The Miscellany News Since 1866 | miscellanynews.com
April 26, 2012
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
Volume CXLV | Issue 22
Questioning Student election results are in, Veterans VC’s values, Rubin ’13 wins VSA presidency organize investments VC group Erik Lorenzsonn Senior Editor
Jessica Tarantine Features editor
A Madeline Zappala/The Miscellany News
he moniker of “the Vassar 10” does not resonate today, but in the late 1970s the term was notorious. It referred to a group of 10 students who were arraigned by a College disciplinary committee in 1978 for their role in a student protest, during which students blocked the exits to a Board of Trustees meeting. The cause of the demonstration was to decry the College’s financial investment in companies affiliated with South Africa’s apartheid government. Although the ten received a fine—to the ire of the hundreds of students who had gathered at their hearing in solidarity—the Trustees decided to divest from five companies with ties to the apartheid government. The story of the Vassar 10 speaks to a long-standing financial concern at Vassar: socially responsible investment. The ethics of the College’s investments is still a salient issue, just as much as it was in the 1970s. Consider the Kick Coke campaign of 2008, which demanded divestment from Coca-Cola for its alleged involvement in the murder of Colombian union leaders. Another example is a Vassar Greens’ campaign in the early 2000s, which highlighted the College’s financial ties with pollutants See INVESTMENT on page 7
Above, current Vassar Student Association (VSA) Vice President for Fiance Jason Rubin ’13 embraces a friend after learning that he was elected next year’s VSA President.The results were announced a little after midnight on April 23. Leighton Suen News Editor
little after midnight on Monday, April 23, the Vassar Student Association (VSA) representatives for the 2012-2013 academic year were unveiled. In an emotional and boisterous ceremony, members of the Vassar student body waited with baited breath as Board of Elections co-Chairs Matthew Wheeler ’12 and
Seth Warner ’14 announced the election results. Current Vice President (VP) for Finance Jason Rubin ’13 was elected next year’s VSA President with nearly 150 more votes than his opponent, Clayton Masterman ’13, who served as Jewett President this year. “I am very grateful to the student body for voting for me and for allowing me to hold this position. I hope I do them
proud,” said Rubin. When asked what he thought contributed to his victory, he replied, “I think I just laid...my ideas out there for the College. I went out there and tried to meet as many people as possible. I’ve gotten the chance to work with a lot of people this year, and I think people just saw what I stand for and what I want to do for the See ELECTIONS on page 3
s uniform-clad West Point cadets arrived on campus and mingled with Vassar students last Thursday, some students are still unaware that Vassar is home to about two dozen veterans. In fact, earlier that day, a group of veterans employed by Vassar—faculty, staff and even alumnae/i—held their first meeting in the to discuss issues pertaining to veterans campus, share stores and come together as a community. “[The meeting was made up of] a diverse group, but as the conversation revealed, it really wasn’t. There was a common shared experience,” said Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Mechanic Mark Peura, a veteran and one of the main organizers of the event. But while the group itself is brand new—it doesn’t yet have a name—the idea behind it isn’t. “[Peura] tried several years ago to start such a group, but scheduling meetings proved difficult and interest fell off,” said Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Music Jon Chenette. “When Mark read the Misc article [“VC, West Point forge relationship with Academy’s visit” 04.12.2012] two weeks ago on the Mel See CONSTITUTION on page 8
Mrlik, Bavosa voted Miscellany VC students intimately News 2012 Athletes of the Year involved with FLLAC
Andy Marmer and Tina Caso Sports editors
s a two-sport star on the baseball and soccer teams, Zander Mrlik ’13 is no stranger to success. The junior economics and history double major is this year’s Miscellany News Male Athlete of the Year. Amy Bavosa ’12, an anthropology and sociology double major and three-year captain and hitter for the
women’s volleyball team claims the title of Miscellany News Female Athlete of the Year. Bavosa became captain as a sophomore after a difficult freshman year, a year in which the team went 11-23. However, she took the situation as a learning experience, citing co-captain Sarah Potts ’10 as a type of teacher for the new position. “It definitely helped me come to a
Inside this issue
SayAnything moderator reveals identity in interview
Students perform Checkov’s “Seagull” with a wild twist
Rachel Garbade/The Miscellany News
Katie De Heras and Tim Serkes/The Miscellany News
Zander Mrlik ’13, left, a member of the men’s soccer and baseball teams, and Amy Bavosa ’12, right, women’s volleyball captain, were voted a of the Year.
leadership role which is something that I’ve never really been in before. I had to negotiate a lot of personal relationships while still being able to manage the captain aspects as well,” said Bavosa. She noted, however, that managing the team wasn’t that difficult with the straightforward attitude of her teammates. “Our team is into being open and honest. We just lay it out on the table, which I found to be really helpful.” She continued her role as captain into her junior and senior year. During her junior year, her role became much more natural, and by her senior year, she explained, “I could do it without thinking. I was fine on my own.” In a very unique situation, Bavosa was the only senior on the team in 2011. Though she found it strange to not have one specific person on the team to turn to, she found her situation very helpful, in that she was able to find a balance between her own personal accomplishments and her outward focus. She added, “I got so much attention, and I didn’t know how to react.” With a team trip to Costa Rica and a career milestone under her belt, Bavosa calls her senior year one of her most memorable. This fall, she managed to reach 1,000 kills, the eighth player in Vassar history to do so. See ATHLETES on page 20
Above, three students tour the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (FLLAC). FLAAC employs three branches of student workers, including docents and curatorial assistants. Nicole Wong Reporter
ou may know that the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (FLLAC) contains over 18,000 works, which include paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and glass and ceramic wares. But you may not know of the strong student presence behind the scenes. Many of the exhibitions on display, past and present, have been orga-
nized, prepared and set up by a select few Vassar students who work alongside the curators and artists from the FLLAC. Three branches of students work with the FLLAC: the Student Activity Committee (SAC), docents and curatorial assistants, each of whom plays a major role in organizing exhibits at different times during the year. The SAC plays an important role in bringing the See FLLAC on page 16
Polo captain Leung builds team from the ground up
The Miscellany News
April 26 , 2012
Editors in Chief Dave Rosenkranz Aashim Usgaonkar Senior Editors
Alex Schlesinger and Maddeline Zappala/The Miscellany News
Last week, students gathered for the Vassar Student Association Election Results party (left) and Skizzy Mars, Tobacco and Das Racist performed at the annual Vassar College Entertainment spring concert (right). For photo essays on these events, as well as a preview of Future Waitstaff of America’s production of “Hair,” visit Exposure at blogs.miscellanynews.com/exposure.
Meet a Professor: John Long
Katharine Austin Hannah Blume Ruth Bolster Mary Huber Erik Lorenzsonn
Contributing Editors Katie Cornish Carrie Hojnicki Matthew Ortilé Jillian Scharr Molly Turpin
News Danielle Bukowski Joey Rearick Leighton Suen Features Ruth Bolster Danielle Bukowski Jessica Tarantine Opinions Hannah Blume Lane Kisonak Humor & Satire Alanna Okun Jean-Luc Bouchard Arts Adam Buchsbaum Sports Tina Caso Corey Cohn Andy Marmer Photography Katie De Heras Juliana Halpert Madeline Zappala Online Alex Koren Nathan Tauger Social Media Matthew Ortilé Copy Maxélle Neufville Assistant News Assistant Features Assistant Opinions Assistant Arts Assistant Photo Assistant Copy Crossword Editor Columnists
Reporters Nathan Tauger/The Miscellany News
These are some of the evolving robots Professor of Biology John Long used in the experiments he wrote about in his book, Darwin’s Devices: What EVOLVING ROBOTS Can Teach Us About the History of Life and the Future of Technology. Stay tuned for a video interview this week on Main Circle.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Leighton Suen Jessica Tarantine Gabe Dunsmith Jack Owen Matthew Hauptman Carlos Hernandez Jiajing Sun Melissa Johnson Jonathan Garfinkel Sarah Begley Jean-Luc Bouchard Brittany Hunt Michael Mestitz Tom Renjilian Carson Robinson Sam Scarritt-Selman Andy Sussman Emma Daniels Chris Gonszalez Bethan Johnson Bobbie Lucas Marie Solis Nicole Wong Casey Zuckermann Katie De Heras Rachel Garbade Emily Lavieri-Scull Alex Schlesinger
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.
April 26 , 2012
Exec debates poorly attended, candidates disheartened Danielle Bukowski News Editor
he Vassar Student Association (VSA) Executive Board Debates took place last Wednesday the 18th at 8 p.m. in New England Building. The debates presented an opportunity for the student body to hear more about the platforms of those running for Executive Board positions next year, ask questions, and to hear competing candidates respond to each other’s platforms. Although attendance at the debates in the past few years has not been high, the very low attendance of general student body members this year had outgoing members of Council and Executive Board concerned about the VSA’s relationship with students. The issue of low attendance was brought up during the debate, when candidate for VP for Student Life Sharon Onga cited how low attendance showed how students have become ambivalent toward student government, and how the Executive Board must work towards getting more students involved in their governance. Later, during the presidential debate between Clayton Masterman ’13 and Jason Rubin ’13, candidate for VP for Academics Matt Harvey asked the candidates directly why they believed so few students were present. Masterman suggested they should have publicized more, while Rubin pointed out that students are passionate about the VSA’s student organizations but may not be passionate about Council. The low attendance was enough of an issue to be brought up again at VSA Council by outgoing 2012 President Pam Vogel. She wrote in an emailed statement, “I honestly believe that the low attendance at the VSA Exec Debates this week was indicative of a much larger problem the VSA Council has dealt with, to some degree, for at least the last four years. The fact is that students do not know what the VSA does on a day-to-day basis, or how what VSA Exec or Council is working on affects them... it’s a little bit my fault, and the fault of every elected VSA leader, to change that.” Members of Council and students who did attend the debate expressed various opinions on why more of the student body was not present, with lack of publicity and the busy time of
year as two main reasons. “I’m really glad Pam [Vogel] brought the issue up in Council, but I think that [the lack of publicity and advanced planning as reason for limited attendance] was only true to a degree,” said outgoing South Commons President Matt Wheeler ’12. “The real issue is that people aren’t engaged.” Wheeler, along with Seth Warner ’14, was in charge of publicizing the event, and said that the email regarding when the debate was going to be held was late in coming due to issues coordinating a time and a place for the event. “The work of engaging the student body needs to be done from day one, in educating the student body about what we do [as the VSA Executive Board]. In that sense it doesn’t matter as much if we publicize one week in advance or three days in advance or a month in advance: if students are engaged then the people who show up will be generally curious about what is going on, not just friends of people who are running,” Wheeler said. Harvey wrote in an emailed statement, “People can always make time if they think that something is important. Obviously, VSA [Executive] debates are not important... Most of this campus has no idea what the VSA does, how many people are in it, how much time they put in, or how much power they potentially have.” The VSA Executive Board oversees operations for all of the VSA student organizations and interacts with administration and faculty on matters of student interest. VP for Operations Deborah Steinberg ’14, who was Noyes House President 2011-12, believes visibility is an issue the Board needs to work on to get students interested in these positions. “A lot of people don’t really see what Executive Board is, or what we do, because there is not direct representation,” Steinberg said. “I’m also on House Team, and we had a small talk for Noyes [House Team] candidates, and there were over forty people there… you can see what House Team does, because it’s visible: it’s programming a lot of the time. In terms of [Executive Board], a lot of students don’t even know what the positions are until they are voting.” She continued, “There are a lot of ways that could be better. I think it is a problem that people don’t really know what the VSA is working on, and we should publicize all year round so
that people know what it is Executive Board positions do, so they are invested in who is going to be in that position next year.” Evan Herdrich ’14 was one of the few in attendance who was not on Council or on The Miscellany News. “It’s difficult to substantiate what a candidate is claiming to do in that short of a paragraph on their candidate’s statement, so that’s why I wanted to go to the debate, to hear people talk about these statements and examples,” Herdrich said. He believed that the VSA could have done more to publicize the event, but pointed out that students tend to forget how powerful the VSA is. “Vassar students forget that they have paid the student activities fee, which is a total of $700,000 in the VSA’s general budget that is divvied out to the student organizations,” Herdrich said, emphasizing that students in any VSA organizations are affected by the Executive Board even if they don’t see direct representation. When asked why they did not attend the VSA debates, many students cited previous commitments or the fact that they did not know where or when the event was being held. Others said that they forgot or figured they would just read about them on the Live Blog later. “I think there is no single reason people didn’t show up to the VSA exec debates,” Harvey stated. “For some people interest may have been outweighed by effort involved… But for other people, interest just wasn’t there. I think the reason for this is basically because the VSA spends so much time messing around in committees and meetings and so on: an efficient organizational structure, but one inherently disconnected from the rest of campus,” he concluded. To Matt Wheeler, the disconnect was apparent in the number of students running for Executive positions. “The fact that there were nine people running for six Executive seats shows from the start the lack of student interest in what these positions mean.” Vogel stated,“I think the number of uncontested seats on VSA Exec, as well as some of the elections outcomes, indicate that the student government at Vassar has, in some ways, been dominated by a very small and specific group of students.” “The Executive Board is the student face of the College,” Wheeler stated. “The fact that
only nine people…saw this as an opportunity to get involved in making changes to Vassar shows a lack of communication to the student body VSA what Executive Board does and how open it is for anyone to apply.” Outgoing VP for Academics Kate Dolson ’13 was not surprised there were so few audience members at the debate. She wrote in an emailed statement, “There are very few people in the college who are actually aware of the specifics of VSA exec and the possible ramifications of the elections,” due to how students must obtain government positions to really learn the daily commitment of what an Executive Board member does. “This year has been wildly productive for the VSA and I feel honored to have served with the people I have but perhaps it is time for the VSA to start thinking more about how student government affects the people outside of the VSA office,” Dolson concluded. As many outgoing Executive Board members stated, it will be the job of next year’s Executive Board to bridge the gap between the general body VSA and the members of VSA Council. A member of the previous Executive Board brought up the possibility of having elections a week or two earlier than they are currently held, so that the debates wouldn’t coincide with such a busy time of the semester. Steinberg said it was the first time she’d heard of such a consideration, but would entertain the possibility for next year, acknowledging that Vassar’s elections are held later than other schools’. “I don’t know how feasible [changing the election time would be], but if there is a better way to hold the elections I think it should be open for discussion.” Ultimately, Wheeler saw the lack of attendance as part of a host of issues he hopes are addressed as specific issues next year. “If I may make a parting recommendation, it would be this: it is time to really think about what it means to be transparent, accessible, accountable, and how those buzzwords act in practice, and to make that goal not just a side project but a project in and of itself. All nine people [who ran] have great ideas and are really resourceful, and if they can use that capability to make what VSA is doing next year accessible and relevant to students, we would fill those seats.”
Campaign season ends as new Council assumes office
Madeline Zappala/The Miscellany News
ELECTIONS continued from page 1 College…At the end of the day, that’s what came through.” Other students who were elected to the VSA Executive Board were similarly exhilarated. “I feel incredible,” said Noyes House President Deborah Steinberg ’14, who was elected VP for Operations. “I have no idea what helped me win. I was unopposed, but I campaigned a lot, and I had amazing friends and an amazing support system the entire time, and that was really encouraging.” Alexander Koren ’14 who was elected VP for Finance, also thanked his friends, in addition to everyone who voted for him. “I’m super excited to have been given this responsibility,” he wrote in an emailed statement. “I promise I will work as hard as possible to fulfill my campaign promises and meet the expectations of my constituents.” In addition, all VSA Executive Board members who were interviewed expressed excitement concerning the future. “I think it’s going to be a really fantastic year,” said Davison House President Doug Greer ’14, who was the sole candidate for VP for Activities. “I think it’s going to be really fun, [and we have] a really great group of people who can do a lot of good things for this campus.” Matt Harvey ’13, who ran unopposed for VP for Academics, echoed Greer’s sentiments. “I am thrilled that we have the Exec Board we got. I think we’re going to be incredibly productive, [and] we’re going to be positive and…bring a lot of really excellent energy to the VSA, and hopefully, without restructuring it, we can change the VSA into something that students really care about.” Student apathy toward the VSA elections was called into question this elections cycle, most notably by VP for Student Life candidate Sharon Onga ’13 during the not very well-attended VSA Executive Board debates last Wednesday. Over-
Students react to the Vassar Student Association (VSA) election results announced on April 23 in the Retreat. Overall, 40 to 45 percent of students voted for each of the six VSA Executive Board positions. all, 40 to 45 percent of students voted for each of the six VSA Executive Board positions. Despite this, Warner expressed satisfaction at the level of voter participation. “I thought this year’s elections went great,” he said. “I was really honored and happy to see how active and engaged everybody was in the democratic process. I think the results are truly reflective of the way that Vassar students feel about student government.” Current Class of 2014 President Michael Moore, who was elected VP for Student Life, revealed nothing but the best of intentions toward Onga, his former opponent. “I think that, the victory
aside, what is important in this campaign season is that there were a lot of very deep, very powerful, and very complex issues that came up…that Sharon brought up, and that I brought up.” Moore continued, “I don’t think we see eye to eye on everything, but I really hope that she will bring a lot of these issues forward, because I do think that…she’s very versed in the areas that she has dedicated a lot of time towards…[such as] examining important patterns that affect student life on this campus. So I do hope that we will work together.” Outside of the Executive Board positions, the elections generally produced more candidates
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
and participation from the student body. “I’m overjoyed with the election results, not only with the results of my race but also for the fantastic turnout this year!” wrote Ben Morse ’14, who will be Jewett House President next year, in an emailed statement. “About 80 percent of Jewetters voted, and I am proud to be the president of a house that cares that much about their elected officials.” Jewett House was not the only dormitory with strong resident participation in its elections. Kayla Abe ’15, who ran unopposed for Davison House President, received support from 74 percent of her house. Likewise, 70 percent of Noyes residents voted in the House President election, in which Eunice Roh ’15 ran unopposed. These numbers are only eclipsed by the election for Lathrop House President, in which over 82% of residents of voted and Sophia Wallach ’15 bested two other candidates. Emma Su Wen Chia ’15, who was elected Strong House President, is also grateful for the voter turnout. Over 63 percent of Strong residents voted in the election for House President. “The elections were a pretty unnerving experience for me, but what kept it real was the support of my friends and dorm-mates, who were also the biggest factors in the successful election,” she wrote in an emailed statement. She added, “Winning is cool, but that’s not even the beginning– there’s a ton of work to do in the coming year, which I’m looking forward to!” Chia’s sentiments concerning the future are shared by many of the elected VSA representatives. “I feel really good about [next year],” concluded Rubin decisively. “I think we had a really strong year this year. We have a lot of people who are really passionate about a lot of things…[we need to] take what happened this year and carry it through and expand upon it. I’m just really excited to see it all happen.”
