The Miscellany News Since 1866 | miscellanynews.com
September 30, 2010
Volume CXLIV | Issue 4
Students ready for midterm elections
Freshmen pick Moore for Council
66.5 percent of 2014 cast ballots in fall freshman elections Joseph Rearick Guest Reporter
Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
ozens of anxious candidates and concerned onlookers gathered in the Retreat Monday night, nervously awaiting the announcement of the results of the freshman Vassar Student Association (VSA) elections. When VSA Vice President for Operations and Elections co-Chair Ruby Cramer ’12 and Terrace Apartments President and Elections co-Chair Samantha Allen ’11 finally stepped forward to reveal the winners, their announcements were met with cries of excitement from winners and small sighs from the disappointed from those who were not elected. In an election for which 66.5 percent of the freshmen class voted, Michael Moore ’14 emerged victorious as the class president from among eight other candidates. After a week’s worth of extensive campaigning, both through humorous posters and large stretches of door-to-door canvassing, Moore was able to martial the majority of the vote in a race that boasted eight candidates, defeating his runnerup Willow Thompson by 69 votes. “When I initially saw there were eight candidates, a wall hit me,” said Moore just minutes after learning he would serve as class president. “But See ELECTIONS on page 4
Dev Darshan Kaur Khalsa ’11 works on call for Vassar College Emergency Medical Services. EMS has had to respond to an increasing number of alcohol-related issues this year.
s Nov. 2 quickly approaches, Vassar students are beginning to once again feel the familiar grip of election fever that visits the campus every fall. This election season, Vassar students will be able to participate in a number of elections, including the New York State Senate, New York State Assembly, Governor, House of Representatives and the Senate. While for many students the weeks leading up to the election will be business as usual, a select few will be actively supporting their favorite candidates both on campus and in the surrounding community. “We are supporting Didi Barrette for New York State Senate, Alyssa Kogon for New York State Assembly and, of course, John Hall for Congress, and we’ll be working with those campaigns between now and
the election to get the word out,” said Meghan Levine ’12, Vice President for Voter and Community Outreach for the Vassar Democrats. Given that the polls are predicting huge losses for Democrats in the House of Representatives, one of their main focuses will be Hall’s congressional race. “We are focusing on John Hall’s campaign against Republican challenger, Nan Hayworth,” wrote Democrats Secretary Thomas Enering ’12. “Traditionally, our district has voted Republican, but we have elected Hall, a progressive Democrat, in the last two House elections.” “In such a closely contested election, I think that it’s important for Vassar students to support a Congressman who has refused to compromise his principles in the face of mounting populist anger against the See MIDTERM on page 6
Rise in EMS calls leads Volcker discusses to concern over drinking state of US economy Caitlin Clevenger
dents of alcohol overdose are on the rise. On Sept. 23, Dean of the College Christopher Roellke sent an e-mail to all students urging them to observe safe drinking behavior. His message came in response to the weekend of Sept. 18 and 19 in which five students required medical attention and two were due to excessive alcohol consumption. See EMS on page 4
ccording to a national study, 31 percent of college students engage in behavior that could be classified as alcohol abuse. Though Vassar’s results from the Spring 2010 National College Health Assessment indicate that only 20 percent of Vassar students have problematic drinking behaviors, inci-
Courtesy of the Office of Communications
Eminent bassist Rufus Reid to play Connor O’Neill Guest Reporter
Courtesy of Forbassplayersolny.com
Noted jazz mudician Rufus Reid will perform on campus on Oct. 2, after running worshops for student musicians
Inside this issue
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
Is Twitter taking over the Vassar campus?
he penultimate track from Rufus Reid’s latest album, Out Front, begins with the slow-moving hum of acoustic bass. The noise is melodic, rife with intricate, warbling notes, ebbing and flowing in a lush, unhurried movement up and down the neck. The first 90 seconds of “If You Could See Me Now,” is a wonderful display not only of Reid’s indisputable talent but also of his keen attention for melody. Reid will bring this knack for euphony to campus when he performs with his quintet, featuring Sumi Tonooka (piano), Tim Horner (drums), Freddie Hendricks (trumpet/flugelhorn) and Rich Perry (saxophone) on Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. in the Skinner Hall of Music. Reid, who comes to campus through the DickinsonKayden fund for music pro-
gramming, joins a list of jazz greats to perform at Vassar, which includes the likes of Ahmad Jamal, Jim Hall and Ron Carter. Reid is no stranger to such company, having been a staple of mainstream jazz for over 40 years. He has played with Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans, Dizzie Gillespie and scores of other heavy hitters in the jazz world. Renowned for his ability to lay down complex yet accessible melodies, Reid has risen to the highest echelon of bassists, consistently placed in the top five currently recording and performing. James Osborn, the founder and director of the Vassar College Jazz Ensemble, describes the veteran’s style as one that is as full as can be. “He provides the harmonic foundation all while capturing the song’s time and voicing the chord changes,” he said. “With a See JAZZ on page 15
A look at image of LGBTQ life at Vassar
Former Chair of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker, above, spoke on campus on Tuesday, Sept. 28, regarding the current state of the US eceonomy. Aashim Usgaonkar
hairman of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and former Chairman of the Board of the U.S. Federal Reserve Paul Volcker spoke on the second floor of the Students’ Building on Tuesday, Sept. 28. Volcker sat in conversation with Associate Professor of Economics Robert Rebelein, who asked Volcker questions that he solicited from economics faculty and students. “Mr. Volcker has had some pretty interesting jobs and has been in
some interesting places,” said Rebelein who “[suspects] that many of the faculty and students will be interested in what he has to say, as they are the ones who’ll be affected” by the economics topics discussed. President of the College Catharine Bond Hill started the event by welcoming all the attendees. She thanked Vassar Trustee Barbara Vogelstein ’76 and her husband John Vogelstein for arranging Volcker’s visit. Hill then called on stage U.S. Department of Treasury’s See VOLCKER on page 3
Phocus guides students’ photography
The Miscellany News
September 30, 2010
Editor in Chief Molly Turpin Senior Editors Angela Aiuto Matthew Brock
Contributing Editor Lillian Reuman Lila Teeters
Katie De Heras/The Miscellany News
Photo of the Week: Graham Mayshark on guitar, Jesse Greenberg on drums and Evan Becker on bass perform at Lakefest on Sunday, Sept. 26.
Miscellany News Staff Editorial
Proposed policy on relationship abuse shows support for victims, leads the way for colleges R
elationship abuse, whether in the form of emotional, verbal, physical or sexual violence, occurs more frequently than one might think. Two out of five college students have been victims of abuse at the hands of a romantic partner, friend or peer according to a 2008 survey by the University of Philadelphia. When the pool was limited to women, the numbers were one out of every two. Vassar College is no exception to the trend: According to the American College Health Association, incidence on campus is only just below the national average. This may be a cut below the norm, but in the words of Director of Health Education Renee Pabst at the Vassar Student Association (VSA) Council meeting Sept. 19, “It’s still happening too much.” To address the issue, the VSA Council and the Sexual Assault Violence Prevention Committee (SAVP) have recently taken the initiative to make relationship abuse a punishable offense that would become official policy under College regulations. If the policy is implemented, Vassar will be the first institution among its peers to have a specific policy addressing relationship abuse. The Miscellany News supports the proposed relationship abuse policy, and commends the VSA and SAVP for taking the first steps in establishing regulation that addresses an extremely serious and alarming problem. The policy is an important means of acknowledging relationship abuse as a unique, complex and dangerous form of violence. The charge is also an opportunity for Vassar to set a standard for its peers by developing the first policy to effectively address relationship abuse. Although cases of abuse have hitherto
been addressed by College Regulations, the manner in which the cases have been treated fails to pinpoint the underlying issue of relationship abuse. Under current College regulations, incidences that could be considered relationship abuse are instead subject to policies related to assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. These broader categories do not sufficiently isolate the specific problem of relationship abuse, and the policies used are therefore less effective in addressing the incident. By developing a policy that focuses specifically on relationship abuse, Vassar would send a strong message that it recognizes the importance of addressing relationship abuse itself as an issue, not just as a subcategory of misconduct. This policy would also emphasize our recognition, as a community, that we believe that relationship abuse is a harmful trend regardless of how often it occurs and that will not be tolerated on campus, in no uncertain official terms. The policy development is also important because isolating relationship abuse from broader categorizations has never been done; no other peer institutions have such specific regulations. The impetus is on us to design a policy from scratch that effectively defines “relationship abuse” and creates consequences. However, the associated complications and lack of precedence will make this no easy task. For example, it is difficult to define “relationship abuse” due to the wide variety of actions that could constitute such misconduct. Abuse is not just physical, but also emotional, verbal and sexual. Defining relationship abuse is further complicated by its fluctuating nature: Destructive relationships can go
through healthy, non-abusive periods, lending the appearance of a non-abusive relationship. Creating a definition is also problematic due to the variety of relationships that can be abusive. Friends, family and peers can be perpetrators of relationship abuse, not just intimate partners. These aspects of relationship abuse would complicate the enforcement of a specific regulation. Many cases remain hidden and are never reported, and if abuse-specific policy is poorly-worded, the cases that do get addressed could be treated ineffectively. The Miscellany News therefore strongly encourages the VSA and SAVP to approach the development of the relationship abuse charge with much diligence, discussion and research. It is important that we send the message that the College officially acknowledges relationship abuse and its significance, but if the policy is poorly-worded then our efforts would be for naught. The initial steps taken on the part of the VSA and SAVP indicate that they are indeed taking great care in the policy’s framing. We are confident that if the councils continue to approach the issue meticulously, they will be successful in creating effective regulations. The opportunity to create the first effective policy regarding relationship abuse amongst our peers is an exciting opportunity: If successful, the policy will not only diminish a dangerous trend of violence, but also set an impressive standard for other colleges to follow.
—The Staff Editorial reflects the opinion of at least two-thirds of the 18-member Miscellany News Editorial Board.
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News Caitlin Clevenger Aashim Usgaonkar Features Mitchell Gilburne Opinions Joshua Rosen Juan Thompson Humor & Satire Alanna Okun Arts Erik Lorenzsonn Sports Andy Marmer Design Eric Estes Copy Gretchen Maslin Photography Juliana Halpert Online Carrie Hojnicki Social Media Marie Dugo
Assistant Features Matthew Bock Danielle Gensburg Assistant Arts Thea Ballard Rachael Borné Assistant Copy Sammy Creath Crossword Editor Jonathan Garfinkel Columnists Michael Mestitz Nik Trkulja Photographer Katie De Heras
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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.
September 30, 2010
Arlington Street Fair draws wide audience Dave Rosenkranz Guest Reporter
Dana Harris/The Miscellany News
n Saturday, Sept. 25, several thousand Poughkeepsie and Vassar College residents came together for the eleventh annual Arlington Street Fair. Hosted by Vassar College, the Vassar Student Association (VSA), the Arlington Business Improvement District (BID) and Clear Channel Radio of the Hudson Valley, the event sported roughly one hundred vendors from local Poughkeepsie and Arlington businesses. The live entertainment was “excellent” according to several dozen families. Throughout the day, a capella groups such as the Vassar Devils, Matthew’s Minstrels and Air Capella sang alongside Vassar College’s own circus arts group, the Barefoot Monkeys. Even the Aikido club came out to showcase their martial arts prowess in front of the applauding crowd. The highlight of the day, however, came when students from the Arlington Middle School brought their music to the stage. At the fair, kids of all ages could find a good time. Carnival rides on one end of Raymond Avenue and bouncy castles on the other were responsible for the endless shrieks of joy that filled the air throughout the six-hour event. Parents found this to be a great time to sit in the shade and grab a break from the hot sun or enjoy some of the roast pig being cooked, whole, at the corner of Campus Drive. Saturday’s 80-degree weather proved to be the perfect environment for the second annual New York State Chili cook-off. Over a dozen chili chefs came out to impress the public with their sweet and spicy concoctions. For a fee that benefitted Vassar’s Community Works campaign, fairgoers could taste all the competing chili’s in the “Chililand” section of the fair. Ultimately, the decision of which chili would win came down to 1997 World Chili Champion Steve Falkowski who, as chief judge, chose David Schulman’s delicious recipe to move on to
Students and Poughkeepsie residents attend the eleventh annual Arlington Street Fair on Saturday, Sept. 25, which featured performances by Vassar ensembles and the New York State Chili Cook-off the international competition. Shulman, of Connecticut, along with the salsa and chili verde category winners Bob Myers and Marc Frechette, is eligible to compete at the World Chili Championships through October 1-3 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Beyond the chili, Raymond Avenue was packed tight with over 100 vendors selling everything from non-homogenized yogurt to artisan wood models. Local farms, businesses and merchants made an appearance to show off their products to members of the community that would not have otherwise known about them. “[The Arlington Fair] is a really great way for us to promote our business,” said Bob Rizzo of Hammond Dairy Farms. Much like the farmers market, the Arlington Fair brought locally made products to Vassar’s doorstep. Stephanie Paulo, a local
Former Reserve chairman suggests regulatory body VOLCKER continued from page 1 Under Secretary for Domestic Finance and Vassar alumnus Jeffrey Goldstein ’77 to introduce Volcker. Goldstein attributed three qualities to Volcker, with whom he has worked in the past. Starting with “the importance of mentoring,” Goldstein described how Volcker was “generous with his knowledge and time” when he worked with him in the past. Goldstein then went on to “the importance of integrity.” Finally, Goldstein emphasized “the importance of public service,” describing how Volcker’s “30 years of service have had a national and international scope.” He concluded, “His example has inspired thousands to give back to the community.” As Rebelein began his discussion, he first asked Volcker about the current financial crisis and specifically asked him to expand on the Volcker Rule, a method to prevent such a crisis from happening again. The Volcker Rule, a proposal to restrict commercial banks from making certain kinds of speculative investments that are not on behalf of their customers, is timely to him because he feels that “there are structural flaws in the [financial] system that need to be repaired.” Next, Volcker was asked about his thoughts on government bailouts for institutions that are deemed “too big to fail.” Volcker felt that because of the security of a bailout, financial institutions would not be afraid to engage in risky behavior. “My little proposal is to insist upon the importance of some separation— psychologically as well as otherwise—between commercial banks and other financial institutions” to prevent risky action on the part of the banks. Volcker would like to implement these restrictions in order to “instate a sense of discipline” in banks that have been “speculating…on [his] dime.” Next, Volcker spoke about preventing systemic risk, or risk posed to the entire financial
system. He argued that the Federal Deposit Insurance Cooperation (FDIC) is not currently equipped to prevent this kind of risk, as it mostly deals with idiosyncratic risks, which are more isolated in nature. Volcker noted how financial tools burgeoned unhealthily and “snuck up on us.” He expressed the desire for an “oversight body that will oversee the entire financial market” and that “doesn’t have blinkers on” so that it can look at various sectors of the financial market as they relate to one another, and not individually. Rebelein next noted the growth of the U.S. budget deficit, and asked Volcker what effects this deficit can have on the economy. Volcker thought this was “a big problem and [there is] nothing we can do about it right away,” and wondered “Why should the great United States be dependent upon borrowing from China or Thailand…to finance its own budget deficit? That’s not normal.” To solve this problem of dependency on other countries, Volcker argued that “the administration should take the lead, [and] recognize the problem,” which could be solved in a piecemeal fashion “without excruciating difficulties.” Finally, Volcker looked to the future and tried to address some of the concerns current Vassar student have about their employment prospects after graduating. Volcker jokingly commented that current freshmen may have an easier time finding a job, but concluded that the economy will improve once consumption, which is “the big driver in the economy,” and exportation increase. Concluding the event, an audience member asked Volcker for his thoughts about President Barack Obama’s policy of focusing a part of his tenure on healthcare reform as opposed to the creation of jobs. Volcker responded by saying that that decision is not a simple trade-off, and that Obama “has his own priorities as president.”
Poughkeepsie resident, commented on the notable, positive financial boost that the fair brings to local businesses by saying that the Arlington Fair is “one of the best things that happens here.” Several merchants agreed that Vassar College represents a substantial market and made every attempt to impress the passing students. Much like the upcoming “Meet me in Poughkeepsie” event, the Arlington Street Fair was a big push by the VSA and the Arlington BID to reintegrate the Vassar community with greater Poughkeepsie. Despite the intense heat, hundreds of Vassar students left campus to flood the streets of Arlington. At the end of the day, one elderly fair-goer, ecstatic over the youthful crowd, said that “It’s really nice to see so many young faces come back to [Poughkeepsie].”
News Briefs VSA creates Community Fund At the Vassar Student Association (VSA) Council meeting on Sunday, Sept. 26, VSA Vice President for Finance Travis Edwards ’12 announced that two of the VSA’s current funds would merge to create a single Community Fund for events on- and off-campus that include the community beyond Vassar. The two funds to be merged are the Hudson Valley Fund and the Hosting Fund; the Community Fund that will result from the merging of these will contain $10,000 as of now, but this value is subject to change as the year goes on. —Caitlin Clevenger, News editor
VSA launches blog VSA Today VSA President Mat Leonard ’11 announced the creation of a VSA blog on Wednesday. The blog, which Leonard listed as one of his goals upon being elected, will feature updates from all the members of the VSA Executive Board on their projects. —CC
Forman to lecture on racial apathy On Tuesday, Oct. 5, sociologist and Vassar alumnus Tyrone Forman ’92, will be presenting a lecture which speaks to this issue, entitled “Is America Post Racial? Racial Apathy in the Age of Obama.” The lecture is being presented as a collaborative effort between the Sociology Department, the American Culture Department and the Africana Studies Department and will be held at 6 p.m. in Taylor Hall room 203. Forman, an associate professor of sociology at Emory University, has received degrees from Vassar College, Northwestern University and the University of Michigan, where he received his Ph.D. in sociology. In his statement of the research that will inform his lecture, Forman writes, “it is intended to make conceptual and methodological contributions to our understanding of the contemporary racial terrain and refine our appreciation of the role that race plays, as one dimension of the social structure, in shaping individual functioning.” —Chelsea Peterson-Salahuddin, Guest Reporter
This Week in Higher Ed by Aashim Usgaonkar, news editor Obama addresses student journalists about importance of higher education, voting Selected student-journalists at colleges and universities participated in a conference with President of the United States Barack Obama this past Monday, Sept. 27. Obama started the conversation by commenting on the importance of a college education. “Our classrooms, our professors, our administrators, our students— you guys are going to drive the future success of the United States,” he said, adding, “The single most important step we can take is to make sure that every young person gets the best education possible, because countries that out-educate us today are going to out-compete us tomorrow.” Obama went on to address his goal of making higher education more financially accessible to the country; to meet this end, the current administration has “changed the way federal student loans are administered. Instead of handing over $60 billion in unwarranted subsidies to big banks that were essentially getting this money even though the loans were guaranteed by the federal government, we’re redirecting that money so that it goes directly to students,” reported Obama. After a half-hour, he concluded by reminding the listeners of the importance of student voting in the upcoming midterm elections.
Harvard students and alumni/ae protest creation of research fund Protests broke out at Harvard University on Saturday, Sept. 25 outside a building in which the editor of The New Republic Martin Peretz’s name was being lent to a research fund of $650,000. The protest was caused by recent comments made by Peretz, in which he asserted that “Mus-
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
lim life is cheap and that followers of Islam should not be protected by the First Amendment,” reports Salon magazine. Although Peretz has apologized for himself, certain Harvard students and alumnae/i have questioned the integrity of his apology. While the University has not made a statement about the comments, it did not respond to demands to not create the fund in Peretz’s name, causing the protesters to yell, “Harvard, Harvard shame on you, honoring a racist fool.”
UC Berkeley plans to cut 200 jobs, save $20 million University of California (UC) Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced in a letter to his employees sent out on Tuesday, Sept. 21, that the University plans to eliminate 200 jobs to save $20 million. “We cannot continue with our current administrative structures and operations and be the best run public university in the country,” wrote Birgeneau in his letter, explaining that the jobs will be eliminated through “a combination of attrition, retirements, voluntary separations and layoffs” to take place early January. While cutting the positions may save the University money by reducing compensation expenditures, “students are suffering and getting fewer resources, from library hours to counseling, because the University has already lost lots of positions,” said President of UC Berkeley’s Professional and Technical Employees union Tanya Smith. Birgeneau addressed this in his letter, concluding, “Becoming operationally excellent will decrease our administrative costs and allow us to invest as much of our resources as possible in teaching and research and to support our faculty and students as effectively as possible.”
