of the team. “It’s especially easier now because of Facebook,” she said with a laugh. But don’t be surprised to see both of these devoted polo veterans returning in person to check out a game or attend a practice. “We’ll definitely check in,” Weaver said. “It’s been such a big part of our Vassar life.” Vassar polo won its first game of the semester last Friday, a 19-11 victory over the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Tomorrow they play Johnson and Wales University at Gardnertown Farm at 7 p.m.
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