The Miscellany News
Volume CXLVII | Issue 13
February 6, 2014
Since 1866 | miscellanynews.com
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
Misc Celebrates 100 Years As Weekly Elizabeth Daniels leaves legacy College grants bolster community ties O Anna Iovine
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Vassar Good Neighbor Fund supports partnerships between VC members and local groups Bethany Terry Staff DeSigner
courtesy of Vassar College
n Tuesday, Jan. 28, Vassar lost a valuable member of its community. College Historian Emerita and Professor Emerita of English, Elizabeth “Betty” Daniels ’41, passed away at the age of 93. “The Vassar family has lost a most remarkable member, and [for] many of us, a dear friend and colleague,” said President Catharine Hill in an announcement to the College. After graduating summa cum laude at Vassar and continuing her education at the University of Michigan and New York University, Daniels returned to Vassar in 1948 to begin teaching in the English Department. Apart from being a professor, Daniels took on many other roles during her Vassar career, including Chair of the English Department, Dean of Freshmen, Dean of Studies, and Acting Dean of the Faculty. Daniels also played a vital role in Vassar’s decision to become coeducational. She served on both the Vassar-Yale Study Committee, which focused on the option of merging the schools, and the Committee on Alternatives, which focused on the option of making Vassar co-ed. After the See HISTORIAN on page 4
Elizabeth A. Daniels ’41, Vassar College’s first historian, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 28, leaving behind the memories and stories of those who knew her.
any members of the Vassar community may not be aware that there is an active funding program that seeks to support local community projects. This resource is the Vassar Good Neighbors Fund, which grants money to students, faculty and staff who have partnered with a local organization. The fund, however, faces one major obstacle: lack of visibility on campus. Frances Daly Fergusson, Vassar’s ninth president, established the Vassar Good Neighbors Fund in 2001. Applicants to the fund are able to receive short-term or longterm grants, which are a one-time or three-year award, respectively. Last semester, $15,000 in grants were awarded, including two $5,000 projects. Currently, the endeavor is
overseen by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and the applications for funding are reviewed by Assistant Professor of Education Colette Cann, one of the faculty supervisors of the fund, and student intern Sarah Murphy ’14. “It’s really about allowing students or faculty or staff to kind of take that experimentation and try out a new project,” said Murphy. The Good Neighbors Committee works to provide local non-profit organizations and individuals in the area with the support needed create and further their community projects. One local association that receives funding from the Vassar Good Neighbors Committee is Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, an anti-foreclosure community advocacy group. See NEIGHBORS on page 7
Impending inspection Alum composes for multimedia highlights fire hazards Samantha Kohl
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Eloy Bleifuss Prados featureS eDitor
ncense. Hot plates. Propane tanks. Fireworks. It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that these items are prohibited in Vassar dwellings. The category of fire hazard, however, is broader than one might think. Students may be breaking the rules—and risking the penalties—without even knowing it. Associate Director of Residential Life Rich Horowitz addressed how his
office has the task of deciding which particular parts of the College’s regulation should be communicated directly to students. “There’s so many of them, are you going to have to make the decision of what to highlight?” said Horowitz. He worries that if students become inundated by long lists of prohibitions, they will begin to ignore the information all together. In addition to the ones the Office of See FIRE on page 6
or most gamers, a video game is about reaching a new high score or beating a personal record. Jamie Christopherson ’97 is also preoccupied with score—but for him, this means creating the music and sounds that ultimately heighten the gaming experience.
On Friday, Jan. 31 in the Skinner Library. Christopherson gave a lecture and a tutorial drawn from his own experiences in scoring music. While at Vassar, Christopherson spent his evenings playing funk, jazz and rock in Poughkeepsie. Now, Christopherson is an award-winning composer who has scored major works of film, tele-
vision, commercials, trailers, video games and even theme parks. Christopherson most recently worked on J.J. Abrams’ NBC show “Revolution.” His repertoire includes the best-selling video games “Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance,” “The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth,” “Lost See CHRISTOPHERSON on page 16
Jonathan Saﬁr reporter
ometimes a team’s record can be misleading. To call the Vassar College men’s volleyball 1-3 start to the season a disappointment would not be fair. After taking No. 4 ranked State University of New York New Paltz to the brink, the men’s volleyball team has, in fact, had a truly impressive start to this year. Furthermore, when you consider the loss of six valuable seniors from last year’s team, which
went 20-13 overall including winning a round in the United Volleyball Conference (UVC) championship, and the fact that the current roster consists of only 12 men, the New Paltz win looks even more impressive. In addition to this, six of those 12 are freshmen. According to Head Coach Rob Wolter, the team’s main goal coming into the season was to be competitive. “My biggest expectation for this year’s team is to be able to compete day in and See VOLLEYBALL on page 18
Inside this issue
VSA calls for increase in Metcalf resources
Alec Ferretti/The Miscellany News
Record fails to reflect men’s volleyball skills
Jamie Christopherson ’97 gave a lecture and tutorial on composing music for the full media spectrum on Jan. 31. From video games to amusement parks, his signature creations have beenw prominently featured on a number of platforms.
Alums reflect on 100 years of Misc FEATURES growth, success
Posse student finds post-war healing in playwriting
The Miscellany News
February 6, 2014
Editor-in-Chief Chris Gonzalez
Meaghan Hughes Marie Solis
Contributing Editors Ruth Bolster Adam Buchsbaum Jessica Tarantine
News Features Opinions Humor & Satire Sports Photography Design Social Media Copy
100 Years of The Miscellany News
Noble Ingram Eloy Bleifuss Prados Joshua Sherman Lily Doyle Christopher Brown Tina Caso Spencer Davis Palak Patel Alessandra Seiter Ashley Pecorelli
Crossword Editor Assistant News Assistant Opinions Assistant Arts Assistant Sports Assistant Photo
Jack Mullan Anna Iovine Natasha Bertrand Samantha Kohl Luka Laden Jacob Heydorn Gorski Jiajing Sun Assistant Social Media Victoria Bachurska Reporters Emma Daniels Emily Hoﬀman Maggie Jeﬀers Jonathan Safir Delaney Fischer Zach Rippe Columnists Max Rook Lily Sloss Eli J. Vargas I Design Elizabeth Dean Bethany Terry Online Rachel Dorn Copy Hadley Atwood Daniel Foley Sophie Kosmacher Christian Lewis Macall McQueen Marya Pasciuto Camilla Pfeiﬀer Emma Roellke Rebecca Weir
LETTERS POLICY The Miscellany News is Vassar College’s weekly open forum for discussion of campus, local and national issues, and welcomes letters and opinions submissions from all readers. Letters to the Editor should not exceed 450 words, and they usually respond to a particular item or debate from the previous week’s issue. Opinions articles are longer pieces, up to 800 words, and take the form of a longer column. No letter or opinions article may be printed anonymously. If you are interested in contributing, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
February 6, 2014
VSA addresses increased need for counseling services Noble Ingram neWS eDitor
courtesy of Vassar College
n Sunday, Feb. 2, the Vassar Student Association (VSA) council approved a letter to be sent to President Catharine Hill and other Vassar administrators calling for a post-doctoral fellowship to be instituted in Counseling Services at the Metcalf House. The letter was drafted by President of the South Commons Rebecca Bauer ’14 and was unanimously supported by all members of the VSA. The letter starts by referring to a meeting the VSA had with the Director of Counseling Services at Vassar College, Wendy Freedman on Nov. 24 of last year. According to the letter, many council members at this meeting expressed concern about the limited number of staff members available at Metcalf and the high demand for counseling services. These sentiments were clearly expressed in the letter drafted by Bauer. As the letter states, “Some [students] have reported having to wait over two weeks for an initial appointment. Current clients already need to wait two weeks in between appointments, which is particularly concerning for students at high risk. [Freedman] expressed concern with the current situation, because according to the staff’s ethical code, it is quite clear more staff members are needed to accommodate the number of students being seen.” The letter continues, detailing the concerns expressed by both VSA council members and Freedman in their initial meeting. “[Freedman] also indicated that Metcalf is more highly utilized than [counseling services at] many other colleges that participated in the Association of University and College Counseling Center survey. Finding these facts concerning, the VSA council researched the resources and practices of counseling centers at peer institutions,” it reads. Bauer spoke to the feelings of the VSA after meeting with Freedman last year. “After our meeting with Wendy Freedman, we concluded that Metcalf is a great resource but we wanted to find a way to make it more easily accessible to students. Our top concern was the amount of time students need to wait in between appoint-
ments and before initial appointments, due to limitations in their staffing,” she said. After explaining the results of this first meeting, the letter goes on, using statistics to support the claim that Counseling Services are understaffed and would benefit greatly from a post-doctoral fellowship. Using data collected from peer institutions including Barnard, Williams and Amherst, Bauer was able to rank Vassar against similar small colleges in an attempt to contextualize the concerns that the VSA and Freedman had. As Bauer said, “Of 20 peer institutions, 16 provided enough information to be included. Information that I used included the student population of each institution and the number of mental health care professionals staffing that school’s office.” As a result, Bauer found that Vassar ranks 9th out of 16 schools in terms of its psychologist-to-student ratio. When considering all non-psychologist mental health staff members, including post-grad interns, doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and counseling clinicians, however, Vassar’s ranking drops to 14th out of the 16 schools. Freedman echoed the desire for more resources at Vassar. She wrote in an emailed statement, “According to the 2012 director survey from the Association for University College Counseling Center Directors, the average number of students served by Counseling Services per year for institutions of similar size (1,501 to 2,500 student body) is 306. At 500 students per year, Vassar’s Counseling Service is serving a greater proportion of the student body than our peers.” This data was then put into context with information explaining how mental health services are becoming increasingly sought after at Vassar. As the letter explains, “The VSA Council feels hiring a post-doctoral fellow is necessary not just to remain in line with our peers, but most importantly, to satisfy a growing need in our community. Compared to the 2012 fall semester, this past semester has seen a 27 [percent] increase in crisis calls and a 375 [percent] increase in on call/weekend contacts.” Freedman, who works closely with the mental health service providers at Vassar,
The Metcalf House, which hosts all of Vassar’s mental health and counseling services, has been criticized for being understaffed and inaccessible to students by the Vassar Student Association. confirmed this increase. As she said, “Vassar students are resilient, bright and talented. However, like other counseling services across the country, we have seen an overall increase in the severity of psychological symptoms that many of our students are experiencing, necessitating additional support and care. Additionally, given the challenging economic times and the growing economic diversity of our student body, we have more students who state that they cannot afford off-campus treatment and instead seek support through the Counseling Service.” Bauer, Freedman and the VSA all acknowledged that the Administration faced extremely difficult financial decisions and that new hiring for the College would put a significant burden on the College’s finances. As Freedman stated, “Hiring decisions are very challenging given this concern. A post-doctoral fellow would be a cost-effective method for the College to add to the Counseling Service staffing, but the additional cost must be carefully weighed by the
senior officers against the other needs of the College.” Post-doctoral fellows are only hired for a year and are therefore less of a financial commitment for the college than instituting a permanent position would be. Despite the cost of the bringing another post-doctoral fellow to campus, the letter argued this was essential for the well-being of students. Freedman claimed, “A post-doctoral fellow would see a full caseload of students, shortening the time students wait for initial appointments, reducing the time between appointments, and allowing counselors to work more closely and effectively with students.” In discussion of the letter at the VSA council meeting on Feb. 2, many expressed the concern that offering adequate mental health services to students was not something the college made as important as it should. The letter concludes, “As mental health affects all aspects of student life, VSA Council feels adequately staffing our counseling center should be a top priority.”
Cross-campus Super Bowl XLVII events energize VC Shelia Hu and Katie Carpenter gueSt reporterS
his past Sunday in the Super Bowl XLVIII game, the Denver Broncos played against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey while many Vassar students attended programming around campus. The Seahawks defeated the Broncos 43-8, a score difference not seen since Super Bowl XXVII in 1992. ViCE collaborated with the VSA Programming Board and Lathrop and Raymond Houses and organized a Super Bowl viewing in UpC on Sunday night, complete with free wings and pizza for those who arrived early enough to get some. Viewing parties were also organized by Strong, Joss, Davison and Jewett’s House Teams in their respective dorms. Jewett and Davison
offered pizza to their attendees, while Strong’s Floor Fellows provided chips and dip. Lorraine Kwok ’15, who watched in Jewett, said the event was a good opportunity for people in the house to come together and be sociable. “I thought the organization of the Super Bowl party was a great way for members of Jewett to share the same space, given that there are so many of us living in a such a large dorm.” The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched televised events, and this year’s game brought in 111.5 million viewers, making it the most watched TV show in U.S. history (deadline. com, “Foxes Super Bowl Scores…,” 2.3.14). In addition, because of the high number of people who attend the games—over 80 thousand—the Super Bowl is considered a Level 1 national se-
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UpC played host to a Super Bowl event on Sunday organized by the VSA Programming Board, and Lathrop and Raymond Houses. Students also held events in Strong, Joss, Davison and Jewett houses.
curity event; there were state troopers, patrol cars, K9 bomb-sniffing dogs and around 3,000 private security guards present at this year’s game (NJ.com, “Super Bowl 2014”, 2.2.14). Vice President of Raymond House Lauren Garcia said the UpC event went off without too much competitive tension: “No one started pummeling anyone during the opposing team’s touchdowns, so I’d say it went fine.” A floor fellow in Strong, Maddy Vogel ’15, similarly confirmed in an emailed statement, saying,“The atmosphere was very chill and nice! We had more people there than we expected and everyone was friendly.” This year’s game was the first Super Bowl where two states, New York and New Jersey, were both hosts to the annual game. There were three stadiums bidding to be the host of the games: MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Raymond James Stadium in Florida and Sun Life Stadium, also in Florida. After four rounds of voting, it was decided that the game would take place in East Rutherford, NJ, making it the first time for the game to be held in an open stadium in a cold-weather city. However, game day actually turned out to be warmer than usual, at 49 degrees during kickoff at 6:32 p.m. The Seahawks won this season’s NFC West division and finished the season 13-3. Their second-year quarterback, Russell Wilson, was at the head of the offense for the team. The Broncos were led by 16-year veteran quarterback Peyton Manning; they finished 13-3 and won the AFC West division. After the first two quarters of the game, the Seahawks were leading 22-0; after the half-time show, the Broncos finally made it on the scoreboard at the end of the third quarter, leaving the score 39-8 with the Seahawks 31 points ahead. As always, while many were there for the sports, there were others more interested in the ads, halftime show or food. Lucia Zampaglione ’15, who watched the game in the Raymond MPR, admitted, “To be honest I was more pre-
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
occupied with the fact that me and my friends got wings and were eating them together than the game itself.” House President of Davison Khasi-Marc Jamieson ’16 observed, “All who were there seemed to thoroughly enjoy the halftime show and though we had an overall large turnout, a majority of the members of the house left promptly after it.” One of the most anticipated performances every year is the halftime show, this year featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Mars performed a mashup of his many hits in the 14-minute performance, including “Billionaire,” “Locked Out of Heaven,” and “Treasure” with his band The Hooligans. The Red Hot Chili Peppers later joined Mars in singing their 1991 song “Give It Away” and collaborated in singing “Runaway Baby.” Mars finished the performance with his song “Just the Way You Are,” raking in over 115.3 million viewers for the whole performance, breaking the record that Madonna set two years ago with 114 million viewers. Mars’ halftime show was well-received at Vassar, too. Jordan Burns ’16 commented, “Who knew Bruno Mars and the Chili Peppers would be so awesome together? One of the classiest and most rock and roll performances I’ve seen at the Super Bowl.” Still, some comparisons to last year’s performance, for better or worse, were inevitable. Vogel admitted, “I didn’t pay attention because it wasn’t Beyoncé.” The Seahawks were generously rewarded for winning their first Super Bowl Championship, with each member of the team receiving a $92,000 bonus check. Although the Broncos lost the game, each of their players still receive a bonus check of $46,000. The league itself for the players pays the bonuses, with the total bonus for the Seahawks and Broncos to be 5.8 million and 2.9 million dollars, respectively. In addition to the bonuses, the Seahawks received postseason paychecks with a total postseason NFL payout of $9.9 million for the whole team.
Outside the Bubble 2013 A Record-Breaking Year for Exonerations
According to new statistics released by the National Registry of Exonerations, 2013 marked a record year for exonerations of people found guilty for crimes they did not commit. At 87 exonerations, 2013 has had the highest number of exonerations since the registry began recording this information 20 years ago. While many exonerations have only now become possible due to DNA testing, the high number is thought to also be a result of police officers and prosecutors being more willing to investigate themselves (NPR, “Exonerations On The Rise, And Not Just Because Of DNA,” 2.4.2014). 40 of the exonerations were based on murder convictions, including that of a man wrongly convicted and subsequently sentenced to death in the fatal stabbing of a fellow inmate in a Missouri prison in 1983, according to the report by the National Registry of Exonerations. The Registry also found that about one-third of the exonerations involved cases in which no crime had occurred (The New York Times, “Study Puts Exonerations at Record Level in U.S.,” 2.4.14). The co-founder of the Registry and executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Rob Warden, said the numbers reflect an improvement in the criminal justice system. “First, the courts and prosecutorial apparatus are more willing to take these cases seriously than they once were,” he said. “There was a time when you wouldn’t have gotten a court to look at a case where there was a confession. Now we know that false confessions happen quite regularly.” Texas had the most exonerations with 13, followed by Illinois (9), New York (8), Washington (7) and California (6). Rounding out the top 10 were Michigan and Missouri with five a piece, and four each for Connecticut, Georgia and Virginia. (Time News, “Record Number of U.S. Prisoners Exonerated in 2013,” 2.4.14). The change is most visible in district attorneys’ offices across the country. New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and others have started “conviction integrity units,” with the sole purpose of reviewing old cases and ensuring that the agency got it right (NPR, “Exonerations On The Rise, And Not Just Because Of DNA,” 2.4.2014). All together, the 1,281 defendants who have been exonerated since the registry began recording data have spent nearly 12,500 years in prison for crimes of which they were wrongly convicted (Time News, “Record Number of U.S. Prisoners Exonerated in 2013,” 2.4.2014). —Noble Ingram, News Editor Toys of Anne Frank discovered in Rotterdam
More than 70 years ago, Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in Amsterdam, living a cramped and solitary life many know about through the publication of Frank’s own diary. Shortly before Frank went into hiding, she had given some of her personal toys to a friend for safekeeping. The Anne Frank House recently put out a statement about the rediscovery of said toys and their plans to display them at the Kunstall Art Gallery in Rotterdam (USA Today, “Museum to display Anne Frank’s rediscovered toys,” 2.4.14). Frank had given the toys, which include a tea set, a book and a box of marbles, to her childhood friend and neighbor Toosje Kupers, hoping to one day return and reclaim them. The museum has already displayed the tea set and book, but this will be the first time they display the box of marbles (CNN, “Anne Frank’s marbles to go on display in Rotterdam,” 2.4.14). Kupers had offered all of the toys to Otto Frank upon his release from Auschwitz. He told her she could keep the toys. Kupers gave the book and the tea set to the Anne Frank House, but had kept the marbles until recently as a memory of Frank herself. “So many people know about the Anne Frank because of the diary, which was written under such unusual circumstances,” said the Museum Head of Collections Teresien da Silva said. “[But] the marbles are a reminder that she was just a little girl” (CBS, “Anne Frank childhood friend donates Jewish girl’s toys, given to her for safekeeping, to museum,” 2.4.14). Kupers recently rediscovered the marbles when she was moving and thought it best to give them to the museum. The Kuper family also looked after Frank’s cat Moortje during that time. —Palak Patel, Design Editor
February 6, 2014
VSA holds spring leadership conference Elizabeth Dean Staff Design
n Sunday, Feb. 2, the Vassar Student Association (VSA) hosted a spring leadership conference for leaders and members of the College’s student organizations. While this was the VSA’s first leadership conference in the spring, a similar event is held every fall. This was also the first leadership conference that allowed representatives from preliminary organizations to attend. VSA VP for Activities Stephanie Goldberg ‘14 organized the event and spoke to its purpose. She said, “It was to serve as a refresher of basic things like programming for whoever the programmers are in the orgs and also as a refresher for treasurer basics and finances.” Goldberg continued to explain that the event was partially a response to issues raised during the first semester. She said, “It was also to address some of the concerns that that had come our way about orgs and from orgs. For example, they had some concerns about not being sure of the programming process, and then there were also concerns from some of the faculty about programming in spaces outside of the Villard Room, and we just needed to reiterate to the orgs that these are shared spaces and we need to be respectful about [them].” Goldberg also commented on one of the biggest changes between past fall leadership conferences and this year’s spring leadership conference. Reflecting on the new inclusion of preliminary organizations in the conference, she said, “The fact that they’re prelims means that we hope that they’ll eventually become certified orgs, and we felt that if they were able to start attending then they’d have better leadership skills for when they actually become certified organizations. Then they have the tools already there, they know what they’re doing, and then they can send underclassmen and future leaders to the leadership conference [next time].” The event had significantly larger attendance than expected, with 87 organizations—more than two-thirds of Vassar’s student organizations—represented by at least one, and usually two, student leaders. Goldberg estimated that the number of attendees exceeded 130, and admitted, “We actually had to order more food at the last minute
because so many people came.” The event featured presentations from several VSA student leaders. VP for Finance Mike Kaluzny ‘14 kicked off the event with a presentation focusing on finances, annual budgeting and funding for student organizations. Next, presentations regarding Student Activity Resource (SARC) and programming were led by SARC interns, leading into an overview of the VSA’s new event management request system. Finally, Goldberg, VP for Student Life Danny Dones ‘16 and Activities Committee member Carolina Gustafson ’15 presented a talk about responsibility and liability issues for organizations, especially related to the respectful use of shared campus spaces. Reflecting on the event, Goldberg said, “I think we did reach a good number and I think we gave them some information that we didn’t in the fall...and I’m happy that we were able to give that to them now, especially to the incoming leadership that might not have been there last semester so that way they know what to do.” Goldberg said that while she is still collecting feedback on the event, students’ reactions have been overwhelmingly positive and she hopes that the event can continue occurring in the spring. Co-president of the Caribbean Students Alliance (CSA) Tamasha Persaud ’15 spoke to her experiences at the event in an emailed statement. She said, “I spent last semester abroad. After I returned I realized that some of the procedures for programming on campus had changed. As an org officer, I thought it would be important to become aware of these new procedures and the resources that are available in order to ensure that things run smoothly when planning future CSA events.” She went further, agreeing with the student consensus about the success of the event. “I thought the conference was very informative. A more appropriate name for the conference could have been ‘programming in a nutshell.’ I appreciate the fact that it was concise but was still able to communicate the important aspects of programming on campus...I encourage other org leaders to attend the conference in the future,” she said. She continued, “Many questions come up in the midst of planning an event like: How do I reserve a space for an event? How do I reserve a date for an event?..These are some
of the questions that were eloquently addressed at the conference.” Co-captain of both the Vassar Ski Team and Ultimate Frisbee Anna Been ’14 found more value in other information at the conference. In her emailed statement, she said, “I attended the conference both because it was mandatory and because I needed a refresher on some of the treasurer information. I preferred it to the [fall leadership conference] because it was a lot more concise and well-explained...The finance information presented by [Kaluzny] was really useful, mostly because I have to do a lot of budget related things, such as getting checks cut, booking hotels, etc. for both orgs.” One of Vassar’s newest organizations, Britomartis Devised Theatre Ensemble, was also represented. According to Co-President Lyla Porter-Fellows ‘14, “We create original devised works of theatre through adaptation of pre-existing texts, original writing, workshopping, improvisation, movement, etc.” Of the conference, she said, “Though we have been active since 2011, we were just recently certified as an org this past fall, and so we were required to attend the spring leadership conference as a way of introducing us to some of the policies and resources of the VSA. All four members of our executive board attended the meeting.” Porter-Fellows was grateful for the information, but wished for a little more, saying, “Much of the information was directed to the org treasurers and was very useful information. Our treasurer, Hollace Francy ’15, was already pretty well versed in VSA procedure and has been very top of things but I guess it was helpful for the rest of us to hear rules laid out. I think the presentation could have been a bit more dynamic, but it was helpful to be reminded of the larger support system of the VSA and SARC as well as of the many bureaucratic processes and deadlines that our org should be mindful of throughout the year.” Goldberg expressed gratitude to all of the participants and her supporters, saying “Thank you to all the attendees and the activities committee for helping me put it all together.” She expressed hope that the spring leadership conference could become an annual event, allowing students the resources and services they need to lead Vassar’s many organizations.