September 30, 2010
Caffeinated, alcoholic beverages partially blamed EMS continued from page 1 The weekend’s rash of alcohol-related emergencies were not isolated incidents, but, according to Roellke, are indicative of a pattern of irresponsible drinking this semester. According to Roellke’s e-mail, “during the first three weeks of our academic year, the Arlington Fire District’s emergency response team has been dispatched more than 20 times to respond to alcohol-related emergencies”. When a student calls x7333, the extension for Vassar’s Campus Response Center, Vassar College Emergency Medical Services (VCEMS) is usually the first responder when a student requires medical attention, with an average arrival time of four minutes after the call has been placed. About half of all calls that VCEMS responds to are alcohol-related. Since 2005 Vassar has had a “Good Samaritan” policy that states that “no student seeking medical treatment for his or her alcohol or drug overdose, or assisting another student in obtaining such medical treatment will be subject to College discipline for the sole violation of using alcohol or drugs or of providing alcohol or drugs.” This policy can encourage students to seek medical attention early enough to avoid a serious medical issue. According to an e-mailed statement from VCEMS Captain Samuel Black ’12, without it, “students would have to make the decision between getting in trouble and getting help for themselves or their friend, [and] that’s not a situation we ever want a student to have to worry about.” Between Aug. 24, when VCEMS began operating for this academic year, and Sept. 26, VCEMS responded to 55 emergency calls, a 41 percent increase over the 39 calls EMS had responded to at that point in 2009. The number of calls that VCEMS receives has been steadily increasing in recent years. In 2002, the earliest year for which statistics are available, VCEMS responded to just 56 calls over the entire fall semester; this year they have nearly reached that total in just a month. Not only have the number of calls increased, the calls have seen an increase in severity. Vassar has seen a 73 percent increase
from this point in 2009 in the number of patients sent to the hospital for alcohol overdoses. VCEMS has also seen a marked increase this year in the number of unconscious patients they encounter. “While we cannot pinpoint a cause for this observed increase in severity, over the past year we have noticed a trend towards increased drinking of hard alcoholic beverages,” Black wrote in an e-mailed statement. Hard alcoholic drinks, such as vodka, rum or tequila, can have a 40 percent or higher alcohol content, intoxicating drinkers far more efficiently than beer, which has about a five percent alcohol content. Hard alcohol’s link to alcohol poisoning has prompted Colby College, Bowdoin College and Bates College to ban hard alcohol on their campuses. Students, even those of legal drinking age, are not permitted to have possession of beverages with a 40 percent or higher alcohol content. Black also points out as a cause for the higher numbers of unconscious students that “this year there seems to be an increase in the consumption of alcoholic beverages containing caffeine.” Caffeine in an alcoholic beverage can mask the effects of alcohol, distorting the drinker’s perception of how intoxicated he or she actually is. Drinks such as Four Loko, a caffeinated malt beverage, have been prevalent at Vassar and on college campuses throughout the nation. Containing four standard drinks at around $2.50 a can, Four Loko is cheaper than its alcoholic equivalent in four $1 beers. The drinks’ popularity has also brought controversy. Lawsuits and investigations from the Food and Drug Administration into the health hazards of mixing alcohol and caffeine have prompted many manufacturers of alcoholic energy drinks to discontinue product lines or remove the addition of caffeine to their drinks, as has been the case with Sparks, one of the first alcoholic energy drinks on the market. New York Senator Charles Schumer urged the Federal Trade Commission in July to investigate whether alcoholic energy drinks market to underage drinkers. Drinks like Four Loko are particularly attractive
to young drinkers, with sweet flavors like fruit punch or lemonade that mask the taste of alcohol and bright cans that resemble nonalcoholic energy drinks, sometimes enough to fool police or security officers. In the Vassar Student Association (VSA) Council meeting on Sept. 26, Council members discussed ways of encouraging responsible drinking behavior from within the student body, responding not only to health issues but also to property damage in dormitories that tends to be related to alcohol consumption and has increased accordingly. Raymond House President Lita Sacks ’12 wrote in an e-mailed statement that Raymond has “had two window screens punched out, a picture drawn on the wall in lipstick and a hall phone ripped out of the wall. Raymond normally experiences this much damage and vandalism over the course of the year. This all happened in one night.” She attributes this wilder behavior to the presence of Four Loko, saying of its drinkers, “People don’t realize the high alcohol content of the drink. Even though they feel sober, they are already well on their way to being drunk.” Some of the blame may also be placed on a self-propagating binge drinking culture at Vassar, in which students feel that because their peers drink heavily, they too should consume large quantities of alcohol. Recommendations discussed in the VSA Council meeting included an increase in the availability and quality of alternative programming, to which President of Strong House Sophie Wasserman ’13 responded, “I don’t like that its called alternative,” pointing out that this phrasing reinforces the idea that alcohol-related activities are the norm. House presidents considered holding events on weekend nights designed to replace pregaming, or drinking in preparation for a party. A focus of discussion was on preventing first-year students from being indoctrinated into the belief that all Vassar students do and should drink alcohol heavily and often. The Office of Health Education is responsible for providing community and individual
education on alcohol issues among other wellness concerns and for running alternative programming during times where students are at high-risk for drinking large amounts of alcohol. It publishes Safer Drinking Guidelines that warn students that “energy drinks mixed with alcohol will mask the depressive effects until it is too late and lead to overdose.” Director of Health Education Renee Pabst believes that increases in drinking, especially among first-year students are because of the “college effect,” in which freshmen who may have abstained from alcohol in high school begin to drink, often heavily, at college. Programs such as AlcoholEdu, a required online alcohol orientation for freshmen, are designed to lower the college effect, and the Office of Health Education will soon be implementing a bystander intervention program that will teach students how to act in situations when their peers engage in dangerous drinking activities. “We are by no means naïve,” writes Pabst. “We know that college students will choose to drink but it is the risk of drinking we want to lower.” Both VSA Council and College administrators are working to prepare for Halloween, given the pattern of heavy drinking. On Halloween of 2009, VCEMS was dispatched 20 times and five students were hospitalized. This was the highest amount of calls for a single night since the activation of VCEMS. If the increase in calls on regular weekends this fall translates into an increase in calls on Halloween, Vassar students requiring medical attention will present a significant strain on both VCEMS and the Arlington Fire District emergency response team. Roellke wrote that the College is considering having an ambulance stationed on campus on Halloween. Roellke noted that this measure “is designed to recognize the burden we place on our Arlington Fire District.” Students and administration will continue to work together to alleviate the trend of high risk drinking at Vassar. According to Pabst, “this is a community issue and it will take all of us to address it and work to change the culture.”
Some question familiarity with candidates prior to vote ELECTIONS continued from page 1 you do as much as you can and see what happens.” As evidenced by his Candidate’s Statement, Moore’s candidacy focused extensively on methods of improving communication among class constituents, an issue that proved integral both to last week’s candidate debate and his candidate statement, published on the VSA website. “I plan to streamline the way that the freshman representatives stay in contact with our class constituency,” his statement reads, “including quick online polls sent through V-Mail and an active Facebook group. And of course, nothing beats consistent face-toface discussions.” He hopes to implement the means for more consistent dialogue by encouraging all freshman elected VSA members, especially dorm representatives, to open lines of conversation and help him “broadcast [his] message of building relationships.” Jay Louik ’14, newly-elected as freshman representative for Raymond House, was enthusiastic about working with Moore on his projects, noting the importance of contact throughout the structural hierarchy of the freshman class’ elected officials. “[Moore’s] ideas sound pretty useful, because without good communication, we basically can’t do anything good,” he said. Moore respectfully acknowledged the talent and experience of his competitors. He specifically mentioned speaking to Angelica Periera ’14 and Emilia Petrarca ’14, two candidates whose statements mentioned their high school student government positions. “Both were very strong candidates whose platforms sat on high school experience and their qualifications,” said Moore, whose own statement noted his experience as “an active member of student council.” But he suggested the element that separated his campaign from other
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strong candidates was his willingness to “put [himself] out there.” Part of that process of proactively seeking votes, especially the door-to-door campaigning, was recommended by veteran VSA members, to whom he says he reached out at VSA meetings for advice. But his study of VSA’s past triumphs and failures did not stop with campaign tactics; Moore has amassed a surprising wealth of knowledge about the organization for a freshman. “I’m such a nerd: The first thing I did was read the VSA constitution,” he laughed, recalling how he wanted to run a substantive campaign “because you can’t just win on a popularity contest.” His resulting platform included a pledge to expand the individual participation of students in the green movement on campus, and to work with surrounding Poughkeepsie, which he feels needs help. His statement specifically challenged the school, saying, “Let’s not be the college that takes up all the ambulances for our drunken students, let’s be the college that changes the dynamic of a community.” Some candidates, however, were uncertain about the validity of an election among new classmates that hardly knew each other. Some voters felt that campaigning had not fully reached constituents and that voters were unfamiliar with their candidates. The presidential debate on Sept. 23 did not attract a large audience. Sam Brucker ’14, a freshman who voted in the class elections, said, “I couldn’t tell if it was my fault that I didn’t know almost any of the names on the ballot,” he said, also noting that he felt the candidate statements were “sort of vague and homogenous.” Hanna Wintz, also a freshman, actually opened her online ballot before deciding not to vote. “There were so many names I didn’t know, and I wasn’t going to read a million statements.”
September 30, 2010
Shifts in approach to LGBTQ recruiting Should Vassar embrace the Twitterverse?
Jared Saunders/The Miscellany News
ampus Climate Index”, a website that rates colleges’ LGBTQ campus life, gave Vassar 4.5 stars out of five in 2007. In specific categories, Vassar received five out of five stars for “LGBT student life” and “LGBT counseling and health.” The worst score, a 2.5 out of five, was for “LGBTQ recruitment and retention efforts.” This score may seem shocking due to Vassar’s healthy population of LGBTQ identifying students, but it may reflect the shifting recruitment priorities of the College. A college’s image, however, is much subtler than a rating, more complex than a number. “There’s no way to dissect how somebody develops a sense of place, but it’s some combination of the conversations you have with other people and what you’re learning from the College itself,” said Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs Jeff Kosmacher. “I would say it’s got to be evenly split, if not more reliant on what you’re hearing from other people, because any institution can say all sorts of great things about itself.” So where does Vassar’s LGBTQ-friendly image fit into this balance? Is it a reputation that the College seeks to actively promote, or is it dependent on word-of-mouth and student activism? What’s more, is Vassar’s LGBTQ image changing? In recent years some have ventured the opinion that Vassar is trying to distance itself from its reputation as an LGBTQ haven. Associate Professor of History and Director of Women’s Studies Lydia Murdoch ’92 said that students have come up to her expressing concern over things like the fact that Gays of Our Lives was not part of New Student Orientation this year—the reason for this was a scheduling error; it will probably return to the orientation schedule next year—or rumors that the All Campus Dining Center’s (ACDC) name was going to be changed due to an unfortunate slang term that could render the acronym ACDC irrevocably offensive, which after a correspondence with Maureen King proved to indeed be rumors and nothing more. “Little things like ACDC or Gays of Our Lives…get misinterpreted,” said Murdoch.
Students crowd into the Students’ Building for Gays of Our Lives, which was unable to take place during freshman orientation this year as it has in the past due to a scheduling conflict “But I think the reason they might be misinterpreted is because there is a shift in the overall crafting of Vassar’s image.” And what exactly is “Vassar’s image?” “We present the College as an inclusive place, where a student can feel free, as it states on the admissions website, to ‘Be Yourself,’” wrote Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid David Borus in an e-mailed statement. “I would guess that for some applicants, that applies to their sexual orientation, while for others it may be attractive because they are free here to express their academic, personal or artistic interests.” It seems, then, that the College is increasingly focused on creating a broad atmosphere of inclusiveness rather than focusing on particular groups. “If, as the Princeton Review says, Vassar is seen as a LGBTQ-friendly school, that is certainly OK with us, as we hope that the College is seen as a welcoming and friendly place for all students, whatever their personal back-
grounds, characteristics, preferences or orientation might be,” wrote Borus. That’s not enough for some, however. Vassar alumna and current coordinator of State University of New York Oneonta’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center Robin Neussbaum ’99 argues that LGBT-specific programs are necessary to cultivate a broad sense of inclusion. “I do think a good administration supports a broad spectrum of diversity…[but] it would serve them well to be actively working to create a campus that’s LGBT friendly.” Vassar’s Blegen House was one example of LGBTQ-specific programming whose absence Neussbaum laments. “On the one hand, getting a central location is a good thing, but… we had a space that was ours, that we could cook dinners in and have barbecues and have a TV and rooms…the loss of that was really disappointing.” “When they did create [the position of See LGBTQ on page 7
Pagan beliefs differ, share common ground Mary Huber
hen asked exactly what Paganism is, Jenny Nguyen ’14 of the Vassar Pagan Circle (VPC) sits in awkward silence, then says, “I don’t really know what Paganism is, but whenever I think about it I think of like a ritual circle and a fire.” Members of the VPC have only a slightly clearer understanding of what Paganism is. “That’s a question that no one can answer...The closest thing we can do is tell you what we aren’t,” Aaron Fagan ’11 laughs. Paganism is not Abrahamic [Judeochristian], and most branches are polytheistic. Some modern religions have aspects in common with Paganism, but they are not considered Pagan because they do not view themselves as such. A common theme in Paganism is an oppressed or largely extinguished viewpoint, such as Greco-Roman religion or Druidism, being revived in a modern context. As such, there is a tendency for Pagan or neo-Pagan religions to be ostracized from mainstream society and viewed as archaic. These are all the general facts that can be summed up about Paganism in general, as the numerous branches vary widely. For such a small group, Vassar’s Pagan Circle—or VPO, the O standing in for a pentacle, or star inscribed by a circle—represents a surprisingly diverse array of viewpoints. Erin Clarke ’11 and David March ’14 are two Wiccans with radically different opinions on almost every issue; Fagan follows a Celtic tradition dedicated to the goddess Brighid, and Lilu is an atheist who has joined nearly every religious group on campus while considering a correlate sequence in religious studies. The members’ personal experiences are often as different as the beliefs they hold. “I haven’t witnessed any of the persecution you hear of,” Faagan says in response to a ques-
tion as to whether they’ve ever experienced religious discrimination. On the other hand, Clarke quickly dissents: “Yeah, but you’re from California. I’m from Colorado, and if you’re a Pagan you tend to shut up about it there.” While all members of the group say that their parents support their chosen religion, most admit that their extended family might take issue over their faith. Vassar has been generally accepting, except for several incidents last year when someone repeatedly tore down and destroyed fliers advertising the VPO’s Beltane celebration. In addition to such hurdles, the members also struggle with students’ lack of knowledge about their group on campus. “People just don’t know we’re here,” Faagan points out. The VPO has found it difficult to attract new members or increase campus involvement through advertising. Says Clarke, “There’s also a great deal of misconception about us. A lot of people seem to think we worship Satan, which is untrue. For one, Satan is an Abrahamic construct, and we’re not Abrahamic.” At this past week’s meeting of the VPO, after a brief preliminary discussion of Paganism, the members discussed whether they ought to move the meeting outside, eventually deciding to walk to the library lawn. Mostly they discuss their spirituality and the different ways people throughout the ages have viewed God (or, in many cases, Gods). Most Pagan traditions understand gods as forces of nature. Some of those traditions subscribe to animism, where everything, including trees and rocks, are imbued with spirits. Others are more aligned with pantheism, where God is everything and everything is part of the divine. Within the VPC, March views gods as anthropomorphic deities while Clarke takes a more pantheistic view. Fagan seeks a middle ground, stating that divine entities can take
physical forms. Lilu, of course, doesn’t believe in God, but she does describe life as sacred and awe-inspiring. None of the members think their spiritual beliefs conflict with science or logic. “Logic is in itself a philosophical concept and just one way to approach the world … Just because it makes sense in Western culture doesn’t mean it’s right in all situations,” Clarke explains. “A scientific explanation doesn’t preclude a spiritual one,” Faagan insists, adding, “Science tells us the what and how, but not the why. That’s where religion and philosophy and spirituality come in.” March stresses the role intuition plays in these fields: “There are things I can observe and things I believe and that help make the world true,” he said. Not that Pagans hold fast to beliefs that have been categorically disproved. “We will alter the canon to fit the rules of reality rather than twist reality to fit the canon,” Clarke remarks, further emphasizing the flexibility and openness of the faith. In the VPC, all views have merit, and they welcome everyone to their meetings, whether or not they identify as Pagan. “You come to understand yourself through your own experience” Clarke explains. She also stresses that, “We were one of the first religions to say you can love who you want,” referring to Pagans’ acceptance of homosexuality. Pagans tend to emphasize harmony and respect for life rather than adherence to rules. “We are natural agents; we are meant to act a certain way,” says Clarke, “So we integrate into the natural environment rather than [exploit] it.” Fagan concurs: “We’re not above the system. Technology often leads us to forget that. Just because we can put a roof over our heads and throw water at fires we think we can control nature, but we can’t stop the Earth from quaking or the tides from coming in.”
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Social Media Editor
arning: This article exceeds 140 characters. You know you’ve heard of Twitter, so let’s just hash[tag] it out. First and foremost, students utilize it as a form of broadcast text messaging. Greg Shapiro ’12, tweeted why he embraces the movement: “It allows you to interact with people on campus who you don’t normally see/have class with/hangout with.” Student organizations are starting to use the platform to disseminate their message and organize a following. Perhaps the most revolutionary use of the medium on campus is its ability to have events “go live,” allowing users to actively tweet from events so that their followers can receive instantaneous updates as demonstrated at Vassar’s Fall Convocation earlier this month. Even Vassar College itself has officially joined the Twitterverse. The accounts “VassarNews” and “VassarInfo” blast events and headlines from the Info Site while Main Building’s account is operated by a student who tweets on behalf of its residents. While some accounts are active tweeters, other potentially useful venues remain dormant, such as the “VCCampusDining” account managed by Director of Marketing and Sustainability for Campus Dining Kenneth Oldehoff, which hasn’t been updated since April 27. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the student blogger in charge of the popular Mads Vassar Blog is known to tweet several times a day, linking to full blog posts and utilizing the power of Twitter as a broadcasting tool. The “anonymous” student blogger relied on Twitter last semester while his blog was on a temporary hiatus. The Miscellany News itself, as well as the Vassar Student Organization (VSA), both take advantage of Twitter as yet another means by which to interact with Vassar students. The 2010-2011 VSA Executive Board made transparency a goal for the year, and Vice President for Operations Ruby Cramer ’12 recognized social media as the perfect tool. Cramer also sees the account as an opportunity to promote any good publicity Vassar receives, noting, “There are so many fantastic things that members of the community are doing on a daily basis, and while news organizations on campus can only report objectively about Vassar news, Twitter gives the VSA the opportunity to get the word out about all of the world changing accomplishments going on at Vassar.” The College’s Twitter scene is definitely expanding, and it is encouraging to see Vassar’s students and organizations contributing to this development. In addition to Twitter’s usages are also its pitfalls. Any activity on Twitter is instantly transmitted to millions of users. Furthermore, there is no way to confirm that a Twitter user is exactly who they claim to be, a potential hazard that has even encroached on Vassar’s borders. This past summer, students were excited by the emergence of the news that Vassar administrators were proactively tweeting on a personal level. Accounts tied to college administrators whimsically joined the twitterverse, only to be hastily proven false. In hopes of regulating similar problems, Twitter offers “Account Verified” seals of approval, coded by a blue check mark symbol next to an account name that verifies that Twitter has recognized the veracity of this individual’s identity. Although trends are pointing to expanded usage of Twitter, the campus is a far cry from becoming entirely plugged in. Professor of English Amitava Kumar succinctly comments via his Twitter account: “Is there a Twitter culture at Vassar? It hasn’t announced itself to me.” As Twitter’s prominence in popular culture rises, Vassar can expect to see the social tool utilized in new ways. Though Vassar is certainly getting there, its Twitter presence is not nearly as emblematic of the campus as its Facebook and YouTube counterparts. It is likely that any tool that attempts to simplify the nuances of interaction and communication would be met with skepticism at an institution of higher learning, but the fact remains that as Twitter’s global potency continues to rise, Vassar will either have to jump on board or be left behind.