April 26 , 2012
Founder’s Day to feature sustainability
News Briefs Vassar pilots Veteran-Student Program
Res Life considers new furniture
Residential Life is in the process of placing bids for new furniture as a part of their implementation of new fire safety policies, in which the college will provide furniture for the Town Houses (THs), Terrace Apartments (TAs), South Commons (SoCos) and suite spaces in Main and Jewett Houses. The policy changes are the result of updated 2013 New York Fire Safety regulations, which state that any newly intro-
Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
Vassar College recently announced its plans to pilot the Veterans Posse Program through the Posse Foundation. The Posse Foundation, according to its website, “identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. Posse extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—Posses—of 10 students.” Since its foundation in 1989, the Posse Foundation has sent 4,223 scholars to top-tier colleges and universities. Building from this success, Vassar President Catharine Bond Hill initiated the Veterans Posse Program, which will work in a similar way but bring veterans to campus. The first groups of students will matriculate as members of the freshman class in the fall of 2013. President Hill proposed the idea of veteran posses to the Posse Foundation. After working with Posse to assess the viability of the program, the two institutions agreed on a proposed structure. According to a Posse Foundation Press Release, “Posse will each year identify, recruit and train multicultural teams—Posses—of ten veterans and send them to selective four-year institutions of higher education.” Veterans will receive their education tuition-free, thanks to scholarship money and funding from the GI Bill. Vassar is the first College to adopt the Veterans Posse Program thus far. “Posse is tremendously grateful to Vassar and President Hill for making this incredibly important investment in our nation’s future leaders by signing on as the first college partner,” observed Posse Founder and President Deborah Bial in a Posse Press Release. The program is now searching for ten “innovators,” willing to pay $100,000, to financially sponsor the program. However, with over forty university partners, the Posse Foundation foresees many of its partners implementing the program in the future. President Hill’s decision to found this program arose from a desire to fulfill Vassar’s commitment to welcoming veterans to campus. “We, and other private, non-profit colleges and universities, had committed to the Yellow Ribbon program several years ago, but have not had much luck recruiting veterans to apply and matriculate,” Hill explains. The Yellow Ribbon Program allows approved institutions of higher learning to partially or fully fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the established thresholds under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. “The Posse approach seemed perfect for addressing the lack of success we were having.” Hill also saw the need to continue Vassar’s commitment to creating a diverse campus. She noted that veterans will provide students will another set of experiences to consider and appreciate. “[The Program] will increase the diversity of experiences of our Vassar students,” she stated. “We believe this contributes to everyone’s learning.” The incorporation of this program will be yet another way Vassar has supported our military servicemen and women throughout history. While still a single-sex institution, Vassar welcomed roughly 170 World War II veterans to campus between 1946 and 1953 due to increased interest in the higher education provided by the GI Bill. The Veterans Posse Program represents a recommitment of the College to such principles. —Bethan Johnson, Reporter
Starting Monday, April 23, Dining Services halted its distribution of bottled water as a means of piloting the TapThat resolution that the Vassar Student Association passed on March 24. duced furniture must meet the following two standards. First, it must resist ignition by cigarettes as determined by tests conducted in accordance with National Fire Protection Association code 260 (NFPA 260), which stipulates that fabric must resist flame for thirty minutes of contact with a lighted cigarette. Second, the fabric must have a heat release rate that complies with California Technical Bulletin 133, a controversial measure among environmental activists who claim that the requirement of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), a flame retardant commonly used in foam furniture, could cause health issues. The NY code provides an exception for buildings with appropriate sprinkler systems. However, according to Director of Residential Life Luis Inoa, “All of our spaces are sprinklered, but not all of our spaces have our newly updated sprinklers [which meet the code].” Come this fall, Residential Life will supply each apartment with two loveseats and two upholstered chairs. Inoa explained that the new furniture must be “durable, easily cleaned, look nice and comfortable.” The administration is seriously considering a fabric called Silica, a registered trademark of a company called Momentum Textiles that meets the new requirements. Momentum Textiles certifies its products’ safety through a private firm called Greenguard Environmental Institute, which “certifies products and materials for low chemical emissions and provides a resource for choosing healthier products and materials for indoor environments,” according to the company’s website. Momentum Textile’s Silica product meets Greenguard’s Children and Schools Indoor Air Quality® certification, which mainly limits the amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are gasses emitted from certain solid compounds. According to a Greenguard representative, this means that the company only tests for air emissions, not what is contained in the product. When asked if the fabric Silica contains the flame retardant PBDE, the representative had no comment. Inoa addressed environmental and saftey concerns from some students, “Obviously we want to meet [New York state’s] standard, but I think we can also provide something that is not hazardous. And that is something that the furniture companies will have to address with us.” Residential Life expects to place bids with several companies in the coming weeks. —Hannah Blume and Gabe Dunsmith, Senior Editor and Assistant Opinions Editor Dining Services launches bottle water ban
On Monday, April 23, Express Lunch halted its distribution of bottled water as a means of piloting the TapThat resolution that the Vassar Student Association (VSA) passed on March 24. Described by outgoing VSA Vice
President for Student Life Charlie Dobb as a “beta-test,” this pilot was implemented with the hopes of providing Dining Services with enough student feedback to execute the ban successfully on a larger scale next fall. The resolution, which is scheduled to fully go into effect during the fall 2012 semester, will effectively ban all bottled water from all campus eateries under the jurisdiction of Dining Services, including, the Retreat, UpC, and the Kiosk in addition to Express Lunch. To advertise the the implemation of this pilot program, Dining Services has posted signs in the College Center outside of the Villard Room. A giant replica of a water bottle, made out of wire netting, has also been placed in front of Express Lunch to raise awareness for the pilot program. “Really all [the pilot is doing] is accelerating the timetable for the ban,” wrote Dobb in an emailed statement. “Dining services, along with [Assistant Dean for Campus Activities] Terry Quinn and [Dean of the College] Chris Roellke have been working hard to figure out the best way to implement the ban. They’ve decided that a small-scale pilot would be helpful in seeing what concerns, if any, might arise from implementing the ban and hope it provides the opportunity to anticipate and handle them proactively, rather than after the ban is put into place next year.” Dining Services will be garnering feedback about the bottled water ban from now until the end of the semester. Students will be able to express their concerns to a Dining Services representative who will be stationed outside of Express Lunch each day. After this data is collected, it will be transferred to Dean Roellke, who is scheduled to provide the VSA with Dining Services’ findings by Tuesday, May 1. The implementation of this pilot test came after members of the College’s administration decided to refrain from allowing the Committee on College Life (CCL) to vote on the TapThat resolution. As Roellke wrote in an emailed statement, “CCL’s spring was quite packed with already scheduled deliberations on college regulations, alcohol and dining task forces, etc., so it would have been difficult to have CCL tackle the bottled water topic in short order.” He continued, “This, coupled with the resolution being directed explicitly toward campus dining, is the reason we did not feel CCL was the right place for this deliberation this spring.” However, as Dobb explained, “The fact that the resolution wasn’t heard before CCL isn’t a particularly consequential one … CCL was made aware of it, but decided implementation could move forward without consideration before that body.” Roellke did note that if the VSA is dissatisfied with the student responses collected by Dining Services, the resolution would be presented before the CCL next fall. —Ruth Bolster, Senior Editor
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
n Saturday, the College will once again celebrate Founder’s Day, and this year promises some exciting additions to the annual festivities. As well as a wide range of food vendors, rides, merchandise and musical performances, this year’s event boasts a stronger focus on its theme, Dr. Seuss, and an unprecedented push for sustainability. “This year, we have a new zero-waste initiative happening,” said Eli Schutze ’12, one of three Founder’s Day Committee co-chairs responsible for orchestrating the day’s events. Virtually all of the disposable items used during the event, including dishware and utensils, will be compostable. In addition, recycling bins will be available for bottles and cans sold by vendors, and students will be directed to dispose of their trash in the appropriate receptacles at four specially designated “Resource Recovery Stations.” “Basically [the Stations] will be just like the Retreat, so we’re confident that everyone will know exactly how to dispose of things,” noted Danielle Falzon ’12, another committee co-chair, in an emailed statement. “There will also be a zero-waste team on the field that will be monitoring the waste stations just in case anyone is unsure as to where to put things,” she added. The Committee sought to address the problem of providing water at Ballantine Field, where the day’s activities will take place. In the past, the Alumnae and Alumni Association of Vassar College (AAVC) has provided water bottles for students and other visitors, but the resulting plastic waste has been significant. “We’ve been working with AAVC, who usually provides us with the water bottles, and instead we have a water truck,” said Schutze. Students may use either Founder’s Day beer steins, which have been on sale in the College Center this week and will be sold on the field, or provided compostable cups. Another of the Committee’s initiatives is a renewed dedication to establishing a cohesive theme for the day. In recent years, students have largely ignored Founder’s Day themes, which have influenced only some aspects of the day’s celebrations. “We wanted to make sure the theme is represented by as many aspects of the day as possible, and is not just relegated to decorations and merchandise,” stated Jacob Levitt ’12, the third Founders Day Committee chair, in an email. In addition to humorous merchandise bearing Dr. Seuss characters, the Committee has developed a Founder’s Day website, vcfoundersday.wordpress.com, with a Seussian layout and tailored all decorations and publicity to match the day’s theme. “The decorations will make you feel like you’ve landed in a Dr. Seuss book,” wrote Falzon in her email. “We’ve really gone all out with the Dr. Seuss theme this year so it will be a prominent aspect of the day rather than fading into the background like it has in other years.” Five local vendors will be serving food at Ballantine Field. Rossi’s Deli and Twisted Soul, longtime student favorites, will be on hand, in addition to Marco’s Pizza and Pete’s Famous Café Grill, which will serve a variety of classic diner food. For a sweeter option, students can visit the Benny and Caesar’s Ice Cream stand, present at Founder’s Day for the first time this year. For those who buy a Founder’s Day stein and are of legal drinking age, there will be four craft beers from local breweries available free of charge at a beer truck at the field. Entertainment options will include a giant “Fun Slide” ride and a “Bounce House.” The day’s musical performances will begin with local and student bands, and culminate in sets from “dream pop” band Asobi Seksu and headliner Twin Sister, an indie-pop quintet. Though the weather is predicted to be cool and cloudy with a chance of rain, the day’s event will proceed regardless of inclement weather, and the event’s organizers remain optimistic. “Right now I’m not worried at all and, worst comes to worst, I doubt a little rain will stop everyone from having a great day,” wrote Levitt.
April 26 , 2012
Internship SayAnything moderator reveals identity hunt harder for non-citizens L Jessica Tarantine Features Edtior
Chris Gonzalez Guest Reporter
Who moderates SA?
My good friend (who is also a senior) and I moderate. She chose not to reveal her identity here because she doesn’t want to associate with the controversial posts on the site[...] I first moderated alone when I founded the site in Fall 2011, and then she volunteered to take it over when I went abroad the next semester, and did an awesome job. Clearly— no one noticed any change. This year we’ve traded off moderating every week. I’d say moderating takes me about an hour overall on an average day. But it’s enjoyable, and it’s just as much my addicting procrastination as anyone else’s. What will happen to the site after you graduate?
It looks like we might search for a new moderator or two, and allow the site to continue as long as it stays in demand. I’m just worried about having new moderators because it’s not for everyone and can be a complicated responsibility. Trust is going to be a big issue, so hopefully we can find the right people. I’ve also toyed with the idea of spreading SA to other schools, because I’m really curious to see what [SA]would be like in different contexts. But I’m not sure how practical that idea is. What are your standards for rejecting a post?
Have there been any posts that you regret publishing?
Overall I don’t have any serious regrets about the posts. There have been lots of posts that I completely disagree with, but I think those posts were at least eye-opening. Debates can get a little out of hand, sometimes posts are repetitive, but we let it all happen because it’s part of the openness of the site. Without that, some of the more valuable posts and discussions could be lost. What do you think about trolls? Has there been a crackdown on trolls or has the moderating of the site increased?
Trolls are the worst. Seriously. They’re a very loud minority that try to offend and piss everyone off. Our moderating criteria hasn’t changed, there are just more posts we need to reject since trolling has become a ‘thing’ on the site. We do let through a bunch of their posts though, often against our better judgment, so people that complain about censorship are probably the ones writing awful posts that we have no choice but to delete. What generally prompts your personal messages to the SA community? Do you ever post masquerading as a normal user?
I try to keep SA mod posts to a minimum because I feel like people feel more stifled when the mod interjects too much. It’s better when we just stay aloof and don’t intrude. When I do post in italics, it’s because I need to clarify something, make a point, or ask for feedback. Oh yeah, we comment and post as regular users all the damn time.
What has creating and moderating the site taught you about the Vassar Community?
My co-mod will answer this one: “I’ve learned that this campus is much more diverse than some people give it credit for. There are so many schools of thought, so many eccentricities, so many backgrounds, so many interests. Somewhat paradoxically, SA has also shown me that no two students are alike and that almost every experience, opinion, thought, whatever a student can have is almost definitely shared by at least one other student.” How has creating SayAnything affected your college experience?
It’s made me a bit secretive because I’ve been really hardcore about staying anonymous as the mod. We’ve called the site “John” from the beginning to prevent any eavesdropping. I’ll let you figure out that nickname. It’s been funny pretending to be detached when people bring up SA in person. On a different note, just being an SA user has made me feel more powerful in school because I feel like I have a place to voice any issues, and the school probably feels more pressure to respond because it’s made public, and students can raise their voices together. It makes the campus more democratic, which is good for the administration too because they find out issues they should address. See SAYANYTHING on page 7
With commencement day approaching, senior WVKR DJs reflect on experience Chelsea Peterson-Salahuddin
ou are listening to WVKR 91.3 FM Independent Radio Poughkeepsie,” and with that phrase, each new hour at WVKR, Vassar’s independent student-run radio station, begins. And come this May, it will be the last time that the 12 Vassar Senior DJs at WVKR will ever utter these words on Vassar airways. WVKR has been a staple student media outlet here on Vassar’s campus since the early 1970s. It began broadcasting from Main building as an AM current carrier station that played up to 21 hours a day. In its present day manifestation, WVKR is an FCC licensed broadcasting stations, which plays 24 hours per day and can be heard in a total of five states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Today, the station can also be heard online. Since the program’s inception, swarms of Vassar students have flowed through the station doors, broadcasted their voices over its airwaves, and graduated, having left their mark on one of Vassar’s oldest institutions. Many of the 12 senior DJs at WVKR have been involved with the radio station since their freshman or sophomore year and a large part of their Vassar careers have been marked by their experiences as a student DJ. WVKR Program Director Sarah Scott ’12 said, “For me, and I think for [her co-host] Tiffany Young ’12 too, radio has really been the defining experience that I’ve had at Vassar because I’ve been so involved and I’ve been consistently involved.” For these DJs, hosting a radio show has gone from a somewhat nerve-racking concept to a comfortable and highly familiar territory that feels homey. In thinking back on her first time going on air, previous New Music Director EloP-
Katie De Heras/The Miscellany News
rom writing that cover letter to finishing your intership with Goldman Sachs, summer work experience can be an exciting and yet daunting task. While the process may be a hassle for any Vassar student, international students find that there are some more difficult obstacles that they must overcome in order to obtain internships in the United States. “Many employers simply do not hire international students often for a variety of reasons, including ignorance or an unwillingness to include visitors,” said Director of International Students and Special Projects Andrew Meade in an emailed statement. “Students on visas have to apply for authorization to work anywhere other than Vassar, so a paid internship requires a few more steps,” continued Meade. According to Meade, this is where much of the ignorance comes from. Corporations feel that it is much too complicated to hire international students and do not wish to take the steps that would be needed to hire international students. But the authorization process is not as complex as one would expect. Meade explained, “One form of authorization, called Curricular Practical Training, or more affectionately CPT, requires sponsorship from field work and an academic advisor.” CPT allows students to pursue work related to their field of study. The problem is that some financial institutions that host internships will want international students to obtain CPT authorization in order to be hired. However, according to their visa, authorization is only needed for paid internships, and not unpaid ones which seems to make the process superfluous. An international student from China, Charlotte Yang ’15, who will be participating in Undergraduate Research Summer Institute on campus, applied for several financial and smallbusiness related internships earlier this year. She recalled, “International students, when they apply for internships, they have to fill in a box stating whether they have to get a working status. They need the company’s assistance for this. If you put yes, you’re half screwed already [because they are less likely to hire you].” But other members of the Vassar community felt that being an international student could serve as an asset instead of a detriment. Assistant Director for Employer Relations Susan Smith said, “International students should view their status as an asset, not a liability. They typically know more than one language, and possess maturity, flexibility and ability with change and uncertainty—qualities that certainly appeal to many employers.” For students who don’t have a clear idea of the job they want to obtain a visa through the Optional Practical Training, or OPT is more practical. OPT is slightly more flexible because, unlike CPT, it is not job specific. Additionally, students are allowed to work more than one job under this authorization. Meade explained that students would typically apply for this authorization during the final semester of their senior year, so that they can stay in the United States to work for a year or so after graduation. Aside from the challanges of gaining permission to work in the US, Yang stated that there are additional disadvantages to being a student on a visa when looking for interns: “For international students it’s really hard to tap into the local level internships because we don’t have much information or resources for local internships. We only know big names and that’s a limitation.” Some students are able to break through these limitations and acquire reputable internships. Math and Philosophy double major Yi Tan ’12 spent his last summer as a banking investment analyst for Goldman Sachs New York. Tan noted in an emailed statement that getting a banking job is no easy task. “For target schools like Wharton, NYU, Princeton, and etc., most See VISA on page 6
eaving only the occasional italicized post, the SayAnythingVC (SA) moderator and creator has been able to evade identification for over three semesters. But the History major Danielle Nedivi ’12 is about to graduate, which meant anonymity had lost most of its appeal.
Basically if a post can really hurt a specific person or group personally, it will be rejected. But then if I think its potential for starting an interesting discussion outweighs how controversial it is, and that people will be able to defend their opposing views, then it will be posted. On the one hand one of our main moderating goals is to prevent anyone from feeling targeted via the website, but we also want to allow everyone to voice their feelings and opinions, even if they’re not popular. There’s a very contradictory, blurry line between accepting and rejecting.
Promotions and Jazz Director Tiffanie Young ’12 (left) and WVKR Program Director Sarah Scott ’12 (right) are two of the 12 DJs graduating this year. WVKR became a campus stable in the early 1970s. die Blakely ’12 recalled being nervous and not knowing what to expect. She said, “The strangeness of talking on air is that it is pretty real.” However, the strangeness has gone away with time. Scott compares running a radio show to a choreographed dance in the amount of planned movement. “You have to keep in mind how long has this song been playing right now? What do I have cued up? Do I need to read a Public Service Announcement at this point? ... It’s constantly thinking about all of these different things and multi-tasking,” said Blakely But while the task of hosting a radio show is now a great deal easier for seniors who have been hosting since their freshman years
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
and learned the tricks of the trade, the task still remains difficult for those seniors who have just joined the station and are still getting familiar with the format. Jeremy Bloom ’12 who just began his radio career this past year noted, “It is surprisingly difficult to talk in a very clear, direct way on the spot when you have nobody to respond to, so I think with experience comes the ability to make a more personal connection with the listener.” Bloom stated that the inspiration for his show “Beyond the Balkans” came from a preexisting interest in music from the areas between Central European and Central Asia. Bloom stated, “I have been involved with this kind of music since I was about eight ... See RADIO on page 8
April 26 , 2012
SWAPR prepares for coming furniture ban International students seek T alum advice Marie Solis Reporter
ypical recyclable items usually include water bottles, Coke cans and those extraneous papers sitting at the bottom of your desk at the end of the semester. Rarely are furniture, clothing, or kitchen appliances ever thought of as things that endlessly occupy dumpsters and landfills. However, in 2003 when former Athletics trainer Leonard Angelli observed 13 overflowing dumpsters full of students’ discarded belongings, particularly at move-out time at the end of the year, he took action. His efforts to sell back these items eventually became known as Vassar’s Stop Waste and Promote Reuse program (SWAPR). “[Angelli] decided to organize a project to collect the materials and either donate them to charities or to save them for a sell-back in the fall,” Professor Jeff Walker, current coordinator of the College Committee of Sustainability (CSS), noted. “He received funding from the then Dean of the College, Colton Johnson, and organized the event in his spare time,” said Walker. “After a year or two of running the project he approached CCS for help in recruiting volunteer students and appealing to the faculty for volunteers,” Walker finished. This year, student intern Celia Castellan ’13 will be organizing the SWAPR event which is hosted during Senior Week every year. “SWAPR’s project goals are to reduce solid waste and recycle discarded but usable items by offering them to local not-for-profit organizations and human service agencies on Community Day,” she explained, echoing the aims of the event’s conceiver. “Through our annual collection and re-sale of second-hand items, we provide a low-cost and secure source of furniture and goods for students on campus. It is great to know that when you come back every September there is going to be a trustworthy couch and a sturdy coffee table waiting for you, all for under fifty bucks,” Castellan said in an emailed statement,
the benefits of the program. Affordability is especially a draw for college-aged students, most of whom do not have the funds to pay for brand new furniture. There are also more abstract benefits at work here, especially as Vassar begins to adopt more policies and practices to promote sustainability. “Through buying from and donating to SWAPR, students get to participate in powerful culture of reuse right here campus,” she said. “We hope that SWAPR not only provides a lowcost and constant supply of goods for students, but that it also encourages them to recognize that through communal donation and reuse we can divert massive amounts of waste from entering the waste-stream, thus minimizing harmful impacts on incinerators and landfills.” Castellan insists it becomes clear pretty quickly “the massive quantities of ‘stuff’…our small community alone can generate ... Even an event such as the SWAPR can shed some light on the reality of the rampant consumerism that pervades society.” Many SWAPR volunteers agreed. “I had a fantastic time doing SWAPR last year with the 30 or so other people doing it, even though we all felt like pack-rats, but I also realized how much good quality stuff would get wasted and go towards polluting the environment (because everything that’s not clothes get’s burned) if we didn’t have this program,” wrote Niko Alexandre ’14 in an emailed statement. Even if all students cannot bring themselves to such profound conclusions, at the very least Vassar students are appreciative of the ability to personalize their dorm, Terrace Apartment, SoCo or Town House at an inexpensive cost in addition to adding some different clothes to their wardrobes and other amenities to enhance their residential living. This was a draw for past SWAPR volunteer Alexandre. “I think a lot of us would have a hard time creating a good personality for our rooms and houses without the sell-back,” he wrote in an emailed statement. Many other students also appreciate the chance to stay for Senior Week. Around 40 stu-
dents are expected to participate as volunteers in the execution of SWAPR, and will be permitted to stay on campus for Senior Week—an added incentive given Residential Life’s recent policy restricting the number of underclassmen seniors can sign in during this time. “I’m doing it this year to find a few nice pairs of pants [and] spend Senior Week at Vassar with good people,” Alexandre wrote explaining why he was coming back for a second year with SWAPR. Another new Residential Life program which will affect SWAPR are the new rules concerning furniture in the dorms and senior housing areas. “In the future SWAPR will have to change in response to the New York State Fire Codes, but this year we are still running the program as usual. Because the ban on upholstered furniture will not be going into effect until the 2013-2014 year, we will still be hosting Community Day and our fall sell-back,” Castellan speculated. While students may not benefit from SWAPR in the upcoming years, as in the past, the community will certainly acquire an even larger number of discarded furniture. Assistant Dean/Director of Residential Life Luis Inoa commented, “From a student perspective SWAPR will be reduced to taking in apartment accessories such as bookcases or rugs as opposed to being a clearinghouse of used furniture.” “As for the larger Poughkeepsie community I still think students will leave behind plenty of items that can be salvaged and used by families that need them,” he finished. While the adverse consequences for SWAPR are only some of the implications of the new policy, it still remains one of the more unfortunate results of the rule. “It will be sad to see this Vassar tradition change so drastically in light of the shifting State regulations, but hopefully the college will find a way to responsibly donate this triedbut-true gang of furniture to the community at large,” Castellan said hopefully.