Vassar celebrates life of first historian HISTORIAN continued from page 1 decision was made, Daniels was a member of the Committee on New Dimensions and created “The Comprehensive Plan,” which included Vassar’s new curriculum. When she retired from teaching in 1985, Daniels became Vassar’s first historian. Along with her colleague, the current College Historian Colton Johnson, and students, Daniels created the online Vassar Encyclopedia. She retired from her position in 2012. Daniels served many roles at Vassar, but she was first a student and for the remainder of her life a proud alumna of the Class of 1941,” said Associate Vice President of the Office of Alumnae/i Affairs and Communications and the Executive Director of Alumnae/i of Vassar College, Patricia Lichtenberg ’90, in an emailed statement. Lichtenberg continued, “She was a class leader having served countless terms as president as well as many other volunteer positions. In fact, she was held in such esteem by her class that they funded a room in Special Collections [section of the library] at their sixtieth reunion named The Elizabeth Adams Daniels Seminar Room.” “Betty was also a favored guest speaker at numerous Vassar Club events and in 2006 she received The Spirit of Vassar Award. She was chosen for the honor not only because of her contributions to her class and the Poughkeepsie Area Vassar Club, but also because of her extraordinary service to Vassar as a student, professor and college historian,” she continued.Present historian, Dean Emeritus of the College and Professor Emeritus of English, Colton Johnson, commented, “I had known Betty for almost fifty years. She and
her husband were very good friends when she was the Dean of Studies in 1965,” he said. Johnson recalled an anecdote about Daniels’ commitment to Vassar history, remembering “She became interested in Vassar history when she was the acting Dean of the Faculty and I was the Dean of Studies. We discovered—with the exception of academic records, which were stored upstairs in Main—all other records were stored in rooms in the basement of Main.” Johnson continued, thinking back to his own experiences with Daniels. “I only noticed because sometimes the Dean of Studies’ office would get a call and someone would have to go down and get something. When I mentioned something to Betty, she just acted on it. She got in touch with an alumna/us who was an archivist, obtained a grant—all well before she created the historian’s office—and began the process of microfilming in the Jewett basement, before Jewett was renovated,” he said.He went further, speaking to how he came to be the current College Historian. “Betty also got me interested in working on Vassar history. We collaborated in 1985—when she “retired for the weekend” and came back the next Monday as Vassar’s historian. I asked her if she was willing to sit down over a period of time so I could ask her everything about Vassar. Much of that academic year was spent going to the dean’s house and recording videotapes; there ended up being over fifteen hours,” he said. Johnson went on, “She came up with ways of learning a lot of things about Vassar that hadn’t been considered. She had an energy that was extraordinary. She recorded over 200 oral histories of Vassar. She went around
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
and discovered members of the community in their last years—employees, faculty, alums—and recorded their history at Vassar, their recollections, with a tape recorder.” He concluded, “What struck me was the variety of ways she secured Vassar history; I wonder what we’ll find in the future. She had a remarkable energy and determination. Betty had all the abilities of a teacher and a scholar. I don’t think anyone she interacted with—students, faculty—could think of her as anything but generous and eager to help.” “Betty was loved by so many generations of Vassar students, alumnae/i, faculty and staff. We will miss her,” said Vice President of Alumnae/i Affairs and Development, Catherine Baer in an emailed statement. Lichtenberg added, reflecting, “A Vassar life well lived.” Daniels wrote on her time at Vassar in the sesquicentennial edition of the Alumnae/i Quarterly in winter 2011, the same year she celebrated her 70th reunion at the college. She wrote, “It was hard losing both parents within the space of four years, but if it had to happen, Vassar was a very good place to be. I was getting to be known on campus by then. I was a good student. And I found some alternate parents on the Vassar faculty.” Daniels concluded her piece by saying, “That’s the real reason I can call Vassar my alma mater. It was a fostering mother to me.” According to President Hill’s bulletin, “If you would like to communicate with Betty’s family, they have created a special email address, email@example.com for messages and remembrances.” The Alumnae House will be hosting a “lifetime celebration” for Daniels later in the spring.
February 6, 2014
From 1914 to 2014: a century with Vassar’s weekly paper Joshua Sherman opinionS eDitor
Spencer Davis/The Miscellany News
hough we proudly put the words “Since 1866” on the cover of every Misc we print, today still marks the 100th anniversary of an important beginning in our paper’s history. It is true that what we call The Miscellany News began as a yearbook-like publication, The Vassariana, in 1866, but any regular reader wouldn’t find much in common between The Vassariana of then and The Miscellany News of now. This is because it wasn’t until February 6, 1914—100 years to the day—that The Miscellany printed its first weekly news supplement. This supplement is what later became the publication we know today, and its 100th anniversary brings an opportune moment to look back and reflect on what brought The Miscellany News into existence, how it has existed as a weekly over the last century, and how it operates today. The Misc actually began in 1866 with an entirely different name: The Vassariana. It came at the end of Vassar’s first year of classes, and was written by the students’ proto-yearbook. There’s actually a tall tale that Founder Matthew Vassar encouraged the students to create a publication to compete against the likes of Yale and Harvard, but it turns out to have been highly improbable. “I don’t think he was giving advice of that sort,” said Dean Emeritus of The College and Vassar Historian Colton Johnson, adding that Vassar himself, a man with only a few weeks of night school as formal education, left the formation of college policy to its president and trustees. The Vassariana was instead a creation of the students, and likely funded completely by their own efforts, much as it is today. Several years later, in 1872, the annual Vassariana became The Miscellany, a quarterly literary magazine to cover a variety of material, including poems, essays and other works. The change only came after the year 1871 saw no production of The Vassariana as an act of protest against faculty, who were at first against the idea of seeing a semi-annual or quarterly publication. This was done because, according to Johnson, “The students and alumnae had to communicate with each other. They needed a venue.” The Miscellany helped serve that purpose in a time before the Vassar Quarterly and other regular college publications even existed. There was, however, still no appropriate outlet for current events, news and in-the-moment coverage of what went on around campus. In response to this, the editor-in-chief of The Miscellany approached the Students’ Association in 1913 with a plan for a weekly supplement to The Miscellany that would incorporate news, letters and current events. Although students were “enthusiastic,” according to an account of the event, faculty at first were hesitant to let students make such a dramatic change to an institution more than 50 years old. After a petition was forwarded to the faculty in favor of the change—along with some lengthy discussions—they ultimately agreed. Thus, on February 6, 1914, a four-page news supplement to The Miscellany was published. Its front page featured the announcement of then-President Taylor’s retirement, changes in the faculty and a calendar of events. On the following page, the staff wrote an article, titled “An old need answered by a new opportunity,” explaining just why they chose to publish a weekly. They cited a number of reasons, including the desire to alleviate pressure from the monthly literary magazine, as well as to publish something more timely to which students, faculty, administrators and alumnae alike could contribute. There was also, according to Johnson, a want to have a space for Vassar to express itself to the world, beyond its local sphere. A weekly newspaper would allow for commentary on movements such as women’s suffrage, and the arrival soon afterward of President MacCracken helped push Vassar into the national spotlight. Over the next century, the Misc went through a number of evolutions as it sought to serve the campus as its newspaper of record. For example, between 1917 and 1943, the Misc wasn’t a weekly publication, but
Over the course of its 100 year history, The Miscellany News has changed staff and design. Its numerous alumnae/i attest to this growth. actually semi-weekly, publishing an edition on a varying schedule, though most often on Wednesdays and Saturdays. When the paper did return to a weekly schedule, the day of the week it published has shifted over the decades at the discretion of the editors, ranging from Fridays to Wednesday, and, like today, Thursdays. Around the 1970s, the Misc began to take on a shape similar to many other newspapers and much like how our paper is currently formatted. It was around this time that the paper began to divide itself into distinct sections, including News, Leisure, Sports, Television, Opinions and Food. It was also around this time that the College Center was constructed and, soon afterward, the Misc moved right into the office it maintains to this day. In 1994, the paper went online with its own news website, and today that space offers students the opportunity to get involved with journalism in an entirely new, 21st-century way. Whether it’s live-blogging the moment-to-moment discussions at VSA meetings, giving parents and alumnae/i easy access to content or allowing students to share their experiences abroad, The Miscellany News website has given its publication room to evolve with the digital age. Over the last century, more than 100 editors-in-chief and thousands of students have worked for the Misc. Dale Mezzacappa ’72 remembers her time as editor-in-chief in a very chaotic period for the paper. “Those were the days of Vietnam, civil rights and general upheaval… It was hard for the Misc to maintain a staff—it was way too ‘establishment’ for the time.” Mezzacappa also recalled the conflict when then-President Alan Simpson proposed the creation of The Vassar Institute of Technology in collaboration with IBM, which students saw as part of the “war machine.” Still, it was this experience that she says brought her into a career as a journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa Feder-Feitel ’77 recalls the column “All Things Tempt Me,” she wrote, which covered great eateries for students to visit when exploring New York City, which was still only a short train ride away. The column ended up being forwarded to CNN & ABC food journalist Burt Wolf, who hired her on the spot as an assistant. Nancy Schwalje Travis ’89 remembers her time as a photographer with the Misc back in 1986. She recalls personally photographing an assistant professor, Cynthia Fisher, at Vassar for an article that discussed her denial of tenure, which Fisher claimed was an act of discrimination. Fisher later sued the school, a case that was deliberated for more than a
decade and eventually reached The United States Supreme Court before being declined by the court. There were also alumnae/i from the late ’90s and turn of the millennium who their memories. Melissa Walker ’99 reminisced about her first edition as editor-in-chief, which “flew off the shelves,” from coverage about a record number of hospitalizations following a former, nationally known party at Vassar called the “Homo Hop,” which was shut down by administration later that year due to the harm it caused students. Joshunda Sanders ’00 remembers a Misc Office littered with papers and that “we were all quirky writerly/reporter type...we were all really witty and passionate about putting out the paper.” Pulitzer Prize winner Alexandra Berzon ’01 recalls how she felt after going to a meeting for the Misc: “It sounded like I found this perfect place for me at Vassar.” Berzon added that she really enjoyed the freedom the Misc gave its writers, letting them write on any subject in which they had interest. She won the Pulitzer in 2009 for her coverage of lax regulations and a high death rate among construction workers in Las Vegas. More recent alumnae/i, such as Brian Farkas ’10 and Anthony Marmer ’12, share their feelings about the Misc, now just a few years since leaving the publication. Farkas said, “Students love to complain [about the Misc], but at the end of the day, everyone secretly kind of likes it.” It’s a publication that “has soul,” he continued, unlike other peer collegiate publications. Marmer noted that his most memorable moment while at the Misc came from all the friendships he made during his time as an editor. Constantly evolving, the Misc as it is now looks a little different from how these past contributors remember it. And today, 100 years later, the four-page supplement that began in 1914 looks tiny compared to the 20-page publication seen each week here on campus. The process of creating such a paper from start to finish is one that spans a week of meetings, discussions, emails and endless elbow grease. The following is a look into what goes on with an average weekly production as not only an explanation to those interested, but also as an opportunity to record it for researchers of the future to see. On the Wednesday before production, the Editorial Board of The Miscellany News meets. The Editorial Board consists of all editors listed in the masthead, excluding the crossword editor and assistant editors. At this meeting the board discusses any business the paper has, plans what each of the paper’s six sections (News, Features, Opinions, Humor &
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Satire, Arts and Sports) will be featuring, and decides what the front page of the paper will look like. The board also discusses specialty content, such as the staff editorial, Word on the Street and Excuse Me. All specialty content is voted on and approved by at least twothirds of the Editorial Board. Throughout the week, editors are constantly emailing their reporters, columnists and contributors, as well as write their own pieces, ensuring that everything is on track and will be ready when the paper is to be put into production. On Sunday, the entire staff meets at paper critique in the Rose Parlor to talk about last week’s edition, as well as to check in on the progress of upcoming issue, and to make any final plans. The next few days, editors upload articles onto computers in the Misc’s office, editing them or sending them back for the author to make changes. This process continues until Tuesday: Production night. From as early as 3 or 4 p.m. until the early hours of the morning, the entire staff comes together to turn thousands of words alongside many headlines and photos into an edition of The Miscellany News. Everything is gone over with a fine-tooth comb, double-checking facts and other information for veracity, as well as finalizing material such as the staff editorial. The senior editors and editor-in-chief will also meet on Wednesday for one last check before the paper, now completed, is sent off to the printer. On Wednesday evening, the staff comes together once again. They recap how production went, and then the whole cycle starts all over. But this arduous process is the way the Miscellany best works; the product of several dozen staff members can be seen all over campus Thursday morning, as students grab their copies on the way to class. As for what the Misc will be, that’s up to the coming classes of Vassar. Vassar Historian Johnson said, “It’s a resource for the future,” given its importance over the last century. Whether that means The Miscellany News might become a daily, weekly or all-digital publication is, for now, a mystery. Still, almost all the alumnae/i believe the future certainly is not just digital, but also bright. Despite being a school that lacks a journalism or similar pre-professional program, Vassar’s Miscellany News has continued to not just survive over the past century, but, we would say, thrive. One can only imagine what the next 100 years hold for the publication, but we’re hoping for the best. When asked about the Misc’s future outlook, Melissa Walker ’99 said, “I have no doubt that the stories will keep getting told. The news never stops!”
February 6, 2014
Toastmasters club sharpens public speaking prowess Shannon Liao gueSt reporter
courtesy of Vassar Rotoract
o the student nervously prepping for a thesis presentation, to the student whose eyes sink to the ground when the professor asks a question, Vassar offers a new speech training club, Toastmasters. Meeting every Friday afternoon for an hour, the almost one-year-old chapter of an international movement provides a setting for students to acquaint themselves with giving speeches that are both entertaining and coherent. “There remains no club that is solely dedicated for the improvement of public speaking, which is a huge phobia for many individuals.” wrote Victoria Qiu ’14 in an emailed statement of Vassar before Toastmasters, “There really is no close substitute. You could take the Debate Club as having a similar goal, however the atmosphere is completely different. Toastmasters provides a very supportive and non-judgmental venue.” He continued, “Most [debate] people talk so fast, you can’t hear them. You would not expect people to talk like that in the real world. But I think Toastmasters is definitely real.” Aside from preparing students for the professional world beyond undergrad, the club has allowed members to form connections through the sharing of stories. “It’s like a small family because you get to know all these people,” said member Phil Chen ’16. “I walk past some of these people on a daily basis and before I had no idea who they were or what their stories are,” said Qiu, “But you learn things that they’re really passionate about or just an interesting fact about someone.” Qiu mentioned that the older members, who come from the nearby IBM chapter to support the club or are Vassar administrators, have different experiences to share with the younger members. Every week, 10 to 20 members gather for jokes, a word of the day, and to listen to speech-
es given by registered members. Anyone can attend and participate in smaller events, but only registered members can give full speeches that range from five to seven minutes. These social interactions work to provide a potential cure for shyness. Chen said, “Some people are afraid of speaking. So you nurture that sort of confidence to do it. It’s not only about speaking but also about confidence.” He recalled the first speech he gave about receiving education in China versus America, and noted the positivity of the feedback. “Everyone is so supportive. Even if you fail, and that happens—some people stop in the middle of a speech and they just can’t think and can’t move on, but that’s fine, that happens—people still give really good feedback.” Qiu commented on some of the stories she has told in the past. “I talked about going to a foreign country and becoming less shy. It’s not something I mention to people when I talk about JYA but it was a huge change in me,” she said, speaking of her summer abroad in Ukraine before junior year. Chen was stirred by a speech given by member of the Posse Program David Carrell ’17 about his personal philosophy developed through his war experiences. “His words were like, if you’re going to do something, why not give it your best?” “They talked about their lives and it just makes me realize how sheltered my life has been when I hear the struggles they’ve gone through. It reminds you to be humble when you hear some of the things others have gone through,” said Qiub. One of the first 20 members to join the club, Andrew Jdaydani ’14, said, “I gave a speech about my position as captain of the rugby team and keeping the end in mind. Bringing together several topics like motivation, perseverance and optimism. I really enjoyed how well others said they could relate to it.” Jdaydani first heard
Members of the Vassar’s Toastmaster Club chapter assembled for a portrait. The group’s goals include instilling confidence and educating its members on how to discourse naturally in public. about Toastmasters while studying abroad in New Zealand. The club aims to help people with public speaking in all facets of life. The improvement process is comprehensive, focusing on improving speech-giving from all aspects, including the technical details of pronunciation and the bigger picture of a speech’s content and one’s ability to speak without relying on notes. Chen said that his goal is to achieve the coherency and fluency of a TedTalk speaker but that he also looks up to senior members of the club, including Neal Marsh, a former senior employee at IBM before retirement. “He can speak from memory about anything for seven minutes,” Chen noted.