September 30, 2010
Transfer students welcomed alongside freshman class Danielle Gensburg
Assistant Features Editor
s Vassar opens its gates to each incoming class, among the stream of eager freshman are a few individuals who, despite their slightly different journeys, have ended up in the same pond. For the Fall 2010 semester, Vassar accepted eleven transfer, three exchange and five international students who have chosen to take their semester abroad at Vassar. Transfer students are entering the Vassar community with as little VassarCollege-specific experience as the freshman class, and yet they are treated as a separate entity. Is the transfer experience isolated enough to define one’s college life, or is it simply another facet of the orientation process? Vassar’s transfer students make up a small yet significant portion of the student perspective at Vassar College and as such it is important to provide them with the tools to thrive. Each transfer, upon arrival, is required to check in and attend an orientation meeting, at which they receive their orientation packets. Assistant Dean of Studies Diana Brown is in charge of spring and fall semester transfer students. As the leader, her job entails a number of duties, from contacting transfer students in advance of their arrival concerning information about how to register for classes, to reviewing transcripts sent from other institutions and evaluating transfer credit and completion of requirements. Additionally, Brown investigates the academic goals and interests of each transfer student in order to pair them with an advisor. The orientation packets—which include the freshman handbook, orientation schedule, a map of the campus, information on junior year abroad and fellowships, advising appointment information, degree requirements and an additional FAQ for transfer students sheet—equip transfer students with all
the essential information given to incoming freshman. At the orientation meeting, students are introduced to the Dean of Studies, class advisors, the Dean of Students and the Residential Life staff, all of whom, according to Brown, are there to “make students feel that their academic and personal needs are taken seriously. It provides them with a chance to engage from the beginning with the Dean of Studies office as a gateway to other resources on campus.” Brown stressed that student fellows are also present at the meeting in order to emphasize to transfers their integral role in the transition process. It would, therefore, appear that each student who decides to transfer to Vassar will be diligently attended to in terms of academic and social need. Transfer students are all either housed on the same floor or at least placed in the same residence hall. While such initiative promotes bonding between fellow transfers, some transfer students speculate that the arrangement might hinder their integration into the community. Although Brianna Markoff ‘11 found the transfer process to be essentially the same as that of the incoming freshman, she said, “Sometimes I wonder if the transfers would have been better off if we had lived in a quad dorm, instead of Cushing, and if we hadn’t all lived together in one place. If we’d been split up, on different floors or even in different dorms, we’d have still met each other during orientation, but would have also felt more like part of a network. Getting to know the other transfers right away was definitely important, but I wish we could have easily met other people too.” Some transfer students also questioned the academic aspects of transfer orientation. Tobian Banton ’12, who transferred from Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, said, “I think being transferred in, the administration assumes you know everything,
but you really have no idea. While they really make an effort to assist transfer students by introducing us to all these advisors and deans, it also makes the process complicated. There’s no concrete list on what you have completed in terms of credit and what you need to take,” Banton explained. He argued that transfer students should be better informed in terms of the number of credits they have fulfilled, what credits need to be fulfilled and which classes will fulfill those requirements. On the other hand, Banton raved about the student fellows assigned to both junior and sophomore transfer students “It’s nice to have a student fellow to talk to and explain things. I think the student fellow is really important. They reached out to us, sent us emails before we came. The student fellow is key,” she explained. Vassar’s student fellows and student fellow groups never seem to disappoint, acting in many students’ minds as the foundation of their social experience. Heather Cirmo ’13, who transferred from St. Lawrence University, agreed with Banton concerning the student fellows: “The student fellows are great. They’re really helpful since they’ve been there and know the whole process,” she said. Cirmo also expressed her overall satisfaction with the transfer process, stating, “They did a really good job of incorporating us into the campus and keeping the transfer students together. Everyone on campus is really friendly. You can usually go up to anyone, ask to sit at their table, and eat,” adding with a smile, “One day I ended up eating with the volleyball team.” Unanimously, all four transfer students, Freeman, Banton, Cirmo and Markoff, expressed their delight with Vassar’s academic environment and classroom experience, as well as the welcoming attitude of the student body. Freeman said, “The students here are very open minded, friendly and accepting of one
another and trying new things. I love Vassar so much.” Banton, who was used to the lecture hall style of teaching, stressed the academic side of things: “Every single one of my classes at Vassar is discussion-based. We sit in a circle. I’m used to a lecture hall, taking notes. This circular-based discussion class here is ideal for helping students to think and express their opinions. It’s much more interactive and definitely opens up the possibility of learning from one another,” she explained. Cirmo expresses great admiration for the professors on campus. She said, “It’s a much more academically challenging environment, while also being much more relaxed and comfortable due to the students. Vassar is accepting and not judgmental. Here you can be whatever you want. It’s encouraged.” Concerning what she finds to be the least attractive element of the school, Cirmo was hesitant in thinking of anything: “I wish I had an answer for you, but at the same time I’m glad I don’t,” she said. Markoff, who initially struggled to feel connected socially on campus, said, “I absolutely love Vassar now, and I’m so glad I made the switch, even though it was hard at first. I can tell you that the reason I never looked back, not even once, was because my classes were consistently incredible. Being at Vassar, I’ve been able to have the college experience I wanted to have, and become the person I hoped I would be.” The goal of the transfer orientation, according to Brown, is to help students make a comfortable academic transition to Vassar. While some transfer students recognize that orienting oneself to life at Vassar can be somewhat difficult despite the College’s orientation process, the academic environment and accepting student body facilitate this transition. It seems that for Vassar transfers, the College is all it claims to be.
Party lines at Vassar crossed over midterm candidates
Madeline Zappala/The Miscellany News
MIDTERM continued from page 1 stimulus package and healthcare reform,” he continued. According to Professor of Political Science Richard Born, “Hall is in serious trouble. He has a strong opponent in Nan Hayworth. She’s a moderate and a wealthy ophthalmologist who’s spending over $100,000 of her own money on her campaign.” In order for the Republican Party to take control of the House of Representatives, they will have to have a net gain of 39 seats in this election, and the battle for seats is especially relevant for Vassar students. Hall’s seat is “one of the 39 most vulnerable districts in the country, but not one of the most vulnerable [of those 39],” said Born. “If students want to get involved, that’s the cause.” The Vassar Democrats are currently planning to go out into Poughkeepsie to canvass for Hall on Oct. 2, Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, but their biggest event thus far was their voter registration drive, Voting at Vassar, in the College Center on Sept. 8. Over the course of a single afternoon, the Democrats succeeded in registering 65 voters on the spot, in addition to those who registered by mail using the forms that the Democrats distributed. “We wanted to raise consciousness among already registered voters and register new voters,” said Levine. Although the voting drive was open to all members of the community, Levine asserts that it was especially important to target students because “there’s a difference between youth turnout and the overall youth population.” Furthermore, “The voter registration process is daunting if no one explains the process … Especially because at Vassar it’s counterintuitive,” said Democrats Publicity Chair Sam Scarritt-Selman ’12, due to the fact
The Vassar Democrats meet in the College Center Multi-Purpose Room to discuss political issues as well as their plans to campaign in support of local democratic candidates before the national and local elections on Nov. 2. that Vassar students have to list their dormitory and room as opposed to their street address. To help encourage first-time voters’ confidence, the Democrats brought a member of the Board of Elections to their registration drive to answer any questions that students may have, and also offered demonstrations of the new optical scan voting machines that New York State will be introducing for the 2010 elections. Of course, after talking about student voting the discussion quickly turned to last year’s election fiasco in which the Republican Party filed an injunction to stop students from voting on the grounds that they would
switch dormitories without filing for a change of address with the board of elections. “Last year so many Vassar students were intimidated by angry, old white Republicans who didn’t want students to vote,” said Democrats Treasurer Joseph Hoffheimer ’11. “I went down and watched how students were harassed by a line of Republicans,” said Democrats Vice President for On-Campus Activities Theresa Dernbach ’12. The Democrats are hopeful that by increasing student confidence through events such as Voting at Vassar, they will be able to increase student confidence so that students would be better able to handle Re-
publican challengers. Across the political aisle, the Moderate, Independent and Conservative Alliance (MICA) is oddly silent. Despite tabling extensively for Senator John McCain during the 2008 presidential elections they have yet to take any formal action in support of any of this year’s Republican candidates. The main reason for this silence is the quality of this year’s Republican candidates, including Republican nominee for governor Carl Paladino, who is running against State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. “I think that MICA’s general members are less than thrilled by the nomination of Carl Paladino,” said
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MICA President Jeremy Bright ’11. “We disagree with his personal conduct as well as several of his policies, including his dogmatic opposition of the Park51 complex.” The personal conduct Bright references includes several scandals over allegedly racist and sexist e-mails that Paladino has sent out. Born had harsher words for Paladino: “He’s a crackpot, but he’s wealthy and he’s feeding on anger.” Born was particularly critical of Paladino’s campaign, which thus far has centered on insulting Cuomo’s masculinity. “Paladino’s waging a campaign that by normal standards would be laughed at,” he said. “Cuomo doesn’t know how to respond. If he attacks Paladino he’ll be giving him more publicity, but if he tries to stay above it then his opponent can define him before he can define himself.” Bright is particularly concerned with the overall trend in the Republican Party in which party favorites are defeated by Tea Party outsiders. “I expect that certain Tea Party successes in the primary will have the unintentional but unfortunate consequence of losing key races that could have otherwise been of tremendous benefit to the Republican Party and the conservative movement in the November election.” However, Born contends that the New York gubernatorial race is not 100 percent secure, especially in light of recent poll results that place Paladino a mere six points behind Cuomo. “It could be that Cuomo’s a bust,” said Born. “There’s an idea that [Cuomo] is an empty suit … There’s the idea that he’s a dim bulb.” That said, Born believes that “If Democrats get involved it might make a difference.”
September 30, 2010
No doubt, this dessert is bananas. With ice cream. Mitchell Gilburne Features Editor
Bananas a la Mode Serves 2-4 depending on appetite and proximity to finals week »» 2 large bananas »» A hefty portion of butter. If you’re not sure how much to use, consult your imagination, your nutritionist or just fill up a quarter of one of those cups that are meant for waffle batter. »» A smattering of cinnamon. Again, this isn’t science, but it is delicious! Use however much cinnamon you desire. »» A small bottle of honey. You won’t be using it all, but you will want to have the little plastic bear on hand. He can be snatched from the waffle niche, or from the coffee station. »» A friend. This recipe works best as a group activity!
Mitchell Gilburne/The Miscellany News
ith the mysterious disappearance of the frozen yogurt machine still gnawing at the stomachs of Vassar students, dining at the All Campus Dining Center (ACDC) has taken on a certain pallor. No longer is the end of every meal punctuated by a sweet swirl of vanilla, chocolate or both if you’re daring, and I for one have found that, despite the good this change has done for my waistline, I miss dessert at ACDC as I had grown to love it. In light of these recent developments, I’m sure you can imagine my delight this past Monday when my entrance into the bountiful buffet of the ACDC was made all the more magical by the inclusion of a temporary, but appreciated, ice cream station. While the general selection of foodstuffs can range from simply adequate to surprisingly satisfying, the food at the ACDC does occasionally lack that soul-warming depth of flavor that hugs your tummy and tells your brain that everything is going to be okay even if you didn’t study for your Latin quiz. The now rare inclusion of my favorite frozen confection at the Vassar College feeding lot was all the encouragement I needed to make my favorite comfort food that I simply and lovingly refer to as “Bananas” (even better à la mode!). “Bananas” is a modest dish with a flavor that slides down your throat and melts your heart. It’s rich, sticky and sweet, contains a full serving of fruit, and happens to go fabulously with ice cream. Preparing this dish is also a great way to turn heads and make friends despite the generally stoic attitude that dominates the stir-fry station. Although I would love to take full credit for this sinfullydivine creation, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being heavily influenced by another popular albeit pretentiously named dish, Bananas Foster. While my take may not adhere to the traditions of haute cuisine, it is easy to make, quick to prepare, and it leaves the entire stir-fry station smelling like your grandmother’s kitchen. What’s not to love?
Unlike with conventional recipes, we’re cooking at the ACDC, which means that staking out a place at the stir-fry station, preparing your ingredients and dodging freshmen are all part of the process. Enjoy these things, for you will never have a culinary experience such as this again in your life! 1. Have a friend stand aggressively near one of the hotplates. If they must, they may mime the act of stir-frying some vegetables to keep the other swarming ACDC patrons at bay. Don’t worry, this is just a decoy and no actual vegetables will be making it into this recipe. 2. Gather up the ingredients. Be polite and patient, but know what you want and act decisively. ACDC chews up and spits out the weak like last week’s Vegetarian Enchiladas. 3. Peel and slice your bananas into quarter inch medallions. Discard the yucky end pieces and pull off any visible stringy bits…yuck! 4. Melt down the butter in a pan set to high heat. As a personal challenge, see if you can allow it to melt naturally without stir-
ring it around or pushing down on the shrinking blob of lard. 5. Sprinkle in a small fraction of the cinnamon you have gathered along with a light drizzle of honey to create a translucent, slightly caramelized butter-sauce. 6. Introduce the banana medallions, and stir them in lightly. 7. Squeeze the honey-bear so that thick globs coat each medallion of banana evenly. 8. Add cinnamon to taste, but if you’re not sure, err on the side of plenty. 9. Give the mixture a good stir. Let the sauce simmer and bubble. When the bananas start to wiggle and bounce in the pan, you know you are almost finished. Keep an eye on the consistency of the mixture. When it no longer looks like bananas in a sauce, but instead appears as a singular gooey topping brimming
with banana-goodness, you’re finished! 10. Transfer your concoction to a clean plate. I cannot stress this enough. There’s nothing worse then picking up a plate only to realize it’s covered in bacon grease and tofu juice. 11. Hustle on over to the friendly ice cream distributor and make sure to say please when you ask for three big scoops of vanilla ice cream. You could deviate from this flavor, but that is not to my taste and I don’t recommend it. 12. Slowly pour the banana mixture onto the ice cream. Make sure to make a big show out of it so that everyone in the dining hall can see that you went the extra mile, put in some creative elbow grease and came up with something shockingly delicious. Once everyone has applauded your accomplishment, you may sit down and en-
College priorities may change LGBTQ identity on campus LGBTQ continued from page 5 assistant director for LGBTQ programs] that showed a commitment and a step in the right direction,” said Neussbaum, “but I think it backslid again after [former Assistant Director Julie Silverstein] left.” Silverstein, Neussbaum explained, had earned a masters’ degree before accepting the position. “They haven’t chosen to fill it with someone at the same level as they originally had,” said Neussbaum referring to the new director for LGBTQ , Assistant Director of Campus Life Steve Lavoie ’08. Furthermore, Silverstein’s position was full-time, while LaVoie’s is 30 hours a week and only during the academic year, a change which Neussbaum sees as a step backwards. And while these changes may be a reflection of the current economic climate, Neussbaum reflected that now more than ever does the College’s spending directly refer to the priorities of the college. In regards to the admissions process and the notion of the propagation of the image of Vassar as an LGBTQ friendly institution, Kosmacher pointed out that individual experiences play a significant role in a college’s image or a student’s perception thereof. “Vassar does not specifically cultivate a reputation for any particular group of prospective students,” he said. “If anything, this sense of being a gay-friendly college is word-of-mouth, and I think word-of-
mouth is as significant a factor in what people know about Vassar as what [the College] does to try to put Vassar’s message forward.” “I think these ‘reputation things’ are very intangible,” he concluded, “and I think they are driven by experience, by conversations that happen amongst all sorts of people.” Still, some schools do actively recruit students from particular social groups. The University of Pennsylvania, for example, has recently begun a program of putting students whose application essays identify them as gay in touch with current gay students and campus organizations. Applicants to the University of Southern California can stay overnight in a residence hall’s gay floor and visit their host’s classes and student organizations in a program called “Rainbow Floor Overnight Experience.” Of course, recruitment of this nature poses its own set of problems. “A lot of [prospective students] aren’t out to their parents,” Dartmouth’s Senior Assistant Director of Admissions S. Caroline Kerr told The New York Times in an article about college recruitment of LGBTQ students this April. Last fall, Vassar participated in the LGBTQ college fair in New York City sponsored by Campus Pride, a LGBTQ rights organization, and will attend two similar fairs this fall, Borus confirmed. “Otherwise, we do not have any recruit-
ing efforts aimed primarily at LGBTQ students.” In the end, of course, most agree that a school’s educational offerings are more important than precisely how gay-friendly it is. “When I applied to Vassar I didn’t even know about that image of it being really gay,” said ACT OUT President Katie Atkins ’11. “Maybe if I had known that I would have wanted to go here even more…but that didn’t even play into why I applied to Vassar.” “Students have told me that LGBTQ culture at Vassar is not mentioned on the admissions tour, nor is the LGBTQ Center, but I do know that some of the student tour guides make it a point to mention it,” said LaVoie. “Nevertheless we do have a large LGBTQ student population, so the message is out there in some way. Yes, I think that the students are promoting the school as a LGBTQ friendly space—I did certainly as a student, and I do now as an alum.” In that sense, Vassar’s LGBTQ-friendly image seems self-propagating more than actively promoted. But what’s the appropriate balance between student advocacy and administrative support? “There’s a great book called Wolf Girls at Vassar…that looks at students talking about their experiences as lesbian students and gay students at Vassar,” said Murdoch. “I think President Fran Ferguson had a conference recognizing the book and the author.
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That’s an example of promoting and celebrating a history that I think is really important.” “For the Sesquicentennial it would be wonderful to recognize that,” she continued. “it’s a book that’s taught at Vassar, that students love, it’s written by alumns—this should be promoted and put on a Vassar admissions page [to show] what people have done and what the community is about.” In the end, it comes down to the philosophical question of how to cultivate an atmosphere of diversity and tolerance. Should the administration approach the issue from the top down, emphasizing a broad and balanced sense of inclusion? Or should the College work from the bottom up, emphasizing the separate social-based organizations, in the hope that strong individual organizations will form a united tolerant atmosphere? The question is not an easy one. But in any case, Vassar’s LGBTQ-friendly reputation won’t be disappearing any time soon. “I also have heard of the idea of Vassar trying to change their image from a LGBT-oriented campus, but, I mean, it can easily be countered by the LGBTQ organizations,” said co-President of QCVC Brandon Greene ’13. Greene continues, “There might be additional effort from orgs to ‘gay up Vassar’…but until [an imageshift] is blatantly apparent, you can’t make any assumptions.”