VISA continued from page 5 bulge bracket banks will go to campus and recruit,” he said. Bulge bracket banks are the largest and most prestigious banks, and so often the most desirable for students. “But for Vassar since the interest is limited, there are fewer such opportunities,” he said. Tan further stated that the competition among international students is quite fierce, which, mixed with the fact that some employers refuse to be bothered, can increase the challange of getting a position. With all of those factors working against international students it is important to really go the extra mile. “For me, applying online through their official website is usually the way to start,” Tan explained, “but I also reached out to a lot of alumni to ask about their experience in the firm, for their advice, and hopefully have them root for me within the firm.” Alumnae/i influence is highly important, for both domestic and international students, when it comes to securing a position. Through connections, Tan was able to get interviews with Citibank and Morgan Stanley. Students could also have the option of obtaining work on campus through Ford Scholars or URSI. “Because Vassar has a wellestablished field work office,” Meade stated, “and faculty are supportive of students gaining valuable experience, there are not a lot of obstacles at Vassar, they just have to take the small steps.” Meade hopes that international students will be able to prove to these corporations that hiring them is not a problem. “Maybe one day, that ‘no’ will be turned into a ‘yes’,” Meade said. With students like Tan putting forth time and effort into securing such coveted positions that may happen sooner rather than later.
A caffeine-infused cake to power you through finals Roxanne Ringer Guest Columnist
courtesy of foodess.com
apers, and finals and projects, oh my! The end of the school year is so close you can almost taste it. And yet there’s so much left to do. Luckily for you (and your unfinished papers) there’s a nifty little something that can help you get the job done: caffeine. Caffeine is scientifically proven to temporarily improve alertness, comprehension, memory, reflexes, rate of learning and even clarity of thought. But caffeine doesn’t actually give you extra energy. Only calories can do that, and an eight-ounce cup of joe without any fancy additives such as half and half or sugar is only two calories, which doesn’t translate to much energy. What caffeine does do is fool your body into thinking it isn’t tired. Adenosine is the neurotransmitter that slows you down and counteracts the natural stimulants. Caffeine blocks adenosine from getting to receptors and so the brain keeps releasing those precious stimulants. I’m not recommending long term reliance on caffeine. But moderate consumption, about 200 to 400 milligrams per day carries “little evidence of health risks and some evidence of health benefits,” according to researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University in Corvalis, writing in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in March 2006. Don’t overdo it though. Too much caffeine too suddenly can make you anxious, irritable and too jittery to focus on your work, which would defeat the point. So focus on getting the right amount in your diet during the stressful times of the year. But what gives you the must bang (or buzz) for your buck? These days people get distracted with dosing up on so called “energy drinks.” . Your friends may claim they’re bouncing off the walls after drinking that Rockstar or Monster but actually those drinks rarely contain more than 200 mg of caffeine. The truth, of the matter, is you’re better off sticking with coffee.
So, if you’re in it to win it, a venti Caffe Americano from the Kiosk has about 300 mg of caffeine. Even better, a plain old venti brewed coffee from Starbucks has 415 mg. Now we’re talking business. As the weather is warming up, enjoy iced coffee (same caffeine count as its hot counterparts, obviously). If you have access to a freezer here’s a neat trick: buy some cheap ice trays and make ice cubes out of coffee. That way you can chill your drink without getting that nasty, watered-down taste when the “ice” melts. What about those ‘pick-me-up sodas’ you can grab from the Retreat? Don’t make me laugh. Even “dark” soda like Coke and Pepsi averages a paltry 50 mg of caffeine. Even worse is that the buzz you get from soda has a lot more to do with the loads of sugar you just pored into your body. Sugar in soda is bad for your health and your ability to focus. Junk food sugars inevitably end in sugar crashes and napping. The last thing you need right now is to be falling asleep over your test. Even drinking two cups of hot chocolate at 20 mg of caffeine per cup from the Kiosk gives you more caffeine than that 12 oz bottle of Classic Coke at 34 mg, and it’s better for you and your grades on those tough final papers. But be warned, it takes about a week of consistent caffeine intake for your brain to actually restructure itself and you to be technically addicted. If this happens, school ends and you decide to start your summer cleanse and cut the coffee you should not do this cold turkey. Wean yourself off slowly, a little less every day. It should take about two weeks until everything is back in order and you can cut the caffeine completely. If you just stop suddenly you’re going to go through an unpleasant withdrawal just as you would if you suddenly topped taking any drug. Here’s a yummy “hopped up,” caffeine rich, chocolate cake to help with the stress relief. Chocolate not only contains caffeine but is a great mood enhancer. Good luck.
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 cup (packed) cocoa powder 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 8 ounces French roast coffee, freshly brewed and cooled 2 cups granulated sugar 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup buttermilk 3 whole eggs Directions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. Sift the flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder together. Reserve. Brew a fresh pot of French roast coffee.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Cool and reserve. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar, and butter. Mix on medium speed until combined well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the brewed coffee and combine on low speed. Once combined, add in the buttermilk and then the eggs, one at a time. Continue to mix on low speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gently fold in the sifted dry ingredients. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and fill half way up. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with your favorite coffee ice cream (depending on the brand anywhere between 50-90 mg of caffeine).
April 26 , 2012
Graduating Vassar Ventures partners up with CDO, mod reviews AAVC to support student entrepreneurs blog’s effect Alyssa Aquino Guest Reporter
SAYANYTHING continued from page 5 By the way, I’d like to point out that the administration has never contacted SA about anything, which I think is very cool. They haven’t been breathing down our throats at all even though any anonymous forum probably makes them nervous. What do you think about Mid-C? Is it a thing?
It’s not a thing yet, but it’s getting there. The original post about it on SA cracked me up with the huge outcry it caused. Students thought it was blasphemous. Do you have any statistics for the site?
[T]he site shows me how many views each post gets, and I can tell you that almost every day, without fail, all of the sex-related posts get by far the most clicks. As of this writing we’ve had 1,918,219 views on the site (which doesn’t include the ones from the first semester when SA started, before we changed the URL). The average amount of views a day is about 10,000 which makes little sense because that’s almost 3 times the student body, so apparently some people are very addicted. The most views the site ever got was 13,101 on April 2, just a few weeks ago. I honestly didn’t expect SA to last very long, but somehow it’s actually become more popular over time. So while Nedivi might be leaving the Vassar community at this year’s graduation, her work, allowing students to vent about their problems, will live on long after she departs campus.
tarting a successful new business can require sufficient funding, extensive planning and just a bit of luck. But luckily for Vassar students, Vassar Venturers, a new organization founded by Charlotte Yang ’15, seeks to promote an entrepreneurial spirit on the campus and provide help for budding entrepreneurs. Although the club just began in February, Vassar Ventures already has a team of six people and is working in partnership with the Career Development Office, Alumnae and Alumni of Vassar College, and Vassar Office of Communications. The group has two platforms: first, Vassar Venturers seeks to support and guide student initiatives, and secondly, Vassar Venturers wants to bridge the gap between students and alumni and forge sustainable relationships. Yang said, “Basically, we are trying to tell students that they can make an impact that’s larger than their own [work].” The current Vassar Business Club (VBC), which formed through the merging of the Vassar College Entrepreneur Club and Vassar Investment at the beginning of last year, was lacking in the eyes of Yang. She stated, “It’s similar but they are doing things like financial services, not entrepreneurship, and basically I am restarting the entrepreneurship club to be not confined to business entrepreneurship.” Vassar Ventures will go beyond business entrepreneurship to also encourage projects in social and non-profit work. Members of the VBC agreed that the group helped to meet a range of needs not currently met in the VBC. “Personally I feel that it’s only natural for an entrepreneurship-based club to form,” wrote VBC Deputy Investment Manager Edward Livshits ’14 in an emailed statement.
“I was expecting an entrepreneurship branch to split back off eventually because VBC can only cover so many topics and there have been members with strong interest mainly in entrepreneurship who felt their interests weren’t being addressed as well as they could be in an independent organization,” Livshits finished. Faculty members have also responded positively to the new group. Assistant Professor of Economics Ben Ho, a member of the Board of Advisors for the organization said, “I think it’s a good cause, I was surprised that Vassar didn’t have anything similar to this before now.” Ho also connected the goals of the group to social enterprise, an aim of the new group: “It’s an organization that promotes entrepreneurship on campus, and more importantly, [wants to] change how people view entrepreneurs. It’s not about money; it’s not just about capitalism. I think it’s also about doing things that make a difference.” Honorary president Harrison Remler ’14, who was involved in the formation of the group but whose involvement has since decreased, remarked, “I think that people don’t realize how entrepreneurial everything in their daily student life is. I think that you can look even at people’s individual academic pursuits and you can find an entrepreneurial, an innovative way they attack their majors, their degrees. I think just learning how to take your passions and make them something that you can live off.” As a business-owner himself—Remler runs a music marketing and tour management company called BlueRichard Media—he praised the practicality of the organization. “It’s comforting to have people who can relate [to running a business]—who can advise you on some of the problems that you can run into when managing a business.”
Short-term, the group is currently planning a TEDx Vassar College talk and a Venturers Speaker Series. TED is a non-profit organization devoted to Bringing Ideas Together and is a speaker series; the “x” in TEDx denotes that this talk is independently produced from the owners of the actual non-profit. The event, which will take place in the Fall of 2012, will invite about 20 people to the college: 15 alumnae and faculty, and 5 high-profile guests in a series of speeches set to match the theme of the event, Inspiration. The Speaker Series will be more intimate; it will have five to ten speakers speaking about a topic that the group selects, followed up by a discussion session. Long-term, the group wants to foster the entrepreneurial spirit on campus and empower students to take their ideas and develop them. In some ways, the group functions as a mediator for students, linking students to other students or alumnae who can help them follow through with an idea. “I think most importantly,” Remler says, “if we can just raise awareness of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, it would be a successful first year.” Financially, the group has created an Empowerment Fund from a $2,000 donation from an alum, which will provide monetary support to student ventures. Philosophically, Ho notes that Vassar Venturers is “changing an idea.” An idea about what enterprise is and how that is not just about profit margins and business start-ups, but about initiative, and fostering that initial spark in an environment that will not penalize you for failure. Yang finished, “The basic value in the group is that people should take initiative and not be afraid of risks.”
CIRC evaluates environmental, social responsibility INVESTMENT continued from page 1 of the Hudson River. Encouraging social responsibility within Vassar’s investments, which includes stakes in such divisive companies as oil pump manufacturers and tobacco corporations, is a task of the Trustee Investor Responsibility Committee (TIRC) and the College Investor Responsibility Committee (CIRC); this job, however, is almost always a challenge. For Professor of Greek and Roman Studies Rachel Kitzinger, who chaired the CIRC until last year, the problem often boiled down to a binary. “You’re weighing two goods,” said Kitzinger. “One is encouraging corporations to act in a responsible way. The other is having a good portfolio for providing a good education.” In terms of providing that “good education,” Vassar’s $867,549,602 portfolio has performed relatively well. It is comprised of a diverse pool of assets—stocks, bonds, shares in mutual funds, hedge funds, private equity and venture capital, real estate partnerships, and oil and gas partnerships. The day-to-day handling of these funds is largely delegated to professional money managers. According to Director of Investments Stephen Dahnert, who also sits on the CIRC, “With 13 equity managers, plus some hedge funds where we’re directly investing, we have literally hundreds and hundreds of names in our portfolio.” Encouraging social responsibility within this portfolio has been the task of the CIRC—a joint committee comprised of faculty, staff, students and alumnae/i—and the TIRC—which has solely Trustees—since their creation following the outcry over South African investments. They do not shape the portfolio itself; the Trustees who sit on the Investments Committee do this, with support from staff like Dahnert and professional consultants. They do, however, pursue change by using avenues like proxy votes; in other words, they decide how Vassar, as a shareholder, should vote at different companies’ shareholder meetings. When it receives resolutions drafted by other
shareholders addressing social concerns, the CIRC evaluates them and passes on its advice on to TIRC, which makes a final call on how to vote. The problem is that the resolutions—which address issues ranging from campaign finance to animal rights—almost never pass at shareholder meetings. While frustrating, this does not make the resolutions futile. “A lot of the time their effectiveness lies in that they send a message to the corporation,” said Jason Rubin ’12, who sits on the CIRC. Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources Marianne Begemann, who currently chairs the CIRC, agreed: “It can create a culture shift in an institution over time.” Evaluating proxy votes is work within the existing portfolio; to divest is to change the portfolio itself. But divestment on grounds of social irresponsibility is rare for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, divestment runs counter to the primary charge of the investments committee: fiduciary responsibility. The College has to prioritize sustaining revenue, and must plan its investments to insure intergenerational equity. This demands consistency in how the College invests, and recognition that what today’s College population wants may not reflect what past and future populations want. Another reason is that stock is often tied up in co-mingled funds, making it impossible to cut ties with one badly-behaved company. Finally, investment in a badly-behaved company might be a good thing if Vassar can use its power as a shareholder to enact positive change. There are only two instances of successful divestment on grounds of social responsibility: in the 1970s with the case of South Africa and in 2005 with the genocide in Darfur. In the case of Darfur, the CIRC noticed other Colleges purging their portfolios of companies linked with the Sudanese government, and conducted an investigation into such corporations in their own portfolio. They made their recommendations to the TIRC, who facilitated the passage
of resolution by the Board of Trustees to finalize divestment. “Even there, the complexities of the real world come into play,” said Dahnert. Some of the companies with linkages to the Sudanese government were in co-mingled funds; the most the College could do was write a letter to the fund manager requesting that the companies be removed. The cases of Darfur and South Africa represent, in the language of the Governance, “issues of overriding social concern” where the TIRC had to consider divestment. These “overriding concerns” were both extreme and geopolitical in nature: large-scale repression and genocide. Within the last year, discussion on the investments in tobacco companies arose following deliberation over a shareholder resolution about a certain tobacco company’s advertising strategies. “We began to think maybe the college shouldn’t be invested in tobacco companies,” said Kitzinger. “It so counters what we tell each other all the time, that we shouldn’t smoke and that it is harmful.” Vassar would not be the first to make such a divestment—Yale is an example of a school that has prohibited investment in tobacco. But while the social impetus to break ties with tobacco companies might seem clear, there is the same obstacle to divestment as ever: the commitment to fiduciary responsibility. And until the campus enacts changes to its own policies, it is unlikely that tobacco might be considered an “issue of overriding social concern.” “One way to look at it...is that right now we allow smoking on campus,” said Rubin. “Smoking is a component of life at Vassar. So we’re not at a point where divesting from tobacco would reflect what Vassar is.” Beyond weighing proxy votes and rare considerations of divestment, the CIRC also pursues change by writing letters to corporations when resolutions fail, such as with General Electric’s pollution of the Hudson River. The CIRC also handles issues of social responsibility within
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corporations arise outside of the portfolio. For example, the CIRC has heard recurrent concerns about sweatshop-manufactured clothing sold at the Vassar bookstore. “Anyone with a problem with companies who aren’t acting socially responsible come to us,” said Kitzinger. While the CIRC tries to resolve social irresponsibility within the portfolio, the College Committee on Sustainability (CCS) recently highlighted a different facet of Vassar’s investments: its social positives. Last year the CCS completed the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Reporting System (STARS) evaluation, a project administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability to gauge the sustainability of the College. The evaluation reveals sustainable dimensions of the portfolio: approximately 2% of the College’s money is parked in investments like socially responsible mutual funds, renewable energy developers and businesses “with exemplary sustainability performances.” Nevertheless, STARS gave an overall low rating for our portfolio, something with which Professor of Earth Science Jeff Walker takes issue. The chair of the CCS noted that the evaluation’s criteria is somewhat irrelevant, since it is difficult for colleges to divert funds to foster sustainability. “You couldn’t take a million dollars out of the endowment and put it into solar power or something,” said Walker. The STARS initiative and the work of the CIRC and TIRC reveal a complicated picture of social responsibility within the portfolio, and while efforts are made to encourage positive behavior among the irresponsible, the need for revenue and fiduciary responsibility makes change complicated. Members of the CIRC like Mr. Dahnert, however, are receptive to conversations about the social dimensions of the portfolio—with the exception of funds where confidentiality is an issue (like with hedge funds). “I’m actually asked infrequently what our holdings are,” said Dahnert. “I’m very happy to speak with anyone generally about our investment portfolio.”
April 26 , 2012
Group to help in student Seniors explore academic, transition from miliary music interests at WVKR VETERANS continued from page 1 lon Civilian-Military Initiative and the visit of Benjamin Busch [’71], he realized this might be an excellent opportunity to revive interest in an employee veterans’ group.” After Peura suggested the new group, the administration responded positively. “Cappy and Jon also made it possible for the campus veterans to get time off from their jobs and meet with Ben,” explained History Professor Maria Hoehn who was involved in both the organization of the meeting as well as the ongoing West Point-Vassar Collaboration. “I was delighted that Benjamin Bush wanted to meet with the group,” said Peura. Indeed, after Chenette introduced the group, Busch, who was a Studio Art major during his time at Vassar, led the veterans and encouraged its members to share stories from their time in service. The stories ranged from anecdotes of travelling across the world to picking up pieces of Apollo Seven while in the Navy. The formation of this group comes at a time when Vassar is hoping to admit veterans as students through the Posse and Yellow Ribbon Programs. Since Vassar joined the Yellow Ribbon Program, a part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that subsidizes education for veterans, no veterans have taken Vassar’s offer to supplement the government’s funding. The Posse Foundation, an organization devoted to promoting college access, is starting a pilot program with Vassar that will bring ten veteran students to campus each year, starting next year. President Hill was quoted in an article on the foundation’s website, saying “We need to honor our veterans’ service [...] I think this kind of initiative [...] is a pivotal step in the right direction.”