Prohibited materials could incur penalties for students
FIRE continued from page 1
Residential Life conducts at the beginning and end of each semester, the College engages in a different, annual housing inspection, this time accompanied by a representative of the New York State Office of Fire Prevention Control who will enter and inspect a random number and selection of campus rooms and residences. Director of Environmental Health and Safety Jim Kelly and Coordinator of the Residential Operations Anna Belle Jones correspond with the visiting state inspector. They described how, if the state official searches the room and finds a fire safety concern in a room or residence, the office would send the responsible student up to three separate warnings before collecting a fine. The first notice comes in the form of a note left behind in the room after the initial inspection. A few days later, the student will receive an email for their second notification. This email announces the date by which the student must address the violation. Kelly and Jones wrote in a joint emailed statement, “The first re-inspection occurs approximately 30-40 days after the initial inspection. The OFPC [Official Fire Prevention Control] inspector and Residential Life staff member will return to ensure the violation was corrected. If the violation has been corrected, the process is finished, no fine is levied and no further entry into the room/house is required.” In cases that the violation is still present, the office will send a second email to the student with a second correction date. This day would be the student’s last chance to remove the offending violation and avoid a fine. “During the second re-inspection, if the violation is not corrected, a fine will be levied,” wrote the Kelly and Jones. Fines, depending on the severity, can run upwards of $500 per day. In preparation for the inspector’s visit, Director of Residential Life Luis Inoa sent an email to the student body listing some of the most common violations found in the past. One violation states that no “more than 10% of
the wall [should be covered].” The language in the Student Handbook is stricter, banning the “hanging [of] fabric to walls and windows/ceiling.” According to Horowitz, the exact wording of the restriction could be revised in the future.. “The [code] shouldn’t really read ‘hanging fabric from wall and ceilings’,” he said. “It should read ‘hanging excessive amounts of fabric’ and I have a note in here that it is something that might be changed.” Inoa mentioned that the College’s fire safety guideline concerning another violation might be clarified in the future. After New York State updated their fire regulations, the College recently banned all personal upholstered furniture. Mattresses, however, do not currently fall under this particular restriction. By bringing a personal mattress on campus, though, a student risks running into another violation of the College’s code: obstructing a clear path of exit within rooms. Inoa wrote, “Since students can not remove any furniture—bringing in a mattress and an additional bed frame typically creates a hazard. The rooms are just not big enough.” Asked whether or not a student, citing a health reason such as back pain, could obtain permission to use their own mattress, Inoa added, “Personal mattresses are only allowed via a requested accommodation from the Office of Accessibility and Educational Opportunities.” The state fire inspector this week will be checking for another type of violations common in dorm rooms. Students are required to maintain an 18 inch clearance below the sprinkler heads. Hanging or storing any materials above this line is a fire hazard. The concern follows that water from the sprinkler system would be unable to extinguish a fire that reaches up to the ceiling. Horowitz described what he saw as the role of students when it comes to assessing the many fire and safety codes and restrictions. He said, “There is a general expectation that we have is that students know where to find the expectations that are made of them, and if they don’t, at least they know where to find them.”
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Some students may be deterred from joining Toastmasters due to the organization’s club dues, which are $36 every six months; however, Qiu and Jdaydani spoke to the doors that the club opens up. “Once I heard Vassar was starting a chapter, I thought why not? There’s nothing to lose except maybe an hour out of my week? [The club fees are] the equivalent of something like five sandwiches at the Retreat,” noted Qiu. Jdaydani concluded, “[The money is] not the most appealing org fee, but it will translate to much more in terms of the international community that you can connect with and the multitude of places you can use the skills you learn.”
February 6, 2014
Floor Fellow program sets sights on all-campus role Eloy Bleifuss Prados and Aja Saalfeld featureS eDitor anD Contributor
“I guess also when you’re an upperclassmen there is not so much of a barrier with your floor fellow as there was with your student fellow,” said Strong resident Margaret Port ’16. “In the case of student fellows you are supposed to be friendly but not friends. They are a higher resource. The relationship with floor fellows is a very different dynamic.” Port, however, questioned whether floor fellows are a particularly important resource to upperclassmen, because these students may have forged other support networks outside the framework of the Residential Life system. “I honestly don’t feel like it has been a hugely vital resource. I think that upperclassmen, if they needed something, would go to their friends first,” she said. Rowley also described some of the difficulties in working with a larger pool of upperclassmen and the struggle to bring members of various class years together in a cohesive unit. “I think one of the greatest challenges of
being a floor fellow is trying to bring such different people together, especially trying to create an approach that is different from how student fellows approach first year students,” she wrote. Rowley went on, “There have been some hard times trying to make this happen, but I think this program is a great opportunity to really create a sense of community in the dorms, and connect the class years.” There have already been surprises shared, according to Hekto. “Something floor fellows have been good at is bridging the divide between freshmen clusters and upperclassmen on the hall,” she said Salem believes the program has a good chance at being expanded. She said, “I think the floor fellow program shows very good promise as an initiative to support our upperclassmen in the houses so it is a program Reslife is interested in pushing forward.”
courtesy of Courtney Rowley
ife as a first year and life as an upperclassman are two entirely different experiences. After a year on campus, problems like getting lost on campus are replaced with navigating major declarations and room draw. Fellow groups may drift apart and former student fellows go abroad. Two years ago, the floor fellow program was launched in Raymond and Strong, designed to provide a support-system specifically for upperclassmen. Today, as the current floor fellows reflect on their experiences, the program has the potential to become a campus-wide institution. The College conceived of the new student position as one both similar and distinct to the role of student fellows. House Advisor for Raymond and Strong Houses and Assistant Director of International Services Mariyah Salem is one of architects of the pilot program. “We are currently working on a proposal that will outline ways in which the floor fellow program can be expanded to other houses,” she wrote in an emailed statement. “The program will continue in its pilot program for a third academic year and any expansion will be planned for the fall of 2015.” Salem observes that the transition between freshman and sophomore years can leave some students feeling adrift. “Most sophomores look fondly upon their first year and the sense of community they felt within their fellowee group,” she wrote. “Although in their second year they are more independent, students recognize that they do not have designated peers that they can confide in or go to for support when they are facing challenges.” She continued, “I took this matter to the Director of Residential Life, Luis Inoa, and he agreed that although we do a great job in supporting our freshmen we do not have intentionally developed programs to support our upperclassmen.” Tanenbaum Inter-Religious Post-Bac Fellow Adah Hekto works firsthand with and advises
the floor fellows. “It’s definitely a challenge for many campuses specifically in providing programming to meet the needs of sophomores, juniors and seniors,” said Hekto. One of the floor fellows’ most basic objectives is to get to know the other upperclassmen on their floor. “The main goal of the floor fellows is to build community on their floor, get students together and to promote House Team and House Fellow events to the upperclassmen,” wrote Salem. “Floor fellows organize small gatherings in their room or the common spaces with food and activities to get to know the students on their floor.” Hekto elaborated on how the floor fellows she works with will open their rooms for casual get-togethers. The most successful ones, she said, feature a combination of food and games: pizza and Uno or cupcakes and friendship bracelets. One student who chose to devote time to supporting their fellow upperclassmen is Courtney Rowley ’14, who is the fellow for Raymond second floor. Rowley said one of the reasons she chose to become a floor fellow was to remain a part of the House she has lived in since her first year at Vassar. “I really wanted to be a supportive role and resource in the house, and it has been a wonderful combination of the two roles. The residential experience on this campus means a lot to me, so I have really enjoyed being a formal part of Reslife,” wrote Rowley in an emailed statement. Others highlighted the difference between first-year students and upperclassmen when it comes to interaction with their floor fellows. Floor fellows may be the same year as the students they are meant to support. This relationship is distinct from that of student fellows and fellowees who are separated by least a year of experience. Because of this more level footing, some think that accessing floor fellow resources might be easier for some students.
Raymond House Fellows and floor fellows at a house-wide brunch event designed to bring students together over food. Another important role of floor fellows is to act as a resource for upperclassmen.
Grant recipients focused on education, social justice NEIGHBORS continued from page 1
Based in Poughkeepsie and founded in 2011 after the Occupy Poughkeepsie movement, the organization works with homeowners at risk of or in foreclosure by promoting public direct action and providing legal support. Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson applied and received a three-year grant last semester and is using the Vassar Good Neighbors grant to pay for the costs of the outreach they do. This award will allow them to raise awareness so that homeowners facing foreclosure know they have somewhere to turn. Additionally, the organization works to collaborate with regional and national allies to attract further funding from individual donors and foundations. “The application process for the larger grant
was smooth and very helpful for our long-term visioning,” described Jonathan Bix ’14, who applied for the grant on Mid-Hudson’s behalf. “The many questions we had about the application were quickly and thoroughly answered. We were forced to seriously plan our work for the year and consider what might change over future years, and we received helpful feedback about our proposal,” Bix wrote in an emailed statement. “Our short-term goals are to keep developing the leadership of homeowners, conducting political education and bringing in new homeowners and winning homes,” wrote Bix. He continued, “Our long-term goals are to become a permanent organization capable of doing base-building organizing around multiple issues impacting Poughkeepsie and the sur-
courtesy of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson Valley
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson is a local organization that works with Vassar students that helps Poughkeepsie residents facing foreclosure. Last year they received the Vassar Good Neighbors grant.
rounding area.” The grant is not only for student applicants, but available for staff as well. Alumna Rachel Gorman ’12, a Fellow in the Education Department, is one staff member who has been successful in her Good Neighbors application. Last semester, VAST (Vassar After School Tutoring) received a short-term grant in order to purchase new technology for the after school program. Each semester, fifty Vassar mentors work with students grades 6 through 8 at Poughkeepsie Middle School. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the college students help the middle schoolers with their homework. Some of the assignments require the youth to do outside research, which can pose problems for the many students who don’t have access to computers in their homes. “There is a tremendous skills gap between students enrolled in VAST who attend underfunded, urban public schools, and students in wealthier school districts who have greater access to computers and can develop these skills that will help them succeed at college-level work,” wrote Gorman in an emailed statement. Currently, Gorman is buying tablets with keyboards for VAST, as well as other technological tools that will allow the students to research information needed to finish homework. They will also be able to practice academic skills through the use of typing, word games and algebra apps. Wrote Gorman, “The tablets are a start to building a technology library that Vassar College Urban Education Initiative (VCUEI) outreach programs can use to help enrich the education of Poughkeepsie public school students. My Fellowship ends in June, so I hope to pass these tablets on to the next Fellow as a legacy for students to use after I leave.” In addition to awarding these short-term and long-term grants, the Good Neighbors Committee has the means to support other projects. For example, every semester, funds are used to sup-
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port a professional development workshop for Poughkeepsie teachers, allowing them to gain continuing educational credit. The topic of the latest workshop was entitled “Food, Land, and People,” and focused on how to incorporate environmental sustainability and agriculture into the classroom. All of this is in an effort to continue to support the Poughkeepsie community. “I definitely think that it’s about students, not really about going into Poughkeepsie and starting a project, it’s about forming that partnership,” said Murphy. “There are a lot of resources at Vassar that we have and a lot of things students are learning. And then there are a lot of things that they can learn from residents of Poughkeepsie.” Gorman expressed a similar sentiment, “There are many Vassar students, administrators and faculty members who have done amazing projects to collaborate with people in the Poughkeepsie community. Their work should be celebrated and I am glad that things like the Good Neighbors Fund exist to acknowledge and encourage successful community partnerships,” she wrote. Students’ social justice advocacy has the potential to snowball into enduring enterprises. “Being embedded in a community’s ongoing struggles and attempting to be a part of building long term projects that can be led by community members themselves is critical,” wrote Bix. So far, most applicants have been successful in securing funds, provided that their project mission aligns with what the Vassar Good Neighbors Fund supports. This semester, the Good Neighbors committee hopes to continue to provide assistance for students and staff in their endeavors and is still accepting applications. Gorman believed that one can learn a lot from engagement with the Mid-Hudson Valley. She wrote, “It can be an eye-opening learning experience to interact and bond with people outside of the Vassar bubble.”
February 6, 2014
Lifeguarding a splashy opportunity for work study Julia Cunningham gueSt reporter
Alec Ferretti/The Miscellany News
he Kresage Pool in Walker is one locale on campus that, depending on the time of day, can be incredibly crowded or completely deserted. Between swim lessons, practices and open pool hours, many people come and go from the pool. Despite the varying nature of the pool, some people are constantly there: the lifeguards. Kevin Newhall ’17 has been a lifeguard since this past summer and worked at Vassar’s pool since the last semester. His shifts consist of anything between an hour and three hours. “If it’s a long practice, it’s sometimes possible to sit for two hours straight. Luckily, that doesn’t happen very often,” wrote Newhall. He explained his decision: “I chose to be a lifeguard because I had a certification from over the summer and it was one of the first jobs I could find.” He added, “Also, the pay is a little bit higher than most jobs, so that’s a nice perk too.” Chuck Herrmann ’15 is on the varsity swim team and has been a lifeguard since he was 16. He wrote in an emailed statement, “I have worked at a summer camp the past four years, but only started working here at Vassar my sophomore year.” He is a supervising lifeguard, meaning he gets paid a dollar more per hour, that is, nine dollars an hour over eight. Additionally, Herrmann considers the position of lifeguard to be less competitive than other student jobs. In order to be qualified as a lifeguard, one must be both lifeguard and CPR certified, and thus the pool of potential workers is smaller. Lifeguard rotation is run by the Assistant Swim Coach Danny Koenig, who oversees all seventeen student employees and helps to create the weekly schedule. “They are all extremely responsible and do a great job of showing up on time and taking care of business when they are on duty,” wrote Koe-
Kayla Schwab ’17 stands watch over Vassar’s Kresage Pool. A work study job available through student employment, the position is open only to individuals with CPR and lifeguard certification nig in an emailed statement. “We try to keep a consistent schedule, but things often change, and the lifeguarding staff responds with enthusiasm.” Kayla Schwab ’17 is also on the varsity swim team but only just began lifeguarding. “I actually just got certified for the first time in June 2013,” she wrote in an emailed statement. “I chose to be a lifeguard because of my background in swimming and because in the summers in particular, I am able to lifeguard, coach a swim team and teach swim lessons all at the same pool.” As a work-study job, lifeguarding requires a significant time commitment. Students lifeguards must find a balance in their schedules to be able to handle their job at the pool as well
as courses and course load. Koenig wrote, “In terms of scheduling, I allow them to create their own schedule. The number of hours they are able to work are determined by their year in school.” Koenig continued, “We like to have two guards on duty if possible, which makes the pool safer for the patrons. In addition, the task of lifeguarding becomes a little less cumbersome when someone else is there to rotate into the guard stand.” With the 30 or more hours of open swim and the swim practices following that, the lifeguards are kept busy. Although the hours can be difficult, they are manageable. The lifeguards agree that, when there are more guards at the pool, the job passes more quickly.
“Lifeguarding at Vassar is a great job,” Schwab wrote. “Usually, there are two of us working each shift, which means we are able to spend half an hour in the chair, and the other half hour as a backup lifeguard...[who] doesn’t have to sit in the chair, and is able to do their homework or whatever while keeping an eye on the pool.” Herrmann agreed: “We switch every half hour, so realistically we only have to be sitting in the chair for half of our allotted time.” Schwab concurred, adding, “Lifeguarding is also a nice way to get to know people, because a variety of different people come to use the pool each day,” she wrote. Though the activity level of the pool varies, Schwab said that the busiest hours are in the mornings between 9 am and 11 am. Those who come to the pool are not as constant. “I see lots of different people that I know at the pool each day,” she added. “Oftentimes I see other student-athletes doing in-water training while I am guarding, or people I know from class swimming laps. I have even guarded while some of my professors were swimming.” Seeing professors at the pool is not a rare occurrence for the students: both Herrmann and Newhall have guarded for their professors on at least one occasion. Lifeguarding can prove to be a useful skill. Students noted that, at least until graduation, they were content with their work. Herrmann commented, “I would continue to do this job at Vassar until I graduate, but after that probably not.” Schwab said, “I would definitely continue to do this job, especially because it fits very easily into my schedule in between classes and swim practice. It is nice not to have to walk to two separate locations for work and practice.” Newhall wrote, “Lifeguarding can be a little stressful at times, like when you’re alone and the pool is full, but it’s usually not that bad of a job.”
Nutella French toast: No further explanation required Aja Saalfeld Contributor
courtesy of Katie Lee
he summer after my first year at Vassar was certainly an eventful one. Since I spent it on campus, alternating day-drinking, work in the now-defunct Skinner greenhouses and the occasional nearly-naked swim in a possibly polluted creek, I did not exactly have the most time to devote to crafting healthy, filling meals. And since trying is apparently far beyond my capabilities, I threw health to the wind and instead made the most fattening and delicious concoctions possible. I will neither confirm nor deny whether I ate pancakes and Babycakes for almost every meal for a solid month. But out of all the unhealthy food I ate that summer, one stands above the others in terms of being delicious, artery-clogging and possibly inducing sudden religious revelations in all those who eat it—Nutella French toast. I had just read about Nutella sandwiches and had been eating them fairly consistently as a delicious, if unhealthy, snack for several weeks before I came to the obvious conclusion that I should make them even more fattening by frying them. Thus, Nutella French toast. My feelings about French toast can border on the absurd. I love it, but I am too picky about it to eat most of it. So, my personal recipe for the egg mix in which I dunk my partially stale bread is something I cannot compromise. Eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and, most importantly, no milk. Adding milk to the mix just gets the bread soggy, and soggy is the last thing one wants when eating delicious breakfast foods stuffed with hazelnutty goodness. Since I’m one to prefer my French toast on the eggy side, I liberally apply the egg mixture and then toss them in the skillet. What happens next is a borderline spiritual experience. The outside turns crispy and cinnamon-flavored, and the inside turns to runny, hazelnut and chocolate wonder. The thing that makes Nutella French toast special is that one can eat them like a sandwich. They result in far less mess, and I lovingly refer to them as inside-out French toast when I am feeling particularly affectionate toward my culinary creations.
Experimentation is also, and always, a good idea when it comes to Nutella. I have branched out extensively in my French toast escapades, swapping in challah for multigrain, adding a sliver of peanut butter or slices of strawberries or bananas, putting dollops of honey in my egg mixture, and even making my own Nutella. The options are inexhaustible. Honestly, what doesn’t go well with Nutella? I recently saw an off-brand sort of so-called chocolate hazelnut spread and a slight shiver ran down my spine—especially so close to World Nutella Day on Feb. 5. The only hazelnut spreads I trust are the ones I’ve made myself, or Nutella. No others will ever meet my impossibly high standards regarding foods that are probably cutting down my life-expectancy as we speak. While hazelnut spreads have long existed in Italy, Nutella’s homeland, the spread took over the world in the sweetest, nuttiest way possible. Nutella became its own entity when cocoa was in short supply during the second World War. Chocolatiers began adding hazelnuts to the mix to extend the supply and, voilà, or, as the Italians would say, ecco, Nutella. Jarred Nutella is in its own league entirely, but getting a taste of the effort that went into making this chocolatey confection in a more traditional way definitely puts Nutella in an entirely new light. It all starts with toasting the hazelnuts in the oven until they are browned, removing the skin and grinding them into a paste. Hazelnut paste can be used for a variety of other cooking projects, so making extra can be useful. Mixing in the cocoa, vanilla and oils results in a homemade equivalent that more than holds up against its brand-name counterpart. Homemade Nutella is more time-consuming and expensive than just picking up a jar of the store-bought stuff, but making it myself definitely lends a more hand-crafted aesthetic to my fattening, artery-clogging culinary tendencies. I have to appreciate how people made pretty much anything before the advent of food processors and electric ovens. And I also have to wonder how people lived before Nutella French toast. Honestly, it’s been one of the high points of my life.
2 cups (8 ounces) hazelnuts 1 cup powdered sugar ⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ⅛ teaspoon salt DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until dark brown and fragrant (12 to 15 minutes), rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking until perfectly roasted. 2. Once cooled, place a second bowl upside-down on top of the bowl with the hazelnuts. Shake vigorously to remove the skins of the hazelnuts. Remove the hazelnuts that have lost their skin to the bowl of a food processor, then continue shaking. 3. Process the hazelnuts in a food processor until their oil is released and they form a smooth, loose paste (2 to 5 minutes), scraping down the bowl often. 4. Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, hazelnut oil, vanilla extract and salt and process until fully incorporated. Transfer the glossy spread to a jar with a tight-fitting lid or an airtight container. Preserves for up to 1 month.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
February 6, 2014
THE MISCELLANY NEWS STAFF EDITORIAL
College must address lack of ELL resources V
assar College prides itself on the liberal arts education it offers its students; an important aspect of this education is developing and refining writing skills. The importance of these aptitudes are especially emphasized during the first-year experience as all students are required to complete a freshman writing seminar. One of Vassar’s few requirements, the seminar allows the opportunity for students to polish up their prose and grammar in preparation for writing across academic disciplines. While some might take their writing ability for granted, not all students on campus matriculate with the same level of English-language writing skills, creating a difficulties particularly for students whose native language is not English. Although such students, including those who did not use English as a primary language in their schooling, are required to take and score 100 points out of 120 on the internet-based TOEFL, testing does not necessarily attest to how a student will perform once they arrive on campus. Moreover, students should have a resource available in case they feel the need for additional help with their writing and language skills. Currently, the College lacks what we at The Miscellany News see as necessary and fundamental resources for English Language Learners (ELL) on campus. The ELL students are then left to their own devices when writing papers for class, and often rely on the Writing Center Consultants for help. While we understand that the College encourages
its students to consult with the Writing Center for any academic paper needs—a resource that is open to students at any stage in their process, from organizing initial ideas to writing concluding paragraphs—the Writing Center workers are not specifically trained for this type of instruction and support ELL students need. Further, The Miscellany News reported in the fall of 2012 that writing consultants are only able to provide help in the form of proofreading and editing, not grammar instruction, copy-editing or the basics of English-language writing (“VC lacks writing support for ELL students,” 11.29.12). We at The Miscellany News strongly believe Vassar needs to provide a much needed form of ELL support on campus for students who require this resource. This could be done through the Office of Accessibility and Educational Opportunity. While students struggling with English language and grammar skills do not belong in the same category of students with learning disabilities, the lack of campus support for them is a concern that can be addressed by this office. According to the statement on their website, “Vassar College is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive learning and living environment for students with learning differences.” The College, then, should be able to provide a certified ELL instructor or tutor for all students who wish to improve their English writing skills, as this clearly
falls under the umbrella of educational opportunity and accessibility. If the College is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible learning environment, then students should be able to find resources on campus instead of having to seek help from outside sources like private tutoring services. Last semester, The Miscellany News published an article discussing the use of off-campus tutors by students on campus (“Editing services technically allowed, stifle creativity,” 11.6.13). While the services are technically allowed by the College, they still do not provide the necessary support needed for ELL students who are writing papers for class. In fact, students should not be put into a situation where outside editing services are necessary. It is Vassar’s responsibility along to ensure ELL students can reach their full potential and capabilities as writers. Ultimately, we at The Miscellany News feel this important resource has been lacking for quite some time, and it’s an area that the College cannot continue to neglect. All students should be provided proper resources to help bolster their academic abilities. If the College wishes to foster a strong academic atmosphere, one that helps all students’ strengthen their weaknesses, an ELL tutor would be a step in the right direction. —Staff Editorial represents the opinions of at least 2/3 of the Editorial Board.