September 30, 2010
Vassar drinking culture is Yim misunderstands role low-risk, binging overstated of drinking on campus Hal Moore
ew topics about the social life of the American undergraduate attract as much attention as the time-honored tradition of underage—and excessive—alcohol consumption. In fact, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which is the primary federal government body engaged in research on alcohol and alcoholism, deems this issue of such concern that it conducted a three-year study of college drinking. Similarly, many hundreds of academic publications have been penned concerning the drinking culture at colleges. Despite this long-standing academic discourse, there are still 1,400 deaths and half-a million unintentional injuries annually due to alcohol use by college students, according to the 2002 NIAAA study “A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. Colleges”. The availability of academic research on alcohol use and misuse by college students is quite pertinent, considering the e-mail sent by Dean of the College and Professor of Education Christopher Roellke on Sept. 23 to all students at Vassar, in which he discussed the health and safety concerns the College has regarding alcohol consumption. Among other problems, Rolleke mentioned that in the first three weeks of the academic year, the Arlington Fire Department Emergency Medical Services has been “dispatched more than 20 times to respond to alcohol-related emergencies, resulting in several hospitalizations for severe alcohol poisoning.” I do not wish to minimize the gravity of alcohol abuse on campus, considering the medical and legal implications of this issue, but I do wish to contest the received wisdom that suggests taking a hard-line on alcohol abuse on campus would be a positive step—though, naturally, as Roellke has emphasized, it should not be anticipated that the College would do so. A substantial majority of college students in the United States do consume alcohol. According to a 2002 study by Patrick O’Malley and Lloyd Johnston of the University of Michigan published in The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 69.6 percent of full-time college students had consumed alcohol at least once within the past 30 days. Of this group, more than half engaged in what is termed “binge drinking,” consumption of “at least five drinks in a row for men or four drinks in a row for women.” Similarly, 82.1 percent of college students reported drinking in a 2008 National Institute on Drug Abuse report. At Vassar, according to data available from the 2010 American College Health Association (ACHA) survey, 80 percent of students drink during a typical week. Vassar students, then, at least in the absence of more detailed statistical information, appear to drink in nearly the same proportion as college students through the country. However, according to Director of Health Education Renee Pabst, a “majority of Vassar students drink once a week or less” and a substantial “majority...don’t engage in binge drinking.” Based on the information collected from the 2010 ACHA survey at Vassar, I am pleased to say that Vassar’s drinking culture is low-risk, at least, compared to other colleges. While a substantial majority of Vassar students do not engage in binge drinking, data from national studies suggests that a near-majority of college students in the United States do: According to a 2009 study in The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs authored by NIAAA and Harvard University School of Public Health researchers, 44.7 percent of undergraduates engage
in binge drinking on a monthly basis . In the absence of more complete data about Vassar students’ alcohol consumption, I would venture to say that there is a significantly lower incidence of binge drinking at Vassar than elsewhere, though true statistical significance cannot be established. Additionally, alcohol use and abuse is strongly associated with being male, according to a 1995 study by Henry Wechsler of the Harvard University School of Public Health . While male college students use alcohol on an annual basis only slightly more than their female counterparts; heavy drinking occurs among nearly 50 percent of male students who drink, while only a third of female college students are classified as heavy drinkers, according to O’Malley and Johnston. Considering that male students make up approximately 40 percent of Vassar’s student body, it would follow that overall rates of heavy drinking are lower at Vassar than nationally. Similarly, Vassar avoids the increased drinking rates due to Greek life, Division I athletics, and other factors closely correlated to increased rates of alc0hol abuse, according to Wechsler’s study. Thus, one of the major contributing factors to binge drinking is limited in its impact, as far as Vassar College is concerned. Evidently, while Vassar College is by no means unique in its alcohol-fueled culture, it does appear to experience less of an adverse impact on the student body as a whole due to alcohol abuse. However, Dean Roellke’s message to students and staff was prompted, certainly, by a change in consequences due to drinking: According to information provided to The Miscellany News by Vassar College Emergency Medical Services (VCEMS), it appears that there has been a 41 percent increase in the number of EMS calls from last year—at the same point last year, EMS ran 39 calls, but this year, they have run 55. While limited data is available, this increase seems to have been distributed somewhat evenly among class years, so the most parsimonious reason for this is a change in what students have been imbibing this year, particularly considering that anecdotal evidence from the VCEMS captain, Sam Black ‘12, suggests that a trend towards the consumption of caffeinated alcoholic beverages is a significant contributor to this upward swing in EMS calls. I caution the College, however, to avoid overreacting to such preliminary findings. As such, I strongly suggest that a comprehensive evaluation of drinking behaviors be conducted—above and beyond that of the ACHA survey—and the results and data be made public, particularly considering that the ACHA survey data has not been made public. In the interim, as Roellke had stated in his e-mail, the College should continue to prioritize health over punishment. To this end, I would encourage the administration, Office of Health Education and Vassar Student Association to institute a far-reaching media campaign targeted at reducing the presumptions that Vassar students have about drinking. This evidence-based intervention has proven effective at a number of institutions, according to the National Social Norms Institute at the University of Virginia , and could be helpful in reducing the incidences of binge drinking and other high-risk alcohol-related activities at Vassar. Additionally, it is of substantial importance for the College to continue emphasizing the Good Samaritan policy and continue its laudable healthover-discipline practices, which truly do protect the best interests of students.
n a Miscellany News column entitled “Alcohol, drugs detrimental to campus culture” (09.23.10), Kris Yim ’14 engages in excessive moralizing concerning alcohol and drug use on campus. I want to focus here on Yim’s discussion of alcohol use; I would need more space to include criticism of his misguided view on marijuana, which quite clearly has its basis in humorous images from television and film rather than anything resembling empirical evidence. Clearly, Yim has never experienced the sweet taste of Bacio’s after a night of merriment and adventure. And while I do genuinely wish he could share in that experience, I would never dream of judging him for his choice to abstain from alcohol and other drugs, or telling him that he should act a certain way. That, of course, is the most serious problem with Yim’s piece—the value judgment of the “should.” Such proselytizing is also profoundly undemocratic. In this great country, we enjoy the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Many Americans, and many Vassar students, choose to pursue happiness by having a drink. As long as the drinker is not violating another individual’s right to those same freedoms, no one has any right to reproach him for his choice. Yim is concerned with Vassar’s lack of “responsible drinking,” a term which he places in
quotes to imply that drinking is always irresponsible. But in the very next sentence, he notes that the “‘desirable effects’ column overpowers the ‘undesirable effects’ column in the eyes of [alcohol] users.” That sounds suspiciously like rational cost-benefit analysis—a responsible choice being made by an adult. Throughout his piece, Yim makes sweeping claims which depend on a false portrayal of alcohol use as completely black and white. For Yim, there are only two choices: abstinence or blackout. Then, if one does decide to drink, there are two possible activities: “sitting around or spastically thrashing about.” These claims are patently absurd— contrary, quite simply, to years of human experience. Yim patiently explains to students who consume alcohol that “no real meaningful activity” can take place while drinking, and that this is a “central principle.” A central principle of what? To what privileged system of knowledge does Yim have access? Of course there is irresponsible drinking at Vassar, as there is at every college campus in the world. Dean of the College Christopher Roellke set the right tone in his recent e-mail to the student body by recognizing that drinking is a fact of life at college, and encouraging us to be safe and to take care of each other. For violation of campus rules and/or New York State law, the appropriate sanctions are in place. Beyond that, I can only wish Yim every joy in his choices and hope that, in the future, he will respect my choice to drink, even if he personally disagrees with it.
College must hold student binge drinkers accountable Andy Marmer
ast Thursday, Sept. 23, Dean of the College Christopher Roellke informed the student population of many instances of alcohol abuse this year among the student body. Roellke also discussed the College’s policy of valuing safety over discipline. While the College’s goals are commendable, they’re going about accomplishing these ends in the wrong way. In New York State, individuals under the age of 21 are prohibited from purchasing and possessing alcohol, as well as from public consumption, though private consumption under parental supervision is permitted. At a residential undergraduate institution such as Vassar, where a majority of the students are under 21 and not under parental supervision, it seems safe to assume that a high percentage of the consumption of alcohol is illegal. Yet judging by Dean Roellke’s e-mail, the illegal nature of underaged drinking does not seem to deter Vassar students from this behavior. It would be naïve of me or anyone else to think that most students first taste beer or liquor on their 21st birthday or after. I rarely—if ever—attend parties, and am seldom privy to witnessing this behavior, and yet I know it exists, and surely I am not alone. The administration, Office of Safety and Security, as well as other adults and authority figures around campus must surely be aware of this activity, and certainly do not sanction it, but do not seem to take it as seriously as the situation warrants. The College’s Drug and Alcohol Policy, as provided on the Safety and Security website, states “[s]tudents will be subject to [C]ollege discipline if their use of alcohol generates disorder, creates a disturbance, damages property, or presents a danger to themselves and/or others.” Yet the law in New York State, found on the very same page, lists punishment such as fines and community service for underage drinking and other drug and alcohol-related offenses. Similarly, in the case of an individual furnishing alcohol to an individual under 21, the Drug and Alcohol Policy states that guilty students have committed a misdemeanor that is punishable by “up to a $500 fine, [and] up to six months in prison.” A
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visit to the Town Houses over the weekend would undoubtedly yield numerous cases of both violations and yet, these strict punishments prescribed by state law are not enforced. I am not suggesting that the entire senior class serve a year in jail, but drinking is clearly a big and dangerous problem on campus. If the current punishment structure is not working, and the campus community can agree that misuse of alcohol is dangerous—a point that many may disagree with but given the recent hospitalizations seems obvious to me—then it is time for the College to overhaul its punishment system. Although some may argue that increased alcohol education is necessary and the correct remedy to alcohol abuse, Vassar already mandates AlcoholEdu, an online alcohol and drug education program, for all incoming students. Furthermore, the school maintains a running dialogue about the effects of alcohol, so clearly the student body is not ill-informed. Nevertheless, students still choose to engage in irresponsible drinking, which is both condemned by College policies and is illegal for those under 21, as is all alcohol consumption. Vassar needs to make a decision: Does the College want to discourage student drinking, or does the institution want to continue turning a blind eye to alcohol abuse? The school, despite what students may want to think, is in some way responsible for our actions, and, thus, is bound to make a decision. If students are going to continue to drink to dangerous levels, the College needs new ways to discourage this behavior. This means harsher punishments and more deterrents. I am no expert on what these sanctions should be, but engaging in activities such as drug use and underage drinking on campus—activites that are illegal under state law—ought to be punished in harsh ways, ranging from fines and up to suspension or even expulsion. Until the College is willing to punish in ways that students will truly deter students from underaged and binge drinking, we will continue to send many students to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, among other dangers. Vassar must take responsibility and prevent this from happening.
September 30, 2010
Technology a changing part of Vassar AIDS removed Leonard Nevarez
assar College prides itself on a long tradition of excellence in liberal arts education, but every year change comes to this tradition. For many faculty and administrators, this change is epitomized by information technology’s creep across college life. In classrooms, the Thompson Memorial Library, residence halls, even the campus lawns, a growing number of students plug into laptops, smart phones, iPads and iPods to write papers, e-mail professors, do assigned readings, conduct research and find other college-related information. Clearly, information technologies are today’s quintessential tools for accessing information and people. Just as clearly, their usage in public settings requires consideration of others’ rights to work or learn free from techno-distraction. But maybe less appreciated is how the diffusion of information technology through the College touches on broader questions about liberal arts education in the 21st century. Consider the following: • The Thompson Memorial Library has just opened a 24-hour study space, which enhances students’ ability to work with each other and online at any hour of the day. (Books aren’t the draw, since the stacks close at midnight.) Does this signal a retreat from the balanced life of work, reflection, play and rest that the College has traditionally endorsed? • Last month, a New York Times article reported psychologists’ findings that depriving oneself of downtime away from digital media—even a brief video clip while running on the treadmill— prevents the brain from fully processing and absorbing the information it has received all day. • Like other colleges, Vassar College has witnessed steady growth in the number of students pursuing double majors, not to mention double majors plus correlates. Does this challenge the ideal whereby students explore the curriculum as an end in itself, without shackling their course plans with ambitions of “credentialism” (a value of the technical education to which liberal arts institutions contrast themselves)? Information technology is just the tip of the
iceberg in these cases. The broader context, in and out of the College, is our culture’s embrace of work-life flexibility and rejection of externally-imposed structure in our lives, right down to the organization of our free time. Such an all-or-nothing view of the flexibilities made possible by information technologies jars the pedagogical structure for intellectual discovery that liberal arts educators have carefully cultivated over centuries. To be sure, organizational and technological flexibility unleashes productivities in work and private life that yield unprecedented freedoms and social goods, as anyone who has submitted an online college application or downloaded important data can recognize. Yet a lack of critical discussion about why we “need” such flexibility has let instructors, administrators, student organizations, athletic teams and students themselves ratchet up expectations for their productivity to unsustainable levels. Professors, it should be noted, are hardly immune from this slow, unnoticed rise in standards. From increasing expectations for professional activity at promotion time to the disappearance of lunches spent sharing big ideas with fellow scholars, many professors hardly have time to wonder how it all became so hectic. It’s important not to lose sight of the positive in the shift toward technological flexibility. To return to the issue of information technology, I serve on the Committee on Academic Technology (CAT), where we support and, indeed, learn so much from fellow Vassar faculty and students using technology in their courses in remarkably innovative and effective ways. Even the taken-for-granted ability to search Google for an image to guide classroom discussion has made the classroom a far more powerful site for teaching and learning. Not long ago, faculty used to have to pore through slide photos and photocopied transparencies before their lectures, while students rarely partook in such show-andtell outside of individual papers and research projects. At the same, CAT hears regular concerns from professors, administrators and students
worried about students using laptops and other information technologies during the class. Their reasons are diverse and compelling, including the disattention of students tapped into the data stream and the distraction that gadgets cause others in the room. CAT has no mandate to dictate classroom policy from above and usurp instructor’s discretion on how to allow information technology in the classroom. More importantly, we think an explicit, campus-wide conversation is needed on such questions of information technology as: • How do students use information technology to learn while in the classroom: on laptops and iPads, but also smart phones? iPhones are hardly the only technologies to let students record audio and film, but they’re probably the most portable and ubiquitous. In what ways do these devices and applications support or compromise the traditional note-taking practice? • How do professors actually use classroom computers, the Internet and students’ technology devices in the classroom? This goes beyond computer-based instruction in quantitative analysis or Geographic Information System. Are classes reading along to PDFs and Moodle forums the way they used to with physical books and exchanged papers? What ground rules have instructors set to let information technology into the classroom without impairing other students’ learning? Vassar College has shown steadfast commitment to liberal arts learning but also to updating the liberal arts ideal for new contexts and media. To that end, this year CAT hopes to stimulate discussion throughout the campus community on the role of information technology in the classroom. Look forward to announcements about public forums later this semester, but for now, I encourage you to make your voice heard by replying to The Miscellany News or e-mailing the Committee on Academic Technologies at cat@ vassar.edu. —Leonard Nevarez is an associate professor of sociology and chair of the Committee on Academic Technology.
from public consciousness Alexandra Evans
hat has happened to AIDS in America? The early “drug cocktails” of the 1990s have lengthened life spans and improved quality of life while new methods of containment, prevention, and treatment have lowered the annual infection rate. Slowly, public perception of the disease has turned; diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. Thus, the domestic HIV hysteria of the 1980s has all but disappeared, replaced by an ever-expanding series of emerging viruses such as SARs, Bird Flu, and H1N1. By March 2009, only six percent of Americans believed that HIV/AIDS was the most urgent health problem facing the United States; in 1995, 44 percent had indicated such. The potential domestic crisis has been pushed to the edge of the public’s awareness. In response to waning public interest, U.S. policy makers have largely abandoned investments in domestic prevention and treatment programs. While recent administrations have increased pledges to the international fight against HIV/AIDS, local budgets have been repeatedly slashed and federal funding levels remain largely stagnant. State-based AIDS Drug Assistance programs, which offer much needed financial and medical aid, are facing widening budget gaps as demands grows. As the recession continues, increasingly cash-strapped governments are becoming unable to help those most in need. New York, with its crippling $9.2 billion budget deficit, has joined the trend, and on Sept. 19 Governor of New York David Paterson vetoed a bill to provide housing assistance to the poorest victims of HIV/AIDS, declaring the proposal as above the constraints of the state budget. Ronald Reagan’s declaration of HIV/AIDS as “public enemy number one” appears to have been forgotten. As U.S. rates plateaued, HIV became increasingly viewed as a foreign, rather than the domestic, See AIDS on page 12
Undocumented students must have access to education Tracy Holland
ive million U.S. children have at least one undocumented parent. Two-thirds of these children are citizens of this country, and each year 1.6 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. are arrested or deported. As a result, many families can become fragmented or forced to live underground, and affected children can experience confusion and general instability, as well as economic difficulties and disruptions in schooling. These families often need to have a plan to care for children if parents are detained due to their status as illegal immigrants. This could include appointing a friend or family member who is a U.S. citizen as a guardian, and providing emergency contact information to schools for children. Even when there has been no arrest, the threat of a potential detainment remains with immigrant families and their children in school. In general, the current climate surrounding immigration is adverse to immigrants, and risky for those who work without proper documentation. For immigrants in the Mid-Hudson region, the possibility of losing their jobs or not being able to find one is truer than ever. Suddenly, employers are more alert to the state of illegal immigration and require documentation such as Social Security cards. For those who are undocumented immigrants, the everyday sense of vulnerability to the immigration laws and the sense of being “hunted” by federal and local immigration agents can stay with one even after living in the United States for a long time. Moreover, their own inability to address these concerns proactively increases their sense of helplessness and leads to feelings of frustration and anger. It is important that immigrant children have the support of family and friends to continue attending and doing well in school. In some places we have heard reports of immigrant parents who are afraid to go to their childrens’ schools, and even cases where the schools demanded documentation of the parents’ immigration status.
All immigrant parents should know that schools have no right to ask about their immigration status. Some schools tell parents or guardians trying to register their children that it is necessary to provide a Social Security number or show an identification card or a passport; however, if asked, anyone can simply refuse to provide such documentation—such as by saying they have none of these documents on hand—and simply continue the registration process. The only two documents that are required by law are proof of address and documentation stating that the child’s age is between five and 21 years. It is also forbidden to ask the children for the same kind of documentation. Schools asking children about their immigration papers are in violation of a ruling of the United States Supreme Court. In Plyler v. Doe (1982), the Court found that, by refusing to admit illegal immigrants as students, states and school districts deny minors “basic education...[which provides] the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our nation.” The idea was that these children should be left to live and work in this country, which is probably as true today as it was 25 years ago when the ruling was formulated. Undocumented immigrants whose children have special needs, whether psychological, social or medical, or who otherwise feel that their children may be experiencing difficulties in school, cannot vocalize their concerns because they worry that doing so might attract the attention of immigration authorities and could lead to deportation. Parents, however, must be in contact with teachers and other school officials like to talk about their children to detect any potential problems; in particular, these children can be made to feel embarrassed, marginalized and criminalized by their family’s immigration status. If immigrant parents have these concerns and do not feel comfortable speaking English,
they should have the right to ask the school to meet with an interpreter or bring a friend or family member to interpret. Immigrant parents should not be afraid if they need to request a meeting with their child’s teacher to discuss any problem or request special services. For example, parents can apply for free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch for their children if they need it, regardless of their immigration status. To apply for these subsidized school food programs, parents must fill out a federal form, but the form will not be seen by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The form asks parents for a list of family members, birth dates, relationships and family income, but does not require a Social Security number. It would be beneficial for more programs to be treated this way. Home discussions about immigration also should take place. It is possible that immigrant children do not know their own immigration status or that of their family. Parents can decide whether they wish to discuss with their children the immigration status of the family. Much depends on the child’s age and the number of children who are exposed to these issues. As much as a parent decides to show, it is best that a child possess some knowledge of why his or her family has emigrated to this country. The most important thing is that children know that families are on waiting lists for immigration reform that will allow them to live and work in this country, as millions of immigrants before them had been able to do. A child who has knowledge about these things will feel some sense of control and be better able to cope with the crisis than one who thinks he or she can not do so. A show of confidence by parents will improve the attitude and behavior of their children in regard to their immigration status. Family and friends should support each other. Many immigrant parents have children in high school, and this can be a double burden. Not only are they worried about their own tenuous legal status, but they also fear that their children
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will not be able to attend college. While they want and have fought for higher education for their children, they see their dreams fade. Currently, in the state of New York all immigrant children are eligible for state tuition at public colleges and universities. Parents should seek help with applications, and if they feel that the guidance counselors in schools for their children are not providing adequate assistance, they must find other sources of information. In fact, as far as is possible, immigrant children should try to enroll and excel in college, as this will be a route to legal residence for those not born in this country if the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act—which would allow illegal minors to attend college or serve in the military so as to gain legal status— becomes law. Adolescent migrants arriving unaccompanied face the greatest risk. Not only can they be deported, but they may also be placed in foster care. These children are 15, 16 and 17 years of age, and it is very difficult for them to meet the requirements of the DREAM Act. Most of these young people do not attend college; on the contrary, many have dropped out of high school. In most cases, they have little time to learn English well enough in U.S. schools to pass tests and meet the requirements to graduate on time, so even the DREAM Act would be of little help. Many of our immigrant families in the MidHudson region are waiting for real immigration reform to succeed as soon as possible. The documents required to work in this country will allow them to plan their lives, buy houses, pay more in taxes, make financial and educational investments, and save for their future. Meanwhile we must all remain vigilant and mobilized if necessary to ensure that immigrant children, especially those who have no one else to advocate for them, get a quality education. —Tracey Holland is an assistant professor of education at Vassar College and an expert on human rights education.