If successful at Vassar, the program will mentor groups of ten veterans and send them to selective four-year universities. “Posse has traditionally worked to recruit underrepresented students to selective colleges and universities,” Hill explained. “If it works well, which we believe it will, it will then be offered to other schools as well, increasing its impact.” Current campus veterans thought that having a formal existing group of veterans might help these new students to adapt to life at Vassar and away from the military. “I think [this group] is going to become the seed for the mentorship for the Posse program,” said Busch. “There is nothing a veteran needs more than to see another veteran and see how they comprehend their environment.” Additionally, both the group and the presence of students with military experience could help raise awareness of veteran issues on campus. “They saw a significant role for their group in offering a community of support aware of the range of perspectives and experiences veterans will bring with them as they become students at Vassar,” said Chenette of his support for the group. Beyond the support they could bring for Posse students, the meeting marked a meaningful collaboration on campus. “It’s unusual to have a venue where unionized employees, administrators, and faculty can work together closely and bring their shared experience to an important educational initiative of the College,” said Chenette. “They have a lot to offer in helping the College incorporate and support our new Veteran students,” he continued. “We hope the energy and excitement reported from the meeting last Thursday has lasting impact on our employee veterans’ sense of community and connection to the College’s wider educational mission.”
RADIO continued from page 5 I first started playing Klezmer music, which is Eastern European Jewish Music, I then branched out to Romanian music, Bulgarian music, then Turkish music.” For Bloom, who works professionally as a sound engineer, a skill set which easily translates to being on the radio, his show has been beneficial for his career. Others also cite their time at the station as furthering their chosen career paths. For example, Blakely, who has been involved with WVKR in some capacity since her freshman year, is a media studies major focusing on sound. Another part of DJing that changed over the years was their handle or their DJ name. According to Scott, “A lot of people change their DJ names, but we [Scott and Young] couldn’t think of ones that we liked so we change them every week.” Usually for Young and Scott these names arise as a reaction to whatever is happening in their life or current events in the news. Esther Clowney ’12 recalls coming up with her DJ name, DJ Fancy Mechanic, after she came out of her room one day dressed in what she called an “interesting” outfit. Her mother commented, in an accurate fashion that she looked like a fancy mechanic. For each of these DJs, their time spent at WVKR has had a hand in shaping their individual Vassar experiences. A major way this has occurred is through serving on the Executive Board in some capacity. Young has served as Promotions Director, who handles the station’s annual pledge drive, and Jazz Director, who screens all new jazz tracks. Scott is currently the Program Director, who is responsible for show quality,
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content and the station’s schedule. Clowney has served as the News Director, who is in charge of upkeeping the station’s public service announcements, signing off on campus logs, and directing the “Campus Current,” WVKR’s bi-weekly news talk show, and is currently the Promotions Director. Another experience shared by all the graduating seniors regardless of the amount of time they had spent at the station or the level of their involvement was pitching their ideas in an interview format. Prospective DJs must first present their idea for a show to the student Board of Directors at the station, who handle programming and the direction of the station. If their proposals are approved, the DJs are required to go to a training program with the Station Manager and spend two weeks interning with an experienced DJ. There are various different kinds of shows aired on WVKR and each shows aims to highlight a different genre or category of music. Recalling her first meeting with the WVKR Executive Board as freshman, Scott said, “It was really scary because you come into the room and all of the members of the executive staff are there and there just all interrogating you about your musical taste.” Yet, however daunting the interview process may have been, Scott and her co-host Shi were approved for a jazz show, which has continued up until today. As the semester comes to a close, each of these senior DJs must anticipate that fateful day on which they sign off, lay their headphones to rest, turn of their microphones, and their shows disappear from the WVKR broadcast forever.
April 26 , 2012
Miscellany News Staff Editorial
CEQs deserve upgrade to better express student voice A
s the semester comes to a close, The Miscellany News Editorial Board would like to offer the Committee on Curricular Policies (CCP) its opinion of Course Evaluation Questionnaires (CEQs). In their current form, which has not been altered since May of 1995, CEQs do not provide students with an adequate opportunity to reflect on their experiences or spark ideas for improving courses and teaching styles. Additionally, we recognize that student input gathered from CEQs should only be one of many factors considered when evaluating a professor’s tenure, but the current outdated CEQs obscure valuable anecdotal input from students. We would like to emphasize the importance of student input to ensure that our voices are being heard. The Editorial Board would like to suggest a few ways in which the CEQs could better encourage helpful student feedback. We believe that placing a greater emphasis on the written response, improving its structure and including a provision for more specialized questions per academic division will allow students to speak more thoroughly about their class experiences. We would also like to make one point very explicit: our hope is not that the Vassar student’s voice will become louder. Our hope is that, with these changes, the Vassar student’s voice will become clearer. One issue that students frequently face with CEQs is significant and unnecessary time pressure. CEQs are generally presented to students at the end of class when, in many cases, students are mentally fatigued or rushed to get to another class. Given the structure of their academic schedule, students may have as little
as five minutes to provide feedback on a semester’s worth of class. This problem could be easily rectified by a move to online surveys. If the CEQs were filled out online, students could complete them at their own pace and with sufficient time for reflection. We recognize that there may be objections from faculty and administrators to this move; specifically, they may argue that students will not feel compelled to complete the CEQs outside of class. However, the quality and clarity of opinions that would be motivated by an online CEQ system will prove to be more useful than blank forms or joke responses written in haste during the last few minutes of class. A move to online submission could actually ensure a more efficient system and more worthwhile responses. Moving beyond the logistics of how and when CEQs are distributed, we believe that there are broader problems with the form itself. The free-response portion is completely unstructured and thus makes it difficult for students to distill a semester’s worth of thoughts into a single open-ended statement. When filling out this portion of the CEQ , students may often forget aspects of the course on which they wished to comment. We believe this section can be improved by providing more specific questions on the response sheet (such as those which some professors pose half way through a term or as they hand out the CEQs). One way this could be achieved is by asking for students to comment on the specific questions they answer as part of the machine-read form. These comments could then be considered exclusively by the faculty, or by a wider range of voices, including those that consider the ma-
chine-read forms. As for the machine-read survey form, we feel that this portion of the CEQ could also be substantially improved. Currently, the form consists of four parts: a course rating, an instructor rating, general questions and questions that are only applicable to certain courses. The course rating and instructor rating questions ask students to “Please rate the course/instructor on the following” before listing a variety of aspects such as “Organization” and “Examination” for the course aspect and “Effectiveness of lecture or presentation” and “Ability to guide discussion” for the instructor. We feel that these questions too vague; the current CEQs make it hard for students to critically evaluate their courses. This ambiguity can be relieved by the inclusion of more questions, which can then consider a variety of factors. We are also concerned by the questionnaires’ lack of consideration for the differences between curriculum divisions. Vassar justifiably prides itself on offering a variety of classes to students, and as such, the experience of students in these classes differs considerably. A student taking a physical education course has a wildely different experience than one taking a biology course. Similarly, an economics class may be exam-heavy while an English class may be purely paper-driven. The CEQ form, though, does not consider any of these disparities. We believe that the CEQ could be improved by including different questions for different majors and/or major divisions. We recognize the need for some uniformity and therefore suggest a model in which several generalized questions are asked on all CEQs, followed by a section
with specific major or major division questions. We further hope that this new CEQ will allow for written comments after each question where students can perhaps elaborate on problem set structure in an economics class or literature selection in an English course. We would like to see CEQs become more of a conversation between the student and the professors than a strict evaluation. CEQs should first and foremost serve the betterment of the learning experience; although CEQs are an important consideration in determining professorial tenure, evaluations should be about the students just as much as it is about the professors. We also encourage professors to foster these conversations during the year, outside of the evaluation process. Hastily jotting down comments on a CEQ free-response sheet does not provide the dialogue necessary for overall course improvement. The Editorial Board of the Miscellany recognizes that our current CEQs serve a crucial purpose on campus and are effective in providing generalized student feedback. But the model for current CEQs was adopted 17 years ago; we have changed dramatically as a college since then. We hope that the CCP and the College as a whole continue to build upon the current foundation, and take our opinions into consideration. We hope even more that professors will go beyond reading our CEQs in their attempt to better their teaching style and the classroom experience as a whole. —The Staff Editorial represents the opinion of at least two thirds of the 23-member Miscellany News Editorial Board.
Occupy Earth: Securing future environmental victories Gabe Dunsmith
Assistant Opinions Editor
ccupy Wall Street has given environmentalists a new platform for fighting the green battles of the 21st century. In mobilizing people to fight back against corporate forces, Occupy Wall Street teaches the American public—and indeed, citizens of the world— that corporations are not the rightful owners of our land, water and air—that Big Business is not the righteous custodian of the earth that it claims to be. Winning environmental battles in the coming years necessitates taking to the streets; it necessitates targeting both greedy corporations and an antagonistic government; and, perhaps most importantly, it necessitates standing in the way of those whose only intention is to reap profits in order to keep them from decimating the earth. We must lug our complaints to the front door of industry and bureaucracy alike—in a word, occupation. There are already concrete and visible ties between the Occupy movement and environmentalism. Occupiers have targeted Bank of America for paying no federal taxes, attempting to place fees on debit card transactions, evicting homeowners, and receiving billions of taxpayer dollars through a bailout while doling out gargantuan bonuses to its managers. But wait, there’s more: America’s monster bank is also one of the largest funders of mountaintop removal mining, where Appalachian mountains are blown up so that coal can be stripped away and burned. In attacking Bank of America, Occupiers are already fighting for a healthier ecosystem. Other huge banks, like JP Morgan Chase, PNC, Citi, and UBS, also provide the dough for coal companies to blow up mountains. Through pummeling the financial sector, Occupiers can carry out environmental campaigns in a location not often seen as a green battleground: Wall Street itself. There are direct forms of occupation, too, that thrive away from Wall Street. On February 13th, Greenpeace activists climbed the tower of the coal-fired power plant in Asheville, North Carolina, and hung a sign demanding that giant utility companies Duke Energy and Progress Energy do the following: “Stop Destroying Mountains.” Greenpeace also launched an “Occupy Duke” campaign, imploring the
power company to stop polluting air, poisoning water, destroying mountains, and killing the climate. One online petition demanded that Duke start shifting to renewable sources and immediately stop purchasing coal from the husks of smoldering mountains. Such a direct assault on dirty energy shows that both the environmental and Occupy movements have set ambitious goals for the future, and, when allied, make formidable foes for even the largest of profit-hungry corporations.
“Occupy Wall Street teaches the American public—and indeed, citizens of the world— that corporations are not the rightful owners of our land, water, and air.” The Occupy movement has also made itself evident in the fight against the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The massive November rally that took place in opposition to Keystone was really an exercise in occupation, as 12,000 people surrounded the White House to protest the pipeline that would carry dirty tar sands oil through the American heartland. This demonstration is a perfect example of how environmentalists must also aim at government in order to secure victories for the earth. When government officials are loath to work for the public to whom they serve, people must express their grievances with boundless conviction—and one way to do that is to occupy Washington itself. At the Keystone protest, members of Occupy D.C. held a banner that read, “Occupy Earth.” The message is loud and clear: the earth is not a corporate dumping-ground, and if people want to make their voices heard they’re going to have to put their feet down. “Occupy Earth” is not an excuse to run rampant over the planet’s resources, but rather a
call to defend Mother Nature when she cannot defend herself. It is an appeal to protect the fragile place in which we all live; it is a bright hope that people may one day develop a symbiotic relationship with the earth. If we see the earth as our giver and our provider, we may yet learn to trust in the soil and the trees and not take for granted the things we are blessed with every day: air to breathe, water to drink, and a place to call home. Though both Occupy Wall Street and the environmental movement have made great strides in recent months, American citizens must take this alliance to the next level. Just as the injustices of our economic system must factor into our national dialogue, so should our duty as custodians of the earth take a front-row seat in the American mindset. Occupy must continue. But so should our outlook change so that we are aware of more than just ourselves; we must acknowledge that our decisions do not merely impact us, and we must see ourselves as components of the ecosystem in which we live. In opening our minds to the world around us, we will be quicker to resolve its ills. A large segment of the environmental movement is fixated on what to do about climate change, and rightfully so. How will we mitigate it, adapt to it, reverse it? A growing body of research indicates that we have gone too far to be able to stop the earth’s temperature from rising. How will the notion of Occupation—and actions related to it—factor into our response to climate change? A growing body of people, acting democratically, must be part of the solution; we should not abdicate responsibility to government offices, or least of all corporate ones. Scaling coal-fired power plants may be a powerful and poignant way to express dissatisfaction with the American enviro-economic apparatus, but we must also infiltrate the realm of decision-making and make climate an issue that our government should tackle with the utmost urgency and efficiency. But climate change should not distract us from other environmental issues facing our world today. From nuclear waste to hydrofracking, biofuel production to chemical manufacturing, groundwater contamination to deforestation, biodiversity loss to oil production,
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trash buildup to ozone pollution, our nation— and world—faces a plethora of catastrophic practices that abuse our land, water, and air. Many of these issues, such as nuclear waste and hydraulic fracturing, simply did not exist a century ago; and many others were not severe until the dawn of industrialized societies. In any case, we must be wary of technological fixes to the problems we face, and Occupy must tackle all of the problems which our unjust economy creates. One way to do so—and one method in which the Occupy movement has already shown its strength—is the targeting of specific corporations that have committed egregious environmental or economic crimes. Sure, the tactics of Occupy aren’t the only method of attacking multinational entities, but claiming the physical property of private businesses tears down the boundary between public and private and allows people to protest business practices more easily. In today’s world, policies that decimate the environment or subjugate human beings to profit have become so commonplace as to be ignored by regulators and consumers alike, and Occupy serves to refocus attention around these abusive corporate procedures. The occupation of physical space, once considered the sole property of corporations, tells businesses that they can’t easily get away with degradation of the earth or exploitation of the public. Moving into the future, Occupy provides a foundation for citizens of the world to protest deliberate environmental mutilation, and, in combating these practices, change them. We must occupy Koch Industries because Koch stopped chemical reform in its tracks, reform which would have protected all Americans from harmful chemicals in the products we use every day. We must occupy Monsanto for decades of toxic dumping in Alabama that has sickened an entire town. We must occupy Shell for its takeover of Nigeria, BP for its pollution of the Gulf, Exxon for its spill in Alaska so many years ago that it still has not paid for or cleaned up. We must occupy logging companies for their exploitation of forests, mining companies for their bulldozing of great swathes of land, and manufacturers that dump their effluent into rivers and pump contaminants into See OCCUPY on page 11
April 26 , 2012
Patrol considers new adjustment to role on campus Campus Patrol Staff Guest Columnists
o All Vassar Students, The Campus Patrol staff would like to take this opportunity to comment on changes made to Patrol throughout this academic year and alleviate any remaining concerns that arose in September. Campus Patrol has existed at Vassar since the early 1970s as a student-run employment opportunity and has prospered in its 40 years of history as a means of student-to-student conflict resolution with the intention of avoiding taking matters to higher levels of Security or Student Conduct. In the past, this was rarely a concern because Patrol focused solely on emergencies like suspicious individuals and medical distresses, or mundane procedures like escorts and medical transports. After a prolonged discussion, it was decided at the beginning of this academic year to vastly adjust Patrol’s role on the Vassar campus by shifting its attention to the residential houses and placing the organization in a shared governance position under both Residential Life and Security. The speed with which these changes were revealed to most of Patrol was overwhelming and created confusion. Much of this confusion could be found among the student body in regard to what our role would be within the houses. House Teams were not fully up-to-date on our new roles, and the general student body was given the impression that Patrol would be “busting” students for acts like drinking and partying. We attempted to respond to these concerns both through a Miscellany News article and a few SayAnything posts. A large part of the problem was that the changes were implemented right after we returned to campus, so staff was just as busy catching up as the rest of the campus. Rest assured, Patrol Staff would not and will never al-
low Vassar students to “bust” their peers or turn them in to Security. We remain committed to pushing student-to-student resolution of issues and only in extreme situations is Security immediately brought in. We moved forward with three supervisors and a small roster of students largely new to Patrol. We trained new patrollers and established new policies, rules, and regulations. For example, Patrol created a Library Patroller position that includes hourly rounds of the library and focuses on looking for unattended laptops. Because of previous thefts, Res Life, Security, and Patrol take seriously the protection of students’ belongings. The Library Patroller will watch unattended laptops for up to 10 minutes before calling Security, which then places the item in their lockup at their New Hackensack headquarters until it is picked up by the student. Students are encouraged to always attend to their belongings to avoid any hassle. Surprisingly, Patrol’s responsibilities have not changed all that much. Patrollers continue to look for anything that threatens the Vassar community or Vassar property; this includes graffiti, arson incidents, possible unregistered non-students, suspicious individuals, and medical distresses. More recently, noise complaints have been added to this list. Over the year students’ recognition of similarities between indoor and outdoor Patrol has contributed significantly to a decline in campus animosity and hesitation towards Patrollers. Always remember that Patrol is here to help you, not hurt you. As per policy (see the Blue book on the Patrol website), a Patroller who comes across a student in medical distress does not immediately call Security or EMS. The Patroller will speak to the individual to gauge whether medical assistance is needed. However, a Patroller is required to call in if a person shows certain signs (profuse bleed-
ing, physical injury, inability to stand, speak, or stay awake). From here, Security and EMS take over. As students concerned for their fellow students in a community setting, it is our responsibility to get someone medical attention rather than risk said individual’s safety. Noise complaints are similar. The Board of House Presidents recommended that Patrol take over in this area. Should you get a noise com-
“Students’ recognition of similarities between indoor and outdoor Patrol has contributed significantly to a decline in campus animosity and hesitation toward Patrollers. plaint while Patrol is operating, a fellow student will approach you to resolve the issue in a peerto-peer manner without the need to call in Security. Should a student choose not collaborate, Security is called. If a noise complaint suggests an endangered student, Security is required to act immediately. Know that Patrol will never, and can never, enter a student’s room without permission from inhabitants. Patrol is very pleased with its new noise complaint policies and consider them a strong step towards greater accountability between students in non-emergency matters. Our impression is that House Teams and students share this opinion and we hope to
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continue expanding this policy in the future. After a great deal of reorganizing, Campus Patrol is much stronger than it has been in previous years and the six students comprising the staff are pleased with Patrol’s standing both with the administration and with the student body. Patrol continues to be a student-led organization for students, by students. The only real difference is we now have greater opportunities for improvement using the resources of Residential Life and Security in a more direct manner. We sincerely hope students will recognize how the changes within Patrol were made in a long-term mindset and will always remain focused on the livelihood of student life in the houses. Our roster has doubled to over sixty students and remains filled as students cycle in and out, all nine houses are virtually always covered during any give shift. Moving forward, we want to keep becoming more effective. We’ve taken steps to bring back Bike Patrol and intend to resume Patrol escorts in the fall semester. We also plan on being present during Freshmen Orientation, raising awareness of Patrol’s role on campus, and encouraging active cooperation and feedback from the start. As always, Patrol wants to hear students’ questions and concerns. Our website (www. patrol.vassar.edu) makes public all rules, regulations, and policies. Reach us by email (patrol(a) vassar.edu); we’re happy to answer questions or converse regarding Patrol’s role. The most important thing staff can ask students is to recognize we are always considering and adjusting the best way to handle our responsibilities. We would like to thank everyone for your cooperation with Patrol and trust in our organization as we continue to grow. —This piece represents the opinion of the staff of Campus Patrol.