Super Bowl a complex part of our society Lily Elbaum ColumniSt
his weekend was Super Bowl XLVIII (or 48 for those of you not well versed in Roman numerals). It is the biggest tradition in American football, one watched by millions of viewers every year. With all the hype surrounding Super Bowl Sunday, it’s become practically a national holiday (although a holiday on a Sunday seems rather pointless, unless fans of the losing team could get the Monday after off to mourn). In recent years, it has only grown bigger and, arguably, has tried to make itself more friendly to non-fans. The Super Bowl commercials have become a phenomenon unto themselves, with competitions held on YouTube and other sites to vote for the best one among both experts and the masses. Social gatherings that go on during The Big Game also allow those not interested in the game to still see their more obsessed friends and enjoy some snacks. For all the non-football fans, it seems like a lot of talk for a bunch of grown men running around and slapping each other on the butt (as I’ve heard and seen it described many times). To be honest, it does seem excessive that football players get paid several million dollars for a few years of throwing a ball around and hitting each other really hard. What’s worse is when those players fail so completely at what they’re being paid obscene amounts of money to do. As a lifelong Broncos fan, I sadly had to watch my team fail rather completely and utterly. If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed that a team with such excellent regular and post-season records could fall down so badly on the job. Though not the worst loss in Super Bowl history, it comes pretty close and was far from the exciting game we all expected would take place. But, scores aside, what’s so interesting about the Super Bowl? Why does it draw so many people, especially some who normally couldn’t care less about sports, let alone football? Unlike many other championships, there is a powerful social aspect within foot-
ball. It draws people together at house parties, at bars, at tailgates and in other ways where sometimes it’s less about the game and more about getting together so we can enjoy each other’s company. On the other hand, that’s not to say that people don’t gather to watch the game as well. In fact, most of the parties probably involved lots of yelling, cursing, drinking, hugging, cheering and, perhaps, even crying. Sports do seem to bring out the worst in people. Anyone who’s ever seen a sports game—professional, amateur, or practice—can tell you that. People tend to get worked up over the small details, and when it comes to the big details, players and fans alike can get downright violent. This can make watching them game with ultra-fans a bit of an off-putting experience for those who are only casually interested. Listening to someone yell at the television screen can put anyone off their chips and dip.
“Unlike many other championships, there is a powerful social aspect within football.” One redeeming feature might be the commercials, which can be touching, funny or exciting. This year, some companies released their Super Bowl commercials a week ahead of time, while others released teasers of their ads to draw interest. Car commercials seemed to be featured most prominently, with alcohol ads coming in a close second. There were times when I wasn’t even sure what a commercial was for and then a car drives around the corner with its grill emblem dramatically lit—and then suddenly it all completely makes sense. I’m not sure how many Super Bowl fans are buying Audis or Maseratis (both companies had ads which played during the game), but
it certainly says something about the culture surrounding football that car and alcohol ads make up a significant percentage of all the commercials that ran during the event, often one ad immediately following the other. On the other hand, Coca-Cola released a unique and thought-provoking commercial. It featured people of various nationalities, genders and sexual orientations (there was even a gay, interracial couple shown) singing “America the Beautiful.” It was a beautiful ad, but it drew heavy criticism from many in the online community—think YouTube commenters and Twitterers—because it wasn’t sung in English. It started in English, with patriotic views of the country and all that, but different people then came and sang the song in different languages. It represented the diversity of the American people and it had a great message— that we, as a multifaceted nation, are beautiful. However, the negative responses showcase the racism still rampant in our society, as well how people interpret the speaking of different languages as “other” and wrong. On a more hopeful note, the overwhelming majority of people responded positively to the Coca-Cola ad, which perhaps indicates a more tolerant prevailing attitude. The Super Bowl commercials may or may not be indicative of the average viewer. To be sure, the hardcore fans of the NFL probably do drive pickups and drink beer (Budweiser had an interesting set of ads during the game as well), but many people who watch the Super Bowl at home among friends probably don’t fit that stereotype. The commercials are just one way in which this event has opened itself to a wider audience, which is nothing that other brands and events haven’t done before. In this case, it seems to be working. The Super Bowl has become a cultural tradition and is hardly an event reserved for sports fans anymore, if it ever was. It’s a social event that brings people together for the weekend, although those people are probably rooting for the same team. —Lily Elbaum ’16 is a prospective independent major.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Alum shares memories of late historian Brian Farkas
ast week, Vassar lost a living treasure. Elizabeth Daniels ’41 passed away at the age of 93. Alive for more than half of Vassar’s existence, Betty arrived as a student in 1937—closer to the Civil War than to the iPad. Her involvement with Vassar spanned seven decades, during which she served as an English professor, department chair, Dean of Studies, and Dean of the Faculty. In 1985, she famously retired from Vassar for a single weekend before becoming Vassar College’s first official Historian. As Dean, she changed Vassar forever—she was instrumental in declining Yale’s invitation to merge the two colleges, offered solutions to overcoming budget struggles in the 1960s and ’70s, and oversaw the transition of the school to a coeducational institution. But it was her last job, Vassar’s storyteller-in-chief, that cements her legacy. Daniels authored 10 books on the College. Her favorites were “From Main to Mudd and More: An Informal History of Vassar College Buildings”; “Bridges to the World: Henry Noble MacCracken and Vassar College”; and “Full Steam Ahead in Poughkeepsie: The Story of Coeducation at Vassar, 1967-1974.” Well into her eighties, she created the VCEncyclopedia, an online compendium of Vassar’s history featuring deeply researched articles on everything from the dawn of electricity at Vassar to biographies of the original Trustees (if you’ve never procrastinated by surfing vcencyclopedia.vassar.edu, I highly recommend it). I got to know Betty as her student intern for two years, and then for a research project I did on the history of The Miscellany News. I met with her regularly in Special Collections, before the College Historian’s office got its place of honor in the renovated Old Observatory. I would come with a list of specific questions to fill gaps in my narrative. Sure, Betty could handle those “whowhat-when” type questions. But that wasn’t really why I went to see her. Every query, no matter how simple, was answered with a story—from an old classmate who edited the Misc in the ’40s, to a faculty colleague who advised the paper in the ’60s, to an administrator who despised it in the ’70s. In an age of quick access to bits of data, Betty was a woman who still taught and thought anecdotally. That mattered not just for her career as an English professor but for her second career as our Historian. Betty knew that narratives shape institutions as much as institutions shape narratives. When she started her historical digging in the 1980s—literally digging through dusty cardboard boxes of records in Main’s basement—Vassar’s narrative had become scrambled. We were historically elite but financially fragile, founded for women but desperately recruiting men, and traditionally Republican but suddenly becoming more radical. It was Betty who wove together those torn threads. Through her books and articles, she wrote the story of Vassar as a college founded on principles of access, proud of its heritage but with eyes firmly cast on what to do next. Betty died on Jan. 28. On Jan. 27, the Vassar 150 World Changing Campaign held its celebration dinner in New York. That evening toasted Vassar’s amazing success in raising $431 million— funds that will create new scholarships, support a modern science curriculum and ensure that our Vassar stays as progressive and magical as we’ve always known it to be. There’s a chronological poetry in those hours between Jan. 27 and 28, as past slipped into present into future. It’s easy to imagine that Betty refused to leave 12604 without the peace of mind that it was secure for the next generation. Though Betty will be missed, her tales will hold strong. Her narratives inform the way our College talks about itself and thinks about itself. Her passing gives way to an immortality—a final merger into a place she had long ago become indistinguishable from. —Brian Farkas ’10 was a student intern with Elizabeth Daniels ’41 and served on the Vassar 150 Campaign Committee. He was Editor-in-Chief for The Miscellany News’ 142nd Volume.
Letter to the Editor Tired. That was how I saw President Obama during his State of the Union Speech. This speech was very different from last year’s, which was hopeful of big legislation. Grand calls for change have disappeared, the smiling Senator who inspired a country back in 2008 giving way to a second term President sick and tired of fighting Republicans on every issue. They have been committed to making Obama’s presidency a failure and have led to the least effective Congress in history. Obama’s State of the Union speech reflected an understanding that House Republicans will never work with him on issues that are on his agenda. He asked Congress to “give America a raise” and restore ordinary Americans’ faith in Washington; he also called for tax and patent reform and readdressed the need for action on climate change. But these calls seemed hollow, and the only cooperation that Obama appeared to hope for was on immigration. As a result, Obama’s speech focused more on problems that he can influence directly in order to distance himself from a Congress of inaction. Obama highlighted a number of executive orders, such as raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers. The President also tried, as he had in other State of the Union speeches, to change the narrative of his presidency, which many people have seen as a failure or disappointment. He highlighted some accomplishments, such as having the lowest unemployment rate in over five years, cutting the deficit, and putting America on the path to energy independence. All in all, the State of the Union was a speech full of content and uplifting tones, and delivered by one of the best speakers of our time. But the whole time I couldn’t help but think that the State of the Union has become a pointless affair, an act even; for one night, Congress and the President pretend that they can get along in front of the cameras. Republicans stand and clap the man who they’ve been so committed to destroying the last five years. Will this speech change the political gridlock in Washington? The outlook isn’t good. —Sebastien Lasseur ’16 is Communications Director of The Vassar College Democrats
Internships warrant fair compensation Joshua Sherman Opinions Editor
his summer, Vassar students may engage in a wide number of opportunities, ranging from internships, to fellowships, research, or, of course, catching up on their favorite shows on Netflix. For those seeking job opportunities know very well the chaos that is ongoing right now, writing applications and sending off résumés for consideration. I myself am neck deep in this process and I’ve grown disturbed by the prevalence of the unpaid internship. The unpaid internship shouldn’t exist for a number of reasons, as it not only excludes those who cannot afford to take on the expenses of working for free, but also offers meager compensation for often full-time work under the guise of “work experience.” Many know what the unpaid internship entails: Often it will take the shape of the Craigslist ad, listing “unpaid” under compensation. Sometimes it’s clearly stated, and other times it’s slyly mentioned just once so as to prevent deterring away candidates. In the end, the facts are the same: There’s no pay, and often not even a reimbursement for travel, housing or food. I once remember seeing an unpaid internship over the summer through a Craigslist ad that actually mentioned “free coffee” as a perk. These unpaid internships are alongside other opportunities in the highly-coveted technology sector, where internships at Google, Microsoft, Apple and other top firms pay more like starting salaries than summer wages. In either case, unpaid internships exist and are far from going away. The fact is simply that there’s not really any policy behind what makes a firm worthy of an intern or not. 1.5 million students take to the summer internship each summer, and many are
willing to settle for less-competitive unpaid internships close to home as opposed to vying for more competitive, but paid opportunities elsewhere. There is a standard that the unpaid internship must offer a learning experience for the student, but it remains a process that is scarcely regulated. This policy is set by the Department of Labor, but it’s hard for students to blow the whistle. An intern did just that at Condé Nast, suing for compensation because of the long hours and hard work. Not only did it cause the end of the Condé Nast internship program, but it also ended her prospects in the magazine industry (New York Times, “Sued Over Pay, Condé Nast Ends Internship Program” 10.23.13). Perhaps the worst offender of the unpaid internship in the United States, contrary to what you may expect, is our own government. Only a minority of federal agencies and offices issue paid internships, the majority choosing not to for ethical reasons. This is often the case for people who work with their senators or representatives, but it also holds true for the highly coveted White House Internship program. Though you’d expect a more accessible White House today, in reality the program remains unpaid unless you are a White House Fellow, excluding dozens of students each year who work there. This in turn makes even the most desirable programs in the country inaccessible to students who can’t afford the high-priced lifestyle of Washington D.C. Even if you could, with some elbow grease and creative financing, afford to take an unpaid internship, the issues don’t end there. A lack of regular pay from an already-stressful job will only be intensified by trying to make ends meet each and every week during your internship. I am surprised that a nation that is begin-
Botox might have medical, non-cosmetic opportunity Delaney Fischer
otox is a neurotoxic drug produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum that is known for use in cosmetic surgery to reduce wrinkles on the face and prevent aging. In fact, as of December 2013, Botox has been identified as the most common plastic surgery procedure in the United States (New York Post, “Botox losing face amid celeb backlash,” 12.16.13). Many celebrities, such as Bruce Jenner and Lindsay Lohan, have been publicly mocked for using the drug to try to alter their appearances. Even Vassar alum Meryl Streep ’71 has spoken about the cosmetic surgery to the NY Post, saying, “I really understand the chagrin that accompanies aging, especially for a woman, but I think people look funny when they freeze their faces.” Conversely, Botox has recently been found useful in medical conditions not related to cosmetic surgery. In an August 2013 article of Science Daily, Dr. Matthew Kircher of Loyola University Medical Center was recognized for finding that Botox could be used to treat disorders that arise in patients with Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes paralysis and unwanted movements of facial muscles (“Botox not just for wrinkles,” 08.27.13). Often with Bell’s palsy, when a patient moves part of their face, such as in order to blink, the mouth will move in an uncontrollable manner, causing an unwanted spasm. Dr. Kircher uses the drug in an effort to improve symmetry of the face and prevent this extra movement. However, Dr. Kircher does warn that Botox is not a cure and only lasts about three or four months before another dosage is needed. Even with the lack of continuity, Dr. Kircher seems optimistic about his discovery, saying, “While we can never make the face perfect, we have found Botox to be extremely effective, [and] it can make a huge difference in patients’ lives.” Another recent study, conducted by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), has found that Botox may be an effective drug for weight-
February 6, 2014
loss (Science Daily, “Fighting fat with Botox”, 10.4.13). The main researcher on this project was Helene Johannessen, a PHD candidate at NTNU. Johannessen had injected Botox directly in the vagus nerve of rats, hoping to paralyze them. The vagus nerve extends from the brain to the abdomen and coveys bodily information; paralyzing this nerve would cause the food to remain in the stomach a bit longer, slowing digestion and food passage. The rats that had been injected were observed to eat less and lost 20 to 30 percent of their body weight over the five-week observational period. At this time, Johannessen is waiting on approval from the Norwegian medical ethics authorities to give approval to begin human clinical trials. For the trials, Johannessen has stated she is looking for particular participants, saying, “As a start, we will be inviting patients who are candidates for obesity operations but who, for one reason or another, cannot undergo [them].” However, I believe that Johnannessen’s experimental period on rats is not long enough to justify grounds for human testing quite yet. The testing period of five weeks does not allow us to see long-term effects that the Botox has on the vagus nerve. In my opinion, too little is known about the effects of this drug for clinical trials. However, with more research and investigation of long-term effects, Botox could be used as an alternative weight-loss method. I just think it is important to know the risks for this method—if any—before clinical trials begin so that participants know exactly what they are getting into. So why should you care about this? While Botox may not be affecting you or anyone you know at this moment in a medical manner, it could be possible that in the next five to ten years, Botox will be life changing. And who knows, maybe even more researchers will find ways to manipulate this neurotoxic drug to find beneficial cures and remedies. —Delaney Fischer ’15 is a neuroscience major.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
ning to look so inward on the inequality gap has continued to ignore the travesty that our nation’s internship regulation policy is. It’s also quite frankly a bad business practice to offer unpaid internships. I know, the idea of free labor is very appealing, but when you see it from a number of perspectives, it motivates a poor corporate philosophy that breeds much harder internal gains and a harder time running a business in the long term. You see, internships should not just be opportunities for a smart company to get young and ambitious workers, but to scout for future members of its company, and help recruit for strong and loyal employees in the years ahead. When companies introduce possible future employees with a zero or low-pay experience right off the bat, that speaks volumes to a student who has a lifestyle of expenses, not income. A smart firm would pay its interns well to make a highly coveted program and in turn yield highly coveted potential employees who believe in the company’s corporate philosophy before they even become employees. In the end, it seems to me like a no-brainer—every company should at least ensure its interns are not burdened by working for their company. The key word here is work, not play, and especially not learn. Yes, technically an unpaid internship is meant to teach, but you are also expected to work, and anyone who puts in a good effort at a company deserves at a fair wage or stipend at the very least. Every company can think what it will, but any company that doesn’t pay or reimburse its workers in any capacity is not representing a good business model, nor a good future for its human resources. Such a style is and continues to be toxic. —Joshua Sherman ’16 is an English major.
February 6, 2014
Super Bowl not an event worth watching Meaghan Hughes Senior eDitor
or many reasons, I did not watch the Super Bowl this weekend. Some were practical, such as the amount of work I had to do, the number of meetings I had to attend and the absence of Beyoncé from the halftime show. Others were ideological; the Super Bowl commercials would inevitably contain at least a dozen displays of sexism, from women turning into cars to women writhing as they eat hamburgers. My biggest concern with the Super Bowl is more about football as an institution and the way in which it harbors violence. To be clear: There are no studies that have proven any direct causation between football and violence. It would be far too simplistic to say that football as a sport drives people to commit harmful acts. Rather it is the culture of football that creates situations in which violence often occurs. This past year has given us many striking examples of violence done by the players themselves. Aaron Hernandez is now locked away on murder charges, one of 27 active NFL players to be arrested since the last Super Bowl. At the college level, programs such as Florida State and Vanderbilt have tried to stamp out all accusations of rape allegedly committed by their players. And we can’t forget about the socalled “promising” high school football players of Stubenville, OH who were found guilty of the rape of a minor last summer. Unfortunately 2013 was far from an exceptional year. Many players of varying levels of play have been charged with violent crimes in recent decades. Several reasons might explain the high incidence of violence on the part of football players; it could be an inflated ego preventing them from thinking that they might get caught. Perhaps men who are predisposed to violence choose to play football. Maybe a person who spends his days tackling men to the ground has lost his sense of reality. This is where I believe football is distinct from other sports, such as hockey and baseball, which I very much enjoy watching. In football violence is both the end and the means. Every play, even for the extra points, involves
rough physical violence, unlike hockey which features occasional violence that only stops play in the most extreme cases. There are often multiple injuries throughout each football game, and even more as the sport transitions into the post-season. Despite continuing changes to make certain types of hits illegal, it is nearly impossible to prevent gruesome injuries in such an excessively aggressive sport. Thus the players themselves are also suffering. Men such as Ronney Jenkins have talked openly about their mental health struggles, which they believe to the result of their years in the NFL. He and several other have complained about memory loss, unexplained rage and depression. All of these symptoms are generally attributed to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a certain type of early-onset dementia that is usually brought on by multiple concussions. Indeed, former linebacker Junior Seau, who took his own life two years ago at the age of 43, apparently suffered from the disorder. For its part the NFL has set aside over $100 million for research about the disease. Unfortunately, CTE can now only be diagnosed post-mortem, which leaves living players without much hope for a cure or treatment plan. Prevention is usually the best medicine, but this is not a feasible treatment option as long as football continues to operate the way that it does. When the goal is to collide with another player, trying to avoid a concussion seems laughable. There is something to be said, however, for on-the-field treatment. NFL rules state that any player who requires medical assistance must sit out for at least one play, presumably to give the staff enough time to identify a concussion. But how many times can a person’s brain be smashed before long-term effects become unavoidable? The violence of football spurred on by its hypermasculine nature spans beyond those displayed on the field. With over 111 million Americans watching the Super Bowl each year, the event has great power. The ads that are shown in the Super Bowl are a condensed version of those we see every day in nearly ev-
ery facet of media. Commercials have a great psychological impact that we are just starting to understand, especially for children. It would be unwise to underestimate the importance of the commercials that are shown each year. While viewers are usually spared from ads featuring explicit violence done to women, the presentation of women as objects is the first step to justifying their oppression. And no, the sexist David Beckham ad from last year does not somehow even out the score. The mascots and logos of each team can also be violent. These images, found in high schools, college and the NFL, frequently display blatant and inexcusable racism. At the national level, the Washington football team is the most flagrant. The use of racist stereotypes of Native American peoples as mascots is steeped in a complete disregard for Native sovereignty. The images exist out of an understanding of Native peoples as extinct, or as a part of history. Those who try to justify the mascots begin to sputter out words like “honoring” and “harmless” as though racial slurs that mock a lengthy history of violent conquest are not worth changing. The harm comes from their being plastered over everything from jerseys and t-shirts to fan-made signs at games that liberally use the term “scalp” where people fail to find a problem with offensive appropriation. This issue is not unique to football but it is certainly a part of the culture of the sport. For all of the violence that football harbors and perpetuates, I don’t know whether there is a solution. When it comes to football, many forgo logic for the sake of the tradition. There are, however, common sense steps that could help to eliminate the most harmful aspects. Educating high school and college-aged students on what exactly constitutes rape would be a start, as would providing retired NFL players with mental health resources. The Super Bowl will continue to draw viewers for a long time, and that is unlikely to change. What these viewers see before, during, and after the event is what matters. —Meaghan Hughes ’15 is a psychology major.