DADT repeal necessary to protect civil liberties in US Rachel Anspach Guest Columnist
n Tuesday, Sept. 21, Republican Senators refused to vote on a defense authorization bill that contained the repeal of the military’s don’t ask, don’t tell (DADT) policy. Under the rules of DADT, homosexuals can enlist in the army as long as they keep their sexual orientation a secret. DADT is a serious violation of the ideals upon which our government is supposed to operate. Forcing people to hide who they are prevents free speech, a right that all Americans are supposed to have. On top of this, DADT goes against the principle of equality that is such a vital part of the American dream. It is clear that the time has come for the United States to take a step toward ending the repression of gays and lesbians that continues to permeate our country. As long as the government supports a policy that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, it cannot be expected that the American people will behave any differently. DADT was instated in 1993 under former President William J. Clinton, and it was originally called “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass.” Before it was created, gay and lesbian people could not serve in the military at all, so, in that sense, it was a step in the right direction. The policy states that gay people should not be allowed to serve openly because “it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.” Who is to say that gay service members would detract from morale, good order or discipline? The only reason that serving with a gay unit member would detract from cohesion is if the other members of the unit were uncomfortable serving with homosexuals. While this may
sometimes be the case, we should not allow a policy that promotes an atmosphere of discrimination to continue. Not only does DADT make the already difficult job of fighting for our country much more strenuous for gay soldiers, but it probably prevents many more gay people from joining the military in the first place. Whether one supports gay rights or not, the sheer fact that we could have more people fighting in our short-staffed military while the nation is engaged in numerous military conflicts should be incentive enough to repeal DADT. Since the first part of the policy is “don’t ask,” the military is not supposed to actively try to find out if a service member is gay. However, if they receive reliable evidence suggesting that someone is gay, they may conduct an investigation. If a person is found to be a homosexual, they will be discharged. This has led to over 13,500 cases of devoted soldiers getting kicked out of the armed forces since DADT was created, according to CBS News. It is estimated that the related costs to taxpayers of replacing soldiers who were fired for being gay within the first decade alone since DADT’s instatement was over $364 million, according to The Washington Post. Forcing military personnel out in this manner is not only a waste of talent, but a waste of taxpayer money. Republicans who are always talking about cutting government spending should consider the monetary savings that would be created by repealing DADT. One of the better-known instances of a soldier being fired after a military investigation was in 2009, when Lieutenant Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, a decorated combat fighter pilot, was discovered to be a homosexual and discharged from the Air Force. This was after he See DADT on page 12
September 30, 2010
money-making scams Juan Thompson Opinions Editor
ishop Eddie Long wears gold chains, diamond rings and other expensive jewelry. He lives in a multi-million dollar home, in one of the wealthiest counties in America, with a Rolls Royce parked in his driveway. He flies all around the world in absolute style and he has a $3.5 million yearly salary. Long is the leader of the sprawling New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., and this past week he was accused of using his lavish wealth to lure young male congregants into sexual relationships with him. The charges against Long are just that—charges—and my problem with Long doesn’t stem from his supposed homosexuality, or even the rank hypocrisy of him engaging in sex with men while preaching divisive anti-gay rhetoric from the pulpit. If he preyed upon young men in the church to feed his sexual appetite, that’s repulsive and he should be removed as church leader. But Long’s sex scandal has unearthed a much greater concern for me and it deals with Long’s wealth and the socalled prosperity gospel he espouses. The prosperity gospel teaches Christians that God wants them to be wealthy and that the almighty rewards good Christians with prosperity. It is an idea of financial selfishness that I and many others never picked up from the Bible. As a recovering Catholic who has read the Bible many times, this sort of theological teaching has always made my “anger become hot,” as happened to Moses when his followers began worshipping a golden calf. I haven’t seen many golden calves in my life, but I have seen plenty of prosperity gospel proponents who gain a lot of gold through their preaching of the great-
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
ness of wealth. It’s a phony premise that allows people to con innocent worshippers who seek spiritual guidance and support. Pastor Kenneth Copeland leads a 30,000-member megachurch in the Forth Worth, Texas area. He resides in a beautiful lakefront home and has a small private airport, which, appropriately, is named Kenneth Copeland Airport. The airport houses 20 private jets all paid for by his Kenneth Copeland ministries, which are funded by the tithes of church members. Copeland and his family routinely use the jets, which are supposed to be used for church business, for personal reasons. And Copeland himself once exclaimed, “The Lord spoke to me and said you’re gonna believe for a Citation 10, right now.” A Citation 10 is a private jet. Who knew the Lord preferred the Citation 10? I always assumed God liked the Gulfstream 6. But my favorite espouser of the prosperity gospel has to be the aptly-named Creflo Dollar. You read that correctly: Creflo D-OL-L-A-R. Pastor Dollar leads a megachurch in the Atlanta suburb of College Park, Ga. that has 20,000 members. The man owns two Rolls Royces and multi-million dollar homes in Atlanta and Manhattan, as well as private jets. Dollar makes no excuses for his wealth, claiming that the Lord wants him to be wealthy and that the record company he owns is all a part of God’s plan that allows Dollar to better spread the Lord’s word. And he doesn’t apologize to the Bronx electrician referenced in a 2006 New York Times article, who makes $30,000 a year and then gives 10 percent of his weekly pay to Dollar ministries. Long, Copeland and Dollar are just a few examples. Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn and See CHURCHES on page 12
September 30, 2010
Peace in the Middle East unlikely Emil Ostrovski Guest Columnist
srael’s 10-month partial-freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank ended on Sunday, and this most recent development complicates an already complicated peace process. While the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has not explicitly stated he will walk out of negotiations if construction resumes, he has said, “Israel must choose between peace and the continuation of settlements.” However, without Hamas being present in the negotiations— Abbas holds power only in the West Bank, following a 2007 take-over by Hamas in the Gaza Strip—it is difficult to say whether any agreement that might have or might still be made will actually lead to peace in the Middle East. Consider, during the 10-month freeze, rocket attacks from Hamas-held Gaza have continued on a routine basis, as has the Israeli blockade of Gaza and periodic Israeli retaliation. The last time negotiations fell through, in 2008, it was because Israel launched a three-week offensive into Gaza to stop the rocket attacks. The Palestinians viewed the temporary freeze as insufficient, because it only included a freeze on the construction of new homes. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We will not halt existing construction and we will continue to build synagogues, schools, kindergartens and public buildings essential for normal life [in the settlements].” Israelis view any call to extend the settlement freeze as a precondition for peace-talks, and just last month, Netanyahu was quoted as saying “I hope to resume direct talks with the Palestinians without preconditions.” Another official, unnamed, said last month that “Israel is ready to start direct negotiations immediately, but without any preconditions.” To the Israelis, a full stop to settlement construction or extending the partial freeze is seen as making a concession just to get to the negotiating table, and the feeling is that Palestinians are not expected to make any sort of matching concession. This is only half true, though. According to a March 2009 article from globalsecurity. org, Fatah has renounced violence, which
seems to me to be an important step toward peace. However, Hamas has not renounced violence, and continues to refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Furthermore, even Fatah is somewhat questionable on the question of Israel’s right to exist. In a 2009 speech to the Palestinian Youth Parliament, President Abbas said of Israel’s existence and identity as a Jewish state, “What is a ‘Jewish state?’ We call it, the ‘State of Israel.’ You can call yourselves whatever you want. You can call yourselves whatever you want. But I will not accept it. And I say this on a live broadcast. It’s not my job to define it, to provide a definition for the state and what it contains. You can call yourselves the Zionist Republic, the Hebrew, the National, the Socialist [Republic], call it whatever you like. I don’t care.” Considering that 75 percent of Israelis are Jews—not just in the religious, but also the ethnic sense—and considering the aim of the Zionist movement has always been the creation of a Jewish state and homeland for the Jews, it is hard to know whether to take the president’s rejection as a rejection of an Israel only for Jews, which I might be sympathetic to, or a flat out rejection of Israeli statehood. This proffers a question: How can you negotiate with an entity whose existence you do not recognize? Kind of absurd, isn’t it? Abu Ahmed, a terrorist brigade leader and Fatah member was quoted in 2006 as saying that “Abbas recognizes Israel because of pressure that the Zionists and the Americans are exercising on him. We understand this is part of his obligations and political calculations,” and furthermore, that “the base of our Fatah movement keeps dreaming of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa and Acco.” Granted, this perspective on Abbas’s stance is coming from someone who clearly has his own agenda, and who may very well be skewing or altering the truth to fit the message he wants to convey. For this reason, we should we should read his words with a healthy amount of skepticism. But that doesn’t mean dismissing them outright, especially because The Brigades are considered the military wing of Fatah, and the founder of The Brigades, Marwan Barg-
houti, is an exceptionally popular elected official. It is also worth examining the terminology in use. What does it mean, to have a right to exist? Is recognizing this right to exist the same as recognizing a country as its own, independent political entity? If so, how could a political party with no actual state of its own really recognize Israel? John Whitebeck, writing for The Christian Science Monitor, puts it this way: “‘Recognizing Israel or any other state is a formal legal and diplomatic act by one state with respect to another state. It is inappropriate—indeed, nonsensical—to talk about a political party or movement extending diplomatic recognition to a state.” Or is this right in question, as Whitebeck goes on to suggest, considered a “moral” right? In other words, when we talk of recognizing Israel’s right to exist, maybe we’re not talking about a legal process so much as the rendering of a moral judgment. But how do we get this moral judgment? Does any country really have a moral right to exist, for that matter? In theory, we could argue that any people who exercise peaceful self-determination in the pursuit of a state that looks out for their interests has a right to exist. But it’s hard to apply theory to reality—we say we believe in self-determination, but if California decided it wanted to secede tomorrow, something tells me that wouldn’t fly. So what we have here is the Palestinians not fully renouncing violence and not recognizing Israel’s moral or otherwise right to exist, thus undermining, in Israeli eyes, Palestinian desire for peace. Israel, meanwhile, continuing new construction and settlement in many areas that a two-state peace agreement would probably cede to the Palestinians, and thus, in the Palestinian eyes, undermining Israeli commitment to peace. Just thinking about it all makes my head hurt, and unfortunately, all we can really do is sit back, watch, and hope things will be different this time, though it seems unlikely that they will be. —Emil Ostrovski ’12 is a philosophy major at Vassar College.
Recession over, but not for everyone Kelly Shortridge Guest Columnist
he recession that started in 2007 is officially over. It has been, in fact, since June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economics Research (NBER), the group in charge of declaring recessions and depressions. However, as polls from CNN.com and other sites may indicate, either those surveyed don’t read the NBER’s releases as frequently as they should, or there is a difference in the popular versus the economic definition of recession. Officially, the Business Cycle Dating Committee at the NBER looks at aggregate business activity in the economy, largely through consideration of such factors as employment, industrial production, sales of wholesale or retail goods and services, and real income of the populace. Colloquially, you may have heard the expression: “A depression is when you lose your job, a recession is when your neighbor loses his job.” While this definition may not hold for everyone, it provides insight into why so many people still think we are in recession: The polls mentioned above indicate that between 70-80 percent of those surveyed thought that the U.S. economy was still receding. One could argue that the consumer is short-sighted and subject to specific bias, and that a third-party able to aggregate large amounts of information will be able to
provide an expert analysis. There is some merit to the argument that an economic flat-line is occurring, or at least that the economy’s growth has not removed the specter of recession from people’s minds. Take, for example, the recent hype about the expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts. Those who defend the tax cuts, who would stand to pay a smaller aggregate sum to the government, say that the tax cuts are essential for keeping investment into the economy strong and flowing. Without that extra discretionary money, firms may take fewer risks, hire fewer people, cut pay, shrink their companies or might not give as charitably—all things that ostensibly reduce productivity. Those in favor of the expiration argue that the government needs more money right now to stimulate the economy by providing jobs, public works and fund other such ventures. Both sides, I argue, have data to support their claims. The beauty of data is that you are able to select and present it in almost any way you choose. So, while the titled “Great Recession” of 2007-2009 may be over, many of our citizens aren’t feeling too comforted. Is this because they are ignorant? Maybe, but most likely not. They are just reporting their experiences that the U.S. economy is not bouncing back in the way they had hoped, that their friends and neighbors don’t have jobs, that their companies can’t expand and send them to new offices,
that their banks can’t provide higher returns on their savings lines and that they may have purchased their homes at inflated prices. Personally, I agree with many of the people who say that a relaxation of tax rates, government restrictions and earmarked funds would help the economy, and that our government needs to find ways to curtail its expenditures. That’s my political and monetary philosophy, and I’d be happy to discuss it with anyone who is curious. However, the point is that I’ve heard people confidently speaking about how the economy is recovering many times, and that we are no longer in a tenuous position. I think that statement depends on whether you throw your full weight behind a statistical declaration based on a basket of numbers, or whether you think that citizens make the economy work, and that they are each knowledgeable about what’s happening in their economic environment. An average of a basket of numbers might be a great reference point, but popular opinion, especially in the running of a country, has a definite impact. The aggregate numbers could be improving, but ultimately, expectations can and have proven to change the course of our economy more than a statistic can, and the current expectations are dismal. —Kelly Shortridge ’12 is an economics major at Vassar College.
Who would you like to come speak at Vassar? “Chris Solinksy, American record holder in the 10,000-meter run.”
Roni Teich ’13
Juan Dominguez ’13 “Tupac Shakur, so he can explain what really happened and entertain us with his music.”
Gabriela Espin ’11 ` “William the Conqueror, because he should’ve never won the Battle of Hastings.”
Jill Scharr ’12
Emil Ostrovski ’12 —Joshua Rosen, Opinions Editor
Via Ruby Cramer Michael Bloomberg! September 25 at 5:20pm Linda B. Tuttle Steven Colbert September 25 at 5:47pm Evan Lester Elmo September 25 at 10:22pm Gerhardt Meurer Lord Martin Rees September 25 at 11:58pm —Marie Dugo, Social Media Editor
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
September 30, 2010
Churches forsake values DADT promotes homophobia CHURCHES continued from page 10 Joel Osteen should be added to the list. I experienced their teachings myself when I attended a megachurch and the leading pastor immediately asked for a birthday gift for his wife whom he called the church’s “First Lady.” What he meant by a gift, of course, was money. The prosperity gospel these men teach was discredited in the late 1980s after a slew of scandals, but it has recently made a comeback in these tough economic times that find people searching for comfort and solace when they have little else. We must ask ourselves if this comeback is good. I have my problems with Christianity just as I have problems with other religions. But I’ve always admired Christianity for the image of Jesus Christ as this man who would give the shirt off his back to clothe someone who was in need. I’ve always respected the biblical passages that are rooted in social justice and instruct people to give away material goods to help the man, woman or child who has less. I witnessed this sort of Christian selflessness up close when I worked in Senegal for a year as a missionary, and that’s why it dismays me to see these mostly Pen-
tecostal pimps milking the working class masses to pay for their jets and Rolls Royces, while at the same time introducing a new gratuitous strain of consumerism to society: Christian consumerism. What Dollar and his ilk are doing may be perfectly legal, but is it right? I try not to engage in selfrighteous preaching myself, but the prosperity gospel doesn’t strike me as moral. How moral can it be for Dollar to detract 10 percent of the earnings of an electrician who is struggling to stay afloat financially? Why should he pay for Dollar’s fancy cars and homes? How can these preachers say they’re following in Christ’s footstep when they’re wearing Gucci loafers? The fact is they can’t. They may be able to twist scripture to defend their acts to some, but in the end they’re nothing more than greedy capitalists masquerading as God’s workers. They use, exploit and enrich themselves just as much as the villains of Wall Street. The difference is instead of doing it from a high rise they do it from a church with a cross on the wall behind them. —Juan Thompson ’13 is Opinions editor of The Miscellany News.
DADT continued from page 10 had served for 18 years, received nine air metals for his excellent service and was only two years away from retirement. Fehrenbach was a man who devoted his life to fighting for the United States, and we repaid him by firing him because he is attracted to men instead of women. I cannot see how being gay would have anything to do with one’s performance in the military. Fehrenbach is just one example of the thousands of people whose lives have been torn apart because of DADT. On top of affecting soldiers, the policy has a drastic impact on the lives of cadets. This led to a great deal of controversy recently, after a high-ranked cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Katherine Miller, decided to leave the academy because she no longer wished to closet her lesbianism. Her resignation led to a media investigation into the gay culture at West Point, where gay students are forced to use code phrases to identify one another and fake a straight sexual history among the rest of the community. However,
as long as DADT stands, the cadets know that that they have to get used to repressing this huge part of their identities. It is ironic that these cadets have to lie about who they are, because one of the most important things they learn in their military training is to live by the honor code, under which they are always supposed to be honest with their fellows. Miller expressed the difficulty this posed for her, saying, “It was a whirlpool of lies—I was violating the honor code every time I socialized.” The main reason that proponents of DADT give against the repeal is that it will make the majority of the soldiers, who are straight, uncomfortable to be in such close proximity with gay people. They say that this concern could detract from their performance in the battlefield. Following this line of reasoning, people who are prejudiced should never be forced to confront or change their views, because this would inevitably make them uncomfortable. If American history has taught us anything, it has taught us how resistant the nation can be to social change, but obvi-
ously this does not mean that we should just accept the status quo and never try to change anything. In the past, many racist soldiers did not wish to serve alongside minority groups, yet today it is almost inconceivable that a black, Latino or Asian person would not be allowed to serve in the military because of his or her race. This change did not come over night. All progress toward equality is a long and treacherous path, yet this does not mean that we should just accept things as they are. Repealing DADT would not end homophobia, just as the integration of racial minorities into the military did not end racism. However, it would help to eventually break down some of the stereotypes held about gay people in the military and throughout the United States. DADT is just protecting those who would be too hung up on their homophobia to focus on the true task of the military, which is fighting for our country; we should not allow it to stand any longer. —Rachel Anspach ’13 is a political science major at Vassar College.
US lawmakers should devote more funds to AIDS programs AIDS continued from page 9 problem; one would be hard pressed to find an aid organization that does not represent its cause with the desperate face of an African woman or child, replacing the earlier stereotype of an infected white American male. HIV is often seen as a symptom of a region’s “undeveloped” nature, where the impoverished are believed to lack an education or a means to protect themselves. This perception ignores the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) findings that HIV/AIDS rates in segments of U.S. urban populations have spiked above 30 percent. Despite the facts, the U.S. public continues to believe that our society is developed beyond the disease, often labeling infected Americans as deviant, promiscuous or otherwise culpable for their illness. While many HIV-positive individuals did engage in risky
behaviors, this stereotype ignores the increasing number of individuals unknowingly infected by long-term partners; according to a 2009 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, women are least likely to have been infected through high-risk behaviors yet now represent 27 percent of new infections compared to the eight percent of the 1980s. HIV-rates are not simply a sign of a nation’s development or an individual’s choice; the disease rages across all countries and all groups of society. While an estimated 1.1 million Americans are living with the virus (20 percent of whom are unaware of their positive status), stable national infection rates obscure a more disturbing regional image. Incidence rates vary greatly, with the Northeast and West Coasts’ urban centers and the South’s small towns hardest hit. In
Washington, D.C., the infection rate has reached an average of three percent—far above the one percent threshold for a “generalized…and severe epidemic” as defined by the CDC and the World Health Organization. While domestic incidences of HIV/AIDS infections appear to be controlled on a national scale, localized spikes make it clear that the United States has not beaten HIV. Yet, the Obama administration’s development of a national HIV/AIDS strategy has the potential to reverse this downward spiral. The first of its kind, the strategy aims to lower infection rates by 25 percent by increasing the public’s access to testing and care while reaching out to once marginalized populations. Critics of the plan, however, point out that funding has yet to be allocated, with a mere $30 million—
compared to the $48 billion pledged internationally—waiting to be redirected from the Affordable Healthcare for America Act. As a 2010 study by John Hopkins University and the CDC found, failure to increase funding will result in the current effort’s failure to meet growing demand, leading to a predicted 38 percent increase in the number of people living with HIV by 2020. In merely financial terms, a $4.5 billion investment over ten years would save the United States $104 billion in medical care costs. The moral and financial costs are too high— Congress must act now to renew their commitment to the domestic fight against HIV/AIDS. —Alexandra Evans ’13 is a history major at Vassar College.
Crossword by Jonathan Garfinkel ACROSS 1. Carve 5. Hold-ups 12. All-nighter facilitator 14. Maritime 15. Wobble 17. Handle, say 18. Make fit for public consumpsion 21. Brit. commando force 22. Campus group that isn’t, briefly 24. “Simpsons” shopkeeper
25. Certain bygone flier (abbr.) 28. Ramadan-ending holiday 29. Rant and rave 32. Ari or E, briefly 33. Certain towering religious icons 36. Label again 39. Like some ears 40. Do as Rosie does 41. Joe the Plumber, for one 43. Sculptor Jean ___
Answers to last week’s puzzle
44. Yankee Mariano and others 46. Colorful candies, briefly 47. ___ Lingus 48. 3 to Fabio 50. Mimic 51. Whence T.I. 54. Soviet premier Brezhnev 56. Roe hater’s ideology 60. Bowie’s “Space ______” 64. Missions 65. Feel 66. Heads, say 67. Sign gas DOWN 1. Tolkien creature 2. What one may do to a line 3. Alphabet trio 4. Speedster 5. Bygone ABC hit 6. 10 of 12, briefly 7. “Earth” (prefix) 8. Fruity spread 9. A nurse’s org., a Japanese airline, and others 10. Shiny mineral
11. Vassar and the like, briefly 13. New York’s Tappan ___ bridge 16. Nutrient infobit (abbr.) 19. PD Alert 20. Climax 22. Israeli desert 23. Nanny 25. 1040 ID number 26. Walk of fame feature 27. Desperate Housewife Hatcher 30. “Coming?”, in txt 31. Totally make-over 32. “___ TOO!” 34. Gruff 35. “Plush” Grammy winners, briefly 37. Opera feature 38. Shackle, old-style 39. Feather accompaniment 42. A whole lot of eau 45. Packed-house condition, briefly 46. Ex-football announcer John ______ 49. Musician Brian ___ 51. Lhasa ____
52. Jeff Bridges Sci-fi flick 53. Legend 54. ____ majeste 55. Instinctive parts, per
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Freud 57. Dan of “Forrest Gump” and others, briefly 58. Early 1st century year
59. G-man 61. Chemical ending 62. Poultry loving general 63. Japanese dough
HUMOR & SATIRE
September 30, 2010
A note concerning etiquette Michael Mestitz
s a former women’s institution, we used to instill our young ladies with not only a splendid liberal arts education but also with a sense of etiquette and decorum. This was so they could breeze about waspishly (and WASPishly, for that matter) and remind people which fork is for the oysters (the only one over to the right, with the knives). Manners, apparently, have gone the way of the parasol, the corset and drinking in moderation, so I take it upon myself to mention some of the finer points of proper Vassar behavior. 1. One does not linger in front of the bagel station in the All Campus Dining Center. 2. To do so not only throws traffic patterns
into most inharmonious disarray, but necessitates a great deal of uncomfortable maneuvering in order to reach the peanut butter around one’s oblivious, awkwardly placed form. Why, in the sweet name of all that is good, just and holy, must there be long conversations held in front of the toaster? Is it some prerequisite to socialization, or does one honestly not notice the gathering crowd of groggy and uncaffeinated students who just want an English muffin? 3. One does not talk loudly in the library atrium.