April 26 , 2012
VC must re-examine athlete assumptions Elizabeth Forbes Guest Columnist
he door of the bathroom stall is almost completely covered in graffiti, most of it done in cheap ballpoint pen or scraped into the thinning mint-green paint. It’s fairly innocuous stall graffiti, at the outset. There is so much that one’s eyes blend it together into a cacophony of blurred words and stick-figure drawings without bothering to enunciate any particular phrase. However, today one image sticks out at me: the words “cunts and clits”, encircled by a wobbly heart design. Whoever you are, mystery bathroom-stall writer, you are blessed by your anonymity. You are free to skulk away from your female-objectifying, immature graffiti, to giggle with your friends about what you spent five idle minutes scratching into a plastic door. What you are blessed with, I am not, because I am a member of a Vassar College varsity athletics team. I have been painted with the jock brush. The recent incident involving a sexist comment on a game-day poster was unfortunate, yes. It was sexist, yes. It is understandable and commendable that people were offended, yes. What is also unfortunate is that the college and its students were and remain poised, ready to pounce, over the athletics department in case of any transgression. As open-minded to students of all types as this community claims to be, it is not ready to ask me who my favorite artist is. It is wildly unprepared for the revelation that
Occupy’s rippling influence OCCUPY continued from page 9 the air. We must occupy governments for their complicity in, or endorsement of, such practices. And we must bar Big Business from pouring money into the political system so that they no longer write the laws that control our lives. This is not just a call to fight a small group of the most harmful corporations, however. It is a call to challenge all environmental offenders, big or small, that put personal gain ahead of public wellbeing, and therein turn the earth into a means of profit and desecrate the planet for the rest of us. But above all, people must reconnect with the earth. Fostering a connection with the world around us may be the only way to save ourselves from rampant environmental destruction caused by aggressive capitalist practices of a business elite that only cares about increasing their paychecks. We must rearrange the way we think about ourselves and our environment, learn how to be better stewards of our surroundings, and discover how to value the intricate (and delicate) web of nature over the resources that nature provides. We must be guardians of the future, and we must acknowledge that the earth does not exist for anyone to trample upon. Only then may we hope to repair the harm that we have done. Occupy has taught us that when the powerful make decisions that harm the powerless, we can stand strongly, gather our courage, and march into the territory of the offender, shouting all the way. It has taught us that we all have a voice, that we all deserve to be heard, that we all have a right to stomp our feet at the door of those who are bleeding our country, and that the collective might of the 99 percent can topple the stranglehold of the one percent. Occupy has taught us that some things in life are worth fighting for, and one of those things is a healthier planet. For all of us. Occupying the earth may be our only means of salvation. And if one thing’s for sure, the earth is not a home worth losing. —Gabe Dunsmith ’15 is Assistant Opinions Editor of The Miscellany News.
my close friend on my team is a talented musician, that another one takes some of the most beautiful photographs I’ve ever seen, or that another commutes to the city weekly for an internship with an art curator at a fashion showroom in SoHo. What it is prepared for, however, is to wield that self-same jock brush with a vengeance at every opportunity. As surprised as the Vassar community is to discover the intellectual depth of the Vassar athlete, it is equally (and conversely) ready to exclaim, “See? I’m not saying all athletes are like this, but…” That tone was taken in each Miscellany News opinion piece written in response to the poster and Dean Roellke’s response. The Vassar community is far too prepared to drop the hammer on the athletics department; while my anonymous graffiti-artist friend is allowed to remain anonymous, any studentathlete who transgresses (as the students who made the poster did) is immediately seized upon as an example. This attitude is reflected in almost every part of life at Vassar, and after four years here it has become wearisome trying to convince my peers and professors otherwise. For example, I, and many of my friends on varsity teams, have experienced the withering glare of a professor who disapproves of wearing athletic clothing to class, in order to be ready to hurry to a practice that starts immediately after, or even during, the period. I once had a professor give me his professional opinion on my practice schedule: Clearly, I practiced with my team far too often and other sec-
tors of my life would suffer as a result of this appropriation of my time. What is clear to these professors is that I do not take my academic and intellectual growth as seriously as I do my workout. What is clear to me, as a Vassar student first and a Vassar athlete second, is that my experience here is a holistic one, of which my athletic life is only a part. It is a sincere shame that the place I have come to love so dearly judges my peers and me so harshly, and so immediately, in dayto-day situations (be they altercations with athletics-prejudiced professors or missteps with competition advertisement). I am not saying that the poster that was removed from the ACDC was not offensive, or that posting it was not reprehensible and thoughtless. I empathize with the general reaction of the Vassar community. What I am saying is that the Vassar community must turn its judgment upon itself as a whole, and not use the athletics department as an example of reprobate behavior when that same behavior is exhibited in every facet of Vassar’s social life. As the “cunts and clits” graffiti and myriad other examples on campus illustrate, thoughtless behavior is not reserved for any one social group. With that in mind, I ask the Vassar community to respect my identification with the athletics department and to put down the condescension of its jock brush. I promise that I will prove your preconceived notions of me wrong; but I will not be able to do so if my own community will not hear me over the noise of its own assumptions.
Describe your ideal Founder’s Day in one word.
—Sarah Zickel ’14
“Can I say ‘drunk?’”
—Priya Nair ’15
Orgs host events to raise awareness about Earth Week Devina Vaid
n case you missed the big poster, the numerous flyers, and the ‘Veg Pledge’ pins, or simply didn’t have the time to attend to attend some of the interesting events in celebration of Earth Week, here’s a review of all the fun. As a week aimed at spreading environmental awareness, Earth Week consisted of various forms of educational and creative activities. The first event planned for the week was a composting workshop with Jill Schneiderman, a professor in the Earth Science Department. Unfortunately the workshop had to be canceled at the last minute because Jill had an emergency affair to attend to. The next event, a Vegan Dinner at ACDC, was well received by the numerous students who had signed the ‘Veg Pledge’ for Earth Week organized by the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC). The third event, a lecture by environmental activist Debra Hall, took place on Tuesday the 17th. An average citizen who had decided to become involved with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after she found that her well was contaminated with the carcinogenic compound trichloroethylene (TCE) due to the illegal dumping activities of an industrial facility up the road, Hall shared the story of a lengthy yet rewarding journey of contacting senators, EPA officials, and various other legislative officers. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, as she was the recipient of EPA’s Environmental Quality Award in 2007. Her story was both inspiring as well as revealing, especially the insights she shared about the ‘dirty business of politics’. The ‘Tap That’ campaign encouraged people to refrain from purchasing bottled water by selling Vassar Greens water bottles in the Retreat the next day. The events on Thursday were organized by the new ‘Keep It Clean’ campaign and included two informative events aimed at teaching the community about the benefits of clean energy. Swapnil Shah, the CEO of a successful cleantech company, gave an interactive lecture on the energy efficiency and energy wastage in buildings. The audience discussed Vassar’s Dorm Energy Challenge with him and brainstormed ideas to decrease our energy
consumption, or to begin with, our energy wastage. (Have you noticed that the lights in classrooms of Rocky, Chicago and other academic buildings are turned on when no one’s there? It only takes a second to turn one off. This helps to decrease our carbon footprint and electricity bills.) Following this discussion, the documentary Carbon Nation was screened. This was an optimistic movie that focused on climate change solutions, relevant in that it highlighted how these solutions address various social, economic and national security issues, in case one isn’t passionate about simply saving the planet. Incidentally, there was free falafel from Zorona’s that night...good memories. Subsequently VARC brought Connecticutbased forager, vegan, writer and nationally recognized bicyclist Zaac Chaves to campus on Friday for a second time after his hugely successful Wild Edibles Tour took place last semester. Chaves helped shed light on the diverse, nutritious, edible foods right under our feet. In addition he discussed local ecology, foraging, and healthy eating. The weekend was more relaxed with ‘Zero Waste’ holding an eco-crafts workshop and a swishing event at the Free Market. There was pleasant music and crackers while people came in and out to make wallets out of milk cartons and necklaces out of newspaper beads. At the same time people entered to drop off used items of clothing and walked out with new ones that they cared for. The week ended with a fun Beach Bash thrown by Josselyn Dorm on Earth Day, April 22. People enjoyed free food from local restaurants and hopped on a bouncy castle (hopefully not in that order). The event was not dampened by the rain as people simply moved into Joss’s cozy MPR to listen to some talented student bands. Did I mention that all materials used in this event were compostable? Yup, all the plates, cups and anything else used to feed the guests won’t end up on a landfill, fulfilling the mission of the ‘Zero Waste’ campaign. Well, that was Earth Week. Don’t miss out next year! —Devina Vaid ’15 os as member of the Vassar Greens.
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—Evan Herdrick ’14
—Rachel Gorman ’12
—Emil Ostrovski ’12
—Dante Varotsis ’13 —Juliana Halpert, Photography Editor Matt Ortilé, Contributing Editor
April 26 , 2012
Liberals’ defense of Obama fails to withstand scrunity Bill Crane Columnist
et me begin with a thought exercise. In 2008, you face a choice between two candidates to vote for. You happen to have a crystal ball that tells you that, if one of the candidates is elected, he will escalate one ongoing war in the Middle East, begin another, step up deportations and extraordinary renditions, attack our social safety net and vastly step up the war on the racial undercaste laughingly referred to as “the War on Drugs.” An unsavory choice, but you can’t vote for the other candidate, because he is a Republican. It is with this in mind that I read last week’s opinion column in The Misc by Mr. Jack Mullan, who claimed my reasoning was as “artificial as it is absurd” in my column on the subject of the 2012 presidential election published two weeks ago. It seems that anytime someone on the left has the temerity to point out how disastrous the Obama presidency has been to the vast majority of Americans, a response takes one of the following forms: (1) The Republicans, evil and powerful, stopped Obama from doing everything he really wanted very badly to do, (2) He actually has accomplished very much (insert reference to healthcare/Don’t Ask Don’t Tell or some other supposed accomplishment as needed), or (3) The Republicans are so evil that you can’t possibly think of not supporting Obama, perhaps followed by (4), if you only vote for him one more time, Charlie Brown, it will really change things! Our Mr. Mullan, sadly, follows these stages to a T—but that is perhaps not his fault, as Obama is so hard to defend at this point that his remaining champions are more or less forced to fall back on rote formulas. These defenses are similar to what I remember thinking as an altar boy when I would say the Nicene Creed—it was full of contradictions and just plain nonsense, but comforting in its vagueness and fluffy language. Mr. Mullan’s first point, in an interesting variation on the theme, deals with the bank bailouts pilloried in the famed chant at so many Occupy events (Banks got bailed out!/We got sold out!). Normally this is something an Obama supporter would do well to forget ever happened, but Mr. Mullan makes a valiant effort to find something positive: “President Obama did enact a bailout,
but did so in order to rescue the auto industry and preserve thousands of manufacturing jobs for the middle class.” An interesting prospect! Obama helped to save the jobs of the middle class. Surely everyone could get behind that? Everyone, that is, except the “middle class” autoworkers whose jobs were supposedly “saved” by the bailouts. Perhaps they have not been sufficiently grateful to Obama because, well, they are too busy getting screwed by the companies he stepped in to save. GM, for instance, has instituted wages for new hires that are less than half those of current employees, and is bent on shredding the pensions of retirees. By the way, in case you are wondering where banks fit into the bank bailouts (which is what I actually addressed in my last article), it is because Mr. Mullan would seemingly prefer to not remember that $700 billion of taxpayers’ money was handed over to the banks that caused the
“[Liberal] defenses [of Obama]...are full of contradictions and just plain nonsense, but comforting in [their] vagueness and fluffy language.”
financial crisis, gratis. Even where this money made the federal government primary shareholder, as in the case of AIG and others, Obama stepped in to make sure their management (as we must again remember, the ones who caused the crisis through insane speculation) would not be replaced. Acts like this, combined with other matters such as the escalated war on Afghanistan and futile War on Drugs, the execution of foreign and a few American citizens by flying death robots, the record deportations of “illegal” immigrants, and
the alarmingly severe restrictions on civil liberties including the continuation of the PATRIOT Act (matters so small they have escaped the notice of Mr. Mullan except for a small nod toward the end of his piece) should be enough to convince most of us that Obama is Bush’s spiritual successor on practically all the issues we care about. In which case, his supporters turn to the following helpful phrase: Affordable Care Act. Mr. Mullan’s description of this magical piece of legislation is pretty typical. The ACA “represents a landmark reform that expands access to healthcare to millions of citizens while tackling the rising costs of insurance premiums.” The fact that it does not include a public option is unfortunate, but according to Mr. Mullan, “the votes for a public option simply did not exist in Congress at the time.” I have to say I am a bit confused that Mr. Mullan chooses to write so much about a public option in a healthcare bill that, in accordance with the president’s wishes before Democrats lost a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, was actually written by the insurance corporations. The option of creating a sane healthcare system by putting them out of business was never even suggested by Obama, who caved on the weak “public option” as soon as it was suggested that he might face Republican opposition on it. As for the ACA “expanding healthcare to millions of citizens,” well, I and many other citizens are less than thrilled about what it has to offer. Obamacare solved the problem of millions of uninsured by promising to enroll them in state-funded Medicare in a few years, the very same program that—wait for it—states are currently taking the hatchet to. What remains is a by the corporations, for the corporations law that forces most of us to purchase awful healthcare plans with the slight consolation that our premiums may not go through the roof—that is, unless our state governments find that such increases are “reasonable.” Mr. Mullan finally has no other option than (3)—look at how evil the Republicans are! He writes, “The proposal coming from Romney and the Republicans is to cut, cut, cut: regulations, taxes, and vital social welfare programs would be severely slashed.” Excuse me? This from a supporter of the man who has kept the NLRB and
OSHA on a starvation diet, and who stopped the sunset of the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy? Pot, meet kettle. What are the prospects for Obama’s next term? Following his proposed budget for the next year, Mr. Mullan writes, “The president maintains strong support for the social safety net, invests in education, energy and infrastructure, and introduces new taxes not only on the wealthiest earners, but also on big banks…that would raise $60 billion over the next decade.” Sounds good, right? Until you remember that Obama has promised big things along these lines before, namely, last time he was trying to get elected. But we’re still waiting for the Employee Free Choice Act, intended to help workers unionize easier, or the closing of the detention center at Guantánamo Bay. As for Mr. Mullan’s other objections, they are so insincere that I hesitate to even address them. “It would be remiss to abandon a such a central civil right as voting because of dissatisfaction with one’s options,” he writes. Well, if it is a choice between sacrificing every principle I have as a socialist and exercising this “central civil right,” my rights will have to take one for the team this time around. Similarly, I do not pose a dichotomy between activism and voting. Some of my best friends vote. What I do argue is that voting in this presidential election is ineffective, and ultimately a scam. If you have been paying attention to anything that has been going on in Washington rather than sticking your head in the sand ostrich-style, it should be perfectly clear that in all likelihood, four more years of Obama means another four years of broken promises as he drifts increasingly rightward. Whoever wins the election will be the bought and paid for candidate of the one percent. Obama raised the most money from Wall Street of any candidate, ever, last time around, and he may yet have a chance to beat his own record. If you desire real change in this country rather than words, you belong outside the voting booths in November. —Bill Crane ’12 is an Asian studies major. He is a member of the International Socialist Organization.
The Miscellany Crossword by Jonathan Garfinkel, Crossword Editor ACROSS
1. “Up in the Air” flyer, briefly 4. Dog food brand 8. Metric unit 12. Snatch 14. Seniors, classically? 15. German article 16. Tsar Nicky’s eldest daughter 17. One a day is recommended 18. Jonny in Jerusalem 19. With 21, 37, 40, 45, 61, and 67-across, a message from the graduating puzzlemaster
21. See 19-across 23. Cogs 25. Before, poetically 26. “To ____” (perfectly) 28. Radio band, briefly 30. “It’s a ____!!” -Adm. Ackbar 33. Clean between some cracks 34. Superlative suffix 35. Econ. Term for stuff companies plan to sell soon 37. See 19-across 38. Mined stuff 39. Org. 40. See 19-across 42. CW predecessor
Answers to last week’s puzzle
43. “Is this _____?!” 45. See 19-across 48. Cold War scramblers, briefly 49. Scottish lake dweller, familiarly 50. Sun to Pablo 52. Bypass 54. Chosen lady (Lat.) 57. Beastie 61. See 19-across 62. “____ intended” 65. Thus 66. Lease 67. See 19-across 68. Takes a shovel to 69. Maj. For green types, perhaps 70. Turf ’s partner 71. Starters’ cries DOWN
1. Visibly shocked 2. Musical Guthrie 3. Pablo’s lake 4. Untouchable 5. AMEX, NYSE-ly 6. “.___” (Pentagon URL) 7. Filter 8. Some old and faithful ones? 9. Pablo’s rivers 10. ____ Karenina 11. Israeli Prime Minister Golda ____
13. “We don’t need no stinking ______!” 14. Central American Natives 20. Some waspy types 22. What life may mimic 24. Everest experts 26. Change 27. “We’re off ____
the Wizard!” 29. Certain linked item 31. Ancient Greek city 32. “_____ and Rec” 33. Tell a lie 36. Scottish river 41. Young 43. Years (Lat.)
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
44. Flew off 47. One’s station (in life) 51. Clubber’s people? 53. Certain mantel item¬ 54. Women’s magazine 55. Wacko 56. Dead dictator’s
wife and others 58. HS math topic 59. “Leggo my ____!!” 60. One-time thirdparty candidate Perot 63. African Union predecessor 64. Defunct operator on the Main Line
HUMOR & SATIRE
April 26 , 2012
Dr. Seuss to Mr. Vassar: Founder’s Day in verse (but crasser) Jean-Bouchard, Alanna Okun and Michael Mestitz Humor & Satire Editors and Columnist
Weekly Calendar: 04/26-05/02 by Alanna Okun, Humor & Satire Editor Thursday, 4/26 3 p.m. Tea. So this is my last Calendar ever, you guys. It’s been a good run; fifty issues, fifty Production Nights, and I’ve only had to reuse jokes about Cappy’s affinity for beige like seven or eight times (see above). Rose Parlor. 7 p.m. BDSM 101. It’s just like ART 105-106, except with better lighting and less people shopping online for graduation dresses. Jade Parlor. 8 p.m. “Baltimore Waltz.” Wait, isn’t that one of the moves they’re teaching at BDSM 101? Powerhouse.
Friday, 4/27 3 p.m. Tea. There are still a bunch of things I don’t understand about Vassar. Like bucket lists. And intramurals. And how come so many of you insist on linking Spotify to Facebook when all it does is let the world know when your girlfriend dumped you because the only thing you’ve listened to for the past 72 hours is Jack Johnson. ALSO WHO OR WHY IS A PINTEREST AND DO I NEED SOME IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS. Rose Parlor.
6 p.m. “Hair.” Like musicals? Hate clothes? Perf. Orchard. 8 p.m. “The Seagull.” Like Chekhov? Like meditation and dancing even more? We’re in business. Kenyon Club Room.
Saturday, 4/28 FOUNDER’S DAY. Everywhere/but mostly Ballantine/ although some of you might not make it that far (pace yourselves, amateurs)/and maybe the Orchard if you and your FWB (friend-with-benefits (pronounced “fwib” (you’re welcome))) are feeling frisky and can’t go back to either of your one-room doubles because your roommates are big dorks spending the day studying for their Intro Cog Sci finals.
Sunday, 4/29 THE DAY AFTER FOUNDER’S DAY. Ooof. Good thing it’s not like your thesis is due two days later or anything. Hahahahahahahaha! Fuck. Everywhere.
Monday, 4/30 3 p.m. Tea. As for what I’ve actually learned, it mostly boils
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down to the ability to identify the various submitters on VCStudentBodies, an uncanny instinct about what type of soup the Retreat will be serving every day, and a proclivity for boys who major in either drama or philosophy and closely resemble Gordo from “Lizzie McGuire.” Rose Parlor.