By the Numbers
on the street What is your favorite memory from working on the Misc?
“The one time I left the Misc before 2:30 a.m.” —Meaghan Hughes, Senior Editor
“The ’13 end of the year party.” —Palak Patel, Design Editor
“All the times my tired, limp body hits the mattress at 4 a.m.” —Chris Gonzalez, Editor-in-Chief
“When the sports section forgot all of the photo captions and spelled ‘vollyball’ wrong.” —Tina Caso, Sports Editor
“When I trekked to a sleeping reporter’s room at midnight to ask her to finish a front-page article.” —Marie Solis, Senior Editor
Editors Note: The Miscellany News has decided to begin publishing “By the Numbers,” which occasionally features a chart without additional analysis or opinions, allowing students to make their own interpretations. The goal is to highlight information we think our readers will find interesting. We encourage you to share your thoughts on this chart either by writing a letter to us or posting your comments online. Readers may submit charts for consideration by contacting the Opinions Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. This chart features the number of applications received by Admissions between 1995 and 2013, sorted by year and gender. This chart assumes all students fall within the male-female gender binary. This information, along with specific amounts by year, was published in The Vassar College 13/14 Factbook on page 16 and is available online from The Office of Institutional Research.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
“When I met Tina Caso.” —Chris Brown, Sports Editor
Lily Doyle, Humor & Satire Editor Spencer Davis, Photo Editor
February 6, 2014
VSA Leadership Conference fails to address org needs Jessica Tarantine
ast Saturday, Feb. 1, was the first Spring Leadership Conference (SLC) which was described as both a “refresher” and “mini-training” to complement the Fall Leadership Conference (FLC). I was optimistic that the conference would be more than the rehashing of Student Activity Resource Center (SARC) and finance procedures that is typical of the FLC, since the email describing the event included, “the [SLC] is to address concerns raised by the administration, various offices, custodial staff, faculty, organization leadership, and our fellow students. These concerns must be addressed in order to preserve the opportunities and resources that are available to the student body and VSA organizations.” Unfortunately, the event focused only on the issues ubiquitous to every conference, and was an attempt at addressing generalities that ultimately excluded many attendees. For organization leaders who have previously attended a FLC, the SLC was incredibly redundant. It was both a waste for time for such students and a waste of VSA resources. Yet, for some reason, it was mandatory for all organizations. I would understand this if some important issue of campus climate was being discussed—which, given the events of last semester, might be appropriate—but it wasn’t. It was merely the same event planning information that I have listened to every year for the past three years (although I did not attend the most recent FLC). The fact that the event planning information and advice comes from a group that failed to provide adequate seating, started late and didn’t order enough food was also alarming. The problems aren’t limited to redundancy, though. The reality is that most of the informa-
tion isn’t even relevant to many organizations. Most organizations will never have to deal with contracts or using a sound system, but both were discussed at length. Perhaps the people that benefited least were preliminary organizations leaders like myself. Preliminary organizations are barred from applying to Special Purpose Funds other than the Preliminary Organization Fund and can only apply for 100 or 200 dollars, rendering most of the finance and event planning information irrelevant. If a preliminary organization wanted to host an all-campus event, they could pay for two Buildings and Grounds workers to set up tables and chairs for two hours before running out of funds. The information about room reserving was equally useless since they do not have access to the Vassar Event Management System and have to follow a completely different process. I suppose they could co-host a large event, although other organizations would face little incentive to co-host since they would be ineligible to apply for the Collaboration Fund. Yet, preliminary organizations were required to attend or risk delayed certification. The simple fact of the matter is that a one size fits all approach to training leaders doesn’t work. The knowledge required to run organizations like The Miscellany News and ViCE likely vary greatly and it would be impossible or at least incredibly inefficient to go through all the nuances relevant to each organization. As a result, conferences tend to concentrate on large events, perhaps because those are the events that Campus Activities has the biggest hand in planning. But I would venture to say that most organizations other than ViCE do very little of this type of planning relative to their total programming. As such, the VSA should encourage organizations to train their own leaders in the practic-
es that work best for that organization. By the nature of VSA elections, organization membership and leadership are much more stable than the membership of the VSA Executive Board. Yet, the mandatory nature of conferences act as a disincentive for organization leaders to not pass on information about best practices, when it would be most efficient for organizations to pass down the relevant knowledge for dealing with the Vassar and VSA bureaucracy directly. Additionally, parts of the conference came across as patronizing. such as explaining the difference between debt and deficit. Furthermore, the claim that organizations are always responsible for their debt in the following year was particularly misleading. I don’t know if the VSA lacks institutional memory, was oversimplifying or changed their policy, but in recent years the Vassarion was bailed out of debt by the Dean of the College and Campus Activities (although they were supposed to repay it) and ViCE was allowed to spread its debt over multiple years. Additionally, in past years, the VSA has allowed organizations to apply for funds to cover debts that occurred because of mismanagement by seniors. This might be nitpicking, but I think this kind of nuance is necessary to a productive conversation and contextualized knowledge about finances and debt. Moreover, the penalty for not attending seems harsh considering that multiple VSA Council members—including Executive Board members—failed to attend a VSA meeting last semester without a proxy. Yet it does not appear as though they have been fined in accordance with Article 2, Section 8 of the VSA bylaws. Their absences could be excused, but since Council must approve such excuses and there is no record of that (or the fact that it was discussed in a closed meeting) in the minutes it seems unlikely. The minutes the VSA posts on
their website do not even state who was absent with or without a proxy (see the Misc’s blog for attendance records). I would have hoped the VSA would hold themselves accountable to the same standards to which they hold organizational leaders, especially when a theme of the SLC was accountability. All of these problems considered, I think a few changes to these Conferences could make a big difference. First, I would change the tone of the Conferences. Instead of repeating information found in the Treasurer’s Handbook and SARC’s website, I would focus on having important dialogues. I recall a great conversation about micro-aggressions from the FLC in 2012. Council Members should be facilitators, not lecturers. Being the latter only makes the VSA Council seem more distant and rigid. These conversations could be made mandatory if necessary and should talk about the campus climate. The group of organization leaders is much more diverse than the VSA Council, which tends to be made up of very social and extroverted individuals. The Council’s decisions often reflect this bias. Almost everyone is in at least one organization, but not everyone has a line of communication with a Council member in both directions. Occasionally getting the input of organization leaders who also deal with a more diverse group of students may help to counteract this extroverted bias. Other events like finance and SARC presentations should be optional. There is great potential in these Conferences, but it will never be reached if they simply lecture on the same information time and again. —Jessica Tarantine ’14 is an economics and Greek & Roman studies major. She is Co-President of The Vassar Croquet Association, a preliminary organization.
The Miscellany Crossword “Anniversary Crossword” ACROSS 1 Police action 5 Symbol of Ireland 9 And, to Caesar 14 Scottish Gaelic 15 Othello, for one 16 “Mountain,” in Hawaii 17 Fleece or pea 18 *In 1996, the anniversary paper shifted to this emerging media form 20 STAT, on the Knicks 22 The “L” of L.A. 23 Bygone name in hair removal 24 *Accolade twice granted to the anniversary paper 28 Nashville sch. 29 Soft powder 33 Fe, chemically 36 Water in the air
41 *Anniversary measure for this paper 44 Writer Joyce Carol __ 45 Strokes tune from “Is This It” 46 Civil rights pioneer Parks 47 Civil Rights, e.g. 49 *Paper of record that was established as a weekly on Feb. 6, 1914 59 Etruscan name 60 One name in a famous court case 61 Incite 62 *Name given to this paper upon its first publication in 1866 66 It has banks in Switzerland 67 “___ definitely will!” (Two wds.) 68 P’s to Pericles
Answers to last week’s puzzle
by Jack Mullan, Crossword Editor
69 Misfortunes 70 Old LPs and 45s 71 Brontë heroine 72 British ref. volumes DOWN 1 Wrap up 2 Smell 3 “Shaft” composer Hayes 4 Raison ___ 5 Managed care plan, for short 6 ___ Center (Chicago skyscraper) 7 Esther of “Good Times” 8 Earlier 9 Letters on some churches 10 Vanatu island 11 One part of LGBTQ 12 Single 13 Toward sunrise 19 Edward Snowden’s ex-employer 21 CPR specialist 25 Clarifying words 26 Some Iranians or Turks 27 Not straight 29 Likewise 30 “Ugly Betty” actress Ortiz 31 Tennis mulligan 32 Nickname for Ernesto Guevara 34 Cortés’s quest 35 Ancient Greek city with a mythical lion 37 Atmospheric prefix 38 Kung ___ chicken 39 Surgery sites, for
short 40 Mandela’s country: Abbr. 42 Military inits. 43 “Rats!” 48 “Certainly, captain!” 49 Home to the Heat 50 Fight announcement
51 Impertinent 52 Mess up 53 France’s longest river 54 Vermont Senator Patrick 55 Mystery writer Marsh 56 Not différente 57 Setting for
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
everything 58 Old nintendo complexes 59 Hebrew for “spring” 63 Peach state capital: Abbr. 64 Neither’s partner 65 Enzyme suffix
February 6, 2014
HUMOR & SATIRE
From the desk of Lily Doyle, Humor & Satire Editor
Pope happily accepts Super Bowl as proof that it is God’s will for states with legalized marijuana to be really good at sports
The Miscellany News Guide C’mon, Joanne Kathleen, no to: Valentine’s Day Magic takebacksies: An open letter Lily Sloss Columnist
could write an article about the Super Bowl. Because, you know, it’s “topical” and whatnot. But Lily “Washington State” Doyle is borderline apoplectic about her team’s big win, so I’ll generously allow her to take the reins on that one. Instead, I’ll address an urgent issue: the annual imminent doom that is “V-Day.” Not D-Day, but the oft-dreaded, rarely enjoyed Valentine’s Day. It’s coming, people. Hide your husbands, your dachshunds and your chocolate stash (because you might be able to pass it off as a gift)—we have 11 DAYS. What to do? Are you a freshman? Looking forward to a great first Valentine’s at Vassar? Pump the brakes. Vassar gets spooky on Valentine’s. There is a lot of “avoiding the topic.” As in: “Oh, is it Valentine’s day? I didn’t even know.” Or, even better, “It’s just a marketing ploy. Valentine wasn’t even a real saint” (As though Vassar students are familiar with the Saints, EL OH EL). So what are your options? Ferry is having a party. Or, a rave. Take that with a grain of cashew milk. Apparently there will be “opposing DJ’s.” I am running on the assumption that entails a certain scrunchied cast member of “Full House” performing. Correct me if I’m wrong. There will undoubtedly be a plethora of “Gal-entine’s day parties.” Any such party will be imbued with either “shit-talking” or pretending that exes do not exist. If you want to be the hippest of hip, you will host a party like this—for singles only—and let the sangria flow. You could also make the event jersey-themed. In this scenario, you could be trampled by a crowd of jersey-wearing freshmen, much like any Wal-Mart Black Friday sale (sorry, I’m enduring awful TH flashbacks). If you have a significant other, preparation must begin now. You need to embrace the Betty Crocker within, or the Jacques Pepin, depending on preference and French speaking abilities. You need to rustle up a couple of Cosmopolitan magazines and peruse their exceptionally good tips. Some past winners include: “Talk dirty—like, really dirty.” From NOT personal experience, sometimes you try to talk dirty, a.k.a. “Oh wow that sure feels swell,” and the person will stop what they are doing and loudly respond: “What did you just say?” to which you will shrug. Other good Cosmo tips: “Missionary.” Or, if you are being really wild: “Celibacy.” Attempt to cover all bases! (Tangential: Do you remember when hooking up
with someone meant metaphorically rounding the bases? Example circa 7th grade: Friend: “I went to THIRD with Morgan.” Me: “What did it feel like?!” Friend: “Oh, you know. Just... super sexy and stuff.” Potentially this lady had not actually gone to third. I suspected it then and I feel sure of it now). If you do not have a significant other, then this is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Vassar Devil’s valentine gram. If you give a little money, the a capella group will go to someone’s classroom and sing a romantic ditty to them. Potentially sweet or utterly mortifying. If you want to embrace the latter, send the gram to a rude housemate or that special someone you hooked up with four freaking times freshman year and now “doesn’t recognize” you.” Or, you know, whomever. Other options: Scope out the Deece, UpC and the Retreat. Anyone diving headfirst into a pint on V-Day evening is definitely looking for that “special something.” Who doesn’t feel sexy with a belly full of dairy (or alternative almond, rice or Lactaid product)!? AM I RIGHT!? Go right up to them. Use a snappy catchphrase like: “Ugh, social constructs” or “Ha ha, what?” Anything that will confuse them into thinking they know you/were having a conversation with you and simply forgot. Valentine’s Day will sparkle from this moment on. On a personal note, there’s no way this V-Day will top my high school experience. Junior year, my then “stud” boyfriend and I went ice skating. I kept grabbing his arm out of fright and slamming him into the ice **wedding bells.** After this charming date we *hooked up* in his basement. Just as we were rounding third, we heard stamping noises from the upstairs. “What’s that?” he asked. I wiped the excessive saliva off my face as his parents, Mr. and Mrs. K, interrupted whatever lewd Valentine’s behavior was going on in the basement. Hilarious! Richard broke up with me a week and a half later because I wouldn’t go to home base with him #the-one-that-got-away. Best of luck with your Valentine’s planning! *Final tip, did not make this up, overheard it at a wicked cool Super Bowl party: Go to your significant other’s FB page. Type: “Happy Alentine’s Day. I didn’t include the V because that’s what you’re getting later.” Hopefully their Aunt Helen will read it and tell their mother about it. **The above tip obviously only works in certain situations (if you have a V to speak of).
ear Joanne Kathleen Rowling, Joanie. Honey. Darling. I love and respect you (we all do), but these waves of “revelations” about the Harry Potter series need to end now, before the J.K. in your name really does start to stand for “just kidding,” as I mistakenly assumed it had for a solid 12 years of my life. Pro tip: The time to have unfounded misgivings about character development choices is during the actual writing process. For those who haven’t a clue to what I’m referring, J.K. Rowling recently let out in an interview that she feels Harry and Hermione should have ended up together, and not Ron, who would, presumably, be left with two options without revising literally the entire series: marry his sister, Ginny (a lovely girl, I’m sure, but something tells me her audience wouldn’t be so receptive to the idea) or to become the most pathetic and red-headed third wheel in literary history. This is not the first time J.K. Rowling has come out and “revealed” something about the Harry Potter universe to which her collective fandom responded “whaaaa?”, though it is perhaps the most consequential. Last time, Rowling decided that we all needed to know that beloved headmaster Albus Dumbledore was, in fact, a homosexual, and the non-bigots of the world responded with a resounding “and this changes, what, exactly?”* This new revelation, on the other hand, is the story-writing equivalent of handing in a test and decades later wishing that on the multiple choice question, “Who was the first president of the United States?”, she had not selected “A) George Washington” but instead “B) Benedict Arnold” because in her later years she identified more with his inner struggle. The story is over and done with, and we liked it the way you wrote it the first time, thankyouverymuch. In the immortal words of aphoristic twitter genius @ninjasexparty, “If you love something, let it go (If it comes back, it is yours. If it does not, it’s probably because you suck).” Joanne, you’re on the verge of George Lucas-ing, which is to say shaping and enriching my childhood in 30 thousand ways only to spend the rest of your life actively trying to destroy it. Greedo shot first, George? Really? We won’t even get into Jar-Jar Binks, the ’N SYNC cameo that almost happened, the wretched “graphics enhancements,” or the incredibly uncomfortable pseudo-eugenics/ elitism discourse that midichlorians as genet-
ically responsible Force creators generates. And we certainly won’t speak of you literally destroying the original Indiana Jones movies. But I digress. Putting Harry and Hermione together as lovers is ultimately an act of injustice not towards us, but towards Ron Weasley. You, J.K., claim that you put Ron and Hermione together as an act of “wish-fulfillment, for reasons having very little to do with literature and more to do with clinging to the plot as [you] first imagined it,” but the fact of the matter is: all writing is, in one way or another, wish-fulfillment, and personal reasons are no less valid than “reasons of credibility.” Credibility? In a world with magic, dragons, flying cars and wizards, you find the fact that a brilliant, pretty girl like Hermione would love a rambunctious, humble, straightup human person like Ron, incredible? What is incredible, if we’re gonna talk this talk, is that an orphaned child who has experienced years of domestic and emotional abuse, multiple murder attempts, and unbelievable amounts of stress (having the weight of the entire world on one’s shoulders) would experience not only zero PTSD but also “be able to make Hermione happy in a way that Ron could not.” You also claim that you had wanted to kill off Ron much earlier but changed your mind. What the hell have you got against the poor pimply bastard? You aren’t George R. R. Martin, and you shouldn’t strive to be. You are the author, you wanted to write it that way, and so you did. A crucial part of Harry and Ron’s developing relationship throughout the years is their grappling with Ron’s insecurity as being neither the destined nor the brilliant part of the trio. In other words, Ron is us. My mother always says (and so does yours, I bet), that when you’re unsure, go with your first instinct because it’s always right. It is. And it was. So Joanne, leave Harry behind, it’s time to move on. Your dedicated reader, Joshua Multer *Aside from the counterproductive detail it adds to Albus’ backstory regarding his (now also sexual) relationship with the dark wizard Grindelwald, as highly personal detail appears wholly out of place in a narrative which otherwise serves as an effective critique of the media’s probing obsession with celebrity figures and simultaneous refusal to acknowledge their basic humanity.
I have strong negative feelings towards Oklahoma, and other Super Bowl commentary by Lily Doyle, Humor & Satire Editor 11:00 a.m.: I wake up and am immediately greeted by 15 texts asking me if I am “excited” for today. I am extremely confused. 11:01 a.m.: I realize that today is the Super
Bowl. 11:01:15 a.m.: I realize that Seattle is playing in the Super Bowl.
offered a modeling contract yet. 5:20 p.m.: The English language seems to have escaped me. I have nothing but my anxiety and a burning love for the Legion of Boom. I decide that maybe listening to “Here Comes the Boom” by Nelly will help calm my nerves.
11:01:25 a.m.: I realize that I am from Seattle.
5:45 p.m.: Apparently playing even the most classic of Nelly jams 24 times is “too many times.” Whatever, guys.
11:01:45 a.m.: I blackout purely from panic.
6:15 p.m.: I arrive at my friends’ house, entire-
1:00 p.m.: I come out of my anxiety blackout
covered in pizza rolls. I think my housemates attempted to feed me but in my catatonic state the rolls just fell out of my mouth and onto my body. I often wonder why I have not been
ly over-dressed for the situation. It seems no one else felt the need to put glitter glue on their face that will probably rip off skin and leave you looking like Harvey Dent post-oilexplosion-that-Batman-probably-could-haveprevented-but-didn’t. I find myself wishing I
were surrounded by the 46 year-old man who preemptively got a “Super Bowl Champions” Seahawks tattoo and the people who named their child “Cyndee Leigh 12th Mann”. 6:35 p.m.: Kick-off. We immediately score. This makes me, if anything, more nervous. In case you don’t understand why, I recommend you search “Seattle Sports Heartbreaks.” A minimum of 1,458,456 articles will immediately appear. Google will break. But really. We haven’t won a title in ANY SPORT since 1979. And that title was won by a team we no longer have. I really hate Oklahoma. I have been petitioning to force the state of Oklahoma to secede from the Union for the last six years. 8:00 p.m.: I find myself wishing that Bruno
Mars had more exciting nipples.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
9:13 p.m.: The Seahawks win their first franchise Super Bowl in history, and their first title in 35 years. I have coincidentally made 35 death threats to the guy sitting next to me who seems to think “that was obviously what was going to happen.” I’M SORRY, GUY NEXT TO ME IN YOUR STUPID SWEATER. I DIDN’T REALIZE YOU KNEW THE FUTURE. Excuse me while I force you to come live in my closet so I am always dressed appropriately for the weather. 11:59 p.m.: My responses to the win have been as follows: complete composure, sobbing on the floor, shotgunning a beer, running through the THs screaming, getting naked, “doing my readings,” eating more pizza rolls, and collapsing. I can’t believe it.
February 6, 2014
Playwriting aids Posse veteran in post-war healing process Samantha Kohl
aSSiStant artS eDitor
he experience of a soldier needs no dramatization: War is more bloody, violent and emotionally tolling than imaginable. For that reason, it is most appropriate that a play dealing with such heavy material would be written by someone who has experienced it firsthand. Jack Eubanks ’17, a Posse student, along with Alexandre Buffington and Alivia Tagliaferri, began working on “Beyond the Wall,” a script based on the book of the same name by Tagliaferri in 2010. The play explores how wars affect the people who fight in them. As part of Modfest, it was presented as a dramatic reading Tuesday,
Feb. 4 at the Streep Studio in Vogelstein. The show focuses on two stories of combat: one storyline follows a soldier fighting in the Vietnam War and the other follows a soldier fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The work examines the relationship between two soldiers who, though having fought in different wars, nonetheless share similar experiences. Split into three acts, the play follows soldiers going through training, engaging in combat, and struggling down the strenuous road to recovery made necessary by the horrors of war. Eubanks himself suffered three injuries, including one he sustained in Iraq which required him to once again learn how to speak, read and write. Eubanks earned Purple Hearts
courtesy of Jack Eubanks
Jack Eubanks ’17 is a Posse student who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. As part of his post-war healing, Eubanks collaboratively wrote “Beyond the Wall,” a play which gives voice to soldiers’ experiences.
for his service. For Eubanks, the show transcends its artistic value, serving to assist in his own individual healing process. Initially, the show was not even intended to be performed on stage. “It was originally a screenplay when we first started writing—we originally wanted to do a film. About a year in we switched, so now the format is pretty unique. It almost reads as a film and there is a lot of projection work,” he said. Now, as a work of theater, Eubanks maintained that “Beyond the Wall” allows for the audience to access moments of lightness and laughter along with intensity and seriousness. “It’s a very dark and sad play...Usually half the audience cries at one point. My mom cried when she was just reading it,” said Eubanks. “There are about 67 scenes that are all short and you’re jumping timelines and jumping characters. You have to pay attention a little bit. There is a very rich dialogue and most people don’t realize how much time has gone by. Me, I’ve heard it many times so it doesn’t have as much of an emotional effect, but there are still many scenes that come from my own experiences—those are a lot harder.” Seeing these real-life experiences portrayed on stage might have been difficult for the audience, but it was harder yet for Eubanks and Buffington to even get them written into the script. When faced with the need to make changes to certain scenes, they encountered emotional and psychological barriers that hampered the process. “Instead of doing that in a day, it was taking three months because we were still recovering ourselves. It was hard to write,” said Eubanks. The show has traveled across the nation and has been presented at major theaters and universities. For its performance at Vassar, Eubanks took a backseat to his project and handed the reigns over to Emily Breeze ’14, who directed the show. Breeze is a drama major and member of No Offense, one of Vassar’s coed comedy troupes. “Emily is really phenomenal for what
she did,” said Eubanks, “Because we have been working on it for three and a half years, we kept getting stuck. She would say ‘maybe you should change this a little bit,’ so we’d change the scene or bits of language that sounded fine in our heads, but we didn’t have that removal from it.” Throughout the process, Breeze was in constant contact with Eubanks as well as being in communication with Buffington. Eubanks would sometimes attend rehearsals and give notes, which was helpful for Breeze; she often went to him with questions which a veteran could answer. For Breeze, who has done directing work in the past, directing “Beyond the Wall” was not the easiest of jobs. “It’s hard because there are points in the script that are very funny. Jack and the other authors do a good job of layering in some humor with it, but it is difficult and really hard to hear about it, to read it about it and to see it being performed on stage,” said Breeze. “It’s hard to work on it artistically because you feel like you want to do it justice but you feel like you don’t know how to because you have no context. There’s nothing there that feels real sometimes because it’s so far out of what most students have experienced.” James Steerman, a retired professor of film and drama at Vassar, also played a large role in the production process. After attending a reading of “Beyond the Wall” earlier in the semester, Steerman gave Eubanks notes that affected changes within the show. “I told him that I thought the script/play worked, really worked...The audience at the reading seemed firmly engaged from beginning to end. I told him his play was about something truly important,” wrote Steerman in an emailed statement. “The script is very well done and makes a strong and important statement about the horror of war and particularly the experience of war by young American men and women. It has a great deal of dramatic power,” he concluded.
Sidibé captures ’60s Malian new Africanism in Loeb exhibit Matthew McCardwell gueSt reporter
courtesy of Jennifer Davis
ntering the exhibition space at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (FLLAC), the viewer immediately confronts a wall teeming with photographs encased in a variety of painted frames that shimmer from the stark white walls. The viewer then begins to notice the black and white portraits that line the side walls of the exhibition. This installation, titled “Malick Sidibé: Chemises,” showcases photographs of people of Mali from 1950-the mid1970s. The Lombino’s work on this specific exhibition began three or four years ago with the purchase of two pieces by Malick Sidibé in 2011. “It has been an interest of mine for a long time, but deciding what aspect of African photography that I wanted to highlight took a while,” said Lombino. “Once we acquired those two works in 2011 it became clear that that might be something that would appeal to Vassar students and the community here for a number of reasons. Much of it has to do with the sort of party pictures and the capturing of the youth photos.” From the party culture to the academic sphere, Lombino’s exhibition spoke to many groups on campus. “I knew that because of our Africana Studies program here, which is so strong and has been here for so long, and because of some of the other departments I knew had an interest in African artists and African American artists that there would be a lot of faculty interest,” said Lombino. Last year we purchased works by Zanele Muholi, she did a wonderful series titled ‘Faces and Phases’ which are a series of photographs of lesbian women throughout South Africa.” Sidibé is a photographer from Mali who grew up as a farmer. After receiving schooling and art training, he worked in a photography studio and was eventually able to purchase his own camera and began to photograph the people of Mali and the parties they attended. The pieces in the exhibit follow the liberation of Mali from the French. The photographs depict Malían people in a mixture of Western fashion, such as bell-bottom pants, as well as tradition-
al African patterns and accessories. In some scenes couples ride on motorcycles. In others, groups act out scenes like the sport of boxing. Lombino commented on the fashion and objects within the photos. He said, “It may be a matter of semantics, but I do not think the people in the photographs thought of themselves as being Western. I think they thought of themselves as being cosmopolitan and modern... Because this was shortly after they gained their independence in Mali and they had recently been freed from the colonial structure, they might not have wanted to be more Western. They might have just wanted to be understood as modern. While we as Westerners will recognize these as influences from our own culture, I think they thought of it as the new African.” In the fall of 2013, Dan Leers, an independent curator based in New York City, joined Vassar’s Art History Department. His focus is in Contemporary African Art, which led him to Mali where he became personally acquainted with Sidibé. Leers wrote in an emailed statement, “I first met Sidibé in 2007 while living and working in Bamako...Sidibé takes his job very seriously and is quite demanding in a portrait session. He instructs his sitters to pose in a number of different ways...and also has them try on new clothes and hold different props. There is not a lot of dialogue as Sidibé intently looks through the camera, giving direct instructions and waiting for the right moment to snap the photo. There are moments of levity... Sidibé will crack a joke to make you smile or have you turn your back to the camera. He is a very open and generous man. I think that openness come[s] across in his portraits. Any good portrait session is a successful collaboration between the photographer and the sitter... Sidibé is a master of balancing of his own artistic voice with the identity of his subject.” “Malick Sidibé: Chemises” is another way in which the FLLAC is bringing diversity to campus through the instruction and articulation of this cultural period in West Africa. This particular show also found a place on campus among the Modfest activities. “It speaks to an
The “Chemises” photography exhibit explores ‘new Africanism’ through the intersections of fashion, tradition and modernity in 1960s Mali. The portraits will be on display at the Loeb until March 30. interest in fashion and music and modernity [and] is perfect for Modfest this year. We were really excited to have that synergy this year,” said Lombino. Among these events, Michelle Lamurière ’88 held a lecture on January 24th to inaugurate the opening of the gallery. There was also a film screening of the documentary on Malick Sidibé’s life and work, “Dolce vita africana” (2008) on Sunday Jan. 26. The gallery will be the focus of an Artful Dodger at the Loeb on Feb. 6 at 5 p.m., as well as a gallery talk by the curator on February 26 at 4 p.m. Ryan Holguin ’17, who attended the lecture and opening, said, “I thought it gave a new perspective on posed photography, which was rarer in that time due to different subjects of photography emerging.” Leers echoed these sentiments, stating, “As for the exhibition at the Loeb, I think it is a fantastic opportunity to have it here at the Vas-
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sar campus. It coincides nicely with the African art history class I am currently teaching. It also exposes students and faculty to work from a region they probably are not used to seeing. In fact, I have noticed a recent trend in the art world to expand the canon of modern art and explore art-making in places outside of Europe and the U.S. By hosting this exhibition, the Loeb is placing itself at the forefront of this broadening of the artistic scope.” This exploration into other realms of modern art and the art of cultures across the globe is one that Lombino has been eager to continue. “It is an interest of mine to make our collection more diverse, to encompass more continents, and non-western work,” Lombino said. “Buying these works by African photographers is one of the ways in which I am fulfilling that need...in our collection.” The show is on display through March 30.
February 6, 2014
Slater acquires dual perspective as actor and playwright Yifan Wang
Sam Pianello/The Miscellany News
ost actors assume the character of someone else’s invention. Ethan Slater ’14, however, is able to dictate his own role in a musical he wrote, “Hubcrawl.” Slater has been working on the show for his senior project with the drama department. The show will premiere on Feb. 13 and explores people’s relationship to technology and each other. Slater finds bliss in the unique experience of writing musicals. “It’s a good combination of studying drama and studying music,” he said. As the Internet continues to become increasingly accessible and, hence, influential, the musical seeks to explore the creation and confirmation of identity in the generation brought up from childhood with a continuous connection to each other and to information—or, as Slater dubbed it, the “Always-on generation.” Slater said that when putting together “Hubcrawl,” he wanted to deal with our generation’s specific confusions and challenges. “A lot of the inspiration came from a desire to express this particular generation and what it means to be intertwined with technology and the real world,” he said. To realize and express this idea, Slater employs a rich combination of musical genres in the production. “The music in that show goes across a bunch of different genres that are popular now but also that are expressive. [There’s] folk rock, bluesy music, and there’s punk songs. [They] just jump all over the place,” Slater explained. Slater assumes a perspective of experiencing drama from the two distinct yet connected angles, as both an actor and writer in the musical. “Interestingly, when you create [a show], you feel like you have a lot less control...There’s something beautiful in the fact that I can write a lyric or a line of music, and when it’s interpreted by someone else, it jumps off the page in
an entirely new way,” Slater shared. Conversely, Slater holds an appreciation for working with the playwriting of others and how he can personalize the work of a stranger by taking artistic liberties. Slater said, “When you’re acting, you take a piece of music and you can make it your own and disregard in some ways what the playwright’s intent was and just focus on what the lyric means to you.” When Slater is not writing music and acting in plays, he is involved with Matthew’s Minstrels, a coed a cappella group founded in 1978. “I’ve been in Matthew’s Minstrels since I was a freshman. It’s been an incredible experience. Not only are they a great group of singers, but they are great people too. With them I’ve got to sing a lot of really fun music, and I’ve got to arrange music. It’s been really helpful for singing, too. I get to sing an extra six hours a week with these people and it’s really wonderful.” Indeed, Slater not only sings music but also creates it. Slater has been writing his own music since the age of 10, prompted by learning the guitar. “As soon as I started learning other’s songs, I basically started writing my own,” he recalled. “Learning other people’s songs really helps you build techniques and become a professional player. But I was always so excited to create something new. And when I was in the beginning of middle school, it was generally terrible. But it was just so much fun and was something I loved to do. I would love to play my songs that I was working on by myself in my room. And just rewrite and rewrite them until it was what I wanted it to be,” Slater shared. In high school, Slater began to write and arrange music with friends in an a cappella group. At the same time, he started to take music theory and composition classes. However, he thinks that neither theoretical knowledge nor full mastery of skills is the most important thing when it comes to creation. “The best way
Ethan Slater ’14 is the playwright and an actor in “Hubcrawl,” a production incorporating a breadth of musical genres. Slater looks forward to continuing his theater career in New York City after graduation. to learn about creating is to create. I mean it’s really important to get the techniques well and you should definitely study it and figure it out. And that’s what I do as well. But the best way to learn how to create something is to do it and fail, and then do it again. Because in each failure you learn how to change your way of doing it,” he said. Beyond school, Slater has been acting professionally for the past three years. Two summers ago, Slater worked on an off-Broadway musical for two months, and this past December, he was commuting between Vassar and New York City to do a show with One Year Lease Theater. “I’ve been really lucky to meet and audition for people who are incredibly tal-
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ented, and I’m honored to be surrounded by them. Vassar has really prepared me for that in a big way. Doing a lot of shows here and being around competitive talented people is really amazing,” Slater said. Despite their different rehearsal hours, theatre for Slater at Vassar and in New York City are quite similar. “It’s different but it’s also the same. People are driven and passionate and brilliant.” A year ago, Slater signed with an agent. After graduation, he will move to New York City to pursue a career in acting. “I guess I’m still trying to figure out what I want my path to be. But I know that right now I just want to do everything until I figure it out.”
erhaps art is a vessel through which we transcend the corporeal stuff of the everyday, transporting us instead to a greater, more spiritual place. Art like Asher B. Durand’s “Kaaterskill Clove” and John Frederick Kensett’s “The Hemlock,” two paintings currently on display at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center on rare public loan, certainly have the potential to transport us. Among the first works in Vassar’s possession were actually Hudson River School paintings, so “Kaaterskill Clove” and “The Hemlock” are a part of a great Vassar tradition of honoring the Hudson Valley. “[Durand and Kensett] weren’t painting just what they saw, they were composing. They put the trees thus, so… [the branches] act as visual parenthesis. They got rid of some extra branches [to do] some cosmetic treatment,” says Director of The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center James Mundy. “The impact they wanted to portray is a very strong spiritual impact, a sense of appreciating what is all around.” Like many paintings of nature, the works establish among the viewer a connection to the natural world often neglected in the rushed pace of the material world. But they are not simply powerful meditations on the beauty of a tree or the harmony of a summer valley at noon. They are especially compelling to the Vassar community because they are works of the Hudson River School of art, a collection of 19th-century artists who painted scenes from the Hudson Valley. Viewers can actually travel to the Catskill Mountains and see vistas strikingly similar to those depicted on the white walls of The Frances Lehman Loeb. The two works are visually very different. “Kaaterskill Clove” is grandiose in both size and subject matter. It evokes the inexpressible sublimity of the Catskills. “It has an atmospheric feeling to it. You can almost feel
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the late-summer particulates in the air. It is a capstone to the other pictures in the gallery. A great crescendo. It pulls you right in,” said Mundy. He pointed out how the trees, which resemble the tops of Gothic cathedrals, orient the viewer and suggest a profound feeling of spirituality. “When [The Reverend Elias] Magoon got [the painting], he thought he could hear the squirrel and the woodpecker scolding him for breaking into their space,” says Mundy. “The Hemlock,” on the other hand, is very small in both size and subject. The painting, as described by Mundy, is like a portrait of a tree. “[‘The Hemlock’] is like a chamber trio and ‘Kaaterskill Clove’ is like a symphony,” continued Mundy. There is polyphony in the juxtaposition of these two works. “You can get an adequate idea of what these two paintings look like through seeing images of them, but those images don’t communicate the artists’ exquisite brushstrokes and various shades of beautiful colors,” said Frances Lehman Loeb Curator Patricia Phagan. “Nor can images translate the sizes of these two canvases. The Durand painting, for instance, is so large that you almost feel like you’re standing there with the artist looking out through a gap in the mountains to the plains below. The Kensett is so small that you feel as if you were looking over the artist’s shoulder. Both experiences are intimate, subjective, and intellectual, all together at the same time.” “Kaaterskill Clove” and “The Hemlock” have been on loan for over a year from The Century Association in Manhattan, an art club whose members once included the likes of Durand and Kensett. They are likely to remain on loan for a few more years due to construction at The Association. These works are important to the Vassar community because they enhance both the College’s connection to its physical environment and the other Hudson River School works in the Frances Lehman Loeb.
Students heed musician’s advice
Dark family drama offers little enjoyment Max Rook Columnist
August: Osage County John Wells Smokehouse Pictures
CHRISTOPHERSON continued from page 1
Planet” (1 and 2), “Lineage II” and the films “The Crow: Wicked Prayer,” “Ghost Image” and “Inside Out.” In order to get to where he is today, Christopherson had to work his way up from the bottom. Christopherson said, “[My first job] was with a huge company. They say that it’s better to be with a big company and start at the bottom than be with a small company and start at the top. Eventually I was doing music sound design, which is a really big way into the industry now.” But before forging a path in the big leagues, Christopherson studied formal classical music theory, music history, counterpoint (the relationship between sounds that are independent and yet harmonious) and piano at Vassar. Aside from his formal academic training, he scored fellow students’ films and works of theater and took advantage of the Poughkeepsie music scene, playing gigs at local venues. “Life experiences are important,” said Christopherson. “That is what is so great about having a liberal arts education. You are getting experiences outside of the classroom. That helps with everything—draw on your life experiences instead of just thinking within the studio.” This philosophy helped Christopherson maintain a signature sound—a requirement for successful composers. To keep his music fresh, he said, “We hire people to do musical sound design, which entails recording live music, slowing it down, reversing it, or coming up with something completely digital and trying to make it sound natural,” he explained. Christopherson believes that pressure is also a motivator for generating new music. “I couldn’t write any music if I wasn’t on a deadline. Otherwise I’d just sit there and question myself. A lot of times you have to come up with an idea very fast, and you can’t second-guess yourself...It’s a tightrope balance of having just enough stress and not enough stress. It can bring out great things,” he said. He also emphasized that retaining a positive attitude, thick skin and the ability to stay detached from their music are sure ways to help musicians in the long run. In the industry, producers and directors harshly criticize his music constantly. Having to change a measure or an entire score is just a part of the job. John DeLeonardis ’16, a guitarist, valued Christopherson’s advice. “I loved that he started the lecture saying he realized he’d already done a lot of ‘cool things’ in his career, but he thought the really cool things have yet to come, as well as noting the importance of staying excited about each piece of work you’re doing,” wrote DeLeonardis in an emailed statement. Even though Christopherson emphasized the importance of staying true to oneself as an artist, he also urged musicians to keep in mind the listeners of their scores, beyond producers and directors. “Every piece of music has to service the film and somehow get at the heart of what the film is saying without repeating itself,” said Christopherson. “There are certain genres like comedy where you’re just writing to supplement what’s on the screen, but there are other genres where you want to get under the skin of what the characters are feeling at that particular point or sometimes go against what the characters are feeling or what you are seeing on the screen.” Ethan Goldstein ’17, a bassist in Vassar’s orchestra, took Christopherson’s advice as the impetus to reflect on his own style. “I’m a musician and I sometimes write my own music, but I never thought about having a signature sound. Jamie [Christopherson] really made me think about my own music and the way I want it to sound. Maybe someday people will hear the bass playing and think ‘that’s definitely a Goldstein.’” For students worried about the level of risk often associated with a career in the music industry, Christopherson’s story was an uplifting one. “I thought it was great to hear the personal account and description of a ‘success story’ coming out of Vassar, and in a field I’m interested in,” DeLeonardis wrote. “Looking towards the future (beyond my immediate thinking about what classes I should be taking), I think his lecture made it evident how great it is to work doing what you love. You could see how much he liked what he is doing, and that was most important of all.”
February 6, 2014
ugust: Osage County,” at least as presented by the trailers that were shown in movie theaters over the last few months, looks to have all the trappings of an “Oscar-bait” movie. t has a cast composed of perennial awards-season favorites, like Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, respected character actors, like Margo Martindale and Chris Cooper, and a few younger actors to make the film appeal to the whole family: in this case, Benedict Cumberbatch and Abigail Breslin. It is adapted from the critically acclaimed and Tony-award winning play of the same name. Its plot centers around the dramatic reunion of a family that has grown apart over time. All of these statements are accurate descriptions of the film, but none of them capture how dark and cynical it actually is. This is a film that revels in unpleasantness and completely rejects the heartwarming moments that are the bread and butter of “Oscar-bait.” While I admire the film for resisting the temptation for sappy melodrama, it unfortunately goes too far in the opposite direction, becoming a cavalcade of misery with no deeper meaning. The premise is simple enough: When the patriarch of an Oklahoma family (Sam Shepard) goes missing, his wife Violet (Streep) calls her family members back to their childhood home for the first time in years. Our central characters are Violet and her three daughters, played by Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis and Julianne Nicholson, along with a bevy of supporting characters who each have their own unique relationships with the family. In fact, the family tree is maybe a little too complicated. It took me a good chunk of
the movie to work out exactly who was related to whom and in what way. Still, that’s a minor nitpick, especially in the face of this enormous, and incredibly talented cast. You could easily shift three actors from this film into an entirely different movie, and it would be worth seeing on those names alone. It’s a good thing the cast is so strong, as the two-hour running time doesn’t devote much time for character shading to anyone outside the central quartet. Everyone in the film does his or her best to suggest fully formed characters in his or her limited screen time, but the film’s overly expository dialogue does them little favors. Martindale and Ewan McGregor are particularly ill-served. They seem to exist only to suggest backstory and move the plot along. The main cast certainly has significantly more to do, but the film has an unfortunate tendency to make its performances as big as possible rather than offer emotional depth for these characters. Streep is the only one who really nails this tone, playing Violet as a woman with tremendous capacity for cruelty, but all the while suggesting a broken inner life behind her tirades. Nicholson gives the film’s most impressive performance, displaying a quiet strength in the face of all the chaos around her, but that may just be because she is one of the few characters who isn’t asked to go over-thetop. Really, those quiet moments are when the film is at its best, when it allows its tremendously talented cast to suggest the rich history this family has rather than having them shout that history at each other. I’ve danced around describing the plot, both because much of it revolves around characters’ secrets that I don’t want to spoil and also because the plotting is the most frustrating aspect of the film. The basic story structure is quite simple and is actually the place where the film’s theatrical roots are most obvious. The first half of the movie slowly adds more and more characters, constantly hinting at the dark secrets each one hides in his or her past. This build up leads toward its centerpiece scene,
where every character is crammed in at one dinner table. From there, it reverses the process, pulling those characters apart and revealing all of their secrets. There’s something powerful about the simplicity of that structure, and the dinner scene is the place where the film best portrays its characters. Herein lies part of the movie’s universal resonance: The family members are constant snipes at each other are both entertaining and horrifying, but all of the story’s dramatic weight relies on those personal secrets. Unfortunately, the eventual reveal of those secrets falls short. The issue here, and I’ll avoid going into specifics, is that the film is only interested in the moment of revelation. Each character has that one fact about his or her life that they don’t want anyone to know, and it inevitably is going to be revealed in the worst possible fashion. The film works very hard to make those revelations as unpleasant and difficult to watch as possible, but it never devotes any time to exploring any of the psychology related to those secrets. Questions of why those events happened in the first place or why they were kept secret are never approached. More problematically, the film also has no interest in exploring how these revelations will impact its characters in the future. Once someone’s dirty laundry has been aired, they are shuffled off-screen with a line of perfunctory dialogue about what they will do next. Thus the movie becomes a series of dramatic confrontations with no real weight to them, which quickly grow tedious. Maybe on the stage this all worked better. Tracy Letts, adapting from her own play, had to make some cuts to fit everything into the script, and that condensation doesn’t allow the story much room to breathe. As it stands, “August: Osage County” is something of a mess. There are some effective individual moments, and they come entirely from the strength of the performances, but there is little else about the film worth seeing.
‘Blue’ examines facets of lesbian sexuality
Jake Solomon Guest Reporter
Blue is the Warmest Color Abdellatif Kechiche Quat’sous Films
“Blue is the Warmest Color” honestly depicts love and all its desperations. That said, the film is surrounded by controversy due to an abundance of misrepresented and dramatized lesbian intercourse. The film, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, is a coming-of-age story that explores the complexities of sexuality, romance and life as a young adult. The movie follows Adéle (Adéle Exarchopoulos) who works to discover her own identity as she transitions from high school into adulthood. This movie not only captivates the viewer with an enthralling storyline but also brings attention to issues facing homosexual youths without alienating the rest of its audience who may not identify as gay. In the beginning of the movie, Adéle is trying to understand her sexual preferences, but society’s expectations of her to desire only males, as well as her some of her friends’ disapproval of homosexuality inhibit her constantly. She is plagued by feelings of abnormality when she fails to be attracted to someone whom her friends, whom Adéle calls “the sex police”, deem to be one of the most desirable men at their school. Adéle instead falls for an artsy, blue-haired girl named Emma (Léa Seydoux) whom Adéle bumps into in the streets. Her curiosity aroused, Adéle stays on the lookout for Emma and eventually finds her— by chance? by fate?— in a local bar. Emma, a woman already confident in her sexuality, helps Adéle discover new facets of her own sexual identity and gain indispensable life lessons
by being consumed by a passionate love affair. Scenes of sunny afternoons in the park together, talking on the phone for endless amounts of time, drawing each other, and— gasps— meeting the parents, are scattered throughout the film, documenting the stages of a relationship becoming increasingly serious. Suddenly, “Blue” makes a dramatic leap from a story of an uncertain high-school girl to a mature woman, moving in with her girlfriend and navigating adulthood. The viewer gets the sense of many years having passed when confronted with a domestic scene of Adéle cooking spaghetti for a dinner party for Emma and her friends. Though Adéle seems to adapt fairly easily to this new lifestyle, we also see the first evidence of possible tensions to come. Toward the end, these relationship strains culminate when both characters prove unfaithful to each other in one way or another. Adéle enters a downward spiral while Emma’s career flourishes. They reconvene at the end of the movie, interacting with each other cordially, yet clearly their relationship has become one beyond repair. In this way, “Blue is the Warmest Color” stays relatable to audiences by refusing to conceal the grittiness and confusion that is found in romance as well as the world in general. I appreciate how the film tries to relate the struggles that homosexual teenagers face concerning romance to its audience. Our society has the unfortunate tendency of labeling movies that focus on homosexual couples as LGBTQ-only, such as the need for Netflix to hide them away under a section titled “Gay & Lesbian.” There has been some controversy surrounding this movie, however, especially from the LGBTQ community. Many people believe that it doesn’t accurately represent lesbian relationships because the director
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is a straight male who has been critiqued as trying to cater to a male gaze in his portrayal of lesbian characters. In particular, the heavily discussed seven-minute sex scene between Adéle and Emma is highly unrealistic and idealized in order to increase the movie’s appeal. In fact, both actresses involved spoke out against the director, expressing feelings of being exploited for having to do these lengthy scenes. The scenes also take away from the story as a whole, but aren’t entirely in poor taste; in fact, they are necessary to establish the intimate and passionate relationship that builds between Adéle and Emma. The problem with these scenes arises from how they portray the actress. Rather than showing two women sharing a private and beautiful moment with each other, it seems as if the director intended to put them on display for the audience’s pleasure. Although these portions of the film could’ve been handled in a more artful way, they don’t comprise enough of the movie to detract a significant amount from the storyline. This is not a typical romance that glosses over the less desirable parts of love, nor is it a drama that focuses on a protagonist who flawlessly tackles the problems at hand. On the contrary, Adéle navigates a slew of uncomfortable situations and new experiences. The viewer is able to feel fulfillment from the story because it is a raw representation of growing up and falling in love; Adéle’s leap from adolescence into the real world doesn’t go smoothly, but it manages to satisfy audiences for exactly that reason. “Blue is the Warmest Color” is able to mesmerize you with a story that builds you up, breaks you down, and leaves you amazed that a three-hour movie doesn’t seem too drawn-out. Although its depiction of homosexuality both sexually and in general leaves something to be desired, it is undoubtedly a masterpiece that deserves to be watched.
February 6, 2014
Tivey ’12 returns to origin of musical debut Essie Asan
Emily Lavieri-Scull/The Miscellany News
risten Tivey ’12 once made her music debut playing at an open-mic night during her freshman year in Cushing. Now, Tivey is an up-and-coming artist who is finding her way in Brooklyn’s music scene. Tivey performed in the Aula last Thursday with openers Sam Plotkin ‘15, the director of ViCE Student Music, and Anna Been ’14. Both are singer-songwriters as well. While a student at Vassar, Tivey intentionally avoided taking music classes, approaching her music education organically. “I was in the jazz band for four years; I played saxophone. I played guitar, mainly for my singer-songwriter stuff in the after-hour showcases. I had a showcase each semester, and I ran some open mics in Cushing,” she said. “I learned but I wasn’t taught.” She also played in Poughkeepsie venues, including the Cubby Hole, a café on Raymond Avenue that used to showcase local artists before it closed. The New York music scene, she said, is entirely unlike that of Poughkeepsie. Said Tivey, “It’s very different from here because it’s NYC and there are tons of people. But that also means there are tons of opportunities.” Tivey moved to Brooklyn after she graduated and started going to open-mic nights in the city. After seeing that this was sort of a dead end, she auditioned for some gigs and started playing at the Bitter End, New York City’s oldest rock and roll club. Her success there helped her make connections and be more active in her pursuit of her career ambitions. She elaborated, “I had to learn about making an electronic Presskit, which is sort of like a music résumé and I had to send it out to people. You just email them and hope that they listen to your songs and want you to play.” Tivey left a lasting legacy at Vassar, with many current student musicians looking up to her. Been commented on Tivey’s music in a written statement, saying, “She has such an interesting way of playing, because she definitely doesn’t go about the conventional way of anything. The way she strums and uses the capo are so unique and definitely make the genre of music she plays so interesting to listen to. Also, her lyrics are fantastic.”
Kristen Tivey ’12 returned to Vassar, the site of her beginnings as a musician, on Jan. 30 for a performance in the Aula. She currently lives in New York City and is an emerging artist in the Brooklyn music scene. Tivey looked forward to returning to Vassar because of the immediate connection she would have with the audience by virtue of sharing a collective experience. “As soon as I left Vassar I realized what this community means. Even if they’re young and they haven’t met me yet I feel like I already know them just because we all went to Vassar, we all go to Vassar. You know you have so many things in common with them. And so it’s always great to come back. This is so familiar; I’m so happy to be back.” Tivey’s re†urn to Vassar had a sentimental appeal for Plotkin as well. Before the show he said, “What’s special about this performance for me is that Kristen was a friend of mine and Anna Been’s before she graduated.” Apparent due to the amount of cheers for the singer-songwriter, many of Tivey’s friends were in the audience to support her. Tivey walked onto the stage— where two chairs were placed before the audience—with an acoustic guitar in one hand and a ukulele in the other. After placing the ukulele on the chair, she
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talked about how she felt as a Vassar student when alumni were invited to Vassar to give performances. “I thought it must be very nice, doing music in life,” she jokingly added, “but now I know it’s not very nice,” she said, alluding to struggles as a musician as well as creating a transition to her first song. The subject matter of Tivey’s songs was not unfamiliar to her audience of college students: She started her set with a song about drowning one’s sorrows in alcohol. After playing a few more songs, she recounted the story of how she played her song “Purgatory” at a random open-mic night on a dark street in Paris. Afterwards, she won “Le Championnat de la Bière,” or “the champion of beer,” which caused her to have an insufferable hangover next day. She added that she played the song over and over again to distract herself from feeling sick. As one of her final songs, Tivey preformed “Time/Wine/Whiskey,” a tune about being a senior and feeling weird about it. “I’m out of Poughkeepsie. I’m gone; will you miss me? I don’t know. I hope so.”
Excuse me, What song best represents the The Misc?
“The theme song to ‘The Oﬃce.’” —Samantha Kohl, Assistant Arts Editor
“‘Under Pressure’ by Queen.” —Lily Doyle, Humor & Satire Editor
“‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe.” —Eloy Bleifuss Prados, Features Editor
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“‘Highway to Hell’ by AC/ DC” —Joshua Sherman, Opinions Editor
Catharsis Model: Grace Sparapani ’16 Location: Vassar College The concept of “Catharsis” was informed by my finishing of a quantum physics final exam. This is my expression of academic frustrations inadequacies from trying to find relevance and meaning through mathematical subject matter. Photography is my medium for creating my own worlds as a form of escapism. I create my own aesthetic fantasy worlds to retreat into and invite others to do the same. My work with digital photography ranges from being very personal to incredibly mundane. A photo series or a single image can be a way for me to release physical or emotional stress from past or present. My relationship to photography and strobe lighting is also very much informed by my background as a physics and engineering student. Whether it be location scouting, light testing or working with a model, I’ve found that my creating images can be just as methodical and exact as solving differential equations or metalworking.
“‘She-Wolf ’ by Shakira.” —Noble Ingram, News Editor
“The Newsroom transition sound from Powerpoint 2003.” —Spencer Davis, Photo Editorw
—Timothy Serkes ’14
Spencer Davis, Photo Editor Samantha Kohl, Assistant Arts Editor MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
February 6, 2014
Koenig brings DI experience to swimming and diving Tina Caso
courtesy of Vassar College Athletics
n September, the men and women’s swimming and diving teams gained a valuable new staff member, Assistant Coach Danny Koenig. Enticed by the growing program, Koenig came to Vassar after coaching at the Division I level. A swimmer since age seven, Koenig moved on to year-round training when he was 11. He also played other sports, but stuck with swimming. “I enjoyed playing baseball and basketball as a kid, but by the time I got to high school I was entirely focused on swimming. I saw some great things while swimming in high school,” he explained in an emailed statement. These highlights included three Wisconsin High School State Titles and two U.S.A. Swimming Junior National relay records. He continued, “Early in my senior year, I signed a National Letter of Intent to swim for the Badgers at the University of Wisconsin. Swimming at Wisconsin was the greatest experience of my swimming career. I had the opportunity to train with Olympians, NCAA champions and future National team members, as well as witness several American and World Records at meets.” His time spent swimming for the University of Wisconsin is what made him initially consider a coaching career. “Being a part of that made me want to coach at the collegiate level,” he wrote. “In my last semester of undergrad, I served as the student coach of the UW swim team, and after that I served as a graduate assistant for Carthage College. Last year, I was the assistant coach at the University of North Dakota.” Koenig applied to the assistant coach position at Vassar, even though he initially did not know much about the school. “Coming from the Midwest, I knew relatively little about Vassar College, only that it had an unparalleled academic reputation. Through some research I came to find out that Vassar offers a lot more than outstanding academics, and that was enticing for me,” he wrote. “I interviewed for the assistant position at Vassar in the middle of September. A week later I was offered the job, and by the end of the month I had moved to Poughkeepsie.”
Koenig also was interested in the swimming and diving program’s potential. “I was drawn here initially by the academic prestige of the college, the familial vibe of the athletic department and the personality of the Head Coach. I also saw an opportunity to impart my knowledge on a program with a lot of potential,” he wrote. “I was looking forward to the challenge, and I felt that it was a phenomenal opportunity to apply what I had learned as both an athlete and as a coach.” According to Koenig, his duties at Vassar now include everything from recruiting and writing practices to buying gun cleaner for timing equipment. “Every day on the job brings something completely different, and that is one of the main reasons I chose this profession,” he wrote. “There’s never a dull moment, and I love that about collegiate coaching. Our primary goal is to improve through a very specific focus, usually a combination of performance strategy, stroke technique and race details.” Koenig has been satisfied with being part of the team thus far, and he has already made an impact. “He has integrated very fluidly into the team environment due to his congenial and approachable nature,” wrote junior Matt Weiss in an emailed statement. “I would say Coach Koenig is naturally a very reserved and shy person. However, his wealth of Division I swimming knowledge and experience adds an important dimension to our growing program. Overall, he is a more than welcome addition to our team.” According to freshman Julia Cunningham, “When [Koenig] started coaching, we were all a little bit nervous. He came from a huge DI team, and he seemed to carry that mentality with him to our little DIII team. He was very intense, and had huge goals in mind both for individuals and for the team,” she wrote. “As the season has progressed, however, [Koenig] has definitely become an important part of the team.” She continued, “He brings a lot of enthusiasm to the deck both during practices and during meets. [Koenig] has helped us a lot with the technical aspects of swimming: stroke technique, starts, turns. He integrates a lot of that into practices, and is willing to help us on his own time as well.” Also according to Cunning-
New Assistant Coach of men and women’s swimming and diving, Danny Koenig, came to Vassar this September. Koenig swam at the University of Wisconsin, and brings a DI knowledge to the team. ham, “During meets, [he] has been really helpful with keeping our energy up between races as well as providing race strategies.” Koenig reciprocates the team’s appreciation. “My favorite part of every day is our time at practice. I sincerely enjoy interacting with the team. As a group, they are enthusiastic, disciplined, and supportive of one another. I think that makes them wildly unique. I try to spend time with the team outside of practice, which gives me a chance to understand each of them as a person and not simply as an athlete,” he explained. “Each person on the team has something to offer, and they are all very caring and understanding of one another. I am very proud of our little tribe, and couldn’t be happier to be
a part of it.” Five months into the season, Koenig feels completely welcome in the program, and has high hopes for the rest of his career. “I feel very honored to be a part of Vassar Athletics. The entire staff immediately made me feel like part of the family. I am lucky to be working next to some of the most talented and hard working coaches in the country. It is gratifying to be part of an athletic department that is constantly looking for ways to improve and succeed,” he expressed. “I believe that Vassar Athletics is seeing some of its finest years. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to contribute to our success as a unit, and am excited for what the future holds.”
Young team bonds in face of tough league competition VOLLEYBALL continued from page 1
day out. We ultimately have nothing to lose! We expect ourselves to qualify for the conference tournament and we expect ourselves to achieve high marks in the classroom. Last semester, we had a team GPA of 3.5,” he explained in an emailed statement. “Looking at what we lost, it will be difficult to fill all the spots offensively. I believe Joe Pyne ’14 and Reno Kriz ’16 will step up immensely, as both have taken the responsibility to organize group events and they compliment each other extremely well on the court.” In an emailed statement, senior co-captain Pyne wrote, “We lost five out of our seven starting players, which means that we needed to find two new middle hitters, a new outside
hitter, a new starting setter and a new libero.” One of those positions, the libero, will be filled by freshmen Trey Cimorelli. Cimorelli has high expectations for the young team. “We are young and inexperienced. However, I think the young guys are stepping up to fill those roles,” he noted. “Colin White-Dzuro [’15] is doing an excellent job setting, and Colin Fearn-Johnson [’15] is stepping up outside. And Christian Lizana [’17] and Erik Halberg [’16] as middles are playing incredible. You could not ask more of Christian thus far, as a freshman libero-turned middle competing with multiple All-American’s and holding his own.” Pyne also added, “We had a lot of players who are returners and who have a huge amount
courtesy of Vassar College Athletics
Junior setter Colin White-Dzuro in action vs. SUNY New Paltz. The men’s volleyball fell to No. 4 ranked New Paltz 2-3. However, in its next match vs. Elms, the team won with a final score of 3-0.
of experience who were never able to see the court with such a large graduating senior class.” He continued, “This season, our team is out to prove that, despite being a little undersized, we have a collective pool of incredibly talented players who compete and work harder than we ever have before. Teams will always underestimate us — and our job is to make them look foolish.” Cimorelli has been impressed with his team thus far after not knowing what to expect as a freshman. “I am extremely excited for this season. Coming in, I was not sure how we would match up with everyone, especially because for me personally I had no previous experience at the DIII level and had no clue as to what the level of play would be. I do not think we could have played better through our first couple of matches,” he explained. “We were extreme underdogs and hung with some of the DIII heavyweights. For that, I am extremely proud of the team, and eager to take on the rest of the schedule. I believe we have a chance to compete with all of the teams in the UVC and even make a run in the playoffs at the UVC Championships.” Historically, the UVC is one of the nation’s top conferences for Division III volleyball. Coach Wolter made it known that this should not be an excuse for not winning. “Seven of the top 15 in the country are in the UVC, and so every conference match has the potential to be a dog fight,” he wrote. “That’s what I like about our conference, if we can compete at the top of our conference then we can compete with any team in the country!” Pyne also added, “We will be battling it out for a playoff spot against a number of talented teams, and our season will depend on if we can consistently play the highest possible level.” The team had to come back about ten days early from winter break. However, Coach Wolter noted that this was not an issue for the team. “I think they were all excited to return
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
and get started with our season. By this time, the guys had not played since the weekend before Thanksgiving, so they were anxious to get back,” he wrote. “This was also a time for the team to bond as I had them over to my house for many team meals and we went to the movies one night.” That team chemistry has been precious and vital, as Pyne, Cimorelli and Head Coach Wolter emphasized it as a reason for the success of the rest of this season. Cimorelli expanded upon the importance of team bonding: “This aspect of our team emerged in preseason and I think it has really brought us closer and strengthened the teammate relationships throughout the entire team.” Pyne added that preseason was the time for the team to lay a foundation for that year’s success through hard work in practices. “Our preseason was tough considering we do not have a large roster, so we had to figure out how to balance our exhaustion with getting enough passing/hitting/serving reps on the court,” he wrote. “We watched video, lifted, and spent time playing games to develop skills and game-plans to use later in the season that had to be tailored to our unique roster.” Pyne continued, “Volleyball is a sport that relies on team dynamics and manipulating the flow of the game, and this year we have been able to succeed both in having a strong team dynamic where we are all friends, and the ability to fight for every point and force opposing teams to earn every single point if they are going to beat us.” Coach Wolter, expecting the team to be competitive to start, has been happy coming into the season and looks forward to working with the potential of this year’s roster. “I am super excited to work with this group and I am excited to see what we will accomplish this season,” he wrote. “I think we will surprise some teams if we have not already done so.”
February 6, 2014
Gasol likely to leave Lakers after May Eli J. Vargas I Columnist
hen Pau Gasol was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2007-2008 season, the Los Angeles Lakers were immediately catapulted into a process of becoming title contenders. In his next two full seasons, the Lakers won back-to-back NBA Championships with him as one of their main pieces alongside Kobe Bryant. As a member of the Lakers, Pau Gasol has always kept his head down and done whatever happened to be best for the team, no matter the things that happened around him. Trade rumors have encircled him incessantly the past three seasons, and he was even traded once for Chris Paul before the deal was vetoed by retired NBA Commissioner David Stern. This season is no different in terms of the presence of trade rumors for this talented veteran power forward. He has always put the team first, and he has been amazing recently, averaging almost 21 PPG and 12 RPG, but now I think it is time to say goodbye to our friendly seven-foot Spanish friend. Gasol will be a free-agent this summer, and the Lakers have not indicated that they will be willing to include him in their long term plans, from all of the trade proposals that they have included him in. The Phoenix Suns have shown interest in Gasol, and if a deal is agreed upon it can only be a boon for each participating party. If Gasol is traded to a team like the Phoenix Suns, it will only provide him with good opportunities. The Lakers are in the process of rebuilding and are current bottom dwellers in the western conference, with no indications that they will be reaching the post-
season any time soon. On the other hand, a potential trade partner like the Phoenix Suns who are in playoff contention will provide meaning for a player like Gasol, who has largely been playing for pride, a contract when he hits free-agency, and for a franchise that is looking to trade him at any moment. A resurgent Gasol will be given the opportunity to play for something worthwhile with a playoff team and also show that he can still be a factor in the playoffs when he hits free agency. Trading a player of Gasol’s caliber is always tough, especially when he has given so much to the franchise and asked for so little in return. Ultimately, this will be beneficial for the Lakers in the short and long term. The Lakers have been flirting with being one of the second or third worst teams in the Western Conference, and having Gasol playing as good as he has only been making the games closer in competition and thus more disappointing when the Lakers ultimately lose. This year’s draft is said to be the deepest in talent in recent memory, so if the Lakers were to trade Gasol, they could possibly end up with a better chance at landing a potential franchise player and future All-Star. Despite being one of the worst teams in the league this season, the Lakers surprisingly have the league’s fourth highest payroll and are currently over the luxury tax threshold. Gasol’s salary contributes largely to that. He is being paid almost $20 million dollars a year and if some of his salary was to be cleared from the payroll, the Lakers could possible save millions from the luxury tax penalty. There is no use in paying millions in salary and luxury tax penalties when you are
currently in the rebuilding process and have no chance whatsoever of making the playoffs, so it would be beneficial for the Lakers to part from one of their only bright spots of this season. A team like the Phoenix Suns trading for Gasol makes complete sense. Gasol has shown to be resurgent in the month of January, and has not lost his drive to compete despite being on a losing team. Gasol has been a member of two Championship winning teams, and his veteran leadership and knowledge in the playoffs will surely help the young Phoenix Suns. If Gasol performs well, he can always resign with the Suns or whichever team gets him via trade, and if he doesn’t perform well, his salary comes off the books at the end of the season, and both parties can go their separate ways as a result. One of the main incentives that the Lakers have for trading Gasol is to be rid of his salary, and they will be asking for little in return; maybe a future draft pick. The Suns happen to have four first round picks in the next upcoming lottery, and trading one of those picks will not be the end of the world for the Suns. On the other hand, another draft pick will be greatly beneficial to the Lakers, who commonly trade most of their future draft picks when acquiring top tier players from other teams. Every season has its end, and Pau Gasol’s season ending with the Lakers sooner than expected will positively affect Gasol, the Lakers and whoever becomes the trade partner. Despite the perception that Gasol is soft and unaggressive, Lakers fans should remember Gasol’s tenure as a member of the Lakers fondly, no matter what happens.
Celtics game stirs emotional response Luka Ladan Columnist
y now, you will have heard about the basketball game that took place on Sunday, January 26th—if you’re any sort of a basketball fan, that is. In an otherwise unspectacular matchup between a disinterested bunch and a motley crew of underachievers, the Boston Celtics went head to head with Brooklyn Nets on a nippy Sunday evening. But, it wasn’t really about the current rosters or the division records or anything in the contemporary. The chilly affair at the tail end of January was all about the glorious achievements in the past, about the better days that won’t soon be forgotten by the faithful in green and white. It was about the return of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to TD Garden for the first time since the midsummer trade that sent the two packing. Two legends, making their heralded return to the arena filled with championship banners, retired numbers and all other indications of glory way back when. Two legends, returning to the city in which they cemented their own marvelous legacies with one marvelous string of successes. Two legends, showing their faces to the crowd that cheered, cursed and grew tearyeyed right alongside them — a faithful band of supporters that gave it their all, for as long as #34 and #5 could do the same on the parquet. By now, you most likely have read the moving column by Adrian Wojnarowski or the stirring reflection piece by Zach Lowe, two of the best in the business. Those wellversed in the flowing sentences of basketball jargon offered their thoughts to the rest of us because it needed to be done in the week of January 26th; the basketball writers came out in full force for good reason, giving perspective on a spectacle that wasn’t about statistics or highlights or posturing for the postseason. With Pierce and Garnett, Paul and Kevin, it was, and always will be, about raw emotion, the sort of heartrending display of passion that sticks with you even after the final buzzer sounds. Only those who closely followed the Celtics that made a wounded franchise whole once more can truly understand the meaning of that night. Lumps in my throat, I
almost shed tear after tear before composing beside my fellow viewers. I got up for each and every one of their games, regular season or whatever — quarter after quarter, game after game, year after year. I watched it all, when those two gladiators competed against the game’s best with the steely resolve that only they could invoke so consistently. They weren’t always healthy and they weren’t always superior against the likes of Miami and New York and Los Angeles, but #34 and #5 did reward you for watching. Night in and night out. It wasn’t only the midrange jumpers and post moves either, but the little things that came together in the end. The pre-game video montages that hyped you up and the sighs of exasperation that made you doubt, and then the on-court embraces that picked you up once more. I ate it all up because that team — with that cagey core of legendary personalities — fostered a cult-like mentality, against all comers and against all cities and the roaring river of doubt that flowed so strong.
“They weren’t always healthy and they weren’t always superior...but #34 and #5 did reward you for watching.” I often ask myself: why do I still root against LeBron James? Why do I still root against Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol? Why do I still long for their timely demise, season after disappointing season? Then it hits me: Pierce and Garnett, Paul and Kevin, had instilled that sense of provincial loyalty–which Grantland’s Bill Simmons always goes on about–long ago in some faraway time. Maybe it happened during some regular season contest against the Houston Rockets. Perhaps I adopted the us-against-them mantra during that chippy third quarter in the Eastern Conference Finals. Whenever it happened, I grew so close to #34 and #5 that it seemed
like I shared the Garden parquet with them as they battled the competition and fought their way from the brink. Those days were the best, simple as that. Not only did “Boston Celtics” mean something more than a rebuilding project, but two steely competitors led the charge. I followed them into the mysterious unknown. The Garden faithful followed them, when they scored and when they rallied and when they scuffled with the opposition. That’s precisely why the return to TD meant so much. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett didn’t make their return to just any other city on the Atlantic, rife with supportive fans and some cheery old memories. Those two treated every single game like a fight to the death, and we believed them. We were fighting with them and it took a lot out of us — when they won and when they lost, those dressed in green and white were left worn and deflated, in need of a sudden reboot. So, it wasn’t just any visit. We were welcoming our very own gladiators back into the stadium of old, and memory after memory strung together to form a spectacle that still sticks in the mind of so many. That’s the story behind the sea of respectful applause, when 18,624 loyal subjects rose to their feet and acknowledged the two graybeards bowing humbly before them. The claps and the chants, they signified both a return to a time much better and a recognition of the blood, sweat and tears that made it all matter so much. The same blood, sweat and tears that won this historic franchise one more title, in the words of one Paul Pierce.“It takes a lot of blood, a lot of sweat, and a lot of tears to get the job done,” he would say. Fast forward to the night of January 26th, when an at capacity crowd showed its uniquely Bostonian appreciation of that ultimate dedication. For all of the work, the Boston faithful clapped and cheered and congratulated the legends who had come full circle, donning the black and white of Brooklyn garb. I was right there with them, taking videos on my phone and watching in silent admiration. I was right there with the lot, welcoming the two gladiators who had come back home after some time away. May they never be forgotten.
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
Super Bowl part of U.S. culture Clyff Young
he calendar is peppered with days celebrating the birth, progress and success of the United States of America. Each holiday is uniquely defined by tradition and, more often than not, gluttony replete complete with a distinct absence of temperance. There is the Fourth of July with fireworks and barbecue. There is Thanksgiving with a parade, turkey and football. To round out the proverbial big three, there is Super Bowl Sunday, which wraps everything; the fanfare, the explosions, the food and revelry in America into a nationally unparalleled celebration of sport and country. According to statista.com, over 105 million people in the United States of America have watched the Super Bowl each of the past four years. The only television events to even come close to that kind of viewership within the US are the Olympics (adweek.com estimated 70%, or around 219.4 million Americans, watched some part of the London games), and the 1983 finale of M*A*S*H, which drew in about 105.9 million viewers, as per Wikipedia. Using the Nielsen Rating data provided by Wikipedia, the World Series hasn’t averaged over 20 million viewers for the duration of the series since 2004 when the Boston Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals. So much for the so-called national pastime . Similarly, the NBA Finals don’t begin to approach Super Bowl ratings, either. Viewership for last year’s epic game 7 between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs peaked at 34.2 million, or just about one third of what the Super Bowl has averaged over the past four years, says The New York Times. How does one define a national holiday? If it can be summed up by a significant portion of one country coming together to participate in a singular activity, then the Super Bowl absolutely fits the bill. After an NFL season filled with uncertainty, scandal and the unexpected, expect one thing from the final Sunday of professional football: this Super Bowl will be the most watched ever. Numbers don’t lie. Football is the most popular sport in America and there is not even a close second. Many say that the United States lacks a national identity, a national culture. This may be true, and it is not hard to see why. Values, morals and norms in America vary dramatically region to region. Even though American English is becoming more homogeneous, the regional accents and dialects are hardly dead. In a nation of over 300 million people whose ancestors were mostly immigrants, a nation with great ethnic, racial, religious, economic and political diversity, consistency is hard to come by. Like it or not, sport, and most especially football, is the United States’ most identifiable cultural thread. No time will this be more evident than today, as of this writing, when the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos play for the Lombardi Trophy at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. There is the old sports fan’s cliché, “I just want to see a good game.” But not since Peyton Manning was last playing in the Super Bowl against the New Orleans Saints in 2010 has there been this kind of emotional draw to the Super Bowl. It is the old guard, Peyton Manning, and the veteran Broncos, who say the right things at the right times against the brash, young Seahawks whose mentality can be defined by their loquacious cornerback Richard Sherman and charismatic coach Pete Carroll. It is a conflict of styles. It is the best offense in NFL History in the Broncos pitted against what might be one of the best defenses ever assembled in the Seahawks. Peyton Manning rewrote the record book this year, throwing for 55 touchdowns and well over 5,000 yards en route to winning his fifth MVP award. And what if Peyton loses another big cold-weather game? Is his legacy tarnished? What if Pete Carroll wins and becomes the third man ever to win a college national titles and a Super Bowl as a coach? A lot is at stake. Everyone watching will be rooting for one team or the other, even though the vast majority have no geographic affiliation with the two teams whatsoever. Some might call that being a band-wagoner, when the reality is that is just the profound effect football has on our country.
February 6, 2014
Vassar quidditch team opts out of New York tournament Chris Brown SportS eDitor
courtesy of Vassar College Broooers
his past weekend, the Vassar Quidditch Team was scheduled to go to Buffalo, New York to partake in a tournament in which multiple schools would participate. Due to injury and weather, the team was forced to pull out of the tournament. Although the Vassar Quidditch squad did not attend the tournament, they still have a lot planned for the rest of the year. One of the most visibly recognizable sports on Vassar’s campus, Quidditch is a combination of athletic ability and strategic skill that brings the magic of wizard athletics into the real world. While some people question the authenticity of Quidditch as a sport, co-captain sophomore Michael Saugstad believes that the team and the activity require just as much athletic ability as any other sport on campus. “Quidditch is just like any other sport,” Saugstad wrote in an emailed statement. “You can choose to be as intense as you want to be,” he continued. “The sport is full contact, so some teams really emphasize aggressiveness and tackling, while others use bludgers as a defense instead. On our team we have the whole spectrum so no matter how aggressive or passive you are, there are always a few people that you can relate to in that sense and no one’s voice is silenced. That’s what we aim to accomplish.” Saugstad, who has been on the Quidditch team since the beginning of his freshman year at Vassar College, loves many aspects of the group. “For most people on the team, their favorite part is our friendship. For many, it’s the Harry Potter and magical, whimsical aspect. I love both of those aspects,” Saugstad explained. “I personally am here for the sport. I love the running, I love the strategy, and I love the physicality. It’s really exciting to be part of a sport that has just begun because every team is trying something new and one has the opportunity to
The Vassar College Quidditch team is one of the few non-varsity sports on campus that regularly attends competitions and tournaments. The team practices only three times a week on Joss Beach. make a contribution to that. You can’t say ‘well, I’m sure they’ve thought of everything’ because they haven’t. There is just so much room to improve.” Saugstad, along with the other current captains of the Quidditch team, were recently voted in as captains for this school year. Junior Gabby Scher, who recently returned from her abroad semester in Paris, was one of the previous year’s captains. Scher remains a loyal member of the team and does her best to attend every practice as well as other scheduled Quidditch get-togethers. “Well, we practice three days a week and that usually involves playing actual Quidditch matches and doing drills to work on improving skills specific to our positions,” Scher explained in an emailed statement. “We also hang
out a lot outside of Quidditch. Every day after practice we have ‘quinner’ where we all go to eat at the deece. We also have bedtime readings on Thursdays where we read Harry Potter aloud and act out the parts. As for dynamic I’d say our team is like a family.” Scher admits that sometimes the group does not take itself too seriously, but claims that it is one of the best parts of the team. “My favorite part about Quidditch is probably our team,” Scher described in an emailed statement. “I can’t picture playing for anyone else and don’t really intend to. Our team is the perfect mixture of competitive and silly that this sport should have. We play a good game of Quidditch, but at the end of the day we have to remember that we are running around on brooms and we can’t take ourselves too seri-
ously.” The Quidditch team holds an annual tournament in the fall where multiple schools from the Northeast come to play the sport. In the spring, the team focuses on attending many tournaments and making their presence known on campus. “Plans for the rest of the semester include a tournament that we are hosting this spring, as well as at least one more tournament off campus,” Saugstad explained. “We have been invited to one in NJ and one in Syracuse this spring! We are also hosting a floor for 7 Deadly. A potential Quidditch mug night, but that is very up in the air. We will be continuing our usual bedtime readings, practices, quinners, and the like!” The team also hosts the annual Yule Ball in the fall, one of the few formal events held on Vassar’s campus during a regular academic school year. According to Saugstad, the team is open to everyone who is willing to play. There is no necessary qualification based on athletic ability. And to anyone who is interested in joining, Saugstad wants them to know that Quidditch is one of the most interesting and fun sports on campus and a good space to be part of a family-like organization. “On the pitch, there’s a lot of fun scrimmaging interspersed with a few drills to work on anything that we see especially needs work on,” Saugstad described when talking about the team dynamic. “Sometimes we even play some non-Quidditch games like spud or tag! Then after every practice we have quinner which is always a ton of fun and is a perfect time for everyone (including those that don’t actually want to play the sport) to discuss everything from J.K. Rowling’s latest reveal about Ron and Hermione to television fandoms to campus climate to the deece food. We also have bedtime readings about every other week (occasionally with snacks) where we work our way through the Harry Potter books in a group reading session.”
Men’s basketball defeats Liberty League opponent RPI Amreen Bhasin reporter
This weekend, the men’s basketball team had a rare weekend off. It was a great reward after their hard-fought won against Liberty League opponent RPI on Tuesday evening. The Brewer men defeated RPI 100-83. It was the first time since November 2011 that the men had scored 100 points in a game. Junior forward Luka Ladan lead the Brewers with a career-high 26 points. Sophomore Erikson Wasyl scored 21 and went 4-of-5 from beyond the 3 point arc. Sophomore Johnny Mrilk, named to Liberty League Honor Roll this week, had 17 points. Junior Alex Snyder had 15 and freshman Otis Osman added 10 from the bench. The Brewers are now 14-3 overall and 6-2 in Liberty League play. Women’s Basketball
The women’s team also had a weekend off after defeating RPI 81-60 in Liberty League play Tuesday evening. The Brewers put four
courtesy of Vassar College Athletics
This weekend, the Brewers traveled to New York City in order to face both Fordham University and New York University. The Brewers first played against host Fordham University, falling 8-1 to the Rams. The only Brewer victory came from junior Noah Kulick, who defeated Ray Chen in four games. This was Kulick’s first collegiate victory. Sophomore Ben Kurchin also picked up a game for the Brewers at the No. 8 spot. The Brewers were unable to gain a victory against NYU and fell 9-0 on the day. The women picked up a 6-2 win against NYU in an exhibition match. Junior Karina Primelles won 3-0 at the No. 1 spot, and No. 2 freshman Carly Scher won in four. Junior newcomers Roxanne Ringer and Margaret Walter also picked up wins against NYU. The team will next host the inaugural Hudson Valley College Team Tournament this Saturday. February 8 at 10 am in Kenyon Hall.
players in double figures. Sophomore Caitlin Drakeley had a team-leading 18 points and 13 rebounds. She was 5-of-10 from the floor and nailed both her shots from the three-point line. She also had four assists and three steals. Senior Cydni Matsuoka had 17 points. Junior Alyssa Pemberton had a career high 17 points. Senior Hannah Senftleber had 11 points and seven boards. Junior guard Michelle Foreman added nine points off the bench for the Brewers. The women will next play Bard Tuesday, February 8th at Bard College. Men’s Fencing
The men’s fencing team traveled to New Haven Saturday morning to compete against Yale University and Drew University. The men’s sabre squad went 6-3 against the Bulldogs but, in the end, the Brewers were unable to pull out the win, going 11-16. Senior Johnny Arden and sophomore Zach Wilson both went 2-1 in sabre. Senior Kenny Lee and sophomore Elam Coalson both pulled out a win as well. In epée, freshmen Ry Farley and Jackson Dammann both went 2-1. The Brewers then defeated Drew University 21-6. In foil, senior Gio Zaccheo and junior Tre Artis each pulled out two wins. Arden led the squad with four wins while Wilson and Dammann each had three.
The men’s basketball team enjoyed a free weekend after beating out opponent RPI 100 to 83. Sophomore Erikson Wasyl scored 21 points, and Johnny Mrlik had 17. Junior Alex Snyder had 15 points. at the UNYSCSA Championships Wednesday, February 19th in Ithaca, NY.
finished second overall. The Brewers will next compete in Ithaca, NY Wednesday February 19th at the UNYSCSA Championships.
Women’s Swimming and Diving Men’s Swimming and Diving
The Vassar men hosted the Vassar Sprint Invitational on Sunday afternoon. The Brewers placed second on the day. The men finished just a single point 425-424 above Skidmore College. SUNY New Paltz came first with 432 points on the day. The Brewers’ 200 Yard Medley Relay team of junior Luc Amodio, junior Matt Weiss, freshman Ian Quinn and sophomore Greg Cristina had a first place finish. Amodio also placed first in the 100 yard Backstroke. Weiss won the 50 yard Breaststroke. Freshman Anthony Walker set a new school record by winning the 100 Yard Butterfly and broke the meet record in his first place 50 Yard Fly finish. Cristina won the 100 Yard Freestyle. The men will next compete
The Brewer women placed second out of six teams at the Skidmore College Sprint Invitational with 384 points. The 100 Yard Breaststroke was an incredibly successful event for the Brewers. Freshman Julia Cunningham, sophomore Anna Kuo, senior McKenzie Quinn, freshman Julia Wieczorek, senior Robin Lam and freshman Kayla Schwab combined for 47 points. Schwab and Kuo both had in-season bests. Sophomore Maya Pruitt won the 3 Meter diving event with 209.55, just 1.36 points away from a personal best. Cunningham won the 400 Yard Individual Medley and the 100 Yard IM. The 200 Yard Freestyle Relay Team of freshman Leah Pan, sophomore Lily Frye, junior Olivia Harries and junior Elizabeth Balter
MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE
The men’s volleyball team almost pulled off an upset of No. 4 New Paltz but fell just short in the UVC opener. Sophomore Reno Kriz had 20 kills and seven digs. Senior Joe Pyne hit .345 on the night, had six digs and two aces. Sophomore middle Erik Halberg had six kills and two blocks. Junior Colin Fearn-Johnson had 10 digs. The Brewers next split a pair of matches last weekend, defeating Elms College in three games and falling to Ramapo College in four this past Saturday. Freshman setter Quinn Rutledge had 22 assists. The Brewers will be back in UVC action next Saturday in Boston, taking on Nazareth College and D’Youville College at MIT.