Given the acoustics of the space, one might find oneself violently bludgeoned with my rather impressive macroeconomic theory textbook if one continues to disrupt the work on my problem set with the intimate details of one’s Saturday night. 4. One must learn how to comport oneself in the Eggs All Day line.
One stands calmly in line and orders. Then one subsequently checks to see what’s on the plate that one walks away with. Because I have lost too many delicious omelettes to some inattentive and hungover hipster for me to take this lightly. OMELETTES ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS. As one ought to realize. 5. One is considerate of one’s neighbors.
One must always keep one’s music— and one’s hook-up—to an appropriate volume. To let either get too loud invites a great deal of judgment on the part of one’s entire hall. 6. One remembers to clear one’s hair shavings from the sink.
This is specifically pointed towards the gentlemen in the dorms, of course. Ladies, if you’re shaving your legs in the sink, I am in equal measure horrified, fascinated and impressed.
7. One is obligated to dispel awkward silence in classes.
It is one’s civic duty to recognize when one must take a bullet for the team in class discussions. Should a professor ask a question that prompts at least 10 seconds of uncomfortable silence, one should glance around and see if anyone else is on the verge of saying something. If not, one’s sense of charity ought to motivate a raised hand and a confused/half-formed/ hilariously incorrect answer to keep things moving. If one actually did the reading last night, one is all the more obligated to take pity on the professor and speak up. 8. Conversely, one must not dominate class discussions.
In service of this goal, unless the class has an existing understanding, one always raises one’s hand to speak in class unless it is a vital matter of life or death. Likewise, one has the good grace to look embarrassed if one is the only person who has been speaking so far. 9. One always remembers that leggings and pants are not the same thing.
Furthermore, one never mixes plaids, mixes animal prints, mixes metals or mixes metaphors. 10. One takes care to be courteous when doing laundry (and one should indeed do laundry).
Specifically, one keeps track of how much time one has left on each machine and promptly rotates one’s clothing so as to allow others to wash/dry their things without impediment. I swear, finding an empty dryer in Raymond has become a competitive sport. 10a. (Real Person Formulation) When drinking with friends, one observes proper manners.
Plans to erect farmers market by Stop & Shop sparks controversy Martin Bergman Guest Columnist
ssining, N.Y.—Protests erupted in suburban New York this weekend over plans to build a farmers market in a parking lot adjacent to a Stop & Shop. The seemingly trivial proposal to sell fresh fruits and vegetables to local residents has divided a town and launched a nationwide discussion about the place of locally grown produce in America. “It’s just insensitive to put up a farmers market so close to a supermarket,” said Anne Jones of Briarcliff Manor, who took time off from her job as a choral librarian to attend the protest. “That Stop & Shop was only built two years ago. Don’t they have any decency?” Joining Jones were over 50 protesters, many of whom had traveled from other parts of the tristate area to voice their concerns over the proposed farmers market. Many held signs with slogans like “Freshly Picked Corn Is Un-American” and “Fight Terrorism: Buy Frozen Peas.” John Dansky of Parsippany, N.J. said that he had come to the protest to “defend the American ideal of the supermarket.” “Look, everyone knows what’s going to happen,” Dansky said. “They come in and build their [expletive] market, and next thing you know Congress passes a law saying that every American has to eat organic lettuce. They’re trying to subvert our country and impose their unpatriotic laws on us.” Since the initial proposal two weeks ago, the discussion over the “Stop & Shop Farmers Market” has reached the highest levels of national political discourse. The decision by the Ossining Town Board to approve the motion for a weekly
farmers market two days ago has only increased the fervor of the debate. On “Meet The Press” this past Sunday, Newt Gingrich called the market’s organizers “radical organo-fascists who want to force seasonal arugula and farm-raised chicken into American homes.” Even President of the United States Barack Obama weighed in on the controversy, when he was questioned by reporters about the farmers market at an event of actual importance to American politics. “Let me be clear,” said the president, sternly. “The Constitution guarantees every American the right to both sell produce and buy produce wherever they choose, as long as they adhere to local zoning laws.” Only a day later, the president appeared to renege on his earlier statement, when he was again questioned by reporters at an event that had nothing whatsoever to do with the farmers market controversy. “I didn’t mean to comment on whether or not its a good idea to build a farmers market in that specific location, I only said that they had the right to build it,” the president said. “Look, sometimes Michelle buys her groceries at the local ShopRite and that’s OK with me.” The protests at the site of the proposed market waged on for nearly 20 minutes yesterday, until an assistant manager from the Blockbuster approached the crowd and told them that they were trespassing. Afterwards most of the protesters left, while some went into the Blockbuster to rent a DVD. Marcus Schwartz of Ossining was walking his dog when he stopped for a minute to watch the protest. “I don’t get it,” Schwartz said. “What’s all the commotion about? It’s just a farmers market. Who cares where they build it?”
Original cartoon for The Miscellany News by One Two Six Oh Four
The waiter will generally announce the name and the vintage of the wine. One always lets the wine decant as appropriate to the age and the style, and either the guest of honor or the person who ordered ought to take a small sip to make sure the bottle is good. Pour halfglasses, serving the ladies first, then the gentlemen, then the person who ordered the bottle. 10b. (College Student Corollary) One labels one’s Solo cup and offers to refill the cups of those around them when one goes for more jungle juice.
So please, Vassar students; be ladies (and gentlemen). Don’t make me go Emily Postal on your ass.
Weekly Calendar: 9/30 - 10/6
by Alanna Okun, Humor & Satire Editor
3 p.m. Tea. Effective (and not-so-effective) means of procras-
8 p.m. Jazz with the Rufus Reid quintet. So apparently this
3 p.m. Tea. Hitching a ride to Adam’s and dropping 60 bucks
tinating on that English paper you have to write by tomorrow at 9 a.m. or else you will fail school/life and never be allowed to come back to Vassar ever. Rose parlor.
guy is really good at music or whatever. Still can’t hold a candle to Ethel Merman’s Disco Album, IMHO. Skinner.
on assorted cheeses, dips, crackers, and other foods slightly less than essential for human survival, and then eating an entire tub of hummus and only reflecting on the consequences of your actions the next morning. Not that I know from experience or anything. Rose Parlor.
be anything but platonic if that cutie from your myth class decides to show up. You guys can discuss the allegory of her cave all night long. (Ew.) College Center MPR.
9 p.m. Dormal Formal. Confession: Last year, when they held this event in the Lehman Loeb (RIP Late Night), I was not necessarily sober and attempted to tweak the nipples of one of the marble busts in the entryway. Other confession: When I say “attempted to,” I mean “totally did.” Rose Parlor.
5 p.m. 2010 Bishop Poetry Reading. As Pulitzer Prize-winning, former U.S. Poet Laureate Elizabeth Bishop ’33 once famously wrote, “I’m so crunk right now I can’t feel my face.” Sanders Auditorium.
3 p.m. Tea. Backwards Facebook-stalking. Go to a friend’s (or
12 p.m. Intramural Soccer. “You guys, Sam forgot to bring the vuvuzelas so now we can’t play. Nice going, Sam.” Ballantine.
5 p.m. Greek and Roman History Department reception. It’ll
creepily distant acquaintance’s) tagged photos. Start at the oldest and click your way forward, noting how much they’ve changed since sophomore year of high school. Lament how retainers and floral shorts have fallen out of fashion these days. Rose Parlor. 3 p.m. American Pavilion at Cannes screening. “Ou son les crois-
sants?” = all the French you’ll ever need to know. Vogelstein.
Monday, 10/4 3 p.m. Tea. Doing arts ‘n’ crafts. Whoa, the wall across from
your bed is suddenly looking wicked sparse. Maybe a delightful collage or assortment of pressed flowers will spice it up! Really! Rose Parlor.
3 p.m. Tea. Sporcle.com. If you haven’t heard of it before, you’re welcome, and also I’m deeply, deeply sorry that you’ll never again accomplish anything as long as you live. Hint: Everyone always forgets about Eritrea. Rose Parlor. 6 p.m. Gandhi Lecture. “So, Mr. Gandhi, does it still
3 p.m. Panel with Artists in Residence. Damn, Friday afternoon is popping off! Don’t you wish you had a Time-Turner so you could experience all this culture? Taylor 203.
6 p.m. “Faces of Homelessness.” <Insert your student ID
photo here, English majors/women’s studies majors/drama majors/oh wait actually everything majors.> UPC.
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count as nonviolence if I only lightly punched my roommate after he/she/ze ate the last of my Cheez-its?” Taylor Hall 203.
September 30, 2010
Phocus lets newcomers to photography explore medium Thea Ballard
Assistant Arts Editor
Matthew Foster/The Miscellany News
f all artistic mediums, photography is by far the least difficult to spot on the Vassar campus. Beyond Facebook albums serving as digital documentation of everything from campus parties to afternoons on the Vassar Farm, it’s not uncommon for students to get their photo snapped by peers wielding vintage 35mm cameras or duct-taped Holgas. For some, photography may seem as naturally integrated into the college experience as using the word “hegemony” in a paper; for those looking for a more specific outlet, there is Phocus. Phocus’ mission is simple: Provide the resources for photographers of all skill levels to practice and showcase their work, regardless of their enrollment in classes offered by Vassar’s Studio Arts program. “It was originally established to offer a space for students to do photography that wasn’t involved with the course offered by Vassar,” explained Phocus President Lynne Ciccaglione ’11. “We also run the community dark room and we try to get students involved with photography. We do a lot of things—fundraisers, and we open up our magazines to submissions from the whole campus.” The organization doesn’t cater to any specific format or style, meaning that Phocus’ resources can be utilized on an individual basis. Members have access to an array of equipment, including several digital cameras, a Holga toy camera, external flashes and tripods, as well as the community darkroom. They can then submit their work to both Phocus-run shows and the organization’s publication, Fix. Said Ciccaglione, “The great thing about Phocus is you can choose how much you want to be involved with it. A lot of our members don’t necessarily have the time to come to meetings or our events, but they can still do submissions through e-mail.” This comes as a blessing for students who, though passionate about photography, are unable to fulfill the prerequisites for photo classes. Ciccaglione has never taken a photo course at Vassar; even for fellow Phocus member Gabriella Espin ’11, a huge fan of the school’s photography courses, this openness was a draw: “I started being involved because I started taking a photo class,” Espin said. “It was just to see what people were doing with photography, because not everyone could take the class.”
Phocus President Lynne Ciccaglione ’11 works to develop her photographs in the dark room on the third floor of the College Center. Phocus offers students access to dark room equipment with training. For Ciccaglione, this dynamic augments the output of the club. “There [are] definitely people that are very serious about photography,” she said. “There [are] also people who just always have a camera when they go out and just take pictures casually. I think having the interaction between those two people really helps foster different areas of photography.” In addition to supporting both the serious and the casual photographer, Phocus’ resources are equally divided between film and digital photography. Though resources like the aforementioned digital cameras and a digital printer are available, the darkroom, tucked away on the
third floor of the College Center, holds a special appeal. Espin, for one, is a devoted fan of film. “I prefer film 100 percent. I don’t like the idea that you can manipulate pictures as much as you can with digital photography,” she said. According to Ciccaglione, film photography, despite the growing availability of high-quality digital camera equipment, is actually seeing a spike in popularity on campus. “This year we have a lot more people interested in using the darkroom and getting back to using film rather than using digital cameras,” she said. The personal process of developing film, though perhaps tedious for some, is integral
for Espin. “If you have your film developed somewhere else, you lose the whole process of you engaging with your film,” she explained. “That’s where you learn—where you mess up, when you don’t roll the film right and you loose a bunch of your photos, or you look at your negatives and you have to choose one.” Using the Phocus darkroom has led Espin to develop her craft: “I think that’s where you learn the most and really get into it. I think the people that use the darkroom spend a lot of time, really have the commitment to it. I would spend days in there—I would leave at 6 a.m., when people from crew are waking up.” The process of taking and developing photos is a personal one, perhaps overly-so; both Ciccaglione and Espin noted that Phocus has some work to do in creating a sense of community amongst its members. Offered Espin, “I think it tries, but I also just think that because there’s so much photography on campus, we haven’t gotten to the point yet where we can have an exhibition of the same topic. It’s just sort of like, anyone submit a photo!” Ciccaglione stated that changing this is a personal goal for the year: “I’m trying to get it to be more of a community and get more people involved with the events that we hold.” Espin had some suggestions: “We could have a photography forum about things—about how you actually use your camera, what you take pictures of and why,” she said. “Critiques; that would be really useful, especially for people who don’t get to go to the class.” In the end, the resources offered by Phocus are still invaluable for the many students for whom photography is a part of daily life, regardless of their involvement with the Art Department. Both Ciccaglione and Espin, anthropology and independent peace & war studies majors, respectively, have integrated their learned photography skills into their work inside and outside the classroom. Ciccaglione has used photography in her field work, while Espin took photographs of indigenous communities in her native Ecuador while working for a foundation there over the summer. And, emphasizes Espin, like photography itself, those involved can make anything they want of Phocus. “If more people join Phocus, it’ll get better. If people want to make it better, you can, but we need people—to show up, to care, and then we can find the resources.”
Marks makes mark on Palmer Gallery walls with abstract art Shruti Manian Guest Reporter
part wall installation. The installation depicts a boisterous and feisty Volitia, while the paintings show a more thoughtful, intimate and peaceful side of her. Volitia’s personality is shown in such a way that highlights her most stellar attribute: her capability to change. “Over time, the accumulation of all these adventures has created a picture of a complex, emotional self—an abstraction with her own weird history and unpredictable future. I like that this story is basically told through the manipulation of line and color. The words that run parallel to the drawings, the titles and presence of a “character” offer a way to talk about the work without trying to explain it in a literal way,” says Marks. Adventures of Volitia: Paradise, Again has been a part of a series of contemporary art called Comma, sponsored by the London-based art center Bloomberg SPACE. The Palmer Gallery at Vassar will be showcasing this new chapter in Volitia’s story for the first time ever in the United States. “I love the opportunity of showing this work in a college setting, said Marks. “The Palmer Gallery is in a highly visible place with a lot student traffic and Volitia really only exists when she is seen.” “The wall drawing is like a performance as it will happen in the moment as a reaction to its particular setting at the Palmer Gallery, continued Marks. “The performance is important because it is another way to register the emotional pulse of my character. The performed line and the practice of drawing is at the core of Adventures of Volitia.”
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Juliana Halpert/The Miscellany News
ow many of us have ever considered the possibility that a personified blob of paint could be the protagonist of a series of art installations and paintings? Probably not too many. But abstract artist Melissa Marks’s installation at the James W. Palmer III Gallery from Oct. 5 to Oct. 23 does just that. When Marks came to New York City 15 years ago as a young graduate from Yale School of Art, she sought inspiration from a multitude of sources ranging from Renaissance frescos, Japanese anime and even Walt Disney to create her own unique style of artistic expression. “I wanted to find a way to incorporate movement, humor, emotional complexity and great big stories into an abstract painting. I called it narrative abstraction,” says Marks. Today, she is the creator of Adventures of Volitia, a series of drawings and installations that depict the story of a character who has no corporeal shape or form, but rather is in a constant state of change. “I imagined that a detachable drip/mutable blob/Pollock leftover, rose up, caught a glimpse of itself in the mirror, and became self aware. Volitia became a hybrid hero, part Superman, part Eve—creation come to life,” says Marks. Volitia is a female character who is in constant motion, exploring the world around her and always on the lookout for new avenues. Marks derived the name Volitia from the word volition, which means the making of a choice or decision of one’s own accord. The name is meant
to reflect Volitia’s independent and restless nature: Her character is spirited and wants to decide the course of her own life. With the presence of a strong female protagonist, Marks has added a considerable feminine touch to the chiefly maledominated landscape of abstract art. The latest set of installations that continue to chronicle Volitia’s adventures are called Adventures of Volitia: Paradise, Again. In Marks’s own words: “This series makes the Garden of Eden Volitia’s playground.” Volitia is depicted as an Eve-like character, except that she has left Eden of her own free will and has not been expelled: For Volitia, the world outside of Paradise is much more intriguing. The freedom this strange new world gives her, as well as the restrictions it imposes upon her, all weave together to form a unique adventure. The message that Marks aims to give through this installation is of turning the unfamiliar into familiar and the idea of a second chance. After leaving Eden, Volitia finds a parallel universe that offers her a second chance and a fresh outlook on life. Said Marks, “Paradise Again is a humorous way of saying, ‘you have another chance,’ if you can get past the monotony of mortality and work and turn it all into some spastic, mutable fun.” Marks uses various media like drawings, paintings, large scale wall-drawing installations and animations to piece together Volitia’s adventures, each medium also contributing to the art itself. The collection consists of 11 color pencil drawings that culminate in a large two-
Melissa Marks’s series, Adventures of Volitia, lies ready to be hung in the James W. Palmer III Gallery. The series features the adventures of a personified, amorphous mass. The exhibit will open on Oct. 5.
September 30, 2010
Burnett creates compelling indie films Renowned jazz
artist to coach music students
Courtesy of the Office of Communications
ainstream films are often shot in a “remote location”: Sex and the City 2 was filmed in Abu Dhabi and The Lord of the Rings films were shot in various parts of New Zealand. The difference between these and the films of Charles Burnett is that he diminishes the sense of remoteness: His Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation is an epic three-hour film about Namibia’s struggle for freedom from occupation by South Africa. The film spans 60 years of history and includes 150 speaking roles in a wide variety of tongues. There will be a screening of the film on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. in the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film (VCDF). This is the type of project typically embraced by Charles Burnett, an independent director and filmmaker. Even though he is unknown in the mainstream, Burnett has gained “cult hero” status among cinephiles for his insightful, multifaceted films. Amongst critics he is widely recognized as a cinematic genius. In 1988, Burnett was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a $500,000 grant for a person aged 20 to 40 who “[shows] exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.” He used the grant to make his award-winning 1990 film To Sleep with Anger, starring Danny Glover. He has also been named “among the most crucial African-American cinematic voices to emerge during the final decades of the 20th century” by The New York Times’ website, and “one of America’s very best filmmakers” by the Chicago Tribune in its 8.27.07 issue. Throughout early October, four of Burnett’s films will be screened: Nambia: The Struggle for Liberation, The Glass Shield, Nightjohn and Killer of Sheep. The screenings will be followed by a lecture given by Burnett on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. in the VCDF, made possible by the Katherine Stone White Artist in Residence Fund and the Department of Film. All four films have received ample recognition. The Glass Shield, a crime drama starring Ice Cube, was called a “powerful moral drama” by Variety Magazine. Nightjohn, a made-forTV movie about a 12-year-old female slave, was dubbed the “best American movie of 1996” by The New Yorker’s Terrance Rafferty. Killer of Sheep is widely considered to be Burnett’s masterpiece. The movie is an artful, poignant glimpse into the life of Stan, an Black American worker at a slaughterhouse living in 1970s Los Angeles. It won a critics’ award at the Berlin Film Festival in 1981, was among the first 50 films entered into the Li-
Noted filmmaker Charles Burnett, above, will screen his film Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation at Vassar on Oct. 6. Burnett’s filmmaking has met with success since his senior film in college. brary of Congress’ National Film Registry, and made the National Society of Film Critics’ list of the 100 essential films of all time. Killer of Sheep may be the most relevant of Burnett’s movies for Vassar film students. The film was created while Burnett was an undergraduate college student at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). It was a thesis project shot with 16mm film on weekends over the course of a year. His budget was $10,000, and the actors and actresses were his friends and acquaintances. “At UCLA, it wasn’t about making films for Hollywood, said Burnett. “The attitude there was to make films that were artful.” It also wasn’t made with a large audience in mind. Amy Heller, the president of Milestone Films, the company that rereleased the film in theaters in 2007, said that “Charles always says ‘I never thought anyone was going to see it.’ Its popularity is sort of strange for him.” The movie steadily gained in popularity; eventually it ran in 150 theaters for 12 weeks in New York City. The film was con-
sequently exposed to a large group of people that included many other filmmakers; Burnett is often given credit for popularizing the documentary aesthetic in fictional films thanks to Killer of Sheep. Heller commented, “Charles is definitely one of the greatest living filmmakers on the planet. His films are astonishingly intelligent and complex, and [Killer of Sheep] really affected the way [a lot of] other filmmakers look at film.” “I would like to talk about my experience in making independent films and see film students’ work and have a dialogue,” said Burnett of his upcoming lecture. He also said that he would discuss the difficulties of making independent films in the 2000s. “Today it’s easier for [students] to get into Hollywood. In the past, a lot more funding was available for independent films.” He emphasized that independent filmmaking is not a futile path to take, though: “I’m going to encourage [students] to go on and make films despite its difficulties…but also to maybe minor in something practical that can make a living for you.”