Tuesday, 5/1 3 p.m. Tea. I won’t miss Moodle posts, Shipping & Receiving, or the abundance of people interested in singing a cappella at me. I will miss living my life according to the Shuttle schedule, being able to pay for beer and breakfast bagels with VCash, Eggs All Day*, and actually kind of the a cappella. Rose Parlor. *Which I realize is a highly doable and perhaps even preferable thing in real life too, but it’s not the same.
Wednesday, 5/2 3 p.m. Tea. Seniors: it’s been real. Underclassmen: find your people, make a home, and keep hosting dumb events so my Humor & Satire descendants can continue to mock them for all eternity or at least until the world ends next semester. Bye, team. Rose Parlor.
April 26 , 2012
Professors partner with pupils once more Jack Owen
Assistant Arts Editor
Matthew Hauptman Assistant Arts Editor
A Alex Wang/The Miscellany News
ver fancy tangoing with your professor? Swinging into its fourth year, Vassar Ballroom Dancing Club’s annual event, Dancing with the Professors, will showcase four faculty-student pairings as they exhibit the result of their weeks of diligent practice. The dance will take place tomorrow from 8:00-10:00 p.m. in the Students’ Building 2nd Floor MPR. The event began shortly after the founding of Vassar Ballroom, and was inspired by ABC’s hit television series, Dancing with the Stars. This year’s pairings include Alex Wang ’12 and Associate Dean of the Faculty and Associate Professor of English Eve Dunbar, Chris Flynn ’14 and Adjunct Instructor in Religion Margaret ‘Max’ Leeming, Jesus Loya ’12 and Professor of Chinese and Japanese Peipei Qiu, and Kyle DeAngelis ’15 and Affiliate Advisor for the Vassar Catholic Community, Linda Tuttle. Spectators can expect to see a wide variety of dance styles, including the rumba, tango, foxtrot, and salsa. The student dancers, all members of Ballroom, help train the volunteering professors, many of whom have had minimal dancing experience. “It has been a real pleasure but really hard. I’m a yoga teacher, too, and thought, ‘I can handle this. No problem.’ The first rehearsal I was out of breath,” Leeming wrote in an emailed statement. But Leeming assured that Flynn has been a helpful and encouraging teacher. “I have been watching too many dance videos and come to rehearsals with some crazy ideas,” Leeming added. “Chris always takes the ideas seriously and there has been a fair amount of time replaying fancy tango steps on the computer. Usually we end up working on something more reasonable.” Most pairs practice about three or four hours a week, ramping up the intensity over the past couple of weeks as they approach showtime. Krolik iterated that one of the hardest parts of putting on Dancing with the Professors is
President of the Ballroom Club Alex Wang ‘12 and Associate Dean of the Faculty and Associate Professor of English Eve Dunbar dip and twist in preparation for their rumba performance. that many professors are apprehensive about busting a move in public, but professors manage to jump over that hurdle. “It’s really a great way to get know the person behind the professor,” said Wang, who has participated in Dancing with the Professors before. “I don’t think you can ever really know a professor at the same capacity as you do when you’re doing Dancing with the Professors.” This year, Professor Dunbar and Wang will be doing the rumba to the song “Always,” by Erasure. Dunbar danced in the event’s first year, and is excited to return as a veteran. Prior to Dancing with the Professors, Dunbar had no ballroom dancing experience. “The first time I agreed to do [Dancing with the Professors], I remember regretting it. I expected to be embarrassed on the day of the performance, but as the weeks of practice went by,
I began to appreciate the process of learning a new dance,” she wrote in an emailed statement. In turn, Dunbar has had a very positive experience working with Wang. “Alex is really great. Apparently I’m a ‘natural lead,’ which is his kind way of telling me I keep trying to grab his hands and move him across the floor at inappropriate times,” she wrote. “I like to think it’s my feminist tendencies refusing to allow me to be led by the patriarchy.” And unlike Dancing with the Stars, Dancing with the Professors is not a competition. “We figured that would be too much pressure on the professors,” explained Krolik. “We really just wanted to encourage them to have a good time and to not think of it as a competition.” “Speaking from the professor side of things,” said Leeming, “we do other things besides read and give lectures!”
FWA’s ‘Hair’ explores ’60s counterculture
Alex Schlesinger/The Miscellany News
The cast of “Hair” prepares for the dawning of the age of Aquarius, which is tentatively scheduled to begin during their first performance on Thursday, April 26 at 5 p.m. in the orchard by Sunset Lake. Emma Daniels Reporter
he Age of Aquarius is returning to Vassar through 1960s love-rock musical Hair, famed for addressing hippie counterculture and the sexual revolution of that era. Hair will be performed Apr. 26-27 and Apr. 29, at 5 p.m. at Yellowgate, near Ballantine Field, or if it rains in the AULA. After its premiere on Broadway in 1967, Hair became a staple of American culture and underwent countless revivals. 1979 saw a film adaptation, and 2009 saw its Broadway revival. Hair follows a group of New York City activists—known as “the tribe”—protesting against the Vietnam War draft, with particular attention set on Claude, the leader of the tribe. Hair documents Claude’s relationship with fellow hippie Berger and romantic involvement with politically-minded New York Uni-
Waltz a tragicomic fairy tale
versity student Sheila. Cast member Roman Mohr summarized its counterculture style aptly. “The tribe is a ‘gaggle’ of high school and college-aged hippies taking drugs, making love, and protesting together,” Mohr said. Ashlei Hardenburg ’13 chose to direct Hair because of its radical but inclusive nature. Hair drastically altered previous notions of musical theater, setting an important precedent for what was later termed the rock musical. “In a lot of ways, the play will be shocking. The show can be trippy, there’s nudity involved, and it directly addresses prejudice and racism,” Hardenburg said. “It calls people out, forcing them to be uncomfortable. At the same time, though, the songs are really awesome and powerful, and it’ll be enjoyable for the audience.” Hair is also known for being one of the first musicals with a racially integrated cast.
“When Hair was first put on it was a really big deal, especially because it provided so many opportunities to cast a diverse group,” Hardenburg said. The counterculture represented in the show is also significant because of its contemporaries and the contemporary. Although Hair is about events that are now part of history, the play subtly addresses contemporary issues of war and apathy. Mohr said, “In a very apolitical age like the present, it’s very refreshing to work with content that is socially motivated.” Hair still remains a dance-intensive musical, with most of the show choreographed. “It makes the show a lot of fun to both watch and perform,” noted Mohr. In keeping with Hair’s theme of inclusivity, Hardenburg wanted to put on a show at Vassar that gave a variety of people the opportunity to participate in theater; the cast is made up of 30 students, and is significantly larger than most student productions. “Working with such a large group has been fantastic. Everyone has become really close, and the cast is bleeding with talent,” said Hardenburg. The show is democratic: everyone involved has a solo, and all four directors—Hardenburg, musical director Sean Eads ’15, and choreographers Drew Murray ’14 and Tessa Permar ’15— have a unified vision, when it comes to what they want the show to look like. A vital part of that vision is the location of the show. Yellowgate is an abandoned gate near Ballantine Field that is rarely seen, let alone used for a theatrical production. But the directors consider it a beautiful, poignant spot to put on a show like Hair. “It’s cool because it’s this really harmonious, natural space, but it’s also surrounded by buildings—Walker and the TAs— and represents nature trapped within society,” said Hardenburg. “It also helps emphasize the show’s theme of reconnecting to nature.” Added Hardenburg, “Today, being an activist is sometimes just seen as a fad, and the show calls people out on that, and reminds people that war is still happening, and that it’s often ignored.”
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merican playwright Paula Vogel wrote her play The Baltimore Waltz in response to the AIDS epidemic, which brought about the death of her own brother in 1988, but perhaps surprisingly it was comical. Now The Baltimore Waltz will come to Vassar through the Drama Department’s upcoming production, a collaborative senior project by its three cast members (Akari Anderson ’12, Joe Kopyt ’12, and Charlie Nicholson ’12)—but as they all pointed out, the production’s success hinges on the hard work of all those involved, and that includes more than a few underclassmen. The Baltimore Waltz will be performed Apr. 26-7 at 8 p.m., and on Apr. 29 at 3 p.m., in the Powerhouse Theatre. First performed in 1992, The Baltimore Waltz is in keeping with Vogel’s wacky sense of humor. Essentially a series of comic vignettes underlined by farce and tragedy, Vogel’s play traces the European odyssey of sister and brother Anna and Carl. Anna and Carl are seeking pleasure, and a cure for Anna’s terminal illness, ATD (Acquired Toilet Disease), which she contracted from the bathrooms at the elementary school where she teaches. Throughout her European travels, Anna has sexual encounters with countless men in the hopes of finding some semblance of intimacy. Vogel wanted to address the painfully personal subject of the AIDS epidemic in a manner that was absurd and sidesplitting, but also dignified and touching. At face value, the play is a comedy, but it is often underscored by tragedy. “It’s like a modern-day fairy tale, almost,” said Nicholson. And as director Ira Tsochantari ’12 pointed out, the play’s absurdism never negates its emotional impact. “It all relates to something very human and real,” she said. The three actors involved chose to perform this play for a number of reasons, not the least of which included its sprightly intelligence. “[Vogel] crafts plays so that audiences can go through a learning experience,” said Kopyt, who will play Carl. And as Anderson observed, “She really manages to touch on the core of human emotion.” The cast and crew have worked to transform the Powerhouse into a fantastical space that will mirror the play’s similar sensibility. “We’ve tried to transform the theater into a dream space, and we want to transport the audience into that dream world as well, with all the confusion and darkness that come with it,” Tsochantari said. Nicholson agreed, and added, “We want familiar objects to take on a whole new meaning. We’re creating a drained world that will explode into color, with lots of vibrancy. We’re going big, we’re going bold, and we’re making collaborative choices.” The play’s exploration of Anna and Carl’s touchingly close relationship is emblematic of a larger journey they undergo of self-discovery. “Anna and Carl are so individualized, so well-written,” Anderson remarked. “And that’s why they’re so easy to relate to.” Tsochantari added that Anna and Carl’s relationship pays homage to a kind of intimacy that transcends present, instant gratification, the kind in Anna’s frequent dalliances. But even through her impulsive sexual encounters, Anna still learns something new about herself through each experience. “She’s seeking affection and closeness, but what she doesn’t realize is that the real source of intimacy—her brother, Carl—is right next to her,” explained Tsochantari. “But Vogel is more observational than judgmental,” she added. “We’re supposed to see it as part of a larger journey.” The actors have come to realize that the theme of familial love, so prevalent throughout the play, is very much in keeping with the play’s title. “In a waltz,” Tsochantari explained, “you’re trying to be as close to your partner as can be. It’s a dance of intimacy. It requires harmony. And that’s exactly what Anna and Carl have in their own unique relationship.”
April 26 , 2012
Thomas Hill assists students, professors as art librarian Adam Buchsbaum Arts Editor
Courtesy of Tom Hill
rt Librarian Thomas Hill sure looks like a librarian with his glasses. “There was something about the round glasses I like, and I know there is something iconic about them,” Hill said. But he didn’t anticipate becoming an art librarian. “I was a literature person and I am a literature person,” Hill said. He read the Romantic poets—Shelley, Keats, Byron—and routinely memorized them back in high school. “When I was younger that really echoed something in me,” he said. And so, Hill obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Central Michigan University. When the option of working for a library came along, he thought it was perfect. He began working to obtain a Master of Library Science. Plus, Hill joked, it was better than his previous jobs, which include pizza cook and foundry employee. Hill noted his profession may not seem a surprise in retrospect. “A lot of librarians will tell you of your early childhood experiences in the local public library. I used to ride my bicycle to the local public library…and I’d never seen anything like that,” Hill said. “When you’re a child and you get your first library card it’s the first time you feel like you’re an equal citizen to everybody else out there because you have the right to take out something.” His first foray into art librarianship was a matter of happenstance. Hill was pursuing a Masters of Library Science, and had a clerk job at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Hill was on break. “The art librarian came and sat down next to me and we got to talking, and she found I was in libraries all the time,” Hill said. “She asked me if I wanted to be Circulation Assistant in the Art [& Architecture] Library.” He moved on to become Reference Librarian in the Yale Center for British Art. In 1986 Hill came to Vassar. “When you start
you feel you’re like on the edge. The role hasn’t changed but my perception of it has changed,” Hill said. “Over time I got more confidence, and the [Art] department’s always been quite wonderful about treating me as an equal and making me one of the team.” As the Art Librarian, his primary duties include building the collection— the College typically buys about 1000 volumes per year—and acting as a reference for students and professors. Hill often conducts workshops for seniors to instruct them in bibliography and research methodology, though his ability help is not limited to seniors and theses. Hill described his role as Art Librarian. “I got a pilot’s license a few years ago. It’s the perfect metaphor for this. As a librarian you have an ariel view of the sea of knowledge, the landscape that people who are working down in the landscape don’t have,” Hill said. “You can then provide maps for them that they can’t work out easily themselves, in order to find things and navigate the cultural memory…you might not know everything about everything, but you know something about everything.” Professors often go to Hill for help in research, and Hill will also work to relate the Art Library’s exhibitions to what professors are teaching in class. For example, Hill organized an exhibition on architecture publishing to correlate with a class by Professor of Art Nicolas Adams on the same subject. When famed feminist art historian Linda Nochlin came to Vassar, Hill put together an exhibition on her. Currently, Hill is working with an exhibition on book artist Werner Pfeiffer. Soon, Hill’s responsibilities as Art Librarian will expand, as he assumes management over the Visual Resources Library. With the advent of digitization, the Visual Resources Library no longer requires the same resources and labor it once did, and will move into the Art Library. While at Vassar in 1989, Hill began to pursue a Ph.D in English Literature at Columbia University, focusing on medieval literature. He fin-
Art Librarian Thomas Hill, who received his Doctorate Degree in English Literature with a focus in Medieval Literature from Columbia University, has been Vassar’s Art Librarian since 1986. ished it in 2003. Hill discovered his interest in medieval literature while studying at Columbia University. “I had class with a woman named Joan Ferrante from Columbia, who was just a wonderful lecturer and she gave me a whole worldview in two classes I never encountered before...she lived and breathed a poetic world,” Hill said. “I would say it was Joan that made me a medievalist.” His dissertation was on Chaucer, reading of one of his works in context of medieval physiology and optical theories. “I’m really keen on medieval romance, and I love romance. It’s a narrative genre all of Western literature of interest comes out of it, from the Western to science fiction to the classic quest narrative, and I could read those things all day long,” Hill said.
“They’re intellectually stimulating. They’re put together by people who are academics. And they’re fun too. They’re written for a general audience.” Next year Hill will revive a radio program on WVKR called The Library Cafe, begun and ended several years ago. Hill will interview professors about their research and books. “It turned out to be really successful,” Hill said. “You’d think academic books especially wouldn’t be very interesting, but faculty are so good at talking about the most abstruse stuff and making it interesting.” “The library is not just an addendum to the larger institution,” Hill said. “The function we fulfill is a cognitive function of providing an academic thinking with memory. It’s important. It’s essential.”
Comedian Dan Lempert highly devoted to his craft Matthew Hauptman Assistant Arts Editor
Jiajing Sun/The Miscellany News
an Lempert ’13 lives and breathes comedy. It should come as no surprise, then, that he is a member of two comedy groups at Vassar: Happily Ever Laughter (HEL) and the more general, improvisational troupe Improv Comedy. “There’s something about comedy as a current, cultural phenomenon that’s just fascinating,” said Lempert. A double major in Drama and Psychology, Lempert has put both disciplines to good use in thinking about his own comedic craft. Aside from comedy’s overt theatricality, it can also be deeply psychological, Lempert explained. “What makes people laugh?” Lempert asked. “It’s a very elusive question, but whatever it is that makes us laugh, it’s what comedians try to do.” Lempert joined HEL as a freshman, and was drawn to the group’s dynamic approach to comedy. “There’s a mixture of really smart historical and literary references, but it can also be really silly and wacky, really eclectic,” he said. HEL does mostly sketch comedy, and as Lempert explained, the challenges of sketch and standup are quite different. In sketch comedy, the goal is to find a joke and to hit it over and over again, but making sure to raise the ante each time the joke gets repeated. Lempert added that the most ingenious sketch comedy when it manages to amuse and move the audience in one sitting. “You’re getting people to feel that wide range of emotion. It’s very rare to find in comedy, but that’s when it’s at its best.” But in improv, the audience knows that the actors are performing on the spot, and this usually gives the actors greater comfort and leniency, despite the pressures of having no script to follow. “The audience and actors are almost on the same level. There’s this common knowledge of everyone being in the moment,” said Lempert. He added, “Some of the best actors I’ve met have also been great improvisers.” Last semester, Lempert had the opportu-
Dan Lempert ’13 has been a member of the sketch comedy group Happily Ever Laughter (HEL) since his freshman year. Lempert perfected his craft at Chicago’s comedy school, The Second City. nity to develop and refine his comedic skills. He spent his Junior Year Abroad in Chicago, where he studied at The Second City, a renowned improvisational comedy enterprise that has helped launch the careers of several now-famous comedians, including Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Mike Myers and Steve Carell. “Comedy is revered as this art form [in Chicago]. It’s almost a religious experience there,” said Lempert, who studied in The Second City’s Comedy Studies program. The program includes classes such as “History and Analysis of Modern Comedy” and “Physical and Vocal Training for Comedy”
that formally teach technique to better budding comedians in the craft. The program is run through Columbia College Chicago. While there, Lempert also learned that comedy, as a profession, can be very amorphous, not to mention cutthroat. “You need to convince yourself to take a lot of time out of your day, and you need to convince yourself to keep at it.” Like any comedian, Lempert has drawn inspiration from those who have preceded him. “Growing up, I was obsessed with Jim Carey. And I think Robin Williams is one of the greatest performers around.” He also gets a kick out of Funny or Die, a comedy
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video website founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s production company. “It has contributed so much to sketch comedy,” he lauded. Lempert is also deeply involved with Vassar’s theater scene, which should come as no surprise in light of his major. Just two months ago, Lempert played Lucio in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. Lucio provides a strong dose of the comedy in Measure for Measure, especially through his bawdy, dirty puns and humor. In turn, Lempert was drawn to that particular role because of Lucio’s comedic persona. “I wasn’t familiar with the play before, but I read it when [the Drama Department] announced that it was doing it.” Lempert is grateful for what he has learned from Vassar’s Drama Department. “The Department has given me a great sense of all the different components that go into theater: lights, scenic design, acting, directing choice—everything from the specific to the general,” he said. But Lempert has been involved with theater since his high school days at Poly Prep, in Brooklyn. Two of his theatrical credits from that period include Guys and Dolls and Mother Courage, the latter of which he starred in as a senior. He also went to a performing arts camp for a few summers, but to his dismay, was often cast as a father figure. “I’ve always been fighting for myself to be a comedic character,” Lempert said. For the dramatic thesis that he will be completing next year, Lempert plans to put on a production of David Greig’s The Cosmonaut’s Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union. Set during the collapse of the USSR, Greig’s play is a semi-realist, semi-farcical piece that tells the story of a Soviet astronaut stranded in space. Greig is a modern playwright—the aforementioned play dating to 2005—whose work often explores issues of globalization and internationalization. “For me,” said Lempert, “it’s a play about communication. It’s funny but strikingly sad. And that’s my favorite kind of humor.”