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JAZZ continued from page 1 bass player so on top of his game, it frees up the drummer to be more free and exciting.” Reid's expertise as a performer and bandleader allows him to craft his own consummate riffs and help his entire quintet attain a more liberated sound that is much more than the sum of its parts. His ear for creating a fully-realized sound in a group setting is what sets Reid apart as both a musician and a teacher. “He’s right in there with the great ‘straight ahead’ players: Ray Brown [and] Ron Carter,” said Osborn, referring to musicians who specialize in a improvisational syle of jamming that shares ties with the bebop subgenre of jazz. “He lays down the melody, voices that recognizable tune, then solos over it. I think he’s trying to create the most full sound he can on the bass.” As director of the Jazz Program at William Paterson University, Reid has spent the last 20 years mentoring jazz musicians. He will lead an afternoon workshop for the members of student jazz combos on campus, in addition to giving a performance. The clinic will give students the opportunity to work closely with the musician, getting individual feedback as well as suggestions for the entire ensemble in the form of song recommendations and coaching on approaches to new material. Said Reid in a 2007 interview with WAER, the Syracuse branch of National Public Radio, “I love to see the light go on, the passion awaken. Someone saw that in me and encouraged me to keep at it.” Reid’s light was turned on when he played trumpet in high school; he later entered the Navy band on the instrument. Once in the Navy, Reid found himself able to focus all of his energy on music and began to turn his attention to the bass. “I was one of those sad trumpet players,” Reid told WAER. “The bass took hold even though I played the trumpet better. I sold [my trumpet] and bought a bass. I tell a lot of my students that I came to my senses.” If the switch to the bass sparked the fire in Reid, his move to Chicago stoked it. As a student in the Department of Jazz Performance at Northwestern University and a staple performer in the club scene, Reid honed his craft and developed his ear. “It’s a tune town,” said Reid, meaning that the other musicians don’t play with sheet music; instead, they call out songs and expect the rest of the band to know them. Without the sprawling repertoire of some of the other players, Reid was forced to train his ear to pick up on the chord changes and improvise with the other players. He explains this method to Bob Bernotas in a 1997 interview for Jazz Player magazine: “I had to figure out what key it was in, whether it had a bridge or not, and fumble my way the best way I could. In a way, the first couple choruses might have been pretty chaotic, but at the same time I learned how to really hear changes, and then remember sequences as they go by.” By developing such a sensitive and trained ear early on, Reid has since been able build a career as a featured artist on legendary artists albums, as well as lead his own ensembles, compose tunes and educate the next generation of ardent jazz musicians. “If you have a strong bass player (like Reid) everything feels better, more relaxed,” said Osborn. Reid continues to work at bettering his craft, despite his near-legendary status. According to his website, he was recently accepted into The Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute, a five-day workshop at Columbia University to help musicians compose for large ensembles. “Upon hearing about it happening, I knew immediately it was something I needed to assist me in my quest to compose for larger ensembles, specifically, the orchestra,” stated Reid on the website. “It was fascinating to learn new ways to add to the traditional compositional palette.” Oct. 2 promises to be a night of tightlyformed jazz, perhaps best described by Reid himself: “I think bass players end up having to be magicians, you know, illusionists, because they end up making people believe they’re hearing more than they’re hearing…and that adds a lot of color.”
September 30, 2010
Dana Cass lights up stage with knack for dance, theater Erik Lorenzsonn Arts Editor
Christie Chea/The Miscellany News
ana Cass ’11 has been showing off a knack for degagés, pliés, locksteps, ballads and dramatizing for the past three years at Vassar: The English major has been a member of FlyPeople, Vassar Repertory Dance Theater (VRDT), Future Waitstaff of America (FWA) and Measure 4 Measure. But her passion for the arts, dancing specifically, comes from very humble beginnings. “I started [dancing] when I was 12,” explained Cass bluntly, “because it looked fun and I needed to do something with my time.” It so happened that a dance school existed down the street from 12-year-old Cass’ house. Cass took a liking to dance after signing up for classes. Her passion for dancing and the arts culminated in her acceptance to the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts (LVA). The academy, a highlycompetitive magnet high school, is often considered one of the best performing arts schools in the country. “My experience at LVA was fabulous,” said Cass. “We trained every day in ballet, jazz and modern, and we studied choreography and dance composition. The dance department encouraged creativity and artistry in dance in a way that regular dance studios really don’t.” “The school also instills a pretty intense work ethic in its students, which has been helpful for me as I manage my crazy schedule here,” added Cass. She currently participates in a wide range of arts programming, while also maintaining an intense academic schedule, “And that’s why I basically have no time to do anything,” she joked. Cass joined FlyPeople during her freshman year, and VRDT her sophomore year. She has had a lot of fun with the former, holding their trip to Disney World in spring of 2010 in especially fond memory. The hip-hop and contemporary dance troupe traveled to Orlando, Fla. to participate in a series of dance workshops, and to perform in a dance troupe showcase. “It’s just a wonderful group,” said Cass about her time with FlyPeople.
Nevertheless, her fondest memory associated with dance is through her work with VRDT. As a sophomore, Cass was an understudy for the troupe’s annual dance gala at the Bardavon Theater in the City of Poughkeepsie. At the last minute, she learned she would be performing in the troupe’s rendition of the Tom Gold-choreographed dance “Elementary.” “I wasn’t expecting to perform,” said Cass. “But a series of last-minute disasters culminated in me finding out that I would be dancing in the performance about four hours before the show. It was unexpected and stressful, but so rewarding to end up performing it in front of a full audience at the Bardavon.” This semester, Cass is focusing her attention on a piece with VRDT called “White Shirt, Black Tie, Black Pants,” choreographed by David Fernandez, a contemporary piece that contrasts J.S. Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with modern dance and modern fashion. Cass is also continuing her involvement with the a cappella organization Measure 4 Measure, and is currently in a production of FWA’s “The Wild Party,” a musical by Andrew Lippa. She has been involved in musical theater since her time at LVA, when she took part in many of the school’s productions. Her presence on the stage is easily complemented by her dancing ability, which gives her a leg up during the auditions process. “I do get to dance a lot in musicals here,” said Cass. “In ‘Rent’ with the Drama Department last fall, I was in the acting company, but I also got to do a lot of work with the show’s dance ensemble.” Cass’ work with FWA could very well aid her future aspirations as well. “I’m planning on doing musical theater,” said Cass. “I plan on moving to New York City and auditioning for pretty much everything.” And as evidenced by her veritable laundry list of talents and achievements, Cass should have no trouble finding success. Whether she is singing a belting Broadway ballad or dancing at the Bardavon Gala, the consummate artist consistently steals the show.
Dana Cass ’11 practices for one of the many dance groups, including VRDT and FlyPeople, in which she participates. Cass has also acted in musical theater productions.
Vassar graduate creates community flag-making project Rachael Borné
Assistant Arts Editor
Alex Schlesinger/The Miscellany News
fter Sept. 11, almost every car, truck and mini-van in the United States sported an American flag bumper sticker boasting some variation of the catchy slogan “These Colors Don’t Run.” As a response to his grief following the attacks, New York City native Aaron Fein ’93 found himself caught up in the flag hype as well; however, he saw fault in the icon’s popularity. “I noticed that over time, the bumper stickers started fading in color, which seemed a little ironic,” he explained. “My grief could certainly last forever, and the flag would certainly fade forever, so where would they finally intersect? Does it all go to white?” These questions served as the impetus for the creation of Fein’s installation, White Flags. The large-scale sculpture showcases all 192 flags of United Nations member states handmade in the color white. For the past week, Fein has been stationed in the College Center to talk to the public about his project. Interested passers-by have been encouraged to help out with the installation by physically sewing, hemming and embroidering the flags. A selection of the completed flags were installed in the College Center’s North Atrium yesterday, Sept. 29. What used to be a transparent sky roof is now adorned with a collection of completely white flags—some look almost identical with simple vertical or horizontal lines, some wear their country’s elaborate embroidered insignia, and they all sway freely at the whim of the slightest breeze. Because of Vassar’s large international population, many students who stopped by the College Center worked on their country’s flag. This interaction between person and flag is a testament to Fein’s mission. He explained, “Seeing people first, instead of their flag is important. It allows us to see our commonalities. You see the person as a human being before you judge them as a member of a specific country.”
Aaron Flein’s white flags fly in the College Center North Atrium. Representing all 192 of the United Nations member countries, Fein is looking for a larger space to house the entire collection. After the flag installation, Fein led a “White Flags Site Analysis” in which participants explored Vassar’s campus, looking for potential locations for the full 192-flag installation that will go up in the spring of 2011. According to Fein, “What I wanted and what Vassar wanted was to really involve students and to make them feel that they’ve made a mark on the project.” He added, “I’ve been overwhelmed by how skilled some of the people who’ve come by to work have been.” The hanging flags are both visually and emotionally striking, simply because we are so accustomed to associating countries with colors, and more importantly, with difference. “I realized that when you take all the colors out, some flags are exactly the same,” said Fein. “I try to
make the arrangements as non-hierarchal as possible,” he added. The American flag took on a very hierarchal meaning on what it meant to be a U.S. citizen after Sept. 11: “This us-versus-them mentality was really starting to pick up,” said Fein. According to Annika Bastacky ’11, art major and studio intern for the Art Department, “The idea of equalizing everything is really interesting. All the countries are white here.” As part of the Artist in Residence Program, Fein and his wife, journalist Dahlia Lithwick will discuss their work, focusing on the interplay between technology and politics in a lecture entitled “Political Self Expression and the New Media: protest with a Little ‘p.’” The talk will take place tomorrow, Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. in Taylor Hall room 203.
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Bastacky describes the importance of Fein’s installation considering our current political climate: “In this age, where you’re from and the color of your flag is such a cultural symbol that’s connotative, contested and controversial,” she said, adding, “I think the installation has something to say about neutrality and how, in the end, all flags fade.” Though Fein’s installation has close ties to the Art and Political Science Departments, he hopes to get as much interdisciplinary involvement as possible. This past Tuesday, Oct. 28, Fein worked with Professor of Earth Science Jill Schneiderman’s earth science class to handsew flags and slow time down. “Part of the theme of the project is slow change over time, which is precisely what they deal with in many science classes,” Fein explained. Another predominate theme in the White Flags installation is the notion of change that can’t be avoided. The bumper stickers that originally inspired Fein’s project faded away because of the all-powerful force of sunlight. Coincidentally, that exact same light is responsible for making each flag in his installation distinguishable by backlighting the black-andwhite silhouettes. He explains, “The thing that creates destroys and that destroys creates. It became more about the change that happens that’s inevitable, and that with that, there’s somehow a message of hope and healing.” As much as the installation is a journey for all those who witness it and help with its creation, the project has also been a growing experience for Fein himself. When he was a student at Vassar, Fein was hardly the type to share or explore his projects with others. Now, Fein sees bringing his project to such an energetic and receptive audience as a rewarding experience: “It’s nice to have the opportunity to express myself in a way that helps others realize that expressing one’s artistic vision and social and political visions is a good thing,” he said.
September 30, 2010
Das Racist crafts confusing hip-hop Sit Down, Man Das Racist
o be honest, I don’t really know what to tell you about Das Racist and their most recent mixtape, Sit Down, Man. For nearly a year this multicultural Brooklyn duo—made up of recent Wesleyan graduates Himanshu Suri and Vitctor Vazquez—has been perplexing and intriguing bloggers and internet tastemakers with a steady stream of what has been insufficiently described as “rap” music. And the truth is, all that confusion is mostly because no one can figure out what Das Racist is trying to do. For one thing, Suri and Vazquez don’t really have smooth, aesthetically-pleasing flows. They rap in jittery staccato that hangs on free association and humorous turns of phrase. And on the other hand, their material has almost nothing in common with traditional rappers. They rap about smoking blunts while reading obscure Middle Eastern literary theorists. Their beats are sparse and maddeningly repetitive. Their best known song is called “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.” Are they genius social commentators deconstructing both hip-hop and American culture? Are they a couple of overeducated liberal arts hipsters laughing at music critics from their Williamsburg apartments? Does any of this really even matter when it comes to their music? With Sit Down, Man, Suri and Vazquez will only add to the confusion surrounding their project. Featuring producing credits from well-established names like Diplo and
Dame Grease, and guest appearances from the likes of fellow Brooklynites Chairlift, it would seem that Das Racist is making a play for legitimacy, or, at the very least, better production values. But lyrically, the group is up to their old tricks. All across Sit Down, Man the duo toys with repetitive phrasing, a confounding lack of coherence and references to both the low-brow and the hi-brow. Like any mixtape, Sit Down, Man is a rambling, inconsistent affair with a wealth of material that could have been left on the cutting room floor. But thanks to Suri and Vazquez’s sense of humor, the best songs on Sit Down, Man shine with irreverence and wit while giving a much needed kick in the pants to the oft abused clichés of contemporary rap. So, putting aside all the preconceived notions of what Das Racist is, or might be, the question remains, is this music any good? The answer is yes, at least most of the time. The production isalmost always above average, and the mixtape features a mosaic of disparate beats. “Amazing” builds slowly into a steady rumble of glittering, distorted synths with a hypnotic appeal. “Fashion Party,” thanks to production by the aforementioned synthpop loving Chairlift, has a gloriously catchy chorus that evokes Blondie and early Madonna. And when Dame Grease shows up on “Rooftop,” he provides the mixtape with the closest thing it has to a traditional rap beat, with the result being both comforting and a little confusing. But like I said, confusion abounds when it comes to Das Racist, so the track’s presence shouldn’t exactly be surprising. But beats are one thing, and the most divisive thing about Das Racist has always been their lyricism—if you can call it that.
The thing that gets most people about this group is that they don’t really rap as much as they just throw words together as they feel like it, and a lot of the time they sound like two stoners trying to impress one another with ridiculous word play. They’ll drop a pop culture reference, tie it to something with a half-hearted simile, then go on a long string of random words that just happen to rhyme. Here’s an example, courtesy of the track “Free Jazzmataz”: “Wake and bake/one take jakes takin bacon from him/I’ll take one of your chicks straight from under your armpit.” Or, how about this from “All Tan Everything:” “Mad rhymes/finna blow up like landmines/all tan everything/shout out to tan lines.” As you can see, these don’t exactly follow a logical progression, and the joke about taking your chick from under your armpit is probably the closest thing you’ll hear to a typical rap-star boast. But this weird, dada-inspired approach to rhyming does yield the occasional flash of humorous brilliance, though it’ll come and go so fast you might just miss it. I’m not quite sure what to tell you about Sit Down, Man. It would be far too simple to write ait off as half-assed trash made as a joke, and it would be just as easy to extol it as some future-thinking masterpiece that shines light on where rap music is heading in the next decade. As music goes, there are both good songs and bad songs, and if you can get past the pure strangeness of their respective flows, Suri and Vazquez do occasionally prove to be clever, inspired rappers. At the end of the day I can’t really recommend Das Racist, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised with Sit Down, Man.
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Nearly a hundred steel rods stand planted in a white floor, oscillating gracefully at the whim of a blowing fan that hums softly in the room’s corner. Bright lights illuminate the translucent folds of white paper that adorn each statuesque form, creating a soothing marriage between the swaying “grass blades” and the shifting luminescent shadows they project onto the walls. Such is the latest creation of artist Nate Torrence ’11. He found inspiration for the installation in the natural world: “I was biking along a path densely lined with trees. It was really windy and the sun was low, burning through the rustling leaves,” said Torrence. Torrence decided on the grass blade motif after this experience, and after finding himself mesmerized by the prospect of shrinking down into a patch of blowing grass. “There’s a kind of soothing quality that I’m going for, almost unconsciously,” he explained. Unlike most of his previous works, the Grass Blades installation is huge, filling an entire room: “Both the process and the experience of the piece are big and sweeping. It kind of swallows you like a womb.” Torrence initially struggled with perfectionist tendencies in the construction of the epic installation. Over time, however, his technique and mentality became more lenient: “On one of the pieces of grass, the razor blade drifted a bit as I was cutting the paper and made this really long, sweeping form, much like a drawing. I thought that was really beautiful,” he said. “I started making all of them that way. I stopped measuring things and trying to get everything straight. The process became much more natural, just like real grass blades,” he ended.
Jackson Browne Bardavon Theater Saturday, October 16, 8 p.m. Prices starting from $65 Jackson Browne may not have been the happiest sixteen year old, if his classic song “These Days” is any indication: “These days I seem to think a lot about the things that I forgot to do,” laments the ditty, “and of all the things I had the chance to.” The song, famously covered by Nico, is just one of Browne’s trademark songs he will be performing at an upcoming benefit concert for Congressman John Hall at the Bardavon. The Rock and Roll hall of famer will not be performing with a band; he will instead sing stripped down versions of his songs that will feature just him on acoustic guitar. —Erik Lorenzsonn, Arts Editor
The Goo Goo Dolls Ulster Performing Arts Center Wednesday, October 20, 7 p.m. Prices starting from $43
Rachael Borné/The Miscellany News
—Rachael Borné, Assistant Arts Editor
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Does anything scream 1990’s more than the Goo Goo Dolls? On top of their game, the pop rock trio from Buffalo, NY recorded such hits as “Iris,” “Slide,” “Here is Gone,” “Better Days,” and “Big Machine.” They’ve sold more than 9 million records, and throughout the late ‘90s and early 2000’s were on everything from the Tonight Show to Sesame Street (singing “Pride,” a song about the feeling of pride set to the melody of “Slide”). The band has also found continued success in recent years, if not attaining the same level of superstardom they had ten years ago. —E.L.
September 30, 2010
The enigma of cheerleading: squads uniformly revealing Nik Trkulja Columnist
Courtesy of Sports Information
Emily Maier ’12 tied for second on the field hockey team after scoring the Brewer’s only goal of the weekend. The field hockey team is currently working on incorporating its new players.
Field hockey begins season of Liberty League games Kristine Olson Guest Reporter
ith the addition of 10 freshmen to the Vassar women’s field hockey team, the season “has started out quite strong,” says Coach Cara Dunn. “We have a young and fresh feel to the team this year.” Although it may indicate individual talent and athleticism, “young and fresh” also implies greenness and the need to reformulate the team dynamic. Team success requires a cohesive relationship between newcomers and veterans, and unified consistency in game performances. Coach Dunn assures that returning players “bring a wealth of knowledge of our team strategies and expectations; and the combination is leading to great successes.” “We have had some losses this season and some wins,” says Coach Dunn, “but as long as we learn from the previous game to better ourselves, as a whole we are improving.” Along with positive thinking, the Brewers “have focused a lot on mental toughness.” This weekend introduced the team’s first
Liberty League games. First came the game at Hamilton College on Friday, followed by St. Lawrence University on Saturday. Both games presented tough competition. The Brewers had a rough start against Hamilton, losing 7-0. Vassar then dropped at 4-1 decision to undefeated St. Lawrence. Emily Maier ’12 scored the only Vassar goal of the weekend, her second of the year. Maier is now tied with Madeline Rooney ’11 for second on the team, with two goals. Anna Schroeder ’14 leads Vassar with three goals. Maier was assisted by Cristina Caso ’14, who recorded her first collegiate assist. As a result of their losses this past weekend, Vassar falls to 2-6, 0-2 in the Liberty League. The team will take a hiatus from Liberty League play, hosting Morrisville State College on Saturday, and then SUNY New Paltz on Tuesday. The following weekend Vassar continues Liberty League play with its first home contest. On Oct. 8, the Brewers will host Skidmore College at 4 p.m. The following day, Vassar will host Union College. Both games will be played on Weinberg Field.
national debate has emerged in the sports media following the release of new research which seems to indicate that revealing cheerleading uniforms are linked with eating disorders. While the research’s conclusion seems to hint at a link many of us would have considered obvious, it does once again call into question why cheerleaders’ uniforms are the way they are. The research that sparked the debate was conducted by Toni Torres-McGehee, an assistant professor of athletic training at the University of South Carolina. More specifically, Torres-McGehee studied 136 NCAA Division I and Division II cheerleaders, looking at whether uniforms that bared their midriffs had any affect on eating disorder incidence or body image dissatisfaction. The participants were surveyed for weight, height and perceived ideal weight. The results showed that cheerleaders were overall “highly disposed to eating disorders,” with a reported 33.1 percent having “some risk” of eating disorder characteristics and/or behaviors. Furthermore, it found that teams with midriff exposing uniforms were most disposed to body-image issues. Again, I don’t mean to demean the results, but none of these conclusions seem earth shattering. A link between athletic competition and eating disorders was established in much earlier and larger studies, such as in 1999 by Craig Johnson of the Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital in Tulsa, and in 2002 by Katherine Beals, now at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. In fact, in the latter study of 425 female collegiate athletes, 43 percent reported being “terrified of being or becoming too heavy,” and 55 percent reported experiencing “pressure to achieve or maintain a certain weight.” TorresMcGehee’s results seem to simply be in line with these previous studies, though they do raise some interesting questions. The most obvious one is why so many cheerleaders’ uniforms do reveal the midriff. If the purpose of cheerleading is, as Torres-McGehee states, “to create camaraderie and team spirit and to keep girls active and healthy,” then why is a revealing uniform in any way necessary? If we sign off on the fact that the uniforms do need to be form-fitting in some way for the athletic activities that these women, for the most part, undertake, and that at the same time they should be visually appealing simply because no one wants to look bad in front of thousands, if not millions of spectators nationwide, we are still left with the quandary of why the female
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
cheerleaders’ uniform needs to be sexually appealing as well. I understand that in some cases the decision of how “skimpy” the outfit is rests with the cheerleader herself. There is nevertheless an unstated expectation of sexual appeal for the female cheerleader that simply isn’t there for the opposite sex. Male cheerleaders get away with outfits that wouldn’t be considered sexually inviting for either sex, so why isn’t the same true for female cheerleaders? Furthermore, it makes little sense to me that religious and conservative schools like Brigham Young University and Notre Dame University allow for the continuation of such a trend in their cheerleading squads. However, in critiquing the cheerleaders’ outfits I am torn, simply because no one need impose a restriction against what these girls are or aren’t allowed to wear. In the end, every athletic activity comes with its unspoken expectations, including cheerleading, and people knowingly accept these and participate in them to the best of their abilities. There are several counter-arguments to Torres-McGehee’s study. Consider, for example, the previously-quoted studies. For one, none of them seem nearly extensive enough to be statistically significant given the fact that there are 346 Division I institutions nationwide alone. Multiply that number by at least 10 to get a very rough low-end estimate of the number of cheerleaders, and we can see that Torres-McGehee’s study is not large enough to provide real conclusions. Furthermore, USA Today reported in 2006, that approximately two to three percent of female college athletes have “full-fledged, diagnosable eating disorders,” this is about the same as the national average for that age. Given that information, it is difficult to draw a connection between athletics and eating disorders. Obviously these counter-arguments are crude at best, but they illustrate different facets of a complicated debate. Personally, the concept of cheerleading is very foreign to me. I don’t understand it because I didn’t grow up with it, so the cheerleader, to me, is not a natural addition to a sporting event. addition to a sporting event. To me, cheerleading is a distraction utilized to captivate the short attention span of the mostly male, testosterone-pumped audience as it waits for the action to restart. What I have learned though in the short time that I’ve been here is that it is somehow deeply woven into the sporting fabric of this country, and for that reason alone it is here to stay in whatever form, for better or worse.
September 30, 2010
Women’s soccer off to historic start NFL injuries require shift T in regulation Wilson Platt
Andy Sussman Guest Columnist
Courtesy of Sports Information
he women’s soccer team just kept on rolling over the weekend, taking their first two Liberty League games in convincing fashion. Vassar built on their four game win-streak and propelled themselves to first place. Senior Captain Carolyn Demougeot kept rolling, too, scoring two more goals and receiving Liberty League Co-Offensive Performer of the Week for the second time in this still-fresh season. Teammate and fellow senior Elysa Greenberger also received honors as the Liberty League Defensive Performer of the Week. On Friday, against St. Lawrence University, Greenberger delivered two assists, both of which were off corners, in a 2-1 Brewers win. Vassar jumped out to an early lead when Keiko Kurita ’13 headed home a corner under nine minutes into the game. Minutes later, St. Lawrence equalized, 16:31 into the game. The game remained tied as both teams struggled to break through for a winning goal. Vassar proved to be that team as Demougeot controlled a Greenberger corner and neatly tucked it away just inside the left post. In the game, Vassar outshot St. Lawrence 11-7, with the Brewers earning six corners compared to two for the Saints. Rachel Shea ’11 led Vassar with three shots, while Alexandra Hutton ’13 notched two saves in the full 90 minutes. After narrowly escaping St. Lawrence, the Brewers made sure their next game would not come down to the wire. Just 3:35 into their second game of the weekend against Clarkson University, Captain Allison McManis ’11 headed a Greenberger corner into the upperleft corner, giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later, McManis assisted
Gavriella Kaplan ’14, above, scored Vassar’s third goal of the game against Clarkson University, securing the Brewer’s second Liberty League victory in a row, after defeating St. Lawrence. Demougeot in scoring the second goal of the game. Demougeot’s shot was blasted from outside of the box and into the back of the net, extending Vassar’s lead to 2-0. Not satisfied with a two-goal lead, Vassar struck again seven minutes later. Gavriella Kaplan ’14 received a throughball from McManis and took off towards the goal, where she beat the Clarkson keeper to give Vassar a 3-0 lead. Throughout the game, the Vassar defense proved suffocating, holding Clarkson to just six shots, with only on on goal.
While the Vassar defense held tough, the offense rattled off 14 shots and earned four corner kicks. Demougeot led the Brewers with five shots, three of which were on goal, while Kaplan also had three shots on goal. As of Sept. 28, the Brewers sit at 7-2-0 and 2-0 in Liberty League play, the team’s best start in over 15 years. Vassar will next play on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, their first home Liberty League contest of the year.
Women’s volleyball takes two at MIT Carolyn Crampton
Courtesy of Sports Information
he Vassar College women’s volleyball team set their goals early on in the season, and they set them high: They wanted to receive a bid to the NCAA tournament and get back to the national volleyball scene where they have not been since the 20062007 season, before any member of this year’s team had put on a Vassar uniform. With that goal still in sight, the Brewers dive into the second half of their schedule looking to improve their play and get experience playing against other talented teams that also have their sights on a NCAA bid. That was exactly what the team got this weekend, as they split their four matches at the highlycompetitive Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Invitational this past weekend. The Brewers finished the tournament on a good note, with a convincing 3-0 sweep of DeSales University (25-15, 25-15, 25-21) on Saturday afternoon to earn seventh place in the silver bracket of the tournament. Vassar had a very well-rounded attack led by Captain Amy Bavosa ’12 and Chloe McGuire ’13, who had 10 and nine kills respectively. Sophomore Hilary Koenigs had 35 of her team’s 37 set assists, and freshman Jessie Ditmore led the team defensively with nine digs followed by eight each from McGuire and Rose Carman ’14. The win was a good way to bounce back from the earlier match on Saturday, where the Brewers suffered a tough 3-1 loss to host MIT, 27-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-8. Each of the first three sets of the match were extremely close, with the two teams battling back and forth and continuously exchanging points. The team was again led by Bavosa with eight kills. Koenigs had 26 set assists while senior Captain Chelsea Mottern led the team with nine digs. The team struggled in its attack, as not one single Brewer was able to hit higher than a .300 hitting percentage. The second match the Brewers played on Friday night was against an impressive Tufts University squad, and was played on the Jumbos home court as well. Playing against a team that is currently receiving votes in the national poll for the top 25 teams in Division III volleyball along with a rowdy crowd supporting the home team, the Brewers struggled
Rose Carman ’14 helped the Bewers take two games at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology Invitational, earning herlself the second highest number of digs on the team and fell to the Jumbos 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-12). While Vassar was able to hang around with Tufts early on in each of the sets, they simply could not get an attack going. Unsurprisingly, McGuire and Bavosa led the Brewers with seven and six kills, respectively. “Tufts is probably one of the top 30 teams in the country right now,” said Head Coach Jonathan Penn. “Playing such a quality team on their home floor with a big crowd is tough, but come Liberty Leagues this is the kind of environment we will see at Saint Lawrence, so we need to be ready.” Earlier on Friday afternoon, the Brewers picked up an easy 3-0 win over fellow Seven Sister school Smith College, 25-11, 25-13, 25-23. Bavosa registered nine kills followed closely by Simon, who had eight kills despite playing in just two of the games. Koenigs had 25 set assists while Mottern tallied eight digs. Despite going 2-2 on the weekend, the team remained positive after the tournament and felt it was an important opportunity and experience for them. “The MIT tournament is something we look forward to every year,”
said senior Juliana Simon, “This is the most competitive tournament we play in all year so it’s really an important one.” Coach Penn also voiced a sense of significance that came from the weekend, “This team is definitely still a work in progress, but what’s important is that we keep getting better every match we play and take advantage of our youth and depth.” The Brewers will take their experience at the MIT Invitational into the second half of the season with them, and they will need it as they face some tough opponents in the coming days. Leading the Brewers as she did this past weekend will undoubtedly be the hardhitting Bavosa, a junior captain who has been a consistent force all season. “I just want to help lead the team not only on the court, but also off of it to make sure that we’re ready to go,” said Bavosa. “I want to be a steady and helpful teammate even if I’m not playing well.” This will definitely be important for the team as they continue to strive for their goal of reaching the NCAA tournament come November.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
ootball is by far the most popular sport in the United States. The National Football League (NFL) continues to rake in more money than any other professional sports league in the nation, with a rising attendance and increasing television revenue. Despite all the economic success of football, it is increasingly likely that the game as we know it will be significantly changed over the next generation. One of the reasons for football’s popularity has always been the physicality of the sport. How many other sports have 280-pound behemoths running at full speed at a 230-pound man running for his life downfield? However, the hard-hitting toughness associated with football has become quite dangerous. No other sport has as many concussion-related injuries as football, no matter what the level of play. While this may not seem particularly concerning, a lot of research has been conducted showing the serious consequences of repeated concussions. Last month, for instance, a study came out connecting concussions to ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, stating that on average, NFL players are eight times more likely to be diagnosed with ALS than the average person. Recently, a high school quarterback from Texas collapsed from a seizure and died on the field after scoring a touchdown. After the young man was carried off in a stretcher, the teams finished the game. Now, we do not know the exact role football had in the death of this particular player, but college and professional players have died of heatstroke from playing or practicing. Spinal chord injuries are also a perilous problem, with the potential of helmet-to-helmet hits. Linemen, the biggest players on the field, are particularly susceptible to health issues on and off the field. In a sport where players are often considered medically obese in order to be successful, serious health problems cannot be considered surprising. The NFL has shown signs that it is listening to the threat of concussions. This past year, the League created a manual on concussions and has had conversations with players, coaches and the training staff regarding the best precautions and treatment methods for players. Needless to say, of course, that the best method of prevention is to not play football. Even with helmets and padding, the sport is designed to cause injuries. So what, if anything will change? The fact is that as long as football provides the potential for fame and fortune, millions of young men will continue to play, despite the increasingly clear risks. However, as we have seen with the steroids scandal in baseball, Congress may very well take actions requiring the change of certain rules or equipment in football. Perhaps, for example, after players are found to have concussions, they will be required to sit out for a certain length of time. As it is, the professional game has become more pass-happy because rules have been put in place to put less pressure on the offense, especially the quarterback. Also, both amateur and professional football have developed better helmets, pads and training methods than even 20 years ago. Change is already underway in the youth ranks. Congress has convened multiple committees in recent days to tackle the problem of concussions in youth sports, and may pass legislation soon. Injuries in football are a serious problem, there have been many deaths related to the sport as well as other traumas. In 2007, Buffalo Bills Tight End Kevin Everett suffered a cervical spine injury, while attempting a tackle that forced him to be carried off the field on a stretcher. Everett was barely able to walk four months later. Instances such as these are far too common in the sport. Football may be America’s new sport, and awareness of its risks is increasing nationwide, but it will not matter one bit if players are treated like x’s and o’s on a chalkboard.
September 30, 2010
Men’s soccer drops tightly contested League games Ethan Shanley
Madeline Zappala/The Miscellany News
he Vassar College men’s soccer team came into the first weekend of Liberty League with high hopes. The Brewers played extremely well but ended losing a pair of very close games, 2-1 in double overtime to St. Lawrence University on Friday and 1-0 to Clarkson University on Saturday. The Brewers fell to 5-4, 0-2 in conference on the season. The opening game of the weekend double header featured an exciting, physical, hard fought game that the Brewers ended up losing on a goal by St. Lawrence in the final seconds of the second and final overtime. With nearly one minute left to go in the second overtime, St. Lawrence midfielder Sam DeMello sent a through pass to forward Sean Scott who sprinted towards the net. Vassar keeper Ryan Grimme ’14 furiously came off his line and slid towards the feet of Scott and the ball. Grimme collided with the ball, jarring it loose with his legs, but the ball remained close to the play. On a second effort Scott knocked the ball free and into the net for the game winner. The score was even at 0-0 for most of the first half, which featured a multitude of shots on goal and several vicious take downs by both teams. A scary moment came for both squads in the 22nd minute. The ball was bouncing toward the goal at the edge of the 18 yard box. Grimme sprinted towards the ball and attempted to clear it with a punch. He connected with the ball; however, on his follow-through his fist met the head of oncoming Saint forward Dan Marvin, sending the sprinting forward spinning through the air. Marvin lay on the ground for a few minutes and after some assistance from a trainer was able to walk off the field under his own power. The game remained physical throughout the first half, as it appeared neither team would be able to break through. In the 40th minute of the game, it seemed like St.
The Brewers try to keep the ball away from their opponents from Clarkson University on Saturday, Sept 25, succeeding in preventing them from scoring for the first 53 minutes of the game. The Brewers will next host Hobart and Hamilton Colleges. Lawrence took control of the game. Vassar was attempting a long throw deep in their offensive end. However, the ball was intercepted by the Saints, who immediately went on the counter-attack, something they attempted to do all day. The retreating Brewers’ defense was on their heels as they tried to stop the rally, led by a relentless DeMello. DeMello made a couple of nice moves at the top of 18 yard box before stopping and firing a shot with his left foot into the lower right corner of the net to make the score 1-0 St. Lawrence. Vassar, however, refused to go down quietly. Just three minutes later, Macklin dribbled down the right side of the field, sending a hard cross in front of the goal right before he
reached the end line. The cross slid barely out of the reach of the Saints goalkeeper and right to sophomore forward Harrison Freund, who was waiting on the back post. Freund easily tapped the ball in for his third goal of the season and the 1-1 equalizer. The second half was a story of physicality and defensive play. Though both teams had good opportunities, neither side could gain the upper hand. In the 81st minute, it looked as though the Brewers might pull away. After a flurry of passes, junior forward Eli London found himself wide open in front of the right side of the goal. London aimed the ball past the Saints keeper towards the lower-left side of the net, but the ball went just wide of the left post.
Two minutes later, the Brewers tried to put the game away again. Freund sent a beautiful cross in front of the net only to have it sail barely over the heads of two Vassar attackers. Macklin led Vassar with his assist, as well as three shots. St. Lawrence forward Mike Manfredi had six shots, four on goal, and DeMello had six shots including the goal in the first half and the winner in overtime. On Saturday, Vassar looked to rebound but was met by a solid Clarkson squad that was hungry for victory after losing 3-0 to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute the day before. Again, the game panned out in typical Liberty League style; it was hard-fought, physical, and ended up being a defensive battle. Clarkson
Sports Calendar: 9/30 - 10/6 Friday, 10/1 Men’s Tennis at ITA Northeast Regional Championship, 9 a.m. October 1-3
Last year, Mike Mattelson ’10 became the first singles player in school history to conquer this prestigious event, and earn a spot in the ITA National Small College Championships. Three years ago, Max Willner ’11 and Gregory Katz ’11 won the tournament as a doubles team. Women’s Cross Country at Paul Short Meet at Lehigh University, 11 a.m.; Men’s Cross Country at Paul Short Meet at Lehigh University, 12 p.m.
After a week off, the men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete against Division I, II and III programs at Lehigh University.
Saturday, 10/2 Women’s Tennis vs. New York University, 11 a.m.
The women’s tennis team will compete in their first match of the season, hosting rival NYU. Last year, the Brewers vanquished the Violets, 9-0, and will look to start the season on a positive note, with another victory over big-city rivals. Women’s Rugby at Stony Brook University, 12 p.m.
In their first two conference games of the season, the wom-
controlled the first half, limiting Vassar’s chances and forcing them to constantly attack from the outside. Vassar’s only scoring opportunities came off of set pieces from out of bounds. Early on in the game sophomore Zander Mrlik catapulted a long throw in to the opposite side of the box to the open Noah Michelon ’13. Michelon headed the ball towards the net but was thwarted by a swarming Clarkson defense. The rebound deflected to London, but London could not convert the attempt. The second half did not produce any better results for the Brewers. The game remained tied at 0-0 until the 53rd minute, when the ball was crossed inside Vassar’s 18 yard box where Clarkson freshman Kurt Knolle was waiting. Knolle blasted a shot towards the net but was stopped by Grimme. The rebound bounced right to junior David Maiori, who took no chances and buried the ball in the upper right corner of the net. In the final stages of the match, Vassar launched a furious wave of attacks, exploiting holes in the defense for great scoring opportunities. Freshman Zach Sanders and sophomore Eric Giesse each had chances to tie the game but were denied by brilliant diving saves by the Clarkson keeper. Vassar had once last chance in the match off a quick counterattack. Senior Ben Scaglione took the ball from deep in his own half and dribbled down the sideline. He found an open Geisse running ahead of him. Geisse ripped a shot from the top of the 18, but the try again was stopped by the Clarkson keeper. Though they lost both games this weekend, Vassar displayed exceptional potential and still has the ability to contend for a spot in the Liberty League playoffs. Their next league game is on Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. when the Brewers will host Hobart College. The following day, the Brewers will host Hamilton College at 2 p.m. Hobart currently sits at 0-1 in the Liberty League, while Hamilton is 1-1.
by Andy Marmer, Sports Editor
en’s rugby team has outscored their opponents by a combined score of 95-27. The team will look to continue the success as they travel to Stony Brook. Field Hockey vs. Morrisville State College, 1 p.m.
After their first three Liberty League contests, the field hockey team gets a reprieve from the tumults of the conference season, hosting Morrisville State College on a Saturday afternoon at Weinberg Field. Women’s Soccer vs. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2 p.m.
Sitting alone in first place, with a flawless Liberty League record, the women’s soccer team will attempt to maintain its status. In order to remain undefeated and untied, Vassar will need to knock-off their rivals from the north. Last year, Vassar dropped a hard fought decision 3-1 to RPI, and seeks vegeance this time around. The Miscellany News dubs this our GAME OF THE WEEK.
Sunday, 10/3 Men’s Rugby at Seton Hall University, 1 p.m.
After outscoring conference foes by a combined 83-14, the men’s rugby squad travels to Seton Hall for its third conference game. Following this week, the men’s rugby plays three straight at home.
Tuesday, 10/5 Field Hockey vs. SUNY New Paltz 4:30 p.m.
The field hockey team renews its rivalry with cross-town foes, SUNY New Paltz. Last year, the Brewers dropped a 3-0 decision on the road.
Wednesday, 10/6 Men’s Tennis vs. New York University, 3:30 p.m.
The men’s tennis team welcomes NYU to Poughkeepsie for the continuation of their series. Last year, Vassar triumphed, 9-0. Women’s Tennis at SUNY New Paltz, 4 p.m.
The women’s tennis team makes the short trek to New Paltz, after defeating them 8-1 last year.
Women’s Golf at Middlebury College Tournament, TBA
The women’s golf team continues its fall season, competing in their third of five tournaments. This week, the Brewers undertake the long drive to Middlebury, Vt., to compete in the Middlebury College Tournament.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Women’s Volleyball vs. Stevens Institute of Technology, 7 p.m.
Following a one-week hiatus, the women’s volleyball team continues its season by welcoming Stevens to Poughkeepsie. Last year, Vassar dropped a 3-1 match to Stevens.