April 26 , 2012
Rajunov adapts ‘The Seagull’ to expressionistic spectacle Charlacia Dent Guest Reporter
hekhov does reality, truth, inertia of life—not dance movement, music, animals and craziness,” said Danielle Lemieux ’13, an actress in an upcoming production of Chekhov’s classic realist play “The Seagull.” But director Daniel Rajunov ’13 doesn’t mind; he has transformed it entirely. Expect to also hear Sigur Ros and death metal incorporated. “The Seagull” will take place in the Kenyon Club Room on April 26-27 at 8 p.m. and April 29 at 3 p.m. “The Seagull” is set in early 19th century Russia. Retired civil servant Sorin (Nick Pearl ’14) owns a farm where his sister and aging actress Irina Arkadina (Danielle Lemieux ’13), her playwright son Konstantin (Tim Magidson ’13), Nina (Kalei Talwar ’13), and Arkadina’s lover and famous storywriter Trigorian (Logan Woodruff ’14) all reside. The play begins with Konstantin’s play, where after its performance his mother Arkadina ridicules it. Arkadina is upset that he is attempting to create a new art form, and the moment sparks a battle between the older and younger generations. The four-act play climaxes when Konstantine, in what he thinks is a gesture of love, presents a dead seagull that he has recently shot at Nina’s feet, and tragically culminates after Konstantine finally commits suicide after an earlier attempt in the play. Rajunov and his production team went through two weeks of table work discussing the
play before more concretely beginning it. They cut out entire moments and gave themselves wide latitude in how to interpret the work for their particular production. “When working with a Chekhov text, there is always something hidden, undiscovered, and extraordinarily subtle. The words are everything, and yet they are nothing,” wrote Woodruff in an emailed statement. “The real life of the play is buried under the text, breathes in the pauses, is clarified or obscured by punctuation and images, and is in a constant state of change as the play takes a new shape every time it is performed.” Added Woodruff, “Thinking about this piece in terms of gesture, movement, and dance has allowed us to excavate the text and give form to the complex, hilarious, troubling, and disturbing threads that tie the narrative together.” At these exploratory cast rehearsals and mediations, Rajunov would have the actors turn into spirit animals, or break into dance. “The spirit animals are a tool to deconstruct their personality into a primal state of urgency. It reevaluates the audiences’ opinions of them when we see them as wild animals, and not civilized humans,” Rajunov explained. “The guided meditations were a way to get the actors grounded in their body through their breath, so they connect with their characters and their environment on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level.” Rajunov picked the Chekhov play for its age, noting that this quality and ubiquity allows a lot of freedom to interpret, like when perform-
ing Shakespeare. “Everything’s been done with it, and we don’t have to worry about staging it ‘right,’ which means we can do whatever we want to it. You could say it’s a devised piece, since we cut entire moments and stage moments that weren’t there to begin with,” Rajunov wrote in an emailed statement. “Chekhov was originally meant to be ‘naturalistic’ but it can be done any way. We’re taking a more German Expressionism course, using over-the-top gestures,” Rajunov added. “We’re not so interested in ‘truth’ or ‘reality’ as much as the comedy within misery. Those contradictions of misery and comedy are what spark the moments of awe for the audience.” Rajunov described this production as using the play as the source material for theatrical moments, rather than putting the play itself completely as it is on in this particular production. “You can take the story and the words,” Rajunov said, “and he leaves enough empty space in the story so that directors, actors, and designers can fill the space with their choices.” For example, Rajunov changed a draft of wind entering through the window into a hurricane, which spurs the actors to run around the stage comically, shouting and throwing items around in reaction. “I enjoy these moments when we disregard the words of Chekhov, or alter them all together,” Gass said. “After all he is dead.” Still, not all changes are quite that dramatic; Rajunov inserted a moment when the maid steals from a briefcase. The maid, the cook and the servant each comment on the play from
their point of view as it plays out. “The maid is just being herself. From her point of view, she works for horrible people in a horrible house. We also see she never gets paid. Arkadina only tips her one rouble, which she has to split between the cook and the servant. Everyone barks orders at her all day,” Rajunov wrote. “Hell, I’d steal something from that house if I were in her circumstances! Her stealing is not a part of the plot though, it’s just one of the details we found could exist to amplify the life surrounding the story.” The source text allows for this inserted moment, but does not have it originally. The show even has some Vassar references. Rajunov found further help through Professor of Drama Christopher Grabowski. “[Grabowski] demonstrated to me, as an actor, how he listens to the actors impulses, sets limits, and re-contextualizes the choices to suit the overall whole, without crushing the actors’ initial impulse. It’s just like any leadership position, if you’re too strict, demanding, or nit-picky, everyone shuts off, but if you don’t set limits, there’s chaos,” Rajunov noted. “You have to find a balance where treat others sensibly and humanely while inspiring and encouraging them to acquire the self-discipline to contribute bold choices. That’s what Chris taught me.” The pair also discussed Rajunov’s discoveries during breaks for Grabowski-directed Uncle Vanya, where Rajunov played Professor Serebryakov. “Danny [Rajunov] is inspired, brilliant and a joy to work with,” Lemieux said. “My experience has been fun, exciting, and different.”
SAC, docents, curatorial assistants contribute to FLLAC
Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
FLLAC continued from page 1 greater student body and outside community closer to the FLLAC’s art. The SAC aims at passionate, thoughtful connection by creating events meant to generate peer-to-peer dialogue on the FLLAC. The SAC is currently organizing a lecture series focused on the intersection of art and the sciences, such as the use of science in art, archaeology, or chemical conversation. The SAC also recently hosted a film screening of “Women, Art, Revolution” with a discussion afterwards. Previous events by the SAC include Harvest Ball, programming for Late Night at the Loeb, and the Fashion Show done alongside the French Department, Contrast and the Drama Department. The SAC used to be membership-based, but opened itself up to all by scrapping its membership requirement. President of the Student Activity Committee and Art History major Julia Fields ’12 has been involved with the SAC since her freshman year at Vassar, holds a huge role in organizing events and exhibits with the Committee and the FLLAC. Fields is often responsible for organizing the lectures and panels given by people not normally accessible on campus, which are chosen with students in mind. “I came to Vassar knowing that I wanted to be an Art History major and thinking that I wanted to work in a museum so [the Student Activity Committee] seemed like a good way to get involved with understanding the inner workings of the institution,” said Fields. “It’s been great. We’ve gone through some really slow years, like last year where nothing happened. We were switching staff advisors and some of us were abroad so we went through a lull. But this year has been really incredible and I’ve been really satisfied with the work that we’ve done.” As its president, Fields runs the meetings, writes the agenda, and determines what the SAC will do each week with her staff advisor, Office Specialist Francine Brown. “It’s really important to me to be able to spend time making the collection accessible to the students. I really want people to like it and I want people to be there,” said Fields. “The Loeb is Vassar’s museum, but a museum in its own right, and there’s a certain type of professionalism that is expected of all of the students that you don’t find in all student organizations and in other campus jobs...you have to be trained how to write certain emails from this perspective and know how to interact with the people you work with, because it’s not just a campus activity: you’re representing a real art institution.” Joanna Kloppenburg ’14 is the curatorial assistant to The Emily Hargroves Fisher ’57 and Rich-
Sam Smith ’14 strums her guitar as part of her Late Night at the Frances Lehmen Loeb performance. The Loeb’s Student Advisory Committee fosters student involvement at the art center. ard B. Fisher Curator and Assistant Director for Strategic Planning Mary Kay Lombino and a member of the SAC. An English major with an Art History correlate, Kloppenberg works closely with the curators of the museum as well as different artists. “I am probably in the museum four out of the five days of the week, which is great,” said Kloppenburg. “I’m really getting to know everyone who works there. Working with the curators is probably the most valuable working experience I’ve had in my life. It’s so hands on and meeting different artists and curators of other museums is really great.” Maggi was partially responsible for organizing the recent exhibition by Marco Maggi, “Lentissimo.” Kloppenburg has also been involved with the new sculpture garden on display as well as the rehanging of the modern gallery space. “I didn’t get to physically handle the works, but we do get to go down to the vault and take notes about the art, and make little replicas of where things are going to go,” said Kloppenburg. “And for certain exhibitions like Marco Maggi’s, I actually put some of the floor installations together. That was pretty nerve-racking, but it was really awesome to feel like you’re a part of it.” As a member of the Student Activity Committee, Kloppenburg also handles aspects of the Loeb’s publicity. “My specific role on the committee is that I do a lot of the writing, so
the proposals that we’ll have and sometimes the blog posts. We might actually be writing a few articles for the Misc,” said Kloppenburg. “Pretty much everyone on the committee is able to come up with events whenever they have something they’re interested in. Being on the committee has really just broadened my horizons. Learning how to do publicity and to gain student interest has been a really great experience as well. Just being in an environment with people who are as passionate about art as I am is really incredible. And I learn new things every day. I’ve learned so much about art in the art world by being here and I can’t wait to keep learning more.” Logan Woodruff ’14, another curatorial assistant, was responsible for helping organize currently on display exhibition “Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu.” “In the fall, I spent some time deconstructing and highlighting the various architectural forms in Mehretu’s prints and did quite a bit of research into the artist’s biography and process,” wrote Woodruff in an emailed statement. Like Kloppenburg, Woodruff’s roles include assisting with the development of future exhibitions, research and image sourcing, administrative clerical assistance, handling artwork on paper, monitoring print room use, and maintaining exhibition archives. “My favorite part about working in the FLLAC is that when I walk into work, I never know
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what project Patti [Phagan, the Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings] will have up her sleeve,” wrote Woodruff. Phagan was responsible for bringing Julie Mehretu’s prints to Vassar. “She is constantly working on several projects and exhibitions at the same time...So when I walk into work, I never know to which part of the process I am going lend a helping hand, and I think that’s pretty exciting!” Simone Levine ’13, a student docent, serves as a public interface between the museum and the student body. “We work very closely with the collection and we also produce and inform the public in a very professional way about the collection. It’s really cool to learn about the whole history of the collection and make connections across time with different works as you see them,” Levine said, speaking on behalf of both her and the other docents. “Through the time that I’ve worked there I’ve come to know so much more about the collection, and know so much more about the works within it.” Levine’s responsibilities include guiding people through official tours of the collection, writing blog posts, and holding office hours where discussions about the events occurring in the Art Center take place. “I’ve given a lot of tours to a lot of public groups, to school groups, or to commercial groups who are visiting the Art Center...I would say that in every single tour I’ve given, I’ve gotten the reaction of, ‘Wow, I didn’t even know that this was so great or that this was even here,’” said Levine. “People are just amazed when they walk in the museum and they learn about the collection and how much there is.” Through tours, Levine works very closely with the collections both on and off display. “We have such a huge collection. The visiting exhibitions that we have are so fantastic and through working there, I’ve realized the value of art institutions in exhibiting original works of art,” said Levine. “Across the months that I’ve worked there, I’ve learned so much about individual pieces and the collection as a whole. Each of them has a whole story in its own way and you only get to be a part of that by being in the Art Center...It’s really a whole supportive community in itself.” “I think some people might not realize how enormous and impressive the collection really is, for it’s not just the few pieces that are displayed in the main galleries,” wrote Woodruff. “The entire collection is meant to be accessible to Vassar students and the Loeb takes pride in sharing its works with the Vassar community. Don’t be afraid to stop by and explore what else the Loeb has to offer. I’ve worked there for a year, and I don’t know of anyone who bites.”
April 26 , 2012
American Reunion banal comfort-food re-telling sex problems as grown-up now Lily Sloss
American Reunion Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg [Universal]
hen comparing the cast members in the original American Pie (1999) poster to the poster for the recent release American Reunion the faces don’t look particularly different. Chris Klein, or “Oz,” had a hideous bowl cut in the ’90s and an equally offensive military cut in the 2012 version, a vain attempt at hiding his receding hairline. Jason Biggs, “Jim,” reveals his unimpressive stomach in the original poster, but thankfully hides his more substantial belly in the present version under a “grown-up” suit. In terms of classic teen movies, the 13 years hasn’t changed much about the narrative structure, either. The group returns to their hometown for a high school reunion, and are combatting their issues. The various cast members are all grown up, and have “grown-up problems” now. Instead of being desperate to lose their virginity and hook up with each other, the adults have mundane sex lives, a significant other who “just isn’t the one,” or work at unfulfilling jobs. Similar to their high school experiences, Oz is crushing on his ex-girlfriend (Mira Sorvino), Stifler (Seann William Scott) fights with high school boys, and Jim is placed in one awkward sexual encounter after another awkward sexual encounter. In this vein, American Reunion continues to rely on its tried and true theme: sex. Although some complain about the gratuitous scenes which the American movies always include, I do owe something to the perverted writers. Without sneaking upstairs to watch “American Pie” while my Dad was napping during my overly curious 8 year old stage, I wouldn’t have been able to grasp such important revelatory concepts as a “MILF” and teen masturbation. (Shout out to Stifler’s mom! Thanks, Jennifer Coolidge.
Much appreciated). Continuing the tradition, American Reunion includes a disgusting pooping scene, an absurdly mature looking 18-year-old flashing the camera, and a wildly unnecessary shot of Jason Biggs’ penis pressed up against a clear pot lid. I’ll leave you to guess the ridiculous plot lines which lead to these charming cinematic moments. Despite its banal plot line, and reliance on jerking off jokes, the cast members are as engaging as ever. It doesn’t really matter that there are holes in the story, or that there’s little to distinguish this film from any of the others. In fact, some of the film’s charm comes from this lackluster attempt to contrive a story. The directors know, and the audience knows in advance, that American Reunion is a comfort-food film. You go to see it because there’s nothing else playing, and you’ve seen one or two of the other movies. Or you’ve heard of Tara Reid. You see it, laugh a little bit, and are charmed by Chris Klein. You might leave feeling a little bit bloated, but at least you’ve left your house/ dorm for two hours. The main perk of the film, from my perspective, is that it plays to a range of audiences. College students can feel nostalgic, remembering when they watched American Pie 2 at sleep overs in middle school. High school students can feel mature, imagining that they are watching something super inappropriate and really bad (It’s R-rated, for God’s sake! And did you see the naked penis?!). Finally, weirdo children (like me) can leave the Dr. Seuss movie—it’s The Lorax, right?—that their parents think they are watching and sneak into American Reunion where, with any luck, they’ll catch a glimpse of something that they can graphically describe to their entire elementary school class. The worst part of the film, easily, is the classic teen beach party scene. Question to the director: Did you attend high school? Have you ever been to an actual high school party? In American Reunion the “classic” high school beach party is attended by an army of 5’10”, 110 pound surfer babes, dressed in
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thong bikinis, who take flaming shots from gleaming glass trays. Although I may have attended an extremely lame high school, I’m willing to bet very few teens in America have been to parties like this. At the single high school beach party I can recall, a dozen or so awkward girls with braces and sweatshirts passed the fifth of Smirnoff stolen from
“The directors know, and the audience knows in advance, that ‘American Reunion’ is a comfort-food film. You go to see it because there’s nothing else playing.” somebody’s parents liquor cabinet, meanwhile a bunch of high school boys who looked about 12 huddled in someone’s car and took 45 minutes to improperly roll a joint. Not quite as glamorous as the “classic high school parties” portrayed in the movies, or American Reunion. Finally, a frightening question to ask ourselves upon viewing American Reunion: does this uncomfortable movie provide insight into our futures? Are we headed for soul-crushing jobs as temps, lackluster sex lives, and crashing “classic high school beach parties?” Through pure logic, I have convinced myself that American Reunion is wrong in its regard of post-college woes. If the director’s idea of high school involves models and glass platters, it is undoubtedly incorrect in its depiction of grown up struggles. I wouldn’t be caught dead at a high school party. However, if I do, I can at least be confident enough in my adulthood to bring my own bottle of booze. I’m not sharing with any of those stingy little shits.
—Fernanda Martinez ’14
—Thomas Poole ’14
“The Titanic the TV series.”
—Sahara Pradhan ’15
“The David Lynch music video, Crazy Clown Time.” — Sebastian Bernard ’12
“Boys Will Be Girls by Harvard Sailing Team, a sketch comedy group.”
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It’s an offering to the city: a brand spanking new pair of polished leather shoes left on Valencia Street in San Francisco on Mother’s Day. There’s no gift tag around, no return address, only ‘Fuck you’ scratched into once wet cement and the question of whether or not a middle-aged man in a two piece suit is wandering around the Mission District barefoot. The shoes are a sign of life—a reminder that we do not walk alone but alongside a community of others. I hoped to capture that sentiment with this photo; the idea that we are surrounded by people, unique people who often do seemingly strange things. The shoes are merely a reminder to look around at the people in your world and ask what makes them tick. Give them a penny for their thoughts. Find out who they are and see if they are the kind of people who would abandon a new pair of shoes on a busy city street, still tied.
—Saunya Bhutani ’14
“RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
— David Piwarski ’14
—Adam Buchsbaum Arts Editor
— Ethan Hofmayer ’15
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Wrestling with VC varsity sports status Tina Caso
ith 23 varsity teams on campus and beautiful athletic facilities and resources, Vassar College Athletics has it all…except for a softball team. Or a men’s golf team. Or a wrestling team. And that’s not to mention that the football team has been undefeated for over 150 years now. The reasons for Vassar’s missing teams are multi-faceted. According to Director of Athletics and Physical Education Dr. Sharon Beverly, a large combination of forces are involved in bringing a team to its existence, along with historical factors as well. She cites her involvement with creating an outdoor track team in 2008, writing in an emailed statement, “The decision was based on many factors and involved the President, our Dean [Marianne Begemann] and the respective coaches. The factors that positively affected the decision were many.” She listed a recent renovation to Prentiss Field, support from the Liberty League and a successful club team as such positive factors. After all is said and done, however, the ultimate decision of whether or not a sport is varsity at Vassar lies in the hands of President Catharine Bond Hill, who makes the final decision. Most varsity teams were brought into existence before Beverly became athletics director in 2004. Though she was not able to provide one solid reason that could convince a school to add a sport to its roster, she acknowledges that most schools have their own particular set of reasons for doing so. These include the school’s funding and whether or not the sport is sponsored by the NCAA. Wrestling, yet another sport not offered
at Vassar, has caused a stir in the past year, though it was never intended to be a varsity sport. Ethan Slater ’14, a wrestler in high school, considered continuing wrestling after graduation at a Division III or small Division I school, but ultimately chose Vassar for its strong theater program. This fall, he made an attempt to begin a club for wrestling, something that he already intended to do before his arrival as a freshman. In an emailed statement, Slater gave his reasoning, saying, “Not having wrestling as part of my life when it was such a driving factor for me previously was tough. I sent out some emails and notices asking if people were interested in a wrestling club and got back several positive responses.” He continued, adding that, “Unfortunately, attendance at the weekly club was not wonderful (we usually had about three to five wrestlers show up, myself included), and the facilities were, as one can imagine, not really suited for wrestling. The plan was to apply for funding and order a small section of real mat with the hopes of expanding.” Slater was injured in that same year, and was unfortunately unable to continue managing the club. “I hope to try again next fall, if my knee is up to it and if there is a certain amount of interest...It was short-lived, but fun while it lasted,” said Slater. As for the process of giving wrestling a place on campus, Slater, who called himself a “‘non’ student-athlete,” wasn’t that fazed. He cites Roman Czula, the Life Fitness Director for Vassar Athletics, as an excellent resource for getting the club started, but maintained that the most difficult part of beginning was actually finding the students. “The difficulties lay in cultivating a community that did not re-
ally exist. Those who wrestled in high school were a little hard to find, and those who wanted to keep wrestling were harder. Other than that, and of course proper facilities, the process was pretty painless,” wrote Slater. As for other sports, football, men’s golf and softball are examples of sports sponsored by the Liberty League that Vassar does not compete in. While football, softball as well as ice hockey (which a number of Liberty League schools compete in in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) all require additional facilities, Vassar currently sponsors a women’s golf team, so the addition of a men’s counterpart would not be likely to strain school resources. Giving a sport varsity status is a difficult process, and taking that title away is also a complicated issue. Last year, due to economic difficulties, rowing and rugby both became club sports. Beverly is no longer responsible for the teams, saying that they are now under the control of the Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources Marianne Begemann. Parker Reeves ’14, a member of the men’s rugby team noted that the team hasn’t had any less support than a varsity sport, and not much has changed. “We’re very well coached, we’ve got the best field that I’ve ever seen–much less played on– not to mention our goal posts, bags and scrum machine...we have a top quality machine to scrimmage against,” said Reeves in an emailed statement. Though he acknowledges that varsity teams practice more often than club sports, he notes that “I don’t feel like we’re any less than varsity teams...but that kind of mentality of us not being a full-fledged varsity sport just makes us stonger as a team.”
Rebuilding effort stable-ize polo team Corey Cohn
his past Sunday, the University of Virginia (UVA) defeated Cornell University to capture the national championship in women’s collegiate polo in a rematch of last year’s title game, while UVA also overtook Westmont College to take the men’s title. The Vassar College polo team, meanwhile, was unable to compete in the regional tournament, but considers its now-concluded season to be a success nevertheless. The 2011-2012 season was one of complete rebuilding for the polo team, which now continues to look towards the future. The 2010-2011 squad was saturated with veteran leadership but saw five seniors graduate at the end of the year. Captain Sarah Leung ’12 was the lone returning player, saddling her with the responsibility of refilling the roster. “I wasn’t optimistic at the time—I didn’t know how rebuilding a team would be,” she said. “I was really worried at the beginning of the year.” Fortunately, Captain Robert Fairbanks ’15 began his first year in college specifically with polo aspirations in mind. Fairbanks, who has been riding horses since age six and played for the Santa Barbara Polo Club in high school, was impressed when he visited Vassar and saw a couple of team practices at Gardnertown Farm in Newburgh. He recalled emailing Leung over the summer. “That’s when I found out there wasn’t really a team,” he said. The duo set out to recruit from the beginning of the semester, hoping to not only attract new members, but to be able to field both a men’s and women’s team. According to Leung, the polo team has not had enough male members to make up a squad for the past few years. She explained that men typically find it tougher to join a sport that is so completely new to them, and a team that (at Vassar, anyway) consists predominantly of women. “It can be a really demoralizing experience for a guy to walk into,” she said, “to see the girls progressing faster. [Plus,] not many young boys grow up dreaming of riding [horses].” Still, Fairbanks tried his best to spark interest in Vassar’s male demographic. During the fall’s Activities Fair, he dressed in full polo attire—white jeans, tall leather
boots and a polo shirt—but to little avail. “We didn’t get many guys,” he said. Fairbanks added that he must have asked every boy in his hall if he would be interested in joining the team, with no success. All in all, though, Leung said she had a list of about 30 interested students early in the semester. From this, 10 new members (two males, Fairbanks and freshman Lei Liang) were initially added to the roster, while the rest lost interest for a variety of reasons. Cost is often one deterrent—at 500 dollars a semester, Vassar offers a bargain compared to other polo outlets, but it can still be a large fee for college students. While most of the new members had riding experience, no one besides Leung and Fairbanks had played polo prior to joining the team. This presented obvious challenges, but Fairbanks sensed there were advantages as well. “In some ways, it’s nice that no one had any preconceived notions,” he said. He added that the layout of the team helped set the approach from the beginning. “The focus is on fun and learning,” he shared. “It’s not like the typical sport; there’s not a huge sense of competition. Everyone just wants to have a good time.” As a captain who was also serving as a pseudo-coach, Fairbanks added that he tried to show new members what makes polo so special. “It really is an elegant, beautiful sport,” he said. Teamwork and communication also assume a newfound significance. “You think it’s hard talking to a teammate,” Fairbanks explained. “Try talking to an animal.” Leung stated that having a team replete with beginners helped the newcomers stay comfortable. “The [players] appreciated that everyone was starting out,” she said. Both captains mentioned that the polo members have been very supportive of one another, and have succeeded in avoiding major team drama. Still, there are other ways to build team chemistry. Leung shared that the team made the most out of its road trips to opposing schools. In addition to getting to know each other over the course of long drives, each player was assigned to make a mix CD for a particular journey. The team also shared post-match meals. Competitively, the team had to arrange all of its matches on a fairly informal basis.
Because Vassar polo did not have enough men to field a team (a minimum of three players is needed), and because some of the female members were not experienced enough to compete, most matches featured a mixed-team format, with Fairbanks playing alongside Leung and another female player. Varsity collegiate polo does not include mixed team play, leaving Leung and Fairbanks with the job of finding schools willing to play under this format. Vassar engaged in several competitive matches, including two against the University of Pennsylvania that Fairbanks distinguished as particularly memorable. Both matches ended in Vassar victories but, Fairbanks said, “From the first time to the second time, we got a lot better; it was a good measure of growth.” Due to the structure of its roster, Vassar polo could not compete in the northeast regional tournament, one of the few standardized elements of the polo schedule. Still, Leung and Fairbanks take a lot of positives out of the way this year progressed. Fairbanks noted there were no major injuries—a worthwhile accomplishment in a sport more physical than some may perceive. “Some people say polo isn’t a contact sport,” he said. “Yes, it is.” While recruiting will still be a major team objective, Fairbanks observed that this year’s newcomers have shown tremendous improvement. “They got to the place where they know the basic rules, they have playing experience, and they know to stay safe,” he said. “Now it’s a matter of how good they want to be.” While Leung will graduate in May, she plans on staying involved with the team and continuing to play at Gardnertown. But her absence means Fairbanks will be taking the reins, so to speak. Current freshmen members will be assuming the official positions of president, vice president and treasurer in the fall semester, while Fairbanks will continue in his role as team captain. Looking forward, he believes it will ultimately be beneficial to have had so many players starting at the same time. “We want a sustainable team,” he said. “Next year, this year’s beginners will be able to take what they learned and pass it on to the next group.”
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
April 26 , 2012
Mocking the 2012 NFL draft Andy Marmer Sports editor
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: Luck is without a question the best quarterback available, and this is a no-brainer pick. Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson confirmed as much this past Tuesday, saying the team would draft Luck. Because whenever you have the opportunity to replace one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time with someone who has never played a game of professional football in his life, you’ve got to do it (see Packers, Green Bay). Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: For a team that needs a quarterback, Griffin is a wise pick. As a field general, he has shown both leadership as well as skill with his arm and legs. At least Washington decides to draft a quarterback instead of a running back. After all, if Griffin were a running back, Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan would have replaced him within a year. Minnesota Vikings
Matt Kalil, OT, USC: Kalil provides an anchor to the Vikings offensive line. He is also clearly the third-best player in this year’s draft. The Vikings make a smart pick here, taking a player out of the University of Southern California. Given his college experience, Kalil will obviously be prepared for the warm December home games the Vikings play annually. Cleveland Browns
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: After losing running back Peyton Hillis to the Chiefs in free agency, the Browns will draft his replacement. Still, drafting a running back this highly may not be a wise move after late round picks have proven effective. Hope Richardson appreciated winning a championship at Alabama. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU: Claiborne is a shutdown corner and the Buccaneers need to improve their pass coverage. This is a perfect match. Do the Buccaneers realize Claiborne is not Patrick Peterson? St. Louis Rams
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.: Blackmon is without a doubt the most talented receiver available, and while the Rams have a number of needs they are currently lacking any target for franchise cornerstone Sam Bradford to throw to. Just another receiver to run routes while quarterback Sam Bradford gets sacked. Jacksonville Jaguars
Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina: While the Jaguars could use a passrusher picking Ingram at seventh is a bit of a reach. If a bad team with no fans makes a bad pick does it make a sound? Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M: Tannehill is not a smart pick here. This is a desperation pick from the Dolphins, a team that desperately needs a franchise quarterback. Jay Fiedler, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Matt Moore…Ryan Tannehill? Carolina Panthers
Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State: There isn’t much to say here. Cox is a talented player that fills a need. From one losing team to another. Buffalo Bills
Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa: Reiff is a solid player that also fills a need, but his ceiling is relatively low. This is a safe pick, but Reiff likely won’t develop into a future All-Pro player. A little too alliterative for my taste.
April 26 , 2012
Women’s rugby team falls in quarterfinals Andy Marmer Sports Editor
WOMEN’S LACROSSE Madeline Zappala/The Miscellany News
he Vassar College women’s rugby team defeated American International College (AIC) in the National Playoffs Round of 16, 52-12 before falling to Norwich University 38-5 this past weekend in Princeton, N.J. Last Saturday against AIC, the Brewers controlled the pace and flow of the game, jumping out to a 28-0 lead. Vassar never looked back, cruising to the victory. Captain O’Mara Taylor ’12 and Margaret Kwateng ’14 each recorded three tries in the victory, with Addie Provenzano ’13 and Dallas Robinson ’14 scoring the remaining two tries. Taylor also kicked six conversions in the victory. Head Coach Tony Brown was pleased with his team’s performance in the victory. He wrote in an emailed statement, “It was satisfying to implement exactly what we had worked on and succeed. In particular, our front row of Nichelle Jackson [’13], Captain Alyssa Bell [’12], and Shanaye Williams [’13] met their challenge and prevailed.” With their win over AIC in hand, the Brewers faced Norwich University last Sunday in a quarterfinal rematch from this fall. Vassar faced Norwich in the final of the Northeast National Qualifier on November 13, a 46-0 victory for the Cadets. Entering the rematch, Brown devised tactics to neutralize the opponent’s speed and size. “We stopped them wheeling us in the scrum, a ploy that tends to be very disruptive. We moved our faster players to different positions to pressure them when they had the ball,” he wrote in an emailed statement. He also explained, “We put in some plays that were designed to manipulate their defense. We adopted a different attack pattern of play, and defensively we had more defenders align across the field.” Even with the adjustments, the Brewers could not keep the Cadets off the scoreboard as Norwich took a 38-0 lead late in the second half. The Brewers, though, fought back to avoid the shutout with Robinson scoring a try to create the final margin. Although overcmome by their opponents, the team recognized how well Brown prepared them. Taylor wrote in an emailed statement, “We changed our style of play and even practiced against the men’s team in order to get used to defending against faster offensive attacks and bigger players.”
VASSAR WEEKEND SCOREBOARD
Captain Alyssa Bell ’12 helped lead the team to victory against American International College (AIC). The women’s rugby team faced off against AIC and Norwich College this past weekend. Brown was satisfied with the team’s performance, “This past weekend we were prepared... Norwich are a very good team and may well win the National title in two weeks time and if that happens it’ll put this game into a clearer perspective.” Although they failed to advance to the Final Four, the Brewers took away a number of consolations from this past weekend. Against AIC, Taylor’s three tries put her in sole possession of the Vassar single-season try record (33), while she also assumed the single-season point record. The future of the team will also benefit from the trip to Nationals. Senior flanker Madeline Zappala (Disclosure: Zappala is a photography editor for The Miscellany News) wrote in an emailed statement, “Players derive a certain amount of experience from playing at this elite level—I think [the returning players] will take forth with them a heightened level of skill, specificity of play and heightened attention to the subtleties of the game.” In addition to current players, Brown foresees an auxiliary benefit to the team, “The 2011-12 Vas-
sar College Rugby women went 12-4 on the year and along the way beat a number of Division I teams so they have put Vassar back in the national spotlight. Hopefully, it will attract those women who want to play a contact sport and we will continue to be competitive and qualify for the national playoffs.” While the trip to the National quarterfinals will undoubtedly benefit the future of the program, the joys were not lost on the current team. “Going to nationals is always going to be a memorable experience for a team,” wrote Zappala. She continued, “I will most remember the incredible community of Vassar Rugby that made itself present at the tournament, from alumnae support, the support of my teammates’ parents and families... most of all the support and efforts that me and the other players on the field gave to one another.” While the team praised everyone around them that enabled them to reach this point, they also recognized the importance of the experience personally. Wrote Taylor, “It also was a wonderful way to cap off my Vassar rugby career, as I know it was for the other three senior women.”
WOMEN’S TENNIS MIT
MEN’S LACROSSE VASSAR AT UNION
Bad guys finish first: The story of the Los Angeles Lakers Sam Scarritt-Selman Columnist
f we accept the premise that sports can tell us something about ourselves, that they feature profoundly relatable narratives and even embody certain universal truths, then we must also make peace with the fact that sports may disclose to us our species’ enormous potential for brutality and the fundamental unfairness that, at times, seems to govern our experiences. But we really don’t like acknowledging this at all—we prefer to be shocked by disappointment, particularly when it involves the games we enshrine. Thus, we typically only let ourselves become mystified and rhapsodic about the moral teachings of sportsmanship and the naturalistic poetics of athletic endeavor. It is as though we need sports insofar as they exhibit the beautiful and allegorical. And perhaps there is something nobly romantic in the way we map onto sports some version of what we think ought be true of real life. However, we must never let that optimism blind us to an uncomfortable but important fact about both sports and life: “what ought be” always loses out to “what just happened,” and, a lot of the time, the assholes win. Fortunately, I will always have the Los Angeles Lakers to remind me of how crooked the cosmos can be. See, for as long as I can remember, the Lakers have been the model of undeserved success in sports. Everything about that team is so deeply contemptible at its core, such a perfect representation of the profane and nasty side of humanity. It starts with all of their fair-weather fans who never show up to games until midway through the second quarter and who really could not care less about how the game plays out, unless of course the Lakers are winning, in which case “YAY LAKERS!” This is not even mentioning the insufferable way Lakers fans chant “MVP! MVP!” whenever Kobe
Bryant takes a free throw, regardless of his performance. And the whole Lakers community comports itself with this air of arrogance and entitlement, as though there’s something magical to the winning tradition of the Purple and Gold other than the fact that every five to ten years they end up with one or two once-in-ageneration talents, thus keeping them as one of the most talented teams in the league. Like when they signed Wilt Chamberlain, or when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar demanded to be traded to them, or when the team ended up drafting Magic Johnson, or when Shaq demanded to be traded to them, or when Kobe demanded to be traded to them. If that were not enough, they have also managed to attract two of the best coaches of all time. And I will not make mention how much I hate (but also respect) Kobe Bryant, nor will I comment on the fascist cult of personality that follows him—let’s just say that both he and his most die-hard supporters engender in me a palpable rage. At any rate, how can anyone justify supporting a team that lucks out with such maddening frequency? Probably because they always win, even when they have no right to. I might be coming off as harsh and bitter, but know that many of the constitutive sports traumas of my adolescence have involved Lakers’ victories. In the past twelve years, they have won five championships, and, if I’m feeling really charitable in my assessment, they only deserved to win one. In 2000, they crushed the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Finals, but they only made it to the Finals in the first place because the Portland Trailblazers decided to collapse in the fourth quarter of Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, improbably surrendering a fifteen-point lead. Then, after a 2001 season in which they were unquestionably the best team in sports, the team was back to capitalizing on the cutting injustice that arbitrates what Joseph
Conrad referred to as “our beclouded and tempestuous existence.” I recall watching the 2002 Western Conference Finals in horror as the Lakers eked out a suspicious 7-game victory against the Sacramento Kings—which, by the way, was the coolest team of the early 2000s. In that series, not only were the Lakers assisted by some remarkable caprice of fate (a long rebound intended to run out the clock and ensure a Kings victory in Game 4 just happened to roll directly to Robert “Big Shot Rob” Horry for a game-winning three pointer as time expired), they were also helped out by the corruption and malfeasance of the NBA, as apparently Game 6 was fixed by the league to ensure a seventh game. One would think that this seething resentment would have been at least tempered by the 2004 Pistons and the 2008 Celtics, both of whom embarrassed the Lakers in the Finals. However, the Lakers never give you the proper window of time to celebrate their misfortune. Instead they proceeded to win back-to-back championships, both of which were most likely made possible by the absence of crucial Celtics players. Again, of course. This past Sunday, the Lakers won another game that they would have lost had there been even the smallest measure of justice to the world. Just before halftime of a regular season game with very little at stake, Lakers forward Metta World Peace, the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest, was ejected after unapologetically throwing a vicious and unquestionably dangerous elbow into the neck of Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden. I’m going to try to sidestep the obvious namerelated jokes about how hostile aggression like this is in some sense the fulfillment of Metta World Peace, and instead focus on how mad the whole episode made me. Harden was diagnosed with a concussion, and, meanwhile, the Laker fans, ostensibly bereft of any perspec-
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
tive or moral direction, cheered World Peace as he left the floor. If there was ever a case for karma to intervene in the affairs of professional sports, this was it. The Lakers should have been humiliated on their own court, and, for a while, it seemed as though that was going to happen. But then, of course, the Lakers came back from an 18-point deficit and ended up winning the game in double overtime. This wasn’t a matter of a contest being painfully decided by the breaks of the game, but rather of the game breaking you, of the ineradicable iniquity of “what just happened” trumping the redemptive assurance of “what ought be.” The assholes won. When I think long and hard about it, though, all those years spent cursing the cruel skies for giving the Lakers yet another championship have proved ultimately useful in facilitating the development of a somewhat durable emotional constitution. The Lakers may be my sports anathema, but they have taught me a thing or two about managing disappointment and moving on. It will likely always hurt to watch the Lakers win, but I have come to learn that that pain is survivable. Once you reconcile your emotions and recognize that these sorts of defeats are perfectly natural, the feeling of dejection is not quite so incapacitating. And as we spend time growing up, being able to deal with this brand of dissatisfaction is a very valuable skill. The truth of the matter is that things will not always go according to plan, and there will be times in life when you shake your hands in fury because whatever just happened was not what should have been. It is incredibly deflating to have our idealism go unrewarded. But knowing that these frustrations are not fatal can provide some relief and maybe even make our sense of suffering make sense. Sometimes, the Lakers win, and all you can do is to try to make peace with that.
April 26 , 2012
A look through the lens: This year in Vassar athletics
Juliana JacobHalpert/The Gorski/The Miscellany Miscellany News News
Jacob Gorski/The Miscellany News
Cassasdy Bergevin/The Miscellany News
Cassady Bergevin/The Miscellany News
Soccer captain Mrlik leads team to championship Three-year volleyball captain Bavosa notches 1000th kill ATHLETES continued from page 1 On the soccer pitch, Mrlik, a first-year captain, led the team to the best season in program history, while also racking up numerous individual accolades. Mrlik was named to the Liberty League First Team, National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division III All-East Second Team and to the Division III Men’s Scholar All-East Region Team. A defender, Mrlik finished second on the team and third in the Liberty League with six assists. Mrlik also played nearly every minute of every game, leaving the field in just four games, none of which were decided by fewer than three goals. Despite his numerous personal accomplishments, Mrlik takes greater pride in the achievements of the team. He cites his best memory from the past year as helping the men’s soccer team bring home its first Liberty League Championship. “Our goal at the beginning of the season was to make the Liberty League playoffs something Vassar soccer had never done,” he explained. In the 85th minute of the title game against Rochester Institute of Technology, Mrlik rose over a triple team to meet a cross from co-Captain Ross Macklin ’12, scoring the game-winning goal in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory. Still, despite the achievement, Mrlik had a different fondest memory. “My favorite moment of the year was when [Juliano Pereira ’14] scored an awesome opening goal of the Liberty League championship on a volley. From that moment on, I really believed that that was our game to win.” Following the Liberty League Championship,
Vassar faced Dickinson College in the first round of the NCAA tournament, a game in which Mrlik’s two sporting worlds collided, providing another warm recollection. “When the soccer team went down to the NCAA tournament, the baseball team came to support us, which was a great feeling and shows the camaraderie amongst Vassar athletes.” A relief pitcher, Mrlik currently leads the team with a 3-1 record, a 1.99 ERA and one save. He is also tied for the team lead with 12 appearances. Although in the midst of a stellar season on the mound, Mrlik credits his accomplishments to those around him. “When I came to Vassar I was completely unpolished as a pitcher. We have terrific coaches who, with the other pitchers, especially Captain John MacGregor [’12], have helped me to improve my pitching mechanics,” he said. With Mrlik as one of the team’s key relievers, the baseball team is seeking to replicate Mrlik’s other squad’s performance by qualifying for the Liberty League playoffs. Currently 7-11, the team is in sixth place, just one game out of a playoff spot, with a four-game series looming against fourth place Clarkson University. Mrlik explained, “Right now we’re still in the playoff hunt and we’re really fighting strong to secure that final playoff spot.” Although he spends most of the year competing with two different teams, Mrlik was unable to choose between the squads. He explained, “I love both the teams,” before continuing, “I feel very fortunate to end one season in the fall and go to a new season in the spring, instead of having to wait a full year to get back into competition.”
Above: The results from the first annual Miscellany News Athlete of the Year poll. The poll was posted on the Miscellany News website from Tuesday, April 17 until Sunday, April 22. All candidates receiving one percent of the vote or less are combined in the “other” category. Two athletes are excluded from the final tally because their vote totals were artificially inflated.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE