Page 1

The Miscellany News

Volume CXLVI | Issue 6

November 1, 2012

Since 1866 |

Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY

Sandy devastates northeast

VC to issue bonds for Sci. Center

Leighton Suen

Ambitious project may decrease VC’s credit rating

neWs editoR


Katie de Heras/The Miscellany News

urricane Sandy tore along the eastern coastline earlier this week, leaving some communities completely submerged in water and others with minimal structural and natural damage. Although classes and other campus services were canceled for 24 hours beginning noon Monday and extending through noon Tuesday, and residential houses were put into lockdown, Vassar College was fortunate to not suffer extensive damage. “Clearly we had to shut down,” said Dean of Students D.B. Brown. “The magnitude of this storm was such that we wanted to make sure students were safe, and we didn’t really know what was going to happen here. See STORM on page 4

A fallen tree behind Blodgett is among the damage done to Vassar’s campus by Hurricane Sandy. In the area, the storm left 43,000 homes without power in Dutchess County and caused significant flooding of the Hudson River.

VC’s peers curtailing College, CWA initiate need blind programs sixth month of talks David Rosenkranz editoR in CHieF


or decades, Wesleyan University has operated a need-blind admissions program and pledged to meet the full demonstrated need of its students, proudly standing in the company of Vassar College and a few dozen other elite American colleges and universities. But, in the face of growing financial demands, the Wesleyan Board of Trustees met last May and made a difficult decision: to discontinue need-blind admissions. In its place, Wesleyan plans to adopt a “need-sensitive,” also called a “need-aware,” admissions

policy through which it would consider a prospective student’s ability to pay if that student’s qualifications fall in the bottom 10% of all qualified-to-attend applicants. Wesleyan will continue to meet the full demonstrated need of all accepted students. Although students at Wesleyan have protested the change since its approval, Wesleyan President Michael Roth defends it as being necessary for the college’s financial stability. “As the cost of higher education (both public and private) has continued to climb, and as the prosSee FINANCIAL AID on page 7

Alyssa Aquino Guest RepoRteR


he ongoing contract negotiations between Communications Workers of America (CWA), a local union group representing half of the unionized Vassar College workers—mainly communication workers—and Vassar College have slowly begun to creep into the daily life of Vassar College students. The union, arguing for what they believe is a fair contract, has ramped up their efforts at visibility with the paper cut-outs of red shirts, and red posters with salary statistics scattered throughout

College Center. The number of informal picketings have also been increasing. They gathered last Thursday, Oct. 25 for their weekly Take-A-Break in the Retreat, only to move out the back door and into a side entrance to the second floor, marching past the opened doors of the administrative offices. On Friday, Oct. 26, they gathered in Main Circle and marched to the Alumnae House, where President Catherine Bond Hill was holding a biannual meeting with her personal advisory council, which is comprised of of trustees See CWA on page 6

Jessica Tarantine and Chris Gonzalez FeatuRes editoR amd assistant FeatuRes


oming in at 125 million dollars, the new science facilities project— which includes the construction of the Bridge Building—represents a significant financial undertaking for the College, only about 20 million dollars less than annual operating budget. To finance the project, the College has already raised 40 million dollars dedicated exclusively to the project; funds that came from the World Changing campaign. The College plans to raise the remaining funds through additional fundraising and the issuing of bonds. By issuing bonds, the Colleges sells what are essentially IOUs which then are repaid over a period of many years with interest. “Vassar has the ability to issue longterm bonds as a way of obtaining capital for long-lived investments like new buildings or major renovations to existing buildings,” wrote Vice President for Finance and Administration Betsy Eismeier in an emailed statement. “As with any debt, we borrow the money and promise to repay over time with interest.” Since Vassar is a non-profit, it enjoys advantages in the bond market. “In this situation, we have the ability to borrow at rates that are generally lower than for-profit entities, so that we can invest in educational facilities,” she explained. “With interest rates on bonds at record low levels, we view this as an attractive option for financing needed facilities,” she concluded. See SCIENCE on page 8

Frisbee hosts annual regional tournament Chris Brown RepoRteR


Inside this issue



The Misc’s 2012 guide to voting in local elections


Katie de Heras/The Miscellany News

his past weekend, the Vassar College Ultimate Frisbee team held a two-day Ultimate tournament, the Huck for Red October, open to many universities in the region. This year’s tournament was the fifth annual Huck for Red October, executed by and held at Vassar. Seven open teams and seven women’s teams came to compete in this unique and intense sporting event. Vassar Ultimate is a co-ed club team on the Vassar campus dedicated to playing Ultimate Frisbee. There are three teams: a men’s A-Team called The Swinging Monks, a B-Team called B-Love, as well as a women’s team called The Boxing Nuns. All teams do not have an official coach, making the Ultimate teams at Vassar

completely student-run. Raffi Kiureghian ’13, co-captain of The Swinging Monks, wrote in an emailed statement about the vibe around Ultimate that comes from this student-run dynamic. “I found a space in which I could play a really interesting and difficult sport, while also being part of an accepting community that encourages you to be yourself,” he wrote. With this student-run system, the responsibility to come to practices falls on the shoulders of the student. As co-captain, Kiureghian takes on a type of coaching role. “We act as player-coaches, motivating during games and making changes to our strategy,” wrote Kiureghian. But while practicing is important, Kiureghian does not make it his sole responsibility to oversee See FRISBEE on page 19

Molly Richards ’13 passes the Frisbee to a teammate during the costumed match against the alum team during the fifth annual Huck for Red October, a major tournament in the area. Columbia, Connecticut College, and Ramapo were among attendees.


Staff Editorial: Trustees must engage VC student body


VC alum fronts up-and-coming pop band

The Miscellany News

Page 2




Soccer (M) vs. Union College 2:30pm | Prentiss | VC Athletics

Liberty League semi-final.

U. of Edinburgh Info Session 5:00pm | Faculty Parlor | CDO

Tom McGlew will discuss opportunities for graduate study in Britain. Bishop Reading

5:30pm | Sanders Audit. | English

A reading by poet Nikky Finney.

“Classical Rhetoric and the Presidential Campaign” 5:30pm | RH200 | Greek and Roman Studies

Curtis Dozier presents.

Christies Edu. Info Session




“Planning Algorithms: When Optimal Is Just Not Good Enough”

10:30am | Old Laundry 105 | Computer Science

Professor Ruml from U. of New Hampshire presents. “Why We Swam in Frank’s Ocean: Sex, Sexuality, Race and Gender in Hip Hop and R&B 2008-2016” 3:00pm | Taylor Audit. | Africana Studies

Elizabeth Berry, Jay Smooth, Mr. Franklin, and Anna Holmes present. Meet the Directors of “The Peculiar Kind” Web Series 5:00pm | Taylor Audit. | BSU

6:30pm | RH300 | Urban Studies

Dave Haslam presents.

Women’s Center Forum

7:00pm | AULA | LGBTQ Programs

“Priceless” Screening

8:00pm | RH200 | Democracy Matters


“And It Don’t Stop I: Education, Incarceration, Wealth Disparities and Health Care under Obama and/or Romney 2008-2016”

Ra Ra Riot - Fall Concert 7:00pm | Chapel | ViCE

Sol, St. Lucia and Ra Ra Riot perform. Faculty and Guest Recital 8:00pm | Skinner | Music

The Polonsky/Weiss duo perform. CSA Mug Night

10:00pm | Mug | CSA


Butterbeer Classic

10:00am | Ballantine | VC Quidditch

(M) Rugby v. Marist

11:00am | Farm | VC Athletics

Title IX Program Panel

Soccer (M): Liberty League Championship 1:00pm | Prentiss | VC Athletics

A broad based discussion celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX.

“And It Don’t Stop II”

(W) Rugby Game

Various speakers present.

Faculty and Guest Recital

“Sick and Tired: Fear of a Black President 2008-2016”

Ieva Jokubaviciute, Tara Helen O’Connor and Daniel Phillips join Danielle Farina and Sophie Shao in an instrumental performance.

Various speakers present.

1:30pm | Taylor Audit. | Africana Studies and others

3:30pm | Taylor Audit. | Africana Studies and others

24-Hour Theater

5:00pm | Shiva | Unbound

“Like This: Life/Death of American Writing in the Age of the Internet 2008-2016” 5:30pm | Taylor Audit. | Africana Studies and others.

Various speakers present. VC Women’s Chorus 8:00pm | Skinner | Music

“The Fall” Screening

8:00pm | TH203 | PHOCUS

A performance by the Vassar College Women’s Chorus

24-Hour Theater

Sketch Comedy Show

8:00pm | Shiva | Unbound

9:00pm | Sanders Audit | The Limit

Sketch Comedy Show

Jr./Fr. Mug Night

9:00pm | Sanders Audit. | The Limit



11:00am | Taylor Audit. | Africana Studies and others

Various speakers present.

6:00pm | Jade Parlor | CDO

“Post-punk and the Reinvention of Manchester, England”



Noon | UpC MPR | Athletics and Physical Education

2:00pm | Farm | VC Athletics 3:00pm | Skinner | Music

Justice for Chiapas: Autonomy and Human Rights in the Indigenous Communities of Sourthern Mexico 8:00pm | RH300 | GAAP

This talk focuses on human rights and resistance in a community that is facing oppression. VSA Council

7:00pm | Main MPR | VSA

Paper Critique

9:00pm | Rose Parlor | The Misc

Come tell us all about our typos!

10:00pm | The Mug | Class of 2014

“Thousands of One”

10:00pm | The Mug | ViCE

November 1, 2012


David Rosenkranz

Senior Editors Hannah Blume Ruth Bolster

Contributing Editor Rachael Borné

News Danielle Bukowski Leighton Suen Features Jessica Tarantine Opinions Lane Kisonak Humor & Satire Jean-Luc Bouchard Arts Adam Buchsbaum Sports Tina Caso Photography Katie de Heras Online Nathan Tauger Copy Maxelle Neufville Assistant News Bethan Johnson Assistant Features Chris Gonzalez Marie Solis Assistant Opinions Gabe Dunsmith Assistant Arts Burcu Noyan Assistant Photo Jacob Gorski Jiajing Sun Crossword Editor Jack Mullan Reporters Amreen Bhasin Chris Brown Laci Dent Meaghan Hughes Bobbie Lucas Marie Solis Steven Williams Nicole Wong Columnists Zoe Dostal Joshua Sherman Juan Thompson Photography Cassady Bergevin Spencer Davis Rachel Garbade Emily Lavieri-Scull Design Aja Brady-Saalfeld Palak Patel Copy Farah Aziz Sophia GosalvezBrown Jacob ParkerBurgard ADVERTISING POLICY The Miscellany News (1) reserves the right to reject or edit any advertising copy at any time; (2) will not accept advertisements that promote discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex or sexual orientation, nor will it accept advertisements of a political nature or advertisements that promote products or services illegal in the State of New York: (3) will print every advertisement with the word “advertisement” above it; (4) shall not be liable for failure to print, publish or circulate all or any portion of any issue if such a failure is the result of circumstances beyond the paper’s control.

News Previews Want to know what News will be covering before the paper comes out on Thursday? Watch News Previews and hear short snippets of the news of the week! Produced by cinematographer Nathan Tauger, Online Editor, and featuring News Editors Danielle Bukowski and Leighton Suen, News Previews are shorter than your fave YouTube clip ­— and twice as informative!

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

Visit us online at


November 1, 2012


Page 3

Trustees defer bookstore’s move to Juliet, citing finances Danielle Bukowski neWs editoR


Spencer Davis/The Miscellany News

uring the annual Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 11-13, the Trustees decided to renegotiate with Barnes & Noble concerning moving the College’s bookstore to the Juliet Café, postponing the move until costs can be brought down. The interior demolition of Juliet Café and Billiards, which was to begin this summer, will not go forward, and no definite timeline for the move will be set until after the renegotiations are settled. The decision to move the bookstore off campus was first proposed by the College in 2008, with a tentative timeline for the move set for 2009-2010 (“Bookstore to Expand, Move to Juliet’s,” The Miscellany News 2.1.08). The economic crisis disrupted these plans, with the proposed move brought up again in earnest in the fall of 2011. “The College went through a very thorough analysis to determine that the bookstore should be moved from its space in the College Center to the Juliet, a move currently placed at $5 million,” said Dean of the College Chris Roellke on postponing the move. “This also leaves a vacant campus center space, estimated to cost another $2 million to renovate.” Roellke noted that the $5 million required for the move was not so daunting when the project was first discussed prior to the recession. “It is a natural progression, given the economic circumstances that we’re in, with a lot of other commitments competing for financial resources, for the College to seriously discuss whether or not we can accomplish our goals with a lower price tag,” he said. VP for Finance and Administration Betsy Eismeier and her senior staff will communicate directly with Barnes & Noble about bringing down the $5 million price tag. “It will take some time to come up with a plan that is more cost effective,” Roellke continued, “We are still in the process of sorting this out.” Dean Roellke noted that the College is still committed to putting a bookstore in the Juliet space. Said Roellke, “We are not backtracking from earlier analysis that was done, which outlined that a bookstore would be the best

anchor for the spot.” The College is also committed to its partnership with Barnes & Noble. “We made that decision long ago. Barnes & Noble put together the bid that seemed the most responsible, and they have had success in previous models. They are our partner,” said Roellke. President Catharine Bond Hill echoed Roellke’s sentiments in an emailed statement: “We continue to work with Barnes & Noble on their plans for a larger store in Arlington. We want to get this right.” One primary concern is that the postponement will leave vacant a prominent building in the community. For much of Vassar’s history, Juliet Café and Billiards was a movie theater, and then a bar-restaurant meeting place until it closed down last year, and moved to the corner of Raymond Avenue and Main Street. VSA President Jason Rubin ’13, who was a non-voting observer of the Board of Trustees meeting, said, “I feel pretty optimistic that it will move forward, just because everyone’s consensus is that this space can’t stay vacant.” Said Roellke, “We don’t want this space to be vacant for very long. We want some purpose there, and we have made a strong commitment to the Arlington business district that we would have something vibrant in that space, and the College is committed to it being a bookstore based on prior analysis.” Rubin also noted that no discussions regarding alternative uses for the Juliet space have taken place. Postponing the Juliet move will also mean that the student space created by the bookstore’s vacancy of Main building will be postponed. However, the Student Space Committee, headed by Rubin, is continuing as planned. The Committee has been engaging with students throughout the semester on what student space needs at Vassar still need to be met, and since October break is focusing on more formal discussions. Said Rubin, “We worked on just starting the conversation with different groups of people: we went into all of the House Team meetings and had informal conversations there about the different questions we had been tossing around in the Committee and got broader student

The Juliet Café building on Collegeview will remain empty until the administration moves forward with plans to move the Vassar bookstore to the space. The move was postponed to renegotiate costs. feedback there; some people went into UpC to ask students questions about what they wanted in the new space, and then we tabled in the College Center and had students write their ideas on index cards.” From Friday Nov. 2 to Sunday Nov. 4, six focus groups will meet to discuss more specific student space needs on campus. “There will be one group for each class and then two control groups, hopefully of around ten students each, where we’re really going to hash out how people use space on campus, where their needs are being met and where they aren’t, and then what they want specifically from a new student space.” Rubin predicts that the hours of food spaces on campus will come up, as well as discussions about UpC and the Aula as spaces. Although the new space will not be opened as soon as first predicted, Rubin still sees the research and conversations as important discussions to have about the student space. “First of all, assuming the project moves forward, it will probably happen very quickly. Once the

negotiations are complete, assuming they end positively, they’re going to want to move into that space right away, and they won’t want to leave the [former bookstore] space empty because that won’t look good in the middle of our campus. I think it’s important that we have something ready,” Rubin said, especially considering how much time it takes to get a comprehensive consensus on what the Vassar community is looking for in terms of student spaces. “This ensures that the student voice is there.” Rubin concluded, regarding the Juliet move, “I’m still confident that it will go forward. The timeline’s going to be pushed back a little more, those renegotiations have to happen… but I think it’ll hopefully go pretty quickly because it’s a vacant space on a prominent corner, and nobody wants it to stay that way for very long.” “The College will work very collaboratively to see if we can get the price down, and move forward with the space. It’s all hands on deck to get this moving,” Roellke said.

Dorms see increased vandalism during Halloweekend Bethan Johnson

assistant neWs editoR


Spencer Davis/The Miscellany News

lthough the destruction of Mischief Night is traditionally celebrated on Oct. 30, Vassar’s campus saw a spike in vandalism between Oct. 26 and 28. In addition to dorm damages, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) received an increased number of calls and had an overall larger presence during ‘Halloweekend’. “The Friday before the larger Halloween party (10/26) was a busier than average weekend night for us,” Captain of Vassar EMS Jessica Metlay ’13 wrote in an emailed statement. “On Saturday 10/27 we responded to 12 calls, which is higher than our normal volume for a weekend night.” Despite both nights eliciting above average numbers of phone calls, the spike did not surprise the organization. Metlay explained, “The Halloween parties at Vassar historically generate more calls than we typically see on a weekend night. The same tends to be true, to at least some extent, for any large college party, although Halloween is always one of our biggest nights.” Cognizant of the typical volume of Halloween EMS calls, the organization increased its size and exposure. “Usually we will only have one crew on call and no ambulance service on standby,” noted Metlay. “We felt and found it necessary to have three crews on call, stationed in the faculty commons in Main Building, as well as an additional person who remained near the faculty commons to coordinate our services and liaison with the college and ambulance service...From our end, while the weekend, especially Saturday night, was busy, we felt in control. To me, this means that the administration, VSA, and everyone involved did an excellent job.” Residential houses were also affected by Halloweekend, some more seriously than others. Main House experienced several incidents

Vassar EMS responded to 12 calls last Saturday night when the Villard Room party took place. The organization expanded in size prior to the event to in anticipation of alcohol-related emergencies. of vandalism and what Marsala called “criminal mischief” related to the Halloween festivities. Much of the vandalism in Main took place within the bathrooms, and was reported via social media outlets. An anonymous blogger on SayAnythingVC discussed the damages on the fourth floor of Main, including a smashed toilet seat and pipe that left the bathroom flooded. President of Main House Estello-Cisdre Raganit ’14 wrote in an emailed statement, “We had six windowpanes and a toilet destroyed, as well as a water fountain dislodged, along with instances of vomit across the house.” These damages proved problematic for Main residents after Halloweekend ended since these structural damages were left unfixed until after

Hurricane Sandy. According to an emailed statement from Director of Safety and Security Don Marsala, a fire extinguisher was reported missing from Main on Saturday night, a sprinkler reportedly ripped from a wall, and Security responded to reports of overturned furniture in the Lathrop House’s Multipurpose Room. Additionally, Josselyn House President Casey Hancock ’15 reported a number of ripped posters and door signage. Even though these events are not considered major damages, they are still detrimental to residents. In an emailed statement, Hancock explained that, “As a whole I am still disappointed that people would rip down those signs because to me it is disrespectful to


not only the sign’s owner but also to the entire house…It could have been much worse, but there is still obviously room to improve regarding respect of space.” Davison House saw the destruction of House Fellow property. On Saturday morning Professor of Psychology Allan Clifton wrote on the Davison House Facebook page about the various damages done to his children’s toys. “In the past 24 hours, Sam’s jack o’lantern was smashed, Ellie’s playhouse was broken apart, several of their toys were smashed to bits, and someone stole one of our flower pots and spread dirt all over the sidewalk.” Although students replaced the boy’s pumpkin the next day, many of the items remain broken or missing. Another student, identifying as Magn, posted three pictures on Tumblr to document the state of the Main 3rd floor bathroom after Saturday night. The pictures show the walls, cubbies, mirrors, and stalls all covered in fake blood. The quantity of damage done to Main Building in comparison to other dorms has caused concern and dismay among residents. Raganit explained, “Main House’s Halloweekend experience is always an interesting one because during the night of the Villard Room dance, students flock to Main and can easily move from the Villard Room to the residential areas. It’s saddening, but because of this, damages are unavoidable...[but] students don’t understand their privilege—when students damage and vandalize a house, they fail to recognize that it is the maintenance staff who is left to clean up after them,” Raganit observed. Although speaking about the damages incurred in Josselyn House, Hancock drew a more universal conclusion about the necessity to create a sense of dorm community and the overall treatment of residential housing: “I often think that it’s students who simply have a disconnect between their living spaces and others, so they feel comfortable attacking it.”


Page 4

News Briefs

November 1, 2012

College storm shutdown first in 30 years

Activities Committee Redefines UpC Lottery

The Activities Committee of the Vassar Student Association (VSA) recently redrafted the lottery process through which two student organizations per semester receive the right to host an event in the second floor of the Students’ Building (UpC). The changes will take effect next semester. In the current system, the names of all student organizations are put into a hat, and two winners are randomly selected. These two organizations are awarded the right to each host an event in UpC during the semester. This semester’s winning draws went to the Class of 2013 and the Vassar Prison Initiative (VPI); neither group has specific plans so far to hold events in the space. Organizations with no interest in hosting an event had to opt-out of the drawing, which became a problem when even organizations that had no desire to host an event did not respond to the opt-out offer. The revamped plan, which was designed and unanimously approved by the Activities Committee, has been changed to opt-in and will add a new initial step. Organizations must first submit an application explaining what type of event they plan to host. If the Committee finds that this event would work well in the UpC setting, then that organization’s name will enter the lottery. With its floor and balcony seating, stage, and large projector screen, UpC is best suited for events like concerts or film screenings. In regards to events that work well in UpC, Greer said, “Anything like performances, the Drag Show, Mr. Vassar, talent competitions, music concerts, film screenings; things that are not a dark room with a DJ.” The Activities Committee hopes that the new application step will weed out the types of events that are inappropriate for UpC’s setting. Vassar Prison Initiative co-Presidents Kiersta Hsi ’14 and Dalia Sharpe ’14 explained their decision not to host an event in UpC. “At this point no event is planned to take place in UpC,” wrote Hsi and Sharpe in an email, “but that is not to say there won’t be one planned soon.” —Eloy Bleifuss Prados, Guest Reporter Outside the Bubble

Dutchess County and the New York Metropolitan area are currently recovering from the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast Monday, leaving over 50 dead and many other homes devastated. The storm hit Atlantic City at 8 p.m. Monday with 80-mile-per-hour winds, according to the National Hurricane Center. The winds then quickened and headed east, hitting the Philadelphia before heading north to New York. Numerous deaths have resulted from Sandy. A major cause of death was people being hit by falling trees and falling debris from buildings. Following Sandy’s departure, more than 8.2 million households were without power on Tuesday. Most were located in New York City and areas of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but houses located as far as Michigan were affected as well (CBC News, 10.30.12). Vehicles and tunnels, including the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the Queens Midtown Tunnel, also took on huge amounts of water. The Brooklyn tunnel alone had an estimated 70 million gallons of water in it Wednesday morning, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said. Governor Cuomo announced at a press conference yesterday that limited Metro-North and Long Island Railroad train service will return at 2 p.m. after service was stopped due to downed trees. Additionally, the New York City subway system will return Thursday on a limited basis. In Dutchess and Ulster counties, there are currently 33,567 utility customers still without power. Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. is hoping to restore power to 90 percent of its customers by 11 p.m. According to company spokesman John Maserjian, the remainder of customers should have power by Sunday, although customers in remote areas may have to wait until Monday. In a press release, Central Hudson reported 1,000 locations of downed power lines in the region and suggesting that trick-or-treaters stay indoors for safety. (Poughkeepsie Journal, 10.1.12) —Jessica Lin and Hannah Blume, Guest Reporter and Senior Editor

STORM continued from page 1

[However,] I would say that it impacted students only as an inconvenience at this point.” Following Crisis Response Planning Group (CRPG) meetings in preparation for the storm, incident commander and College President Catharine Bond Hill announced the decision to cancel classes and other campus services in an email at 10:44 a.m. on Monday. “Please be cautious during this major storm,” she wrote to the extended Vassar community. “Stay inside because the heavy winds and rain can bring down tree branches and electrical lines.” The decision to cancel classes was not one that was made lightly. “We decided that it was going to be dangerous to have people moving around campus, including students going to and from classes, given the weather report for very high winds,” wrote Hill in an emailed statement. “We were worried about wind and rain bringing down trees. We were also worried about faculty and staff being able to get home. There were reports that bridges might be closed as the storm approached, as well as concerns about flooding.” After 2 p.m. Monday, students were asked to remain in their houses and dorm buildings until the following morning; dinner was served in the residential houses since the All Campus Dining Center and Retreat were closed down. Before the brunt of the hurricane struck, rumors circulated on SayAnythingVC and among the student body that Vassar would not be able to cancel classes for a day in order to preserve its status as an accredited college. “Because we have the minimum number of school days to be an accredited college [Vassar] can’t cancel all classes,” wrote an anonymous commentator. “What they do instead is shut down each department and then the individual professors cancel their classes.” Registrar Colleen Mallet denied that this is the case. “The College has the ability to use its discretion to cancel classes when it’s

in the best interests of the students and faculty… We will not lose our accreditation for canceling classes during a major hurricane,” she said, confirming that there are different standards for canceling classes. In regards to the number of classes on which Vassar operates, she stated, “We are at the lower end. It’s not exactly the minimum. That’s just a rumor. Things such as study week and exam week do count in our required weeks. We’re fine by those standards.” In her nearly 30 years at Vassar, Mallet did note that this was the first time classes have been canceled as a result of the weather. “We’re a residential campus,” explained Mallet. “It’s not like we’re one of the community colleges where students…are having to drive to get there.” Brown agreed that Hurricane Sandy was an unusual occurrence. “I’ve been here 30plus years, and this is the biggest storm I’ve seen…We caught a break in that we didn’t lose power. We did have some trees down.” Notably, a tall tree crashed to the ground near Jewett and Olivia Josselyn Houses, but did not cause any injuries or structural damage during its fall. Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Luis Inoa attributes the minimal impact of the storm on the combined efforts of everyone on campus during lockdown. “It certainly affects us when the emergency protocol asks the students to shelter in place. That put a particular kind of expectation on the house team members, house fellows, house advisors, student advisors, everything that goes into a house team in terms of gathering students, getting a sense of who was in each of the houses, gathering students when the food was delivered, rationing that food in a way that is equitable.” Brown agreed that everyone on campus played a role in minimizing the harmful effects of the devastating storm. “[It was a] big storm, but students were very cooperative and stayed in their residences. We worried about them being outside with the wind, fly-

ing trees, stuff like that. We asked everyone to stay in. I drove around campus yesterday afternoon, and everyone stayed in. I really appreciated that. There were only two students out.” Overall, the impact of Hurricane Sandy could have been much worse at Vassar than it actually was. Said Inoa, “We did not have to evacuate any of the houses. The power stayed on. Thankfully, the condition that was present was rain, heavy wind—trees certainly came down—so the conditions were rather mild compared to what the rest of the region was encountering, so we were certainly thankful for that.” As a result of the hazardous weather, schools in the Poughkeepsie City School District and surrounding districts were closed for two days in a row. Two of them–Beacon and Red Hook–operated as emergency shelters as the storm ravaged the Hudson Valley. Nearby, classes were canceled at Dutchess Community College, Marist College and State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz for varying periods of time. All colleges have since resumed classes. Power outrages, rampant flooding and road closures also plague the eastern coastline. The majority of the outages occurred in New York City and Long Island. As of Tuesday, roughly six million people remain without power in the United States, including over 43,000 households in Dutchess County. Additionally, Metro-North Railroad is officially suspended for the time being. This has proved problematic for professors who live in New York City and commute to Vassar to teach, as well as visiting guests to Vassar who are unable to ride the train back to New York City; certain classes have been canceled by professors in these situations past reopening Tuesday. Stated Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in a live broadcast with the Poughkeepsie Journal, “We’ll continue to see flooding issues and encourage residents to be cautious.”

VSA decertifies Italian, Homework clubs Noble Ingram Guest Reporter


ast Sunday, Oct. 28, the Vassar Student Association (VSA) Council voted to decertify both the Homework Club and the Italian Club—two organizations that have each been inactive for more than three semesters. According to the Governing Documents of the VSA, “If there is no organizational activity for two consecutive semesters, an organization may be decertified at the discretion of the VSA Executive Board.” In both cases, the organizations had not been active since the 2010-2011 school year. Current Vice President (VP) for Activities Doug Greer ’14 proposed decertifying these two organizations at the VSA Council meeting on Oct. 28, and Council voted unanimously to decertify both organizations. “I actually have never witnessed an activity put on by these two groups because they have been inactive for I think most if not all of my time at Vassar,” Greer wrote in an emailed statement. The two organizations failed to stay active for various reasons. An organization built on celebrating and promoting Italian culture on campus, the Vassar Italian Club was once a fairly active organization. In its official description on the VSA website, the Club wrote, “While Italian culture is explored mainly through music, food, film, and art, those who wish to study the Italian language also find opportunities to practice.” Activities that the Italian Club organized included film screenings, Italian food cooking and Italian music parties. Now, however, the decertification of the organization comes as no surprise. Chair of the Italian Department and Associate Professor of Italian Roberta Antognini had trouble remembering when the Italian Club was active; the last leader of the organization was a member of the class of 2011.

Currently, the Italian Major’s Committee serves a similar function to the now-defunct Italian Club. The frequent events organized by the Committee may be part of the reason a similar club was decertified. The Italian Major’s Committee, according to Antognini, hosts Italian film nights and dinners, among other events and activities. “The Italian Major’s Committee was started and is run by the Department. The Italian Club was a VSA org run by students,” said Antognini, when asked to elaborate on the difference between the two groups. Asked about the future of the Italian Club, Antognini predicted, “The Italian Major’s Committee will probably function as both the committee and the club, adopting the responsibilities the club had.” Wrote Italian Major Aja Brady-Saalfeld in an emailed statement, “As far as I know, there has been little, if any, interaction between the department and the [Italian] club. I actually don’t know much about the Italian club at all. I know that it exists, but I’ve never been a part of it...[but] the Italian department certainly does some interesting programming and events.” [Full disclosure: Brady-Saalfeld is a Design Editor for The Miscellany News.] In reference to the events that the Italian Major’s Committee will be hosting throughout the year, Antognini confirmed that anyone interested in Italian culture would be able to enjoy them. “Everybody is invited.” Although the decertification of the Italian Club is an example of an instance in which a student-run organization’s mission purpose has been usurped by a College department, other culture-based VSA-certified organizations have encountered different fates. Notably, the French Club, a student-run VSA organization with similar objectives to the Italian Club for French culture, still operates successfully alongside the French Major’s Committee. “We are really excited to organize film screenings with sweet treats, cheese


tastings, crepes sales, collaborate with other clubs in organizing the Moulin Rouge party and Europop Mug Night,” wrote French Club Co-President Dominika Michalska ’13 in an emailed statement. “In the past we also participated in the Fashion Show organized by Contrast (among others), took students to CIA for French dinner and mingled with West Point’s French Club when they invited us to West Point for French Dinner (it’s a tradition).” Although the club works closely with the French department, its active mailing list suggests that it will not be decertified anytime soon. The other decertified organization, the Homework Club, was a community service organization that worked with children from Brookhaven, apartment housing for victims of domestic violence in Poughkeepsie. Participants from Vassar College assisted students with their schoolwork, built relationships with the students and served as a positive influence to continue working in school. Wrote Greer in an emailed statement, “Based on what I’m told by past VP for Activities, the Homework Club did some tutoring sessions to help people manage their homework loads as well as going into the community to help children with their homework.” Greer noted that it is difficult to say why exactly the Homework Club fell apart. The club has been inactive for so long that many students don’t remember the work they did. Additionally, there are other similar organizations on campus, including the Vassar College Urban Education Initiative (VCUEI), which was established in 2003 by Dean of the College Christopher Roellke in order to coordinate education programs between the College and local and regional schools. “[Students] can reach out to the Education department [which] has tons of programs like VAST (Vassar After School Tutoring) that deal with going into the community to help teach,” concluded Greer.

November 1, 2012


Page 5

A Vassar student’s guide to voting in local elections

courtesy of Arthur S. May Elementary

Registered students living in the residential houses, the Terrace Apartments (TAs), and the South Commons (SoCos) will vote at the Arthur S. May Elementary School, pictured above, on Raymond Ave. Hannah Blume senioR editoR


ith the spotlight focused sharply on national races, it is easy to forget the importance of local elections. To prepare Vassar students for this Tuesday, The Miscellany News has collected information on candidates in the two state wide races on the ballot.

New York State Senate - 41st District

Terry W Gipson (D) Local business owner and a Trustee on the Rhinebeck Village Board Terry Gipson’s campaign’s theme is “tomorrow.” Gipson promises to bring high-tech industries to the region, including clean energy, mass transit, health care and nanotechnology by creating a Business Development Job Bank where small businesses would get low cost loans and benefits for hiring local employees.

Gipson favors a progressive tax structure. He writes on his website, “When the well-off pay their fair share, we will be able to accomplish two crucial agenda items: relief from crushing property taxes on those that can least afford them and additional funding for a better education system.” Gipson also advocates a new system of education funding not based on property taxes. Gipson is pro-choice and would support legislation for equal pay for equal work, protection for domestic workers and funding for Planned Parenthood. He opposes all fracking. Steve Saland (R-incumbent) Incumbent Senator Saland is a lifelong resident of Poughkeepsie and has served in the New York State Senate since 1990. Saland worked to give Southern Dutchess business tax credits and exemptions under the NYS Empire Zone law.

His website boasts that he secured $21,512,713 for economic development and job training. On education, Saland advocates lifting “costly and burdensome” mandates on schools. Saland is currently works with environmental group Scenic Hudson to foster green economic growth. Saland worked to reform the state’s domestic violence law. His website makes no comment on his stance on abortion. Additionally, Saland was the decisive vote on June 24, 2011 for New York’s Marriage Equality Act, legalizing same-sex marriage in New York. Saland had previously voted “no” on same-sex marriage in December 2009. Neil De Carlo (Conservative) Neil De Carlo paints himself as the populist “common sense” conservative in the race. “He’s like you!” his website states. “A family man, a proud parent, a hardworking New Yorker.” De Carlo opposes “oppressive taxes” and regulation. De Carlo sees state debt as New York’s biggest problem and cites liabilities for pensions, Medicare and Medicaid as the culprits. On education, De Carlo supports expanding charter schools and implementing a voucher system. De Carlo opposes gay marriage, promises to repeal same-sex marriage and is ”100% Pro-life.” He firmly opposes all illegal immigration. De Carlo is an advocate of fracking and would “Cut the red tape and allow New York to use its natural resources.” New York State Assembly - District 106

Didi Barrett (D - incumbent) Before her election to the New York State Assembly in a special election in March 2012, Barrett was a community activist, writer and non-profit leader. Barrett created small business tax credits worth up to $70,000 per year and reform measures to eliminate bureaucratic red tape for small family owned businesses. Her website states that she would oppose all measures that would increase taxes. Barrett also sponsored and passed legislation that reinstates the con-

Students should expect challenges at polls Marie Solis

assistant FeatuRes editoR


s part of Vassar’s ongoing complications with securing students’ votes this election season, there are currently 30 students whose registrations have been challenged on the grounds of incompleteness. Some might have forgotten to put their dorm name, roo number, or P.O. Box when filling out their form. However, even students who have successfully registered can expect to arrive at the polls on Election Day only to face similar difficulties. Dean of Freshmen Benjamin Lotto affirmed students should not question their right to vote in the face of opposition. In the Oct. 25 issue of The Miscellany News, Lotto stated, “It is a rock-solid precedent that college students are eligible to vote at their college address; the courts have upheld this.” Given the lawfulness of students’ voting eligibility, Evan Seltzer ’14, Communication Director for the Vassar Democrats insists there is a greater motive behind the challenges. “It’s the Republican Dutchess County Commissioner who is challenging these students. It’s not the Democrats; it’s the Republicans,” he said, alluding to Commissioner Erik Haight, who the Poughkeepsie Journal cited as being accused of disenfranchising student voters. According to the article, Haight has been deeming students’ registrations invalid because they failed to give their dorm name—not a requirement under election law. Madison Senior ’15 is among those whose votes have been challenged. She said, “Students and organizations have done a great job with promoting registration and voting. [When I found out my registration was challenged] I was confused. I filled out everything correctly and even put my dorm and room number as well as my box number.” Karam Anthony ’15 experienced similar frustrations, stating, “My initial reaction was certainly annoyance, and when I found out it

was a Republican commissioner who was denying students I was rather angry. Historically students have always voted blue, of course, and it seems pretty obvious that this disenfranchisement is in his party’s best interest.” This issue affects not only Vassar, but also the surrounding schools Marist, Bard and the CIA, all of which will be represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a court case in efforts to appeal the challenged voter registrations and secure their students’ right to vote. However, due to technicalities surrounding voting districts, Vassar has been excluded from the court case. Seltzer explained, “[The ACLU] decided not to defend Vassar because it’s in two different districts: the THs in one and the main campus in another. We’re on our own. Dean Lotto is planning on bussing the 30 kids to the Board of Elections on Election Day. On that day, there will be a judge to see challenged registration. He will hear our case for why not including our P.O. shouldn’t qualify as an incomplete registration form.” Vassar may even go as far as recruiting a political science professor well-versed in voter law to accompany them to the polls, or even a lawyer which Vassar has on retainer to deal with any legal issues the school encounters. Polling locations also take steps to make sure no one’s vote is unfairly challenged: certified poll watchers reside over the voting process and ensure if a Republican or Democrat worker challenges someone’s registration it is on legal grounds. This practice is especially important for Vassar and will ideally provide added protection for students’ voting rights. However, Seltzer noted students should still be equipped to stand strong in the face of intimidation. “Vassar students can expect for some…people to get in their face screaming about why they aren’t allowed to vote. There’s no legal ground, just intimidation,” Seltzer said. Voter intimidation is not just a problem for

Vassar students, but fits into a larger national context as well. In addition to students, various minority groups have been the targets of voter registration challenges. Certain states such as Pennsylvania have a history of imposing strict voter ID laws which require photo identification which many minorities or students might not have. The court ruled that while a voter can be asked for their registration, they cannot be denied their vote without it. “[The situation is] basically a microcosm— what’s happening here is happening across the country,” Seltzer said, pointing to such attempts at voter ID laws as evidence of Republican efforts to deny votes to disenfranchised students, minorities and citizens of low socioeconomic status. He stated, “It’s like ‘What’s next Commissioner? First no college students, how about a literacy test?’” While Anthony was able to secure himself an absentee ballot instead, he maintained, “This whole ordeal seems incredibly unjust, and I feel for the students who have to jump through these hoops just to vote.” Even though it may not be fair, there are some hoops for which students should be prepared. Seltzer said, “Students each have received a ‘receipt’ saying they’re properly registered to vote. Definitely bring that. Bring another form of identification, which isn’t necessary but it can’t hurt—ideally a driver’s license.” Students who have already had their votes challenged should contact Dean Lotto and will be offered assistance. Students who encounter problems at the polls on Election Day should follow the counsel of Lotto and Seltzer and seek the aid of poll watchers should further problems arise. Seltzer stated, “The main thing to basically say ‘is my name in that book?’ As long as their name is amongst the registered voters they will be allowed to vote.”


sumer advocate’s position on the New York State Energy Planning Board. Although Barrett has no record on women’s issues, she is the founding chair of non-profit Girls Incorporated and was a board member of NARAL Pro-Choice New York. David Byrne (R) David Byrne graduated from West Point and served in Iraq before returning to the Hudson Valley to work for a solar panel company and serving on the Milan Town Board, where he claims he fostered bi-partisanship. A fiscal conservative, Byrne is committed to balancing the state budget without using debt. Specifically, Byrne hopes to eliminate unfunded mandates, reforming and reducing spending on Medicaid, and reforming public bidding requirements. Byrne’s website does not mention social issues. However, Byrnes has been quoted by the Millbrook Independent saying the “fracking has to be safe.” New York Supreme Court - 9th District

Candidates include Gerald E. Loehr (D-incumbent), Maria Rosa (D), Sandra Sciortino (D), Nordeen Calderin (R), Carl Chu (R), John LaCava (R), Rory I. Lanceman (Working families). Judges cannot run on specific issues. Students living in all dorms, Terrace Apartments (TAs) and South Commons (SoCos) who have registered in Poughkeepsie will vote at Arthur S. May Elementary School, located near the intersection of Raymond Avenue and Main Street. Students living in the Town Houses (THs) will vote at the Poughkeepsie Town Hall office, located at 1 Overocker Road. To get to the Town office, turn right on Route 44 off of Raymond. Turn right on Burnett Blvd (across from the Stop and Shop parking lot). Then, take the first left onto Overocker Rd. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. If you have any questions about voting registration or polling location, call the Dutchess County Board of Elections at (845) 486-2473.

VC observes National Food Day Jessica Tarantine FeatuRes editoR


rom grabbing their favorite smoothie at UpC to buying an empanadas at Tasty Tuesdays, Vassar students love food. But, behind a beloved dish is story of how your food went from a farm to your table and that journey is not without political, economic and social implications. On Oct. 24, Slow Food, the College Committee on Sustainability, Vassar Experimental Garden, Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) and members of Vassar Greens, Challah for Hunger, and the Multidisciplinary Learning/ Living Community (MLLC) came together to celebrate National Food Day. “[The day addresses] issues as varied as health and nutrition, hunger, agricultural policy, animal welfare, and farm worker justice and serves to strengthen the sustainable food movement,” wrote Assistant to Sustainability Activities Alistair Hall ’11 in an email. Real Food Challenge, an organization that encourages colleges to switch to locally produced, sustainable foods, sponsored the event. “Given the number of food-related student organizations on campus, the new MLLC program, as well as the every growing food movement in Poughkeepsie thanks to the recently completed Community Food Assessment by the [Poughkeepsie Farm Project (PFP)] and Poughkeepsie Plenty we thought Food Day was the perfect catalyst for getting everyone on campus who is interested in these issues into the same room to talk about how we can better collaborate and strength our own local food movement,” said Hall. Director for Marketing and Sustainability Ken See FOOD on page 8


Page 6

November 1, 2012

Super smoothie will boost your immunity this flu season Alessandra Seiter Guest Columnist


courtesy of Franciscan Alliance

hifting seasons, living in close proximity to one another, lack of sleep, and influx of stress—all prime suspects in the aptly-named “Vassar Plague” currently running amok through campus. While we as overscheduled college students can’t really attain the recommended eight hours of sleep each night or avoid the anxiety of paper deadlines, we can instead boost our immune systems with our food choices to ward off the cold and flu. Getting proper nutrition can do wonders for your health. In order for the immune system to function most efficiently and effectively, the body should not have to focus copious amounts of precious energy on other bodily processes that can be avoided. Processed foods like sugar, white flour, soda, and almost any packaged product contain toxins and preservatives, which the body works intensely to eliminate, taking away energy to fuel you immune system. Devoid of nutrients, processed foods contribute no essential vitamins or minerals to the diet, leading to increased likelihood of nutrient deficiency and rendering the immune system more susceptible to disease. Think of eating processed foods as equivalent to filling a diesel-powered car with gas— the car will run for a limited amount of time before breaking down on the side of the road, unable to get the job done. Following “clean eating” guidelines by consuming whole, unprocessed foods with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables will facilitate digestion and ensure an adequate nutrient intake, leaving the immune system uncompromised and ready to combat sickness. While all vitamins prove absolutely essential in cultivating a healthy immune system, vitamins C and E serve as the MVP’s of immunity-strengthening nutrients. These vitamins, also known as antioxidants, prevent oxidative stress, which occurs when

Stressed out students rarely get the nutrition they need to support their immune systems. This smoothie, using healthful ingredients such as fresh ginger will brace your body for the upcoming flu season. oxygen molecules become overly reactive and start damaging nearby cell structures, leading to illnesses. Vitamin C-rich foods include citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes, bell peppers, berries, pineapple, and kiwi, while ample sources of vitamin E include almonds, avocados, sunflower seeds and peaches. Perhaps the most valuable foods to incorporate into an immunity-boosting diet, leafy green vegetables contain large amounts of vitamin C (one cup of cooked kale boasts almost ninety percent of the recommended daily allowance), as well as a host of other antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to combat disease-forming free radical cells in the body. Along with their detoxifying properties, leafy fresh greens’ generous stores of healthy fiber also work to cleanse and ease the digestive system.

I incorporate leafy greens into all three of my meals—kale in my morning smoothie (recipe included at the end of this article for your enjoyment!), a mix of tender young greens in my lunchtime salad, and a sautéed green, often spinach or broccoli, in my dinner at the All Campus Dining Center. Spices also play a crucial role in strengthening the immune system. Ginger, turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin and fennel all warm the body from the inside, increase circulation, and work as anti-inflammatory agents. Try whipping up a stir fry in the Deece that incorporates a bunch of spices, or sipping on a comforting mug of ginger tea, which also improves digestion and soothes sore throats. In addition to a healthy diet, exercise keeps the body functioning at optimal levels to prevent sickness by aiding in toxin elimination and facilitating circulation.

While a visit to the Athletic Center will certainly fulfill your daily activity quota, you may want to consider signing up for a yoga class by checking the In the Pink schedule and emailing ankiriakedes− Providing a challenging workout, yoga also calms the mind and promotes a positive attitude to decrease stress—a major immune system compromiser. To help you commence your journey toward a tip-top immune system, Vassar plague free, I’d like to provide you with one of my favorite smoothie recipes. Beginning your day with a velvety, delicious smoothie chock full of fruit and leafy green vegetables—no, I’m not insane—increases the amount of immune system-strengthening food in your diet in a quick, simple, and scrumptious manner. This particular recipe features vitamin-E-laden almond milk and peaches, raspberries for a vitamin C boost, a zip of ginger, bananas for creaminess, and the all-powerful king of vegetables: the leafy green. Trust me—all that sweet fruity goodness overpowers any hint of green flavor that may make you hesitant toward the concept of green smoothies. Super Immunity Smoothie Serves 1. Ingredients: 1 frozen banana, sliced ½ cup frozen peach slices ¼ cup frozen raspberries ¼ 1 large knob of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped, or 1 tbsp powdered ginger ¼ 1-2 cups kale or other leafy green, chopped ½ 3/4 cup almond milk Combine all ingredients in a blender, layering the ingredients in the order listed above. Blend until very smooth. Enjoy!

Gag order keeps details of CWA negotiations under wraps

Emma Redden/The Miscellany News

Members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union list their demands—including higher wages and improved health benefits—during a recent protest held in front of Main Building. CWA continued from page 1

and alumnae/i. Regardless of the publicity around the negotiations, bargaining is being done behind closed doors. The specifics of these conversations are only known to CWA’s bargaining team and Associate Vice President of Human Resources, Ruth Spencer. Chief of CWA, Carl Bertsche explains: “We don’t want this to be all over the place and have the facts distorted by word of mouth.” Yet some workers remain unsure of what contract items are on the bargaining table. “Do I have to pay $5 for a prescription or $6? I don’t know what’s on the table,” Patricia Maio, an office specialist says. Her husband, Joe Maio—the Vassar representative for the College’s other on-campus

union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)—talks about this difference in negotiation strategies: “Normally, a gag order functions so that members aren’t getting wrong numbers.” Yet, he had reservations regarding applying the traditional reasoning to this instance. Reactions to student involvement were mixed. “I want the students to stay in class and study and achieve and do wonderful things. We don’t want you out here fighting our fight, but we don’t want you closed off—this is a community issue,” Melissa Smith, an Administrative Assistant for the Office of Residential Life says. Spencer cautions that students’ tuitions could be affected by the outcome of the negotiations with higher wages leading to higher tuition.

She suggests that an organized forum would be a better way to understand the issues. Though, with the gag order, any type of forum cannot contain information directly relevant to the offers currently being made. In 2005, when Service Employees International Union (SEIU) union underwent a similarly drawn-out contract negotiations with the college, they distributed leaflets and gathered student signatures in the VSA-sponsored Student Activities Fair, a controversial move that may have violated an agreement not to picket during the length of the negotiating period. The procuration of health benefits is speculatively the main issue; under the last contract—which is extended until a new contract is negotiated—health insurance for union members was completely covered; that provision may be the source of contention. “Currently,” Spencer explained, “CWA members do not pay for single coverage; administrators and faculty pay 15% contribution for single coverage.” Carl Bertsche, CWA union chief, says “[SEIU] didn’t gain as much in terms of wages, but they protected their benefits...They secured their benefits package, which is a very good move in this day and age.” When asked about SEIU’s final contract, Spencer said, “SEIU health care is not with any of Vassar’s insurance plans.” Another contentious issue is the state of wages. One of the four red fliers circulating through the schools compares the starting salary of a Vassar College administrative assistant as compared to the average starting salary of one from the Hudson River Valley—two figures nearly $10K away from each other. Spencer counters this, saying, “Students are most probably not aware of all the variables and parts to these labor issues. Union contracts are complex documents...After a 90-day probation period new CWA employees may receive as much as 8-12% increases in their hourly rate. That amount does compound over time and is increased by the negotiated annual increas-


es. The average salary for CWA members is approximately $41,000. The highest salary in CWA is approximately $74,000.” Melissa Smith, an Administrative Assistant employed at the college for nearly six years, though, would not describe her wage in the same terms as Spencer: “I’m not looking to get rich off of this. I’m just looking to be a self-supporting adult.” Smith also implied that she may have to leave Vassar if her wages are not in line with a rising standard of living. Spencer also stated that Vassar College starting salaries for administrative assistants remain competitive for the Hudson River Valley area. But Bertsche claimed, “[Vassar] is seizing an opportunity right now—because unemployment is so high, when a job becomes available, 30 people are applying for it.” Despite the talks of benefits and wages, the nature of the contract negotiations may be also centered on the premise of respect. Joe Maio says, “I [have been] here for around 30 years. 30 years ago, I would go around Vassar College, and I could talk with the administrators; we were a community. Now, [the administration] moved to the second floor, and we don’t see each other anymore...The school tries really hard to build a relationship with Poughkeepsie [and its residents who work at Vassar], to be a community, but that doesn’t exist anymore.” “Our campaign is one of respect,” Smith affirmed. When questioned about the idea of a campaign on respect, Spencer asks, “How do you define respect? For some it is only a matter of wages, for others it’s benefits, for others its their work environment or others all of the above.” McCurty implied that the issue on respect may be connected with the issue on wages and benefits. “A lot of the administration is not from here while a lot of the workers are from this area,” he said. “They just come in, do their job, and then leave. We’re here—who are they telling us that we don’t know what’s best?”

November 1, 2012


Page 7

International student acquires United States citizenship Patty Walton

Guest RepoRteR


nternational students at Vassar can face bureaucratic challenges ranging from getting work visas for summer internships to getting permission to remain in the United States after graduation. While these challenges are substantial, the process to become an citizen is even more difficult. Yet despite such obstacles, as of Oct. 5, 2012, Adriana Pericchi ’13, is a citizen of the United States of America. This will be the third country in which she has citizenship, the other countries being Venezuela and Spain. The process of attaining her citizenship started when Pericchi was 11 and her family moved from Venezuela to Puerto Rico. Her parents, both professors, started the process for the family.

According to Director of International Services Andrew Meade, this is unusual. “It is not really that common for international students to apply for citizenship while at Vassar,” said Meade. “The next step from an immigrant or non-immigrant visa is permanent residence, which basically extends an international’s ability to remain in the US indefinitely without affecting citizenship,” finished Meade. Indeed, the process to acquire citizenship is challenging. According to Pericchi, attaining US citizenship takes work, money and knowledge, things that her family were able to put forth, but as she explained access to citizenship is more easily gained with privilege. “There are people you can hire to do these legal processes, the process becomes that

Katie de Heras/The Miscellany News

Although it is more common for Vassar’s international students to apply for permanent residency, Adriana Pericchi ’13, pictured above, has chosen to go one step farther by becoming a United States citizen.

much easier when you are already privileged, when you already have resources it is so much easier to get resources. It is just so paradoxical to me,” she said. “Just the fact that people leave their countries because of many push factors, horrible inequality, poverty, crime, oppressive governments, and the ones that have the least are the ones that are least likely to be able to get citizenship,” explained Pericchi. To attain citizenship, there is a test, in which one section requires answering 6 out of 10 questions correctly. The questions are selected out of 100 possible questions. You must also read one of three sentences in English correctly, and write one of three English sentences correctly. Pericchi points to how her experiences helped her on the day of the test. “Just in taking that test the privilege that I had in this process was so apparent in certain moments. Because I know how to read, write, and I am a student, I know how to study for a 100-question test,” said Pericchi. She continued, “There are people who live in the US and pay taxes, who work and are functioning members of society who may not need to speak English throughout the day. Maybe they don’t speak English, or they only speak a little English or they just aren’t literate.” For Pericchi, the actual naturalization oath ceremony brought with it mixed emotions. “To me it was very bittersweet. It was positive and great now I have access to all these resources and I can stay here,” Pericchi said. “But at the same time, there are so many people that are trying to be in this room right now, that aren’t and wont be, and a lot of them will be deported. The absences in the room perturbed me a lot.” While Pericchi was grateful about her chance to gain citizenship, not all international students thought that it was desirable, even if the process was less difficult. “I’ve thought about applying for citizenship, but I’m happy with my national identity,” said Arushi Rania

’14, who is a citizen of India, and currently applying for citizenship in Canada. “Applying for American citizenship would undermine my national identity.” For Pericchi, however, the process allowed her a space to explore the values of the United States as a nation. Pericchi questioned, “How does it make sense that we value bodies so differently depending on what area of the world you were born in? I didn’t become a different person once I got my citizenship, but I received a little blue book in the mail and suddenly I have all these rights that I didn’t have before.” She explained that this made her question the how the political reality of nations informed our understanding of worth and individuals. Additionally, in reading the oath there was a sense of relief. “I care about the country and the people in the country, to be able to have a voice in it is so special to me, to engage civically. The reason it was important to me to become a citizen was to get access to certain rights and resources, to be able to impact the nation and the community to a greater extent in terms of civic action, protests, voting.” Pericchi talked about some of the aspects of her life that have changed now that she is officially a citizen of the United States. “The moment I became a citizen I was also very happy. It was a relief. I can stay in the states after college,” she said, “I have several friends that have had to return home when they didn’t want to. The fact that I can stay, and have Social Security and access to health care, the fact that I can go to protests and not be afraid for my life.” “I’ve been to protests before, I’ve gone to Albany with GAP and they were like ‘Now we are going to take the Capitol’ and I was just like ‘Nope, I’m not about to be deported,’” Pericchi explained. “I didn’t feel free to fully exercise freedom of expression in that way. If you are an immigrant you can only participate in a specific type of political protest.”

Growing demand, shrinking supply limit financial aid FINANCIAL AID continued from page 1

pects for economic growth continue to dim, many have wondered about the value of an undergraduate degree,” wrote Roth on his website, describing the effects of last decade’s national economic downturn, and its slow recovery. “For years, [Wesleyan has] followed this same pattern: tuition increases well above inflation, and financial aid increases that go far beyond that. Although this works well enough for families from the highest and lowest income brackets—the former don’t worry about a budget and the latter don’t have to pay—we’re squeezing out middle- and upper-middle-class families. Furthermore, this budget model isn’t sustainable.” At Wesleyan, discontinuing the need-blind policy is part of a broader effort to combat a growing tuition and to make its education more affordable for middle-class families. The school has also cut major projects, saving it $200 million in the 2007-2008 academic year, and is pioneering a three-year degree option. Roth hopes that these savings will improve the quality of education Wesleyan can offer to its students, and ensure its long-term financial security. The effects of the Great Recession are not just isolated to Wesleyan. Williams College in Massachusetts and Middlebury College in Vermont have both recently curtailed their need-blind policies for international and wait-listed students. Grinnell College—which has a $1.5 billion endowment—has reached out to its executive stakeholders for an exhaustive review of its financial aid programs. At this time, higher education insiders agree that changes specifically to Grinnell’s need-blind policy are unlikely, but many see the school’s decision to conduct a reevaluation as a sign of stress throughout the field, given that it has the fifth-largest liberal arts endowment in America. “I think everybody realizes that something has to change or that we’ll have to face even tougher choices down the road,” said Grinnell President Raynard Kington in an interview with Inside Higher Education. And many agree: the cost of financial aid is on the rise.

In 2009, U.S. News and World Report reported that college endowments fell at a rate of roughly 25% in 2008. In general, these multimillion dollar funds are not meant to be spent, but to be invested indefinitely. Their interest, also in the seven- or eight-figure range, is what colleges often use to pay for year-to-year expenses such as financial aid. And the schools which lost money were not all small colleges for which a few million dollars makes a substantial impact, but large, well-financed liberal arts colleges and universities with endowments ranging from the hundreds of millions to a few billion dollars. Endowments have grown since then, but many schools are still operating with fewer dollars than they had in 2007. Vassar, for example, boasted a roughly $870 million endowment before the recession. But by 2009, that number had fallen to $680 million. Now, it is hovering in the low $800 million range. Even those colleges that do not have a need-blind policy and do not meet each student’s full demonstrated need struggled to keep pace with their shrinking financial aid budgets. At the same time, students and their families began to demand more from their colleges’ financial aid programs; the median male worker’s income had dropped to $32,000 in 2010, a little more than half of the per-year tuition at most schools, and the unemployment rate was on the rise. Because of their admission policies, schools like Vassar were obligated to spend more on their financial aid programs to bridge this gap. A survey published by the National Association of College and University Business Owners (NACUBO) in 2010 revealed that the discount rate—or, the percentage of all tuition revenues and fees that is spent on institutional grants— had reached two all time highs: 42% for firsttime, full-time freshmen, and 37% for all undergraduates. That is to say that the average school was “discounting” its tuition through financial aid at a rate of between 37% and 42%. For Wesleyan in particular, these figures had been growing steadily for 20 years. In the past, the school had simply taken more money from its endowment or replaced grants with loans to

cover the rising costs, however, as Roth noted above, this financial strategy was not sustainable. In Poughkeepsie, Vassar is facing similar problems. In 2006, the school was spending roughly $26 million on financial aid programs. By the following year, that figure had grown to $31 million and included students who had matriculated under need-blind admissions after the program was reinstated. Now, Vassar is spending roughly that much on financial aid just for the Classes of 2015 and 2016. Simultaneously, the total cost of attendance (tuition, room and board, books, personal allowance, etc.) has grown from about $39,000 for the Class of 2007 to about $60,000 for the Class of 2016, but the cost of financial aid has still outpaced it. The average financial aid package is now roughly 76% of the total cost of attendance, compared to 62% five years ago. Fifteen years ago, while Vassar was under similar financial strain, the Board of Trustees met to begin what would become a ten-year hiatus from need-blind admissions. In a 1997 article for The Miscellany News, Stephanie Bosco wrote that “The number of students needing aid has steadily increased at Vassar and other competitive colleges. According to [then-Director of Financial Aid Michael] Fraher, the reason for this increase is the ‘changing economic demographics that result in more students, in the aggregate, demonstrating greater financial need than ever before.’” The number of students in each class receiving financial aid from Vassar has grown by 12 percentage points since 2007. Nevertheless, members of the administration are cautiously optimistic. There are no plans to revoke Vassar’s need-blind policy, and the Board of Trustees went so far as to reaffirm its commitment to the program during their retreat last February. “It seems to me that every time this country gets into an economic recession, we come out of it,” said Vassar President and Professor of Economics Catharine Bond Hill, who led the school toward its return to need-blind admissions in


2007. “This one has been a little long, but I think there are signs of improvement.” For Hill, and indeed for many members of the Vassar community, the program’s contribution to socio-economic and racial diversity greatly exceed its costs. “Diversity is and has always been central to our admissions philosophy,” said Dean of Admissions David Borus. After 2007, the percentage of Vassar students whose families’ income is in the $15,000-$29,999 range doubled, and the community also saw a relative increase in the number of low-, middleand upper-middle-class students. The greatest relative drop in attendance came from students in the $105,000-and-over range who made up 32% of the Class of 2011 compared to 40% in the Class of 2010. Additionally, as Molly Turpin ’12 reported in September 2011 (“Need-blind policy in fourth year”), the growth in the tuition discount rate since 2007 can be almost perfectly juxtaposed with the growth of students of color on campus. Although it is still difficult to differentiate the relative effects of the need-blind program and the recession on this figure, it is clear that Vassar’s admissions policies are closely related to diversity in the student body. Barring another dramatic shift in the economic climate, and as signs of an improving economy continue to emerge, Vassar will continue to boast of both a need-blind admissions policy, and meet the full demonstrated need of its students, despite the troubles faced by its peers. Looking forward, the financial aid program will benefit greatly from the $400 million “World Changing” campaign, which recently announced that it had reached the $360 million mark and is on its final stretch. During years where the financial aid program is under-budget, which can occur when the Offices of Admissions and Financial Aid overestimate the number of financially-needy students who will join the Vassar community in each freshman class, the extra funding will be redistributed to benefit other parts of campus. “It has been a challenge,” said Hill. “But I think we’re doing the right thing.”


Page 8

November 1, 2012

Students revive tournament Campus food groups unite for high school debate teams on single panel to celebrate John Nguyen

Guest Reporter


o those of you who sold your soul to high school debate, get ready to relive your coffee-filled, suit-wearing, pen-flipping days. On Nov. 2 and 3, many such students will fill Vassar’s campus, as the Vassar Debate Society will be hosting the Vassar Classic, a high school debate tournament. The tournament will be run by Co-directors Alex Koren ’13 and Zack Struver ’15. Debate Society President Meg Mielke ’14 will assist. Vassar last hosted the tournament in 2005, under the direction of Jon Cruz ’05 during his senior year. Cruz is now the Director of Forensics—competitive speech and debate—at the Bronx High School of Sciences and will be coming back to help run the tournament. Struver served as an assistant debate coach at Bronx High School of Science this past summer. According to Koren, the motivations behind reviving the tournament were based on part on the team’s mission which is in part to help facilitate debate outside the Vassar community. “First, to get high-schoolers coming to Vassar again, which is really important because it’s part of our mission.” Mielke expanded on some of the benefits for Vassar debaters. “Knowing how to judge different styles of debate helps you learn about what makes a good argument,” she said. Koren further explained that a goal of the tournament was to make money for the team, and the Vassar Student Association (VSA) couldn’t cover all of its operating budget.

The VSA also awarded the organization $2,628 from the Discretionary Fund to help assist with the costs of running a local circuit tournament during the same weekend which does not charge registrations fees. The participants will compete in Lincoln Douglas (LD) Debate, Public Forum (PF) Debate, Public Policy debate, and Congressional debate. LD is a one-on-one debate which considers ethical and political proposals. PF focuses on policy issues, and Public Policy is a two-on-two debate which considers a specific policy proposal. Student Congress simulates either a Senate or House session with a wide range of bills or resolutions to consider. On the scope of the tournament, Struver also noted that “So far, almost 200 debaters from as far away as Maine have registered for the tournament.” Participants are coming from Agape Leaders Prep, Bronx Law, Brooklyn Technical and Byram Hills amongst others. All debaters are responsible for their own housing and will generally stay in local hotels. While the process has been stressful, Koren said that “It’s one of those things where you like what you do.” The Vassar Classic will be taking place on Friday, Nov. 2 through Saturday Nov. 3 in Rockefeller Hall, Kenyon Hall, Sanders Classrooms, Chicago Hall, the College Center and Main Building on campus. Some Saturday events will also be held in the Arthur S. May Elementary School. The rounds will be open to the public, and schedules will be available in the College Center this Friday.

FOOD continued from page 5

Oldehoff and Executive Director at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project Susan Grove talked about their experiences and effort promoting sustainability on campus, as well as issues surrounding the national food system. During the forum, Oldehoff said, “We have five different colors of Mountain Dew and almost 100 different options of bottled beverages; this isn’t food it’s marketing.” Hall explained that while Vassar was doing relatively well with providing local sustainable food, the greater Poughkeepsie community was still facing challenges. “Vassar is ahead of many schools in that we source close to 30% of our food from local sources, but the issues facing our broken food system are both local and national,” wrote Hall. “The community food assessment found that about 26% of households in Poughkeepsie experience some level of food insecurity.” The Forum focused on ways to put this information into activism which would help solve problems both on national and local levels. “VARC was excited to see a formalized and collaborative discussion taking place on campus about just and sustainable food,” said VARC President Rocky Schwartz ’15. “This is an issue we consistently draw attention to: through collaborating with the Health Education Office on Meatless Monday—which almost a quarter of Vassar students participate in, through the annual weeklong Vassar Veg Pledge for Earth Week, and a variety of leafleting and tabling events throughout the year.” The forum allowed the organizations to formally get together and talk about key issues. “We are aware that several other student organiza-

tions, Vassar committees, dining services, and professors think about and act on social justice food issues, but in the past have had little opportunity to collaborate,” Schwartz finished. After the general talks, students were given the chance to talk in break out sessions, “Each group came up with material and feasible ideas that we, as students, can execute to raise awareness and become more involved in the current food debate,” explained Slow Food Vice President Callie Winkeller ’14. Some topics and ideas that came into the discussion in breakout groups were ways to make local food more readily accessible to students in senior housing, methods to increase lines of communication between Vassar and the Food Project and Poughkeepsie Plenty, a local food bank, and sponsoring film screenings. The forum, then, provided a chance to put these into action. “Often times events can be fun, enjoyable and provide nice conversation but we won’t see progress unless real action is taken,” wrote Hall. She went on to explain that the goal of the forum was to create fun ways activism could take shape, by working collaboratively with other organizations. Schwartz agreed, explaining her takeaway from the forum, “The forum gave me a better sense of the diverse approaches Vassar orgs take to food activism, from educating to more handson activities. The work being done by the [PFP] was explained, as well as the struggles the college has had in incorporating local produce in the Deece and Retreat.” She finished, “I left with a sense that there has been a long history of food related activism at Vassar and that its impact continues to grow.”


College will not draw from endowment for new center SCIENCE continued from page 1

Indeed, low interest rates on potential debt help to explain why bonds were used to finance the project. Associate Vice President and Director of Investments Stephen Dahnert explained why issuing bonds was a more attractive method of financing then drawing on the endowment. “Debt is more cost-effective in the current environment, with interest rates on debt that are well below what we expect to earn on the endowment over the long term,” he wrote in an emailed statement. According to Vassar and the Economy, a website published by the college which gives statistics on the College’s finances, the endowment has earned an average of 9.7 percent return annually over the last 20 years. In the last 10 years, which have been a great deal more volatile, the return has been 7.2 percent annually. This suggests that the interest rates paid on the bonds will likely be less than return on the endowment even considering inflation. In addition to the economic reasons for not drawing on the endowment for the science center, legal and ethical concerns are also at play. “Also, the endowment is not meant to be drawn down in this way as it provides perpetual support for the operation of the College,” Dahnert explained. “Most funds in the endowment were given by donors for specific purposes, such as scholarships or Library support, and in fact could not be allocated to the science initiative,” said Dahnert. He continued, “We have been planning for debt in support of the sciences for some time and have built debt service costs into our longrange budget forecasts.” While the costs of issuing debt have been factored into the budget of the College, it is not without effect. Namely, the issuing of bonds will have a slight negative effect on Vassar’s credit rating. “Organizations (private corporations or not-for-profit organizations like Vassar) are assigned credit ratings based on their overall

strength (financial, organizational, and operational) when they borrow through the capital markets,” wrote Eismeier. “Vassar is currently rated Aa2 by Moody’s and AA by Standard & Poor’s. We will go through a credit review with both organizations before we issue additional debt—a normal process. We also provide annual updates and have just done that with S&P.” “I would say that Vassar’s credit rating may be revised to Aa3 by Moody’s (the rating the College had prior to 2000) and we may well lose a notch in S&P as well,” she explained. “However, the effect of lowering the credit rating serves primarily to increase the interest rate on the debt by 10 or 15 basis points,” wrote Eismeier. Basis points are the numbers located to the left of the decimal point. She explained this change in credit rating was considered in long term finances of the institution. “The investment in new and renovated space for Vassar’s outstanding science programs is seen as a very important strategic initiative that warrants the additional cost of financing.” The decision for a college to finance expansion through issuing bonds is not unprecedented. Amherst College, Dickinson College, Williams College, University of Maryland College Park and Loyola University are examples of other institutions who have taken advantage of tax-exempt bond financing. The part of the debt not cover by the bonds will come from donations. “Fundraising for the science facilities plan has exceeded $40 million in gifts and pledges toward the total project cost, but with special interest in the new facilities. (This project includes new construction plus major renovations to three existing buildings, and extensive infrastructure and site development),” said Eismeier. “Fundraising will continue, and the final amount raised will serve to reduce the amount we may need to borrow sometime later in 2013. We do not expect the size of the bond issue to be fixed until sometime next spring.”

Sign up for... World’s Got Talent

Can you sing, dance, juggle with one hand? Then sign up by emailing with your name, type/name of act, and Country you represent. Group and individual acts are all welcome!

Dessert Cook-Off

If you make a sweet dish that is to die for then email by Nov. 11 with details about each dessert - name of chef(s) and the country or region of origin of the dessert. Prepare enough dessert for 8-12 people. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and a People’s Choice Award.

World Cup

To register, email with your name (for ping pong) or team members names (for soccer) and the region you would like to represent by November 14! And Don’t Miss..... Kaleidoscope Wednesday, Nov 14 UPC, 5-8pm All you can eat for $8 in advance, $10 at the door Come celebrate the wonderful diversity at Vassar! Sponsored by VISA and OIS



November 1, 2012

Page 9


Board of Trustees must become more open to student input


ver October Break the Board of Trustees convened for three days to discuss major renovation and construction plans for the College, as well as criteria for approval of Junior Year Abroad (JYA) applications and the bookstore’s potential move off campus. The board includes nearly three-dozen voting members, comprised of Vassar Alumnae/i who have made considerable financial contributions to the college. Two observers also sit in on the meeting—Jason Rubin, president of the Vassar Student Association (VSA) and Jon Chenette, Dean of the Faculty—though neither holds a vote in the decision-making process. We at The Miscellany News feel that this hierarchical structure, as well as the confidential nature of the board meetings, indicates a disjuncture between the administration and the current student population. As a governing body with such sway over the financial, academic and administrative affairs of the College, it is critical that a two-way, not one-way, street exists between students and the Board of Trustees. We should be informed of the issues on the table, and our opinions should be solicited and taken seriously. We also advocate a more expedient distribution of information from the Board of Trustees meeting to students. Although we understand that many of the issues tackled during the Board meetings must be kept confidential—such as the College’s financial situation—the Board can more proactively involve the student perspective. At the very least, students should be informed of when the meetings are taking place and which issues will be discussed. The VSA President’s role as observer is certainly one step in the right direction; however, we think this position

could facilitate more of a dialogue between the Board of Trustees and students. We also acknowledge that many of the decisions made by the Board concern plans that will not affect current students, as huge decisions must be planned for years in advance. But, even as a symbolic gesture, it is important to engage students in the issues that will influence Vassar in the future. To keep the internal structure as well as discussions of the Board of Trustees completely confidential disempowers students and reinforces an “us” versus “them” mentality. Before going into the meetings, the VSA President could be given the responsibility to send out an email addressing the wider student population, asking and soliciting our views on some of the major issues. Concerning topics like JYA, an experience so important to current and future students, enlisting a perspective broader than that of Board members alone would be productive, especially considering JYA has grown so much due to student interest. VSA Council meetings might also act as an appropriate forum to involve students in the decision-making process. The VSA President could use this space to bring up some of the key topics on the agenda for the trustees, and then open the floor to student concerns or suggestions. This would not only make the Board of Trustees meetings more inclusive of students’ views, but would also help incorporate a more diverse range of perspectives. Without a back-and-forth between the VSA President and the wider student population, the student observer position exists within a vacuum, devoid of any collective student representation. As far as the structure of the Board of Trustees, students have no idea how members are

chosen, nor how the meetings are organized or how decisions are made. We are left wondering whose votes carry the most weight, what type of voting majority is needed to uphold a proposal, and what factors are taken into consideration when debating a major change. An explanation of the logistical functioning of the Board through a public document or campus-wide email would create a meaningful bridge between the administration and students and build more trust and foment transparency between the two groups. We propose a more democratic approach to these meetings, one where there is a concerted effort to inform students about the conversations of the Board of Trustees. Without knowledge of the governing structure of a group that holds such power over the College’s current and future trajectory, students remain disconnected from major decisions of the administration and in turn feel as though their views are deemed unworthy of inclusion. Looking to some of our peer institutions highlights the implications of such closed Board meetings. On September 23, 2012 Wesleyan University held its annual Board of Trustees meeting to discuss need-blind admission to the school. A coalition of 40 students occupied the meeting in peaceful protest of student exclusion from such high stakes decisions, holding a sign reading, “Bring us into the Conversation.” We echo this sentiment wholeheartedly, and fear that a topic as important as need-blind admission could one day be on the agenda of Vassar’s Board of Trustees meeting without our knowledge. During the 2008 Board of Trustees meeting at Dartmouth College, the Board not only met over lunch for a discussion with student-ath-

Obama win would rebuke selfish politics Jack Mullan

Guest Columnist


remember 2008. We young people were all seized by an odd sensation, a feeling that something historic was happening—something that we had best not fail to witness and, more importantly, participate in. There was a compelling obligation to get involved, as if we were risking our future by abstaining from political action. Those were the days when our education took place at the Electoral College, and flip-flops meant something more than just footwear. Talking points were our currency, and campaign banners and scripts the weaponry with which we would fight. We were invested in a political battle back then, because we understood the gravity of the war we were facing. These days, in my capacity as a political organizer, I find that the cavalry on the campaign trail has been trimmed and our weapons blunted. The unbridled passion that had consumed many of my colleagues has, for the most part, escaped us today. Words of optimism and hope fizzle out upon greeting the ears of jaded citizens. The pristine landscape of change we had all been led to envisage four years ago was soon sullied by those familiar clouds of doubt. Even those once-adored Shepard Fairey “HOPE” posters have been swiftly discarded as depressing effigies of a lost leader. What was supposed to be usher in a new era of progress turned out to be an ephemeral moment of fantasy. During the many conversations that I’ve had during my time campaigning for President Obama’s re-election, perhaps the most common sentiment I hear from people is disappointment. It seems that we remain eternally mired in economic anemia and the divisiveness of our political culture has only coarsened during his tenure in office. Obama duped us into thinking that this could change—he’s a politician, and he was merely capitalizing on our naïve anticipation of a brighter future. This disappointment stems from a more general disposition toward cynicism in our politics, and it is a sincere and justifiable urge. In fact, I find it pretty reasonable to harbor pessimism when it comes to assessing the last-

ing value and impact that one individual—or even one election—can have on our lives. But political and social progress is never a straight line. Change engenders blowbacks and concessions, and it requires time in order to be institutionalized. Long-term progress is exactly what it sounds like: long-term. In voting to re-elect President Obama this Tuesday, I am advancing what I hope—indeed, I hope—will be the enduring legacy of his tenure. This legacy constitutes a number of monumental policy endeavors, like the health care reform bill and civil rights breakthroughs, but it also represents, to me, a more lasting imprint on our general policy. My vote is more saliently a repudiation of the degenerate, dissonant, extremist state of the president’s opposition—the Republican Party. Since practically day one of President Obama’s tenure, the GOP has devoted itself, in staunch unison, to the obstinate rejection of anything remotely beneficial to this president’s cause. They have assailed a stimulus bill that comprised one of the largest tax cuts in history; they frantically protested “Obamacare,” which happened to be Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s plan for national reform before he distanced himself from it; and one of their party leaders, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, explicitly declared that the “single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” This is pure political calculus preceding any conscious notion of what benefits the rest of the nation. These are the expected reflexes of a party that is averse to change, but it doesn’t have to be this way. A victory for Republicans this election would validate this destructive philosophy of brinksmanship politics—and I have no doubts that Democrats would pursue this strategy with similar abandon; but defeating the GOP would send a profound message to both parties about the risks of continuing these self-interested tactics. President Obama is the agent we need to facilitate this change— he has proven to be conciliatory, sometimes even too compromising, in reaching for bipartisan consensus, and has extended himself to great lengths to accommodate disparate interests. Of course, there are a number of discour-

“In voting to re-elect President Obama this Tuesday, I am advancing what I hope...will be the enduring legacy of his tenure.” JaCK muLLan ’14 aging elements of the Obama presidency, from his unconscionable record on civil liberties to his waffling on climate change and immigration. But in pushing for progress in these areas we must, in addition to pressing the president, address his enemies in Congress; we must deny those who have blindly opposed progress the opportunity to retain power. The restoration of their power ennobles the conquest of division and opposition, and will only worsen our polarized climate. In their official presidential endorsement, The New York Times wrote, “It is to the interest of the Nation that the Republican Party should be preserved as an organized, coherent opposition. The public welfare is not preserved by the collapse of a great party, by the rise of discordant factions in place of a compact organization.” That editorial was actually penned one hundred years ago, in 1912, when a radicalized conservative party had alienated credible members like Teddy Roosevelt and resulted in a systemic restructuring of the party while cementing a progressive legacy for President Woodrow Wilson. A century later and these words seem all too familiar. Let’s pray that history repeats itself during an Obama second term. It would be change I can believe in. —Jack Mullan ’14 is a Political Science major. He is a member of the Vassar Democrats.


letes, but also participated in a public forum hosted by the Dartmouth Student Assembly. This exchange between the Board and students is a perfect example of how Vassar could more actively involve the student population in Board of Trustee dealings. A conversation with at least a few members of the Board would give us the opportunity to ask questions in a public setting and put faces to the names of a seemingly mysterious group that determines so much of the College’s fate, while educating students about what they do. Vassar may pride itself on creating a sense of transparency between the administration and the student population, but falls short on the annual Board of Trustees meeting. We would like to see a greater effort on the part of the administration and student observer to inform and question students about the issues on the table at the meetings, whether that be through online polling, open forums, or detailed press releases. In addition, we ask that the functioning governance of the board be explained to the students, including how members are chosen and how votes are tallied. Finally, we would appreciate some sort of conversation between members of the board and Vassar students so that questions and concerns might be voiced in an uncensored, straightforward nature. Without these proactive measures, students will continue to feel completely excluded from the organization and mission of the Board of Trustees, a group meant to represent the best interests of the entire college community. —The Staff Editorial represents the opinion of at least two-thirds of the 14 member Editorial Board of The Miscellany News.

Aging nuclear reactor defies common sense Hannah Blume senioR editoR


his week, Hurricane Sandy reminded the east coast of a timeless piece of wisdom: you can’t mess with nature. As officials prepared for the storm, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) ordered the temporary closure of Indian Point Nuclear Plant, located near Peekskill, 30 miles south of Poughkeepsie and 35 miles north of New York City. The plant’s two reactors have been a major source of power for New York City and Westchester County since they first began operation in 1962, and currently supply New York City with 30 percent of its current energy. In the wake of Sandy, I would like to propose another obvious insight. That is that having a 2,000-megawatt aging nuclear reactor in the immediate radius of the largest metropolitan area in the country is a really bad idea. Even scarier, two of New York’s most prominent politicians US Congresswoman Nan Hayworth and US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand have accepted significant campaign donations from the Entergy, the company that runs the plant. These contributions come as Entergy has filed for a twenty-year extension on the 40-year-old reactor’s license, which is set to expire next year. “As long as the operation is meticulously safe, I’m all for it,” said Hayworth about the plant in an interview with The Journal News. “It has been a good neighbor.” Hayworth accepted $9,000 from the company, just short of the $10,000 legal limit for Super PAC donations. Gillibrand received $6,000, the most out of any Senate campaign from the company. But opponents, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have warned of imminent danger, and have called for the plant’s closure. But these calls are not new. In 2003, NY Governor George E. Petaki commissioned a 256-page report analyzing possible evacuation plans, See REACTOR on page 11


Page 10

November 1, 2012

Vassarions must critically Vassar’s Internet too slow examine their experiences for our high-speed world Erin Boss

Guest Columnist


axi drivers like Marist students better.” So began a casual conversation between a few friends. Sometimes I can’t understand how that would be true when I see the remarkable aspects of campus, the incredible ability of student campaigns to evoke real change, the many friendly, beautiful interactions on a daily basis. Yet, conversations still arise about the stereotype Poughkeepsie residents have of Vassar students as privileged, snobby and elitist. The “Vassar Bubble” is a very real idea—that Vassar and Poughkeepsie are separate places, and we live at Vassar, not necessarily in Poughkeepsie. “Vassholes.” I hate that word. It is upsetting that it exists, that it portrays Vassar students as all of the above—privileged, snobby elitists who live in but are not a part of Poughkeepsie; that we have somehow put ourselves above the people we coexist with because we attend a small, expensive college that accepts fewer than a quarter of its applicants. When I was accepted to Vassar, I will always remember what my dad said to me: “Welcome to the educated elite.” It wasn’t a mean comment—it was just an observation he made. According to 2010 U.S. census statistics, 28 percent of U.S. citizens over the age of 25 had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher. Already, each of us is on track to join this minority. Beyond that, we’re also at a small school now ranked among the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the country, an opportunity that few of the 28 percent have. These statistics should lead us to ask: Because we’re at Vassar, are we inherent Vassholes. Our experiences in four years at Vassar may be different from many Americans’, but they are not inherently superior. This summer, I visited a community college in my home state, Arkansas. At a point during the tour of the workforce training center, I realized that the students currently working towards associate’s degrees were gaining a type of knowledge I will probably never touch. I will never know how to successfully install an air conditioning unit in a house—the intricacies of working with multiple household utilities and monitoring the pressure in each room will forever remain a mystery to me. I will proba-

bly never know the intensity of working forty hours a week of manual labor, or anything about chauffeuring college students around town in a yellow cab.

“Our experiences in four years at Vassar may be different from many Americans, but they are not inherently superior.” Erin Boss ’16 I guess I can write an essay contrasting the works of Roman poets, but it doesn’t make me more impressive. It’s simply a different ability. We have to check ourselves—check our privilege, our sense of entitlement, our idea of intellectual superiority. We have four years in the Vassar Bubble, where it’s easy to feel distant from responsibility. Someone else will clean up my mess. Someone else will fix our reputation. Someone else can negotiate relations with the Town and City of Poughkeepsie. Someone else. But no one is going to slap us on the wrist when we act like spoiled children. Our parents are not here to tell us not to shove and fight when we board the Saturday shuttle to the Galleria. There are no omnipresent PC police who correct us when we complain about Poughkeepsie being dirty, gross, or ugly. There is no Jiminy Cricket-like conscience who can give us pause before we scribble hateful, violent language on communal property. And so we persist in these and various other behaviors of entitlement and elitism. But it is not someone else’s job to reprimand us. Arguably the most important ability we take away from Vassar is the power of critical thinking. Perhaps we should apply that to the image we have created for ourselves and decide whether it’s the way we want to be seen. —Erin Boss ’16 is a student at Vassar College. She is a representative on the Judicial Board.

Josh Sherman Columnist


t certainly goes without saying that Vassar College is a campus that provides bar-none service and resources to the students, and has done so since its inception 150 years ago. Since its establishment, Vassar has been a college designed to be all-inclusive in its services and resources for its students, echoed by the words of Matthew Vassar in his speech to its first trustees. And while we are so accessible, we also, like any college, have our faults. While there are some things we may disagree on as taking priority to improve on our campus, such as the variety of our dining options, one thing that is imperative from the perspective of academic feasibility and student comfort is our Internet accessibility and the increased bandwidth we desperately need. Vassar is a forward-minded institution, which is not only evident in its historical actions, but also in its recent choices. The Board of Trustees’ approval of a $120 million science facility reflects the growing need for both campus-wide and worldwide science initiatives, and helps to bring Vassar to the bleeding edge of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) developments across the world. While the Trustees approved this building, our most essential resource—Internet access—continues to provide mediocre performance. Our access, capped off at a mere 600 Mbit connection, echoes how backward our Internet access is becoming, and fails to address the constant demand students have for rich media content, giving high-speed access when it matters most. As essential as Internet is for a campus in the 21st century, there is a fine line between students, faculty and administrators between what is fair usage and unfair usage. At Vassar, the 600 Mbit connection supplied by Computing and Information Services (CIS) is, in its own right, certainly a significant amount of bandwidth. However, it doesn’t hold much weight when being used by more than 3,000 students and faculty, all competing for faster speeds. Like any pipeline, Vassar CIS realizes this is a finite amount of bandwidth for a supremely large number of students. To combat this usage issue, CIS places a 3 Mbit

connection cap on all individuals, which gives each Internet-capable device connected to the WiFi or ethernet network its own metered speed, meaning you can only use a small fraction of the total bandwidth available on campus, even when we’re well below our usage limits. To combat usage issues, there is also a cap in place during class hours to prioritize bandwidth to faculty, further reducing the speed to which students have access. As most of us during the recent house lockdown have seen, the bandwidth limits we have can really bog down performance when it matters most. Is that PDF from an academic journal loading really slowly? Is that 10 megabyte audio file taking forever to download? Is Netflix giving you trouble? A 3 Mbit connection, at peak downloading speed, can only connect at around 300 kilobytes per second of information. This means that a 100 megabyte file from Dropbox will take around five or six minutes to download at peak efficiency, which isn’t horrible (though it’d take a fraction of that time on your home Internet). The problem is that we share this connection among all members of the community, so things slow down quickly. Don’t believe me? CIS has its own network traffic chart, and one can see how almost daily we easily max out on our network usage at peak hours. Furthermore, as much as we use small files, we also use large files. A high definition video can weigh in around four to five gigabytes and take all night to download at current speeds. High definition video on campus is no luxury in the Internet world; it’s a regular commodity. It is an insult that our College can’t effectively give access to regular, high-quality content. Let’s face it—we are not at dial-up speeds, but if Vassar wants to remain a competitive college among the Seven Sisters and beyond, it should invest more heavily in the most widely used resource by students, faculty and administrators. Whether that means two separate lines for students and faculty, or a wider connection, the fact remains that Vassar is falling short, and it needs to change. —Josh Sherman ’16 is a student at Vassar College.

Country must resolve ambiguities in discourse of fate Lane Kisonak

Opinions Editor


t is a truth universally acknowledged that a politician (or reporter, or pundit, or blogger) must not politicize a tragedy. However little-known the feelings or views of such a person may be upon witnessing this Act of God, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the mainstream media, that he is considered an opportunist for establishing connections between the effects of an event on a great number of people, and its impact on a cause he finds important. This dynamic has framed our collective responses to disasters ranging from the 2011 shootings in Tucson, AZ to the more recent killing of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, in Benghazi, Libya. As I have written about before (“In DNC speech, Obama avoids hard truths”, 09.13.12), this response effectively put a lid on formulating a broad agenda to reverse climate change after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. One thing that all these events have in common is that they were caused by the actions of people—whether it was a psychotic gunman or a group of terrorists taking innocent lives, or the leaders of a multinational oil firm cutting costs at the expense of occupational and environmental safety. Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, as obvious as it sounds, come out of the blue. Many of us call them Acts of God because we can conjure no more consolatory or succinct explanation for them. It may be that, on some subconscious level, Americans equate nature with God (or some other higher power). Perhaps we

believe as a consequence that the natural forces that produce and direct storms like Sandy are beyond our comprehension. Perhaps we also jump to the conclusion that we are powerless to prevent them from happening. If we follow this logic, the public distaste for prophesying the electoral impact of disasters—the reduction of unexpected devastation in Hoboken, N.J. to the ground game in Columbus, Ohio—makes sense. The question remains, though, why we remain so averse to weighing the consequences of a Sandy, a Tucson, or an Aurora, for issues of public policy. For certain issues, including women’s reproductive rights, politicians have conferred upon the Act of God a different meaning entirely. “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape,” said Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana at a debate on Oct. 23, “that is something that God intended to happen.” Mourdock’s callous declaration flips the Act of God on its head. Although this sorry excuse for a candidate was rightly and roundly scorned by most observers, Mourdock made it clear that Acts of God can indeed be mobilized for political causes—in this case, the conservative quest to deny access to safe and legal abortions. By their nature, events like rape are experienced by individuals. A voter simply watching television may not consider the abstract possibility that the policies in concern might someday attain relevance in their own lives. In this way, through Mourdock’s words—as well as those of others like Reps. Joe Walsh and Todd Akin— the power of the Act of God is reinforced in the

domain of individual fate. Hurricane Sandy, meanwhile, has spent the week setting records. It was officially designated the largest storm ever to form in the Atlantic Ocean. The pressure of the storm when it passed Cape Hatteras, N.C. was the lowest ever recorded, signaling high intensity. Having gained much of its remarkable strength through unseasonably warm waters—a potential sign of climate change in action—Sandy has caused flooding, building collapses, property damage, and massive power outages in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and other states, and resulted in a death toll in the dozens. Some commentators, from Foreign Policy to The New Yorker, are now suggesting that in Sandy’s wake there could appear a real discussion of climate change . If such a sustained dialogue actually emerges, it may only be because Sandy, after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, was the second tropical system in two years to hit the Northeast. But the same wishful thinking cropped up after Washington, D.C.’s freak summer derecho and Colorado’s wave of wildfires. When did a climate change come up after that? Certainly not during October’s debates. Who would have sparked such a discussion in earnest? The evidence shows that media speculation on the discussion itself is not sufficient to actually start it. So it appears that, of the foremost opinion-makers remaining, it falls to our political leaders to take the first brave steps and devote time and energy to spreading word that the Acts of God that have caused harm to people in the United States and the world are in fact, not only tied to the acts of


man, but also to the policies that structure our actions and relations with each other. If the President or members of Congress brought climate change to the bully pulpit, Americans could internalize the fact that these disasters can be made less likely to happen in the future if we take swift and decisive action. But our political leaders have repeatedly failed to do this. They calculated that costs were too great. Why, I must ask, would they do revise their math after Sandy? Our condition as a nation seems to be diagnosable as a collective dissonance surrounding what an Act of God actually is. On one hand some of our most powerful politicians (Democrats among them) have benefited from the concept as a way of abdicating power and muting the personal significance of collective problems whose solutions require undesirable commitments. On the other hand, in pursuit of reactionary agendas, Republicans wield it as a cudgel to deny the collective significance of deeply personal problems. These two clashing conceptions of fate and responsibility, which I discuss here in terms of Acts of God but certainly manifest in countless other forms of discussion, render visible progress on issues like climate change, gun control, and reproductive rights next to impossible. The first step in solving a problem is to talk about it. But it is first necessary to understand what we’re talking about. —Lane Kisonak ’13 is a Political Science major. He is the Opinions Editor of The Miscellany News.

November 1, 2012


Page 11

Rights impact U.S. ideas of personhood Katie Sullivan

Guest Columnist


s the 2012 election season draws to a close, it is crucial that we take this opportunity to consider how the concept of personhood manifests in the context of politics and elections. This framework has the potential to reshape political elections in the United States, and to open up avenues to change necessary to realize progress in the face of problems that the present system is not currently equipped to address. Current “personhood” discourse largely revolves around the subjects of corporate personhood and fetal personhood. Both of these fairly recent developments in conservative ideology are enormously problematic, not least because the widespread use of these ideas inflicts, or has the potential to inflict, actual harm on living, breathing human beings. Personhood in this context implies granting various rights, privileges, and individuality to corporations, which are not people (despite what Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney might believe). It also extends them to fetuses, despite the substantial scientific evidence that has refuted fetal personhood. In the meantime, owners of corporations use the power granted them by the acceptance of corporate personhood to manipulate elections and policy-making to their advantage, and fetal personhood initiatives threaten the autonomy and safety of women. The rhetoric used to promote fetal personhood, meanwhile (everything from “life begins at the moment of conception” to “legitimate rape”), creates an environment that has become increasingly hostile to women, autonomy, and consent. Conversely, as rights, privileges, and individual dignity are assigned to non-human entities, they continue to elude people who have historically existed on the margins of full personhood. The Founding Fathers de-

termined that a slave should be considered three-fifths of a person, and that only white men of property or wealth were eligible to vote; they were hardly exemplars of inclusion and universal dignity. Although the Constitution has been amended and laws passed to create an ostensibly non-discriminatory political system, I would argue that marginalized groups have never obtained full personhood in the United States. If we consider personhood to comprise full autonomy, dignity, accessible rights, participation in society, and recognition as a person, why should the concept not be applied to the aforementioned marginalized groups? Women are people; we should not tolerate losing personal autonomy and the rights that give people a shot at a reasonable standard of living—such as wage equality, access to reproductive health care, and a reauthorized Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)—in recurrent legislative battles. Given that those living in poverty are also people, Gov. Romney should be challenged in his belief that in the richest country in the world, people are not entitled to food and housing. Immigrants residing in the United States without documentation are human beings, not “illegals.” People of color in America almost universally receive poorer educations, have lower incomes and career opportunities, and experience more harassment and violence. Citizens have the right to vote, and should not have to struggle against voter suppression measures in order to meaningfully participate. Incarcerated people qualify as people too; therefore, when a devastating hurricane such as Sandy hits New York and the areas surrounding Riker’s Island are being evacuated, the people in the detention center there should be brought to safety as well. The subject of how urgently the penal code, rife with discriminatory policies, needs to be reviewed is beyond the scope of this article, but it must

be asked why these issues are not being addressed within the discourse of personhood. Reconfiguring the personhood discourse to use as a tool to demand rights, participation, dignity, and autonomy could unlock potentially radical power. The political denial of these fundamental rights could serve as a consciousness-raising mechanism, inspiring all individuals being who are denied their rights to refuse such treatment. This possibility becomes interesting in the context of an election, because of the reality of the representative body of government deviates so drastically from what honest representation would look like. For this election, there remains little recourse; too many of the candidates on the ballots are not good enough, and we will live with the winners for the next few years. But what of the next election? Is it possible that we can rouse one another to draw a line in the sand and declare that our rights must be returned to us? Can we remove ourselves enough to take a step back and become cognizant of how absurdly irrational and dysfunctional our political system has become? May we then return with realistic and progressive visions of what we deserve, and of what we could accomplish with our personhood fully realized? There has emerged a fundamental connection between the functionality of the political system and the degree to which the personhood of each individual is recognized. The current political and social climate, in which autonomy, dignity, participation, and rights are denied, has reached a breaking point; if Americans can realize that and capitalize on it, the next generation can begin to shape the future and create a society where true, human personhood is vehemently guarded.

If you ran for president, what would you name your political party?

“The Petunia Brigade.”

—Claire Grosel ’14

“The I’m Already Running for Re-election Party.”

— Justin Saret ’15

“The Everyone Should Go Hiking Party.”

—Katie Sullivan ’13 is a Political Science major and Latin American Studies correlate.


Politics subordinates NY’s safety

—Sidra Tareen ’13

REACTOR continued from page 9

should nuclear materials leak from the Indian Point plant. The study, conducted by James Lee Witt, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, predicted devastating consequences for the eight million residents of New York City. Among its conclusions, Witt deemed an evacuation of the city impossible. “It is our conclusion that current radiological response system and capabilities are not adequate to overcome their combined weight and protect the people from an unacceptable dose of radiation in the event of a release from Indian Point.” Given Indian Point’s history of accidents—with leaks of radioactive steam and water and two fires since 2007—these critics have reasonable cause for alarm. The New York Daily News revealed last year that Indian Point lacks basic firefighting apparatus such as sprinklers and automatic deluge water sprays for 72 percent of the plant. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told The Daily News, “Indian Point’s ongoing failure to comply with federal fire safety requirements is both reckless and unacceptable.” In recent years, “common sense” has become an increasingly popular trope for political campaigns. But politicians continuing to advocate on behalf of the Indian Point nuclear plant’s interests truly shows the absurdity of our political system. The decision on Indian Point should be a simple one. As Bob Dylan writes in “Subterranean Homesick Blues”: “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.”

“Goon Squad.”

—Sean Ferguson ’15

“The Be Nice and Think Ticket.”

—Sarah Yanuck ’15

“The Maians... because it’s spelled like my name.”

—Maia McCabe ’15 —Katie de Heras, Photo Editor Jean-Luc Bouchard, Humor & Satire

—Hannah Blume ’13 is the Senior Editor of The Miscellany News.



Page 12

November 1, 2012

Students strive for easy A’s, brag about cutting corners Lony Leung

Guest Columnist


ren’t we all familiar with the feelings that go through our minds when a professor announces they have a paper to give back? For some, there may be faint memories of late nights typing furiously­—or of just staring back at the bare documents in front of us. Others may feel a sense of dread at not having worked harder on the paper, a dread that has been pushed aside since its due date and reawakened. Some may also look forward to getting the grade back, in anticipation for the feedback that professors may have for what they feel was a job well done. I find that I always get anxious until I remind myself that there is nothing that can be done to affect my grade, in order to dissolve the worrying that threatens to overtake my thoughts. The “it-is-what-it-is” mindset forces me to come to terms with the grade I eventually get, and to avoid the classic “If I had done that, then maybe…” train of thought that torments me long after receiving my grade. But it never completely alleviates the burning sense of shame I feel when I get a lower grade than I anticipated. Still worse, however, is the inflated and momentarily insuppressible pride I feel when I receive an undeserved A. This is because, behind that A, all the flaws of my paper—the inconsistencies, the areas lacking in thorough development and clarity, the awkward sentences—all of which seemed to have escaped the professor’s notice, are hidden. Even when spotted, they are often deemed inconsequential in terms of the overall development and structure of the essay. The pride that immediately fills me upon seeing the A results from pleasant relief—relief from any further fretting about my performance prospects in the course. There is also the almost inevitable sense of pride that derives from the thought of getting an A without full effort—and even more so the pride of

appearing smart enough, of having written an eloquent paper that merits the A. I have convinced my professor—on however insecure and incompetent a basis—that I am intelligent! And I didn’t even have to work that hard to pull it off! Soon, this boiling pride sizzles and evaporates, and is replaced with shame as I realize that I have not fooled my professor—I have fooled myself. After that fleeting moment of proud contentment with my undeserved grade, I realize that I have failed to uphold an honest work ethic—one that involves working to reach a better understanding of class material, and also my satisfaction with the product, as end goals. The process of creation is one that takes time—significant time for constant reflection and refinement. The deadline for work limits the amount of time we have to ensure the quality of an end product, but it does not dictate how productively we will use our time to create it. Ideally, the end product should reflect our best effort, the culmination of a learning process within a specified time frame. But usually, the work I turn in—and with confidence I can say the same about the work of many of my peers—is a poor reflection of how much we have challenged our intellectual limits to create something of real substance. Unfortunately, I think it is this same, unmotivated approach to work, and a fixation on receiving high grades that may or may not reflect its quality—that exists, and in fact, is promoted throughout college student culture. Good grades are of course good, but aren’t they even better when they come easy? This is precisely the intellectual image that college students try to construct for themselves to their peers, because taking the shorter route, putting in less effort but receiving disproportionately high grades, seems to be the more glamorous road to performing well. Students plan all-nighters to complete work that they could have gotten

a start on weeks before. Recently, one of my friends complained about how she slept for sixteen hours straight after her all-nighter. She professed her subsequent embarrassment in how poorly she handled a night without sleep, because this was a skill that college students were supposed to master. But for those of us who can speak from experience, how productive are these all-nighters?

“This boiling pride sizzles and evaporates, and is replaced with shame as I realize that I have not fooled my professor—I have fooled myself.” Lony Leung ’15 Are we really as good at fighting exhaustion—and creating something in the lack of mental and physical energy during the late hours of night—as we make ourselves out to be? Why should we put ourselves in a situation that necessitates cheating our bodies this way in the first place, and why show it off as an honorable feat? I can recall numerous instances when, complaining about the overwhelming amount of work I have to complete, I receive a reassuring response from a friend, something along the lines of: “Don’t worry, there was this one time when I totally wrote an eight-page paper two hours before it was due. And I still got an

A-.” Stories like these exist in variant strains, and many contain an element of adventure that adds fun to work, and appeals to students’ excessively high estimations of their working capabilities. But when have we been just as eager to share grades we have gotten that were less than ideal—grades that, although poor, were a direct reflection of inadequate effort, a result of not allowing enough time to work on assigned projects? The virtue of a lackadaisical work ethic is emphasized in the media as well. College students, typically portrayed as wild hooligans who crash on the weekends, somehow get by at the end of the day in these same representations. What about those lazy college student memes all over the Internet? “Due today, do today,” “Class reading? No homework,” “Professor says you cannot start this assignment the day before: Challenge accepted.” These sayings probably sound familiar. At one point, they were new threads disseminated on Facebook, lauded for their humor. But they have been embraced more for their supposed accuracy in capturing the lazy mindsets of college students. And their appeal, much like the fun stories students that share amongst themselves, lies in the portrayal of work as a means of cheating the educational system and doing it with flying colors. Working around the pillars of academic integrity, and getting away with it, seems to be a route that is more desirable than the alternative, which entails honestly and slowly working on an assignment that one cares about. Or at least it is the route that students claim to take. Whether or not students secretly adhere to such unmotivated studying and working habits, we cannot know, but certainly such habits should not be idealized and adopted if we are trying to learn something valuable from the work we do. —Lony Leung ’15 is a student at Vassar College.

The Miscellany Crossword by Jack Mullan, Crossword Editor The Code of Hammurabeye ACROSS

1 Ocean movements from down under: Abbr. 5 Battle of ___ Jima 8 Remote control button 11 Elite arms force 12 Trauma victims’ center 13 Vassar house with a circle 15 A hand, to Pedro 16 High Muslim rank 18 Advil competitor 19 1934 novel about a Roman Emporer 22 Dead heat 23 Kenan’s companion 24 A black or grizzly, to Diego 25 Commercial television channel 26 “Easy as ___” 29 Frequent brunch plate 31 “So what ___ is new?” 33 Name for Dreyer’s ice

cream 34 2010 Apple product 37 Open 40 Ombudsman Beck 42 Word accompanying neither 43 Video Sharing Software system 44 Former pitcher Aaron 45 Scandinavian furniture giant 47 Tear 48 Someone to look up to 50 Take a break from standing 51 Giddy cry 52 Danish sports club: Abbr. 54 Harrison Ford’s “Solo” role 56 Lice egg 58 Enzyme’s suffix 59 Hammurabi’s rule... and a hint to this puz-

Answers to last week’s puzzle

zle’s theme 65 More crafty 67 Roof edge 68 Soon, for Cummings 69 Black tea 70 Sudanese city 71 Passionate about 72 Title for Schumer and co. 73 ___ Taylor; Women’s clothing 74 “___ Wolf”

35 Eighteenth-century author of “The Raven” 36 Noah’s modes of transportation 38 A friend of Pierre’s 39 The status of a green banana

41 Simpsons neighbor Flanders 43 Many a BBQ site 45 Zeal 46 German’s reassuring words 49 Chicago airport


1 “For ___, with Love and Squalor” 2 Not here 3 Helps an old lady cross the street? 4 What the “S” stands for in NYSE 5 “In a perfect world...” 6 Bygone bank now part of Chase 7 Roman poet who wrote “Metamorphoses” 8 Syllable following “fa” 9 Classic 1947 detective novel 10 Jeans brand 13 Sinus−related 14 Already−___ 17 Brazil’s second largest city 20 MMA fighter Chris 21 Manipulated 26 Scrabble pieces 27 Inactive 28 Bygone political slogan 30 Comic creator Henson 32 “My Gal __”


52 Metal fastener 53 The British __ 55 Word following a maiden name 57 Attribute 60 Rebecca Wells’ “Sisterhood”

61 On par 62 Frank with a diary 63 Post-it 64 Privy to 66 Ages and ages

November 1, 2012


Page 13


Breaking News

From the desk of Jean-Luc Bouchard, Humor & Satire Editor

Administration emails college gushing to students that they will “always be in our hearts and minds, babe. <3” Intrepid hero charts new Introducing this season’s arworld past Raymond Ave ray of classy Vassar cocktails Jean-Luc Bouchard

Humor & Satire Editor


xplorers. We read about them in our history textbooks. We use their names for our rivers, mountains, and continents. But did you know that one of them walks among us? Last Friday, intrepid sophomore Felix Malone did the unthinkable—he traveled past Sushi Village. Dozens of students and members of the Vassar staff and faculty united late Friday afternoon near North Lot to welcome back the weary traveler, who had spent an estimated forty minutes exploring the harsh wilderness. Bearded, sleep-deprived, and shivering under thin layers of tattered clothes, Malone staggered into the arms of adoring students, smiling weakly and triumphantly holding up a moleskin notebook labeled “Exploration Log.” When asked for a comment of the new world he had seen, a fatigued Malone gasped, “There’s a magical, golden city out there. A Golden City! There’s a Taco Bell, a Rite Aid… my God, there’s even a record store. A RECORD STORE. The things dreams are made of…” Malone then began to weep, holding his head in his hands and repeating the phrase, “Why did I buy all that food from the bookstore? WHY?”

Multiple sources confirm that Malone’s peers had strongly advised the young explorer against his quest the day before he began his trek north. “We were all so worried,” stated Lisa Morris ’15, one of Malone’s friends. “He had no way of knowing if his pair of Converse would last him the entire journey, or if their foreign bazaars would accept US dollars. We urged him to bring seashells or whale teeth with him, just to be safe.” Roommate Zachary Falcone ’15 added, “Yeah, but when he returned safe and sound with those amazing stories of what he had seen, we knew he made the right decision.” Falcone then held up an unopened bag of Funyuns, saying, “And just look at the exotic food he brought back with him. The Anthropology Department is going to love this.” According to Malone, the inhabitants of this new world were surprisingly “human-like, with lots of ceremonial headgear worn out of respect for their deity, ‘Yankees,’ god of ‘Fuck the Sox.’” Malone quickly added, “Although, I will admit, it was definitely difficult trying to communicate with them. We had no shared vocabulary. They had no word in their language for ‘heteronormative’ or ‘Deece swipe.’” Published below is the map Malone painstakingly produced from his detailed travel log.

Jill Levine

Guest Columnist


ired of the same old weekend routine of stealing your friend’s vodka and watching other people play beer pong? After years of partying like a typical American college student, I decided it was time to be creative and get all alcoholic Iron Chef up on this thang. Here are some suggestions to mix up your binge drinking with a plethora of classy new Vassar cocktail recipes (some straight off the pages of Cappy’s Pinterest). (Warning: Never actually drink any of these ever. No, freshman girl from Halloween, you can’t sue me for your EMS bill.) The Fellow Group: Randomly take a little bit of seven to nine different kinds of wine, beer, liquor, and maybe even juice and mix it all together over an intense two weeks of uberly-scheduled activities and name games. At first it will taste awesome, but then you might start to throw up a little. And then you might start to throw up a lot. The THs: Walk into a random house, take a bottle of their nicest alcohol and chug it. The Yale Mixer: A Vassar classic. Serve some scotch, brandy, or anything else old timey on the rocks. Sip slowly and discuss how getting bused up to Yale to meet WASPy men is super awesome and how corsets suck. Don’t forget to play the accompanying drinking game: the last one to get engaged takes a shot! The Mug: One part tequila, one part shame, eighteen parts sweat. Make sure you have your Vcard on you. The Matthew Vassar: Pour a tall glass of beer that you brewed in the bathtub of your new TA. Then start a school for women. The Freshman: Mix some sugar-free grape NOS from the vending machine with some Crystal Palace that you paid your upperclassman hall mate twenty-five bucks to get you. Don’t worry; that’s how much it costs and it’s, like, really high quality and stuff. Alternatively, just drink half a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. The SoCos: Walk about three miles and take a shot of Southern Comfort every 500 feet or so. It will pretty much take the whole night, but you’ll get there eventually.

The Double Major: Mix a double shot and five consecutive Facebook statuses reporting your progress on your three-page paper assignment. Don’t worry, all your Facebook friends including your high school piano teacher and that kid you dated from camp definitely won’t secretly block you. The Deece: No cups. Drink an alcoholic beverage of your choice out of a tiny mug, if you can find it. Maybe a cereal bowl if you get desperate. The Billy Bob: Fill a paper cup with lukewarm beer and spill it on yourself and everyone around you. Bonus drinking points if it gets in your eyes and/or hair. The Midnight Question: Take some white wine and a second out of your difficult and stressful Saturday night to ask yourself, “Wait, how many drinks have I had, again?” Some deep reflection may be necessary. The 60/40: Mix an inappropriate amount of tequila with a makeout session with the almost-cute guy from your Russian Literature class. Then be really awkward about it later. Serve with ice. The Retreat: Take some gin on the rocks and mix in fruit from one of those seven-dollar Greek yogurt cups. For best results, trick that crazy space-age milkshake robot machine thing into mixing it up for you. Oh wait, you probably have, like, three points left…just give up and buy a bagel. The TA Bridge: “Mr. Buildings and Grounds, tear down this bridge!!...pleasssee??” A combination of spiced rum, creek water, and endless complaints about having to walk an extra five minutes to class (that’s five whole quality minutes of Facebook stalking you’ll never get back). Stir with a giant (oil?) pipe. The Prospie: Mix one part vodka with about five less than flattering comments about Wesleyan. Serve on the rocks with some overly enthusiastic conversation about that fact that we have a Quidditch team, even though you’re still not quite sure how that whole thing works. The Senior: Just, like, whatever is in the fridge. It’s fine.

The Vassar College Admissions Multiple Choice Exam by Jean-Luc Bouchard, Humor & Satire Editor Hello prospective student! You’re one of the lucky few high school students selected to test the brand-new Vassar College Admissions Multiple Choice Exam. Today, you will be responsible for finishing questions 7-12. Let’s see how well you would fit in at Vassar, shall we? 7. My favorite band is ________. a. The Beatles. Classic. b. Weezer. I can really relate to those lyrics. c. Ra Ra Riot. Hahahah jk, jk. d. Uncle Rocko’s Midnight Death Train Fuckapaloozathon-Extravoganza Vampire Indie Classic. You’ve probably never heard of them. 8. When I look around Vassar campus, I am most impressed by ________.

a. the library. It’s so beautiful. b. Skinner Hall. It’s so majestic! c. Ferry House. It’s so...a building! d. Chicago Hall basement. But actually. It’s the best place on campus to get work done, as long as you’re ok with deafening silence and occasional ghosts. I’m a fan. 9. My goal is to someday ________. a. become president of the United States. b. become a prominent social lawyer/life-saving doctor/sea captain. c. enjoy an ice cream sandwich. Like, really really ENJOY it. Hasn’t happened yet. d. steal a bunch of green trays, hand them all in, and buy, like, 143 rice puddings at the Retreat. Take that, establishment!

10. If I made it into Vassar College, the first thing I would do is ________. a. go the Shakespeare Garden. I hear it’s pretty. b. wait until the absolute last moment possible to figure out where Shipping and Receiving is. I can live without my medicine until then. c. go the Shakespeare night. I hear people have sex there. A lot. d. add another hilarious comment to the library bathroom walls. (Another picture of a penis? How do you guys come UP with this stuff?! Four stars!) 11. My prospective major is ________. a. biology. b. history. b. geography. That’s an option, right? Someone


definitely told me that was an option. c. fellow group political science. I’d have enough material for a thesis two days in. 12. Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday because ________. a. there’s candy everywhere. b. I don’t have a choice once I get to Vassar. c. there was someone in a sexy Stormtrooper costume walking around UpC this year. Good gracious me yes. (Side note: I believe she was carrying around the incorrect model of blaster rifle based on the historical range in which her helmet would have been actively used by Imperial forces.) d. it becomes harder to tell who’s in the Barefoot Monkeys.


Page 14

November 1, 2012

Encouraged by family, Gerson engages with new art media Lauren Garcia Guest RepoRteR


Emily Lavieri-Scull/The Miscellany News

ara Gerson ’13 is a Studio Art major—but this decision did not come immediately. “Art was always a lifelong hobby, something I’ve been doing since I was really little, and I didn’t think upon coming to Vassar I’d become a studio art major,” she said. “But it was really the classes here that helped me decide my major.” Gerson didn’t settle on majoring in Studio Art until her junior year, after dabbling in Art History, International Studies, and even an English correlate. But art continued to appeal to Gerson, always luring her back in. Gerson hails from Berkeley, Calif., and is interested in the works of other Californian artists, such as Nathan Oliveira, David Park and Richard Diebenkorn. She explained, “I admire these artists because they each approach the intersection of figurative and abstract painting in a unique way, and that’s something I like to explore in my own work.” She elaborated on her personal approach to this dichotomy between the figurative and abstract: “I’m very drawn to people. I love observing mannerisms, body language, facial expressions and movement. All these things indicate how people relate to each other and the rest of the world,” she explained. “I’m interested in trying to capture these things in a creative and nuanced way on paper or canvas. Figurative work is relatable, but I’m interested in abstraction because it opens up my imagination.” Gerson’s grandmother first taught Gerson to explore and combine a variety of mediums. “My Grandma taught me how to sew on this little teddy bear, and we would go to fabric stores and get thread and materials for pillows and dresses,” Gerson recalled fondly. When Gerson’s grandmother died, she bequeathed her sketchbook to the seven-year-old Mara. “I would flip through that book constant-

ly...Her sketches were influenced by other artist’s stylings. They were so colorful and vibrant. I felt a huge connection to her, looking through that book,” Gerson said. “And now, in college, that really connects me to her and channels whatever she did through my own art.” Gerson often draws upon her own life in the creation of her art. One of her works explores her foot surgery and the influence of its attendant medication on her body. Last spring Gerson constructed a mobile for her Sculpture I class that spoke directly to her embodied experience. “The frame was made of metal, and hanging off of it were plaster casts of my actual foot,” she said. “It was about feeling out of balance,” Gerson explained. “The way they just hung there, and how I had been a dancer and my foot problems always affected my dance. It was about the awkwardness and clunkiness of my physical feet, but also a metaphor for issues of balance and weight in movement.” Gerson works impulsively to put herself out there and not be afraid to dive headfirst into the deeply personal realm with her artwork. Gerson is working on new projects outside her comfort zone of drawing. “I’m working on something right now that incorporates mixed media. It’s a piece that has wire and folded pieces of paper almost in a collage that I plan on knitting or sewing fabric onto,” Gerson said. Gerson recently showed her work at an exhibition for the staff at contemporary art museum Dia:Beacon, where she worked over the summer as an intern. The piece was a hanging abstract sculpture spanning six feet and made of welded metal, connected in triangular forms. Some of the geometric forms were then covered with cheesecloth and wax paper and dripped with white wax, creating different degrees of opacity and transparency, almost like stained glass.

Artist of the Week Mara Gerson ’13 poses in front of a recent sculpture in her studio. Though Gerson’s background is in painting and drawing, she has recently begun to explore three-dimensional mediums. Before being displayed at Dia:Beacon, the sculpture made its first appearance at Vassar. She explained, “I hung it near the TA path, but forgot to look at the weather forecast, and it poured for the next two days. The piece seemed almost birdlike in the post-rain fog, and it started to rust and catch fallen leaves.” This inevitable conversation between nature and the artist’s intention is exciting to Gerson: “The rain and leaves may have changed my art, but they also made it better. Leaving things to chance doesn’t come naturally to me, but I want to keep experimenting in this way.” She now features her artwork at an informal, off-campus gallery called The Shed Show, be-

gun by a group of her friends. “[My friends] live on College Avenue and they have a shed and they just curate a bunch of people’s art,” Gerson explained. Gerson has spent the past few months thinking about how she will use her Studio Art degree after graduation. “I don’t want to stop doing art as I get older,” Gerson said. Teaching may be one future option. “If I’m a teacher, in whatever subject it may be, I hope to promote art and creativity in my lessons as a learning tool,” Gerson said. “It can be so rewarding and satisfying to complete a piece of art—especially if it’s taxing—and I hope my students will be able to have that.”

Bright future ahead for Vassar alum’s band Thirstbusters Burcu Noyan


assistant aRts editoR

ach Sorgen ’12 was The Miscellany News “Artist of the Week” back in November 2009, the same year his band the Thirstbusters released its first album, Time You Awake, on iTunes. Now Sorgen and the Thirsbusters are on the rise—recently signed to one of the world’s largest talent and literary agencies, International Creative Management (ICM) Partner and working music out of Los Angeles. The Thirstbusters is a jazz-influenced pop/ rock band, formed in the Northern California Bay Area in 2008. The members are Sorgen (lead, keyboard), Chase Jackson (bass), Forrest Mitchell (drums), and Ryan Thomas (guitar). Sorgen is currently living in Los Angeles, scoring films and writing songs. Mitchell and Thom-

as are seniors at UCLA, and Jackson is a senior at Oberlin College. Mitchell, Jackson and Sorgen first played together in their middle school’s jazz band, and met Thomas in a jazz ensemble at Berkeley High. They founded The Thirstbusters in May 2008, on a whim. “One day after Jazz Ensemble we were jamming on some pop, and Chase yells ‘Guys! We’re making a band!’ I was definitely game,” Sorgen wrote on the band’s official website. A few weeks after their first rehearsal, they entered the high school Battle of the Bands competition. “We didn’t even have a name until then,” said Sorgen. “That day we had to submit one.” So they became The Thirstbusters that fateful day, as a response to the slang term “thirsty,” which means trying too hard for a girl’s

courtesy of Berkeleyside

Zach Sorgen ’12, pictured above (his bandmates), is the front man for pop/rock band Thirstbusters. Their songs “All About The Girls” and “Caught Between” were recently featured on TV series 90210.

attention. The name was a good fit for the themes of the nascent band’s songs, which centered on teenage problems. “Our first album is about the kind of answers you’d want in high school, like going to a class and having a crush on a girl, yet being too excited to talk to her,” he explained. The Battle of the Bands competition was their first show. The Thirstbusters produce eclectic and jazz-influenced music. “We always had a mature approach to pop and rock. A lot of bands have guitar solos, but we also have bass solos and drum solos, which not many bands have,” said Sorgen. “I really enjoy the fact that as trained musicians we have incredible versatility to explore a variety of feels and styles, thus I rarely feel musically constrained,” wrote Jackson in an emailed statement. “I love being part of The Thirstbusters…After knowing these guys since as long as first grade (as Forrest and I have), every time we get together to write, rehearse, perform or record, we always feel like a family.” Although their musical approach was mature, it took longer for the band to advance lyrically and technologically. “We recorded our first album with some cash we had saved from gigs, just for the heck of it,” Sorgen wrote. “It was all live and in one room, some songs just one take, no producer or anything. But we were all super excited about how it turned out.” “The recording quality is much better on the new album because now we are more experienced about the process of going into the studio. We picked a better studio and were very meticulous about getting the sound perfected and polished,” he said. The band members have developed as songwriters over the years. Its 2012 album Caught Between captures college experiences and getting ready for the life after graduation. Sorgen found himself writing the first track, also titled “Caught Between,” about the nostalgia of looking back at his life at Vassar while moving on to his new life as an adult. “I graduated early, in December, and then came back in May for the Senior Week and Commencement. Having some time away from Vassar in the real world, looking for jobs, gave me a new appreciation for the time at Vassar,”


said Sorgen. “We tried to keep the lyrics pretty generic, though, to have people to identify with them during whatever stage they’re in.” The tracks from Caught Between have proved successful so far. “Finders Keepers,” a track about the inequality gap, won a national award for Social Justice from Elfenworks, a social justice organization. The award was presented at Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film and music festival. On Monday, Oct. 22, the songs “All About the Girls” and “Caught Between” were featured in the third episode of the new 90210 season. Sorgen had found out that the producers were looking for music to feature in their newest season. “I watched an episode to see what kind of songs they feature, and sent them four-five songs that I thought would fit their genre, since we’re are pretty eclectic, without expecting anything,” explained Sorgen. Yet a few weeks later, he was excited to receive a call from the managers, who liked their music. 90210 was not the first time that The Thirstbusters were featured on TV. The band’s first music video, “So There,” became a big hit on YouTube (currently over 55,000 views) and got passed on from friends to friends, eventually ending up airing on the Disney XD channel. The songs “Never Let You Go” and “Bad, Bad Girl” appeared in the 2011 movies Smooch and Deck the Halls, respectively. The band is currently working on their next video, for the track “Bad, Bad Girl,” which will have a James Bond theme. The Thirstbusters performed its first show in Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 25, at The Hotel Café, a live music venue in Hollywood that is highly frequented by music industry leaders. The place is known for helping establish the careers of new singer-songwriters in 2000s, such as Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson and Pricilla Ahn. Scott Pang, a top-level talent agent (ICM), booked them The Hotel Café venue. Pang has previously worked with artists such as Madonna and Alicia Keys to book them stadium concerts. “It’s funny how we’re slowly getting bigger and bigger, but we’re still at the beginning stages,” said Sorgen. “We’re working with Scott from ICM and with Myman Greenspan (An entertainment law firm). When you mention those names in L.A., people are really impressed.”

November 1, 2012


Siegel’s ‘Sailor Twain’ draws beguiling portrait of late-1800s Hudson Valley Harrison Kesner Guest Columnist

‘Sailor Twain or The Mermaid in the Hudson’ Mark Siegel First Second


ark Twain had the Mississippi—and today Mark Siegel takes literary ownership of the Hudson. Both authors share a clear fascination with their respective rivers. Twain found a sense of unbridled adventure in the Mississippi’s easy currents; author and illustrator Siegel finds something just as bewitching. He traces an evocative portrait of mermaids in his graphic novel, Sailor Twain, or the Mermaid in the Hudson. His convincing collage marries timeless, enchanted myth with an exciting age of literary and technological innovation, all along the river by steamboat. The story centers on Sailor Twain, captain of the Lorelei steamboat that plies the waters of the Hudson, and Lafayette, the ship’s owner who has multiple romantic liaisons aboard the vessel. Both are disillusioned in their respective affairs. Twain keeps busy aboard his ship whilst trying to keep a woman he loves interested in him (with less heart and effort as time goes on) despite their little time together due to his profession of travel. Meanwhile, Lafayette has given up on the idea of true love entirely, treating women as objects to be won and building up to an astonishing six consecutive affairs aboard the same small riverboat. The Mermaid of the Hudson threatens to bring their lives to a boiling confrontation of beliefs and ideals. She appears mysteriously to Twain as he is doing his rounds

alone at night on the lower decks of the ship. The wound from a harpoon having weakened her, Twain takes pity upon her despite his astonishment and fear of having found a (barely) living mythological figure on his ship and proceeds to hide her in his cabin. Though the novel does fall a bit into the trope of “hide the strange and beautiful girl and fall in love with her while hoping no one notices how strange you have started to act since you started harboring her,” it does make up for the predictability of its devices with great execution and some unexpected twists. Siegel uses a beautiful charcoal/pencil shade style of art that convinces you this story could not have been told in any other form than a graphic novel. Perfectly-timed jokes come across as totally sincere, which is a triumph considering the sheer somberness of the bleak black and grey strokes used to cast these drawings. Despite their simplicity, the character’s eyes are the most telling trait of all. When Sailor Twain reminisces of the love he has left in New York, his eyes seem to sparkle with a bright sheen even if they are glossed over in brooding black ink. Characters seem to feel two emotions at once through their postures and facial expressions, which is reflects their topsy-turvy emotions in the story. Even minor characters are well embodied. They fill word balloons with just what we needed to hear them say at just the right apexes of tragic-lighthearted momentum in the narrative. They also seem to appear and disappear as strangely as does the mermaid of the river: the elusive author-within-the-book C.G. Beaverton, who seems to operate from the shadows. His character is a bit weakened by

the inevitable coming out from behind the curtain, and we lose a wonderfully mysterious persona that represents the literary world of late-1800s America. But the shift in the story more than makes up for this. And what a world this book strives to achieve. Although the events of the novel only occur on trips from New York to Albany and back, often passing historic Saugerties, Rhinebeck, Poughkeepsie, and Croton along the way, the literary backbone of the novel is sturdy enough to encompass the entire nation. If you heard Sailor Twain’s name and instantly thought fondly of old Samuel Clemens, you will not be disappointed to find references to him as well as facets of his character in the eponymous seaman. Despite the mythological theming of the book, it feels very intimate. The four main characters of this book seem to get closer and closer as the Lorelai draws toward an impending doom that swirls, like a vortex, in the last few pages. Siegel does an excellent job of plunging us into the murky depths of the mermaid’s plight and then pulling us out just in the nick of time, returning us to life just as we were about to fall under the spell of her song. We are then given more doses of romantic intrigue and fascinating details of mysterious journals and correspondence before once again being thrust into the cold Hudson waters. With this book, Siegel successfully turns local lore and legend into a compelling work with a blazingly unique visual style and a love triangle that enraptures with its pacing. In turns erotic, haunting, visceral, humorous, and frightening, Sailor Twain is a mermaid of a book: mysterious, thematic, and filled with a final note of love that is just out of reach.

Local college galleries a must-see for VC Zoe Dostal Columnist


ith all of the Halloween activities last weekend, you may have neglected to notice one group of people not in costume, but in uniform. Vassar’s collaboration with West Point culminated in a two-day visit by almost twenty cadets. They spent much of their time looking at the art on campus, in both the Palmer Gallery and the Lehman Loeb—and this got me thinking—what about other institutions in the Hudson Valley? Don’t they have art collections? This visit prompted me to think about exploring the art galleries and museums at other neighboring college campuses—Bard, SUNY New Paltz and Yale—which offer a variety of experiences for the art lover, and a great excuse to visit nearby friends. The CCS Bard Hessel Museum is located right on the campus of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson. It is associated with the Center for Curatorial Studies, one of the preeminent masters schools for curators-to-be. The permanent collection of over 3,000 works is primarily focused on 20th and 21st century artists. Recognizable names include Sol LeWitt, (1928-2007), the celebrated American conceptualist and minimalist artist and Kiki Smith (b. 1954), the acclaimed feminist artist. They also have works by Paul Chan, (b. 1974), who is an alumni of Bard and gave a lecture just last week at Vassar for the Claflin series. Two temporary exhibits are currently on view, both open until Dec. 21. “From 199A to 199B: Liam Gillick” is a focused view of the British conceptual artist’s work from the early 1990s. In his work from this period, Gillick primarily explores the function of art institutions and the role of museum visitors. The second exhibit, “Anti-Establishment,” uses the work of multiple contemporary artists to explore the differences between “institutions” and “establishments”. (Based on the exhibit title, I guess we know who

wins.) Basically, it’s all super meta. The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz has a permanent collection with a much wider range than Bard’s, including ancient art, metalwork, photographs and paintings from the 17th to 20th centuries. They also have a special concentration of local artwork, including pieces from the Hudson River School and Woodstock Colony, and a large core collection of drawings and prints. I think of it as Lehman Loeb 2.0. “Russel Wright: The Nature of Design” is the first of two temporary exhibits (both closing Dec. 16). Wright (1904-1976) was an industrial designer who revolutionized the American home and dinnerware. The exhibit primarily focuses on his designs that considered an eternal quandary: man versus nature. Or rather, how man should live interdependently with nature. He carved wood into the soft forms of leaves and pods to cradle our mac-n-cheese, bringing both modern American design and nature into our humble kitchens. The second exhibit is also a solo show, focusing on Ushio Shinohara (b. 1932), a “Neo-Dada” artist who was extremely influential in post-WWII Japan. “Shinohara Pops! The Avant-Garde Road, Tokyo/New York” is the first major retrospective exhibition of his work in the United States. It features his brightly colored sculptures and dynamic paper works, and even an original piece created in the space as part of his “Boxing Painting” series. This signature process is exactly what it sounds like: Shinohara pummels a gigantic canvas with paint-soaked sponges while an audience cheers him on—in this case SUNY New Paltz students. (For an engaging video, visit the New Paltz Art Museum’s website.) If you only visit one, I really recommend this exhibit out of the four I’ve described. It is full of wacky and whimsical surprises that will prove touching as well as memora-

ble, and is located very close to home. The showstopper is the Yale University Art Gallery. I cannot tell you how many times my Art History professors have insisted I visit, and disclaimer: I still haven’t. But that shouldn’t stop you—in fact, let’s carpool. The collection boasts over 185,000 works, and I know for a fact their American collection of painting and sculpture is breathtaking. Whistler, Hopper, Eakins, Copley, Sargent, Calder—the list goes on and on. (But more on that next week.) The permanent collection is as varied and rich as the MET, with departments in Asian, African, Ancient, Ancient-American, European, Modern and Contemporary—you name it. At the moment, the museum is undergoing some renovation and is set to fully re-open in December 2012 (aka next month). Until then, some of the galleries will be closed. But with the opening comes a brand new exhibit, entitled “Société Anonyme: Modernism for America” (opening Dec. 12, 2012). The Société Anonyme collection stemmed from an experimental idea by artists Katherine S. Dreier, Marcel Duchamp, and Man Ray that artists themselves should act as curators and educate the American public on contemporary art. The exhibit will feature works by over 100 artists influential to modernism, all coming from the Société Anonyme permanent collection at Yale. Take just a quick trip to SUNY New Paltz across the river or Bard College, just north on Route 9, and you will be able to revel in hidden yet remarkable collections. A slightly longer trip to New Haven will reveal one of the greatest American collections of art. And if you can wait until December, you can be one of the first to experience the results of a fourteen-year renovation project and enticing new exhibit. Of course, while you are visiting our neighbors, remember they are also our rivals, and feel free to boast of our own extraordinary Lehman Loeb.


Page 15

Woodshed preps for new 3-man show


Yuhan Shui

Guest Reporter

o two slackers and a high schooler meet at a coffee shop. But there is no punchline; rather, it is the Woodshed Ensemble’s new and upcoming fall play, entitled “The Aliens.” It will run from Nov. 9 to 10 at 8 p.m. in the Susan Stein Shiva Theater. Woodshed is a collaborative, student-run theater group. Last year, the group comprised nine people; this year, unusually, only three remain: Zach Herwitz ’13, Olivia McGiff ’14 and Austin Cauldwell ’15. Auditions run in the spring semester the prior year, and graduating seniors and students abroad whittled the group down— one does not audition for a show, but the group. “We all have to play every role, in terms of acting, directing, designing,” McGiff explained. “So that’s gonna be exciting, being forced to view the play from all’s perspectives.” The trio read plays over the summer and decided in September on a contemporary play by Annie Baker entitled “The Aliens.” The play was a finalist for the 2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and shared the 2010 Obie Award for Best New American Play with Circle Mirror Transformation. Ever since picking it out, the group has been rehearsing and dissecting the play. The show’s three-person cast and comedic nature suit the small ensemble and constituted a welcome change of pace from Woodshed’s last play, which was much darker in tone. “I think [The Aliens] is funny, light-hearted. But there are certain moments in the play that are very pointed and important, in terms of how humans interact with each other,” McGiff said. “I think the characters are very real and the story is true to how people link with each other.” McGiff felt that the mixing of drama and humor befit Woodshed. “The Aliens” examines the interactions and conversations between two mid-thirties, friends KJ (Cauldwell) and Jasper (Herwitz), and a 17-year-old high schooler, Evan {McGiff), at a coffee shop. The play opens with KJ and Jasper loitering in back of the coffee shop. They aren’t allowed to be there, and before long Evan, who works at the coffee shop, tells them to leave. “The Aliens” documents the gradual development of a relationship between the three characters over the course of a couple of weeks. The play’s name refers to one of many potential names for KJ and Jasper’s defunct band. And yes, the two thirtysomething men have a guitar and sing songs from this gone band. “I think these characters are immature,” McGiff said. “All of them are, in different ways. They don’t act their age all the time. So how do these characters, when confronted with serious events and serious issues, how do they deal with that? And I think it’s very relevant to our age group. How do young adults deal with serious events?” The ensemble members don’t mind the small size of their group, finding it to be an environment more conducive to the achievement of a collaborative vision and idea. “We do have a small group. But it’s really exciting to see what we can do and how much we can achieve,” McGiff said. Cauldwell noted that it can become difficult on occasions when all three are stuck, but he enjoys the process in spite of the added work and responsibility. “We have a lot of fun with the play, taking the work seriously but not taking ourselves doing the work seriously,” Cauldwell said. McGiff thinks the play will resonate with Vassar students. “There are a lot of similarities between him and us in how awkward and out-of-place he can feel,” McGiff said. “And the other two characters are 30-year-old men who act very much like they’re 17.” The characters in “The Aliens” explores the tension between childhood and growing up, and how the trio’s relationship matures everyone involved. “It’s a place very far from Vassar, and yet there are so many similarities to the way that people at Vassar interact,” Cauldwell observed. “It’s a culture that is truly different, but there are strong similarities.”


Page 16

November 1, 2012

‘The Girl’ a sharp dramatization of the true Hitchcock Victoria Youngblood Guest Columnist

The Girl Directed by Julian Jarrold HBO Films Starring Sienna Miller and Toby Jones


n 1963, Alfred Hitchcock was a director and Tippi Hedren was an actress making “The Birds.” About fifty years later, in the premiere on Oct. 20 of HBO’s “The Girl,” Hitchcock and Hedren are characters, and their relationship is revealed to be something beyond simple colleagues—they are sexual predator and victim, respectively. Although there has been a natural uproar from a camp of Hitchcock defenders over “The Girl,” the legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock, known for his revolutionary thriller films, is exposed as somewhat of a horror himself—a pervert and an assaulter. The story depicts his obsession with and maltreatment of Tippi Hedren during the productions of “The Birds” and “Marnie.” It opens with an instantly unnerving quote of Hitchcock’s: “Blondes make the best victims,” he said. “They’re like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.” This creepy aphorism, which on the surface is a comment on his filmmaking and storytelling style, needless to say takes on a whole new meaning when he makes

a victim out of a blonde woman in real life. Hitchcock intentionally puts Hedren in dangerous and painful situations while shooting and is shown to get a strange satisfaction out of her suffering, and he makes repeated, relentless sexual advances towards her. Unable to curb his obsession, he continuously molests her, disrupts her life, and guilts her about her unwillingness to succumb to him. Its artistic exploration of sexual violation is the film’s champion force. Unlike Hitchcock’s films, “The Girl” is feminist, and does not pigeonhole its female characters. The portrayal of sexism and abuse in “The Girl” is comprehensive. The range of emotions is well composed and the relationship (between Hitchcock and Hedren) is not constrained by stereotypes or binaries like aggression vs. helplessness or evil vs. innocent. While it can be easy to blindly characterize a victim as reasonably pitiful and weak, Hedren is granted a more variegated and more human character in this film. She is strongwilled, but with a gentle affect; she is forthcoming, but her robust front cannot help but collapse in the face of sexual assault. Her character is colored with both toughness and vulnerability, which seems a more respectful tribute to victims of sexual abuse than complete feebleness and victimization. Hitchcock’s character too is allowed dimension and complexity. His role as the aggressor also evades stereotyping. This is not to say he

is necessarily redeemed in any way (although that depends on perspective), but the film intelligently exposes his insecurities and the tragic nature of his pathetic personality. For instance, in a cringeworthy scene, Jim Brown, the young, charismatic assistant director of “The Birds,” who has been flirting with Hedren, must help a wobbly Hitchcock (overweight, old, and slightly intoxicated) in and out of the passenger seat of his car. Hitchcock confides in Jim, awkwardly revealing his sexual frustrations, and ultimately telling him “I’d give it all up, Jim. All the films, money, everything I’ve ever done…To be like you, to look like you.” Yet at the same time, the character in this film are anything but subtle; and lack of subtlety is, in this day and age, generally considered a textbook mistake in the world of screen acting. But the near-melodrama that tempers “The Girl” is reminiscent of the Hitchcock films themselves. It seems an intentional technique, considering the consistency of this “flaw” (or whatever it might be)—the overwrought delivery of lines is not a trend particular to any one or two actors, but a deliberate choice. Though this quality is intellectually justifiable as purposeful allusion, the viewing experience might still be stained by it, for some. After all, there is a reason that intelligent nuance and complexity in the behavior of film characters appeal to us. It humanizes them,

and the higher a semblance to reality, the closer we feel to the story, and thus the film has a stronger impact. Indeed, “The Girl” is not a film that seeks to relate to the viewer emotionally, perhaps because we are too distant in time and circumstance from these characters for that approach to be effective. Rather, we are watching it from the outside in, from our time and place in this world, into an artistically represented time and place in the past. “The Girl” explores the layering of realities and the conflation of these layers. For example, in a remarkable scene, Tippi Hedrens shoots a scene in which Hitchcock has decided to use actual birds. They surround and claw her until she is bloody in the face, which is eerily identical to what happens to her character in “The Birds”—her hands flail and her face contorts in fear, and the uneasy ambiguity escalates: where is the difference between the two “hers” that are suffering? The crafty arrangements like this one, of visual sequences and emotional intensity, are what make “The Girl” compelling and convincing. The scenes involving sexuality (which in this movie is almost exclusively sexual abuse) are especially potent, in that they take on a surreal tone, which successfully dissociates the viewer in an aesthetic sense, symbolically corresponding to the personal dissociation and dehumanizing that a victim undergoes during sexual abuse.

Writing, editing shape life of M—not Marsha—Mark Adam Buchsbaum aRts editoR

courtesy of M Mark

Adjunct Associate Professor of English Marsha Mark asks you not to call her Marsha. Call her “M,” without the period, or even “Professor Mark.” But do not call her Marsha. Mark begins her classes by telling the story behind her name. “For just a few moments after I was born, [my parents] thought that Marsha Mark was a really nice name. But a couple of hours passed and then they said, ‘No wait, it’s a terrible name!’ and they went to try and change it, but the folks at the hospital said, ‘No, sorry, you signed the papers, so that’s the name,’” Mark recounted. “To my mind, the name Marsha either belongs to a sister in The Brady Bunch or to someone who wears, maybe, pink ruffles. And neither of those applies to me. So, I’ve been called M my whole life, and I’m happy with it.” Mark is an editor, writer and professor. Her career began with her undergraduate and graduate school education at Northwestern University. Mark’s earliest essays were published in the Village Voice in 1977; she quickly ascended the ranks to become the Voice’s Arts Editor. Mark meanwhile wished for the Voice to publish more literary essays. The Advertising Editor at the Voice suggested that Mark draw up a prospectus of a section that could contain the essays. In 1981, Mark went on to establish the Village Voice Literary Supplement (VLS) and served as its editor and publisher. All the while, she taught MFA programs at Columbia University and NYU. “I figured nothing would come of this venture, and that conviction was freeing. My writers and I brainstormed our ideal magazine, a publication that would boldly mix the literary and the scholarly, imaginative writing and critical theory, pop and high culture, images and words,” Mark wrote in an emailed statement. “We staked out our territory on the margins. Our goal was to connect good readers and good writers, to bring to light artistic and intellectual work that might otherwise not find its audi-

ence.” The VLS went over well at the convention, and was released soon after. “During those first years we were always scrambling: not enough staff, not enough hours in the day,” Mark noted. The VLS was an international magazine with monthly issues for 15 years. “We used to make the joke: here we are on the cutting edge of art and literature, and what are we saying? Ouch, that’s sharp. That must be a cutting edge,” Mark said. In 1998, she underwent a near-fatal car accident: “I broke my neck...I was not expected to—I was told, at least by the doctors—to live, or if I lived to be able to sit here now talking with you. So, it’s one of those moments that I hesitate to talk about because it’s a moment in which life really does resemble a Lifetime movie. There’s a moral to it that I didn’t die,” Mark said. Following the car accident , Mark was inspired to re-evaluate her life and shift her focus to teaching. This career move eventually led to her professorship at Vassar in 2001. She and her husband shared a weekend house in upstate New York, and she had always wanted to teach at a small liberal arts college. “I loved teaching, and I seemed to be able to bring some light to the classroom. Students were engaged, and I was engaged, and the process was and continues to be really nourishing for me both emotionally and intellectually,” Mark said. Meanwhile, Mark had been on the Board of Trustees of the PEN American center, which is a subset of PEN International, a worldwide literary and human rights organization founded in 1921. In 2000 she became a founding editor of the literary journal PEN America: A Journal for Writers and Readers; she remains an editor to this day. Mark described PEN as devoted to the cause of freedom of expression in two ways: by defending dissident writers that speak out against authority, and by fostering writing domestically through publications, workshops and more. She began the journal PEN America after the accident as well. “I wanted to integrate my

Adjunct English Professor M Mark was the editor of The Village Voice and founded the Village Voice Literary Supplement. Her Literary Nonfiction class is among Vassar’s most popular offerings. life up here and my life in New York, and I wanted to do work in New York that contributed in some way to making the world a better place,” Mark explained. Mark is currently working on a hypermedia project, which incorporates non-printed media like video and audio, and a book on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. These works, different from one another but united by a shared thematic focus, explore the nature of adaptation, a topic Mark emphasized in her Media Studies senior seminar for years. “I’m looking at the ways art invokes and revises other art,” Mark explained. “Adaptation can be seen as a form of collaborating across time, cultures, languages, media.” She is also writing a novel set in the year 1892 at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris.



Mark found herself shifting from the criticism of art, which she wrote at the VLS, to the nurture and support of it. She is attracted to the idea that a teacher may draw out the best in her students by encouraging rather than criticizing or passing judgement on their work. This attitude makes her professorship at Vassar all the more befitting. “I get along beautifully with Vassar students...There’s something about the atmosphere of small classes that fosters conversational—Socratic, if you want to put it that way—learning,” Mark said. “I do love editing and making. I like making culture as well as transmitting ideas about it.” Look for a preview of Mark’s upcoming hypermedia work on


November 1, 2012

Page 17

‘Argo’ captures tension of US political crisis Steven Williams Reporter

Argo Directed by Ben Affleck Warner Bros.


t sounds like a horrible movie if it wasn’t true.” That’s what Ben Affleck joked when he was interviewed on The Daily Show about Argo, which he starred in, directed, and co-produced. But the film makes it clear from the onset that the story it tells, while ostensibly beyond belief, is based in truth—and the result is a crisp and well-done work. The crux of the tale is that the CIA must extract U.S. Embassy workers who fled from an invasion of Iranian revolutionaries. While they find refuge at the house of the Canadian Ambassador, their time there is fleeting, as the Iranian government desperately searches for foreigners. In order to get them out, the Agency is forced to go with a plan so ludicrous and implausible, that it just might work: disguising them as a Canadian film crew scouting locations for their upcoming science fiction film. Affleck is probably right; if it didn’t actually happen, it might be as hard to convince a studio to produce Argo as it was to convince a boardroom of CIA executives that creating a fake movie was the best option for extracting six US citizens from Revolutionary Iran. Argo begins with a female voice-over briefly recounting the history of Iran with a focus on the political turmoil that emerged as the Shah was deposed. The intensity of the beginning of the film, in which members of the U.S. Embassy panic to make decisions as they are faced with massing Iranian revolutionaries, sets a precedent the sense of tense anticipation that viewers can expect en masse. Edits are fast and clean, jolting the action from burning classified documents to young Iranians breaking down the doors of the buildings. Six people get out, however, and avoid being taken hostage. Finding sanctuary at the house of the Canadian Ambassador, they set the stage for the plot of the movie. Ben Affleck who plays CIA agent Tony Mendez, an expert in “exfiltration,” shows

Campus Canvas

he had good reason for casting himself as the main character. He fleshes out the role with a witty but genuine delivery, and aesthetically, his look is necessarily surly and tired. He is a likable character, and while his motivations seem to be clear-cut and simplistic, his complex relationship with his family adds depth of character. However, some outlets—notably Slate. com—have taken issue with the fact that Affleck cast himself in the role of Mendez, both because they believe his acting skills are not up to par and because he is not a Hispanic man. I will have to disagree. Affleck is stunning in his portrayal of Mendez, his characterization deep and his internal motivations complex. The second issue is more tricky. While he could have cast a Hispanic actor, Affleck should not be condemned for choosing himself if he had a particular vision and believed he could best fulfill that role: that is his prerogative. It would be a different case if he had purposefully chosen a white actor predicated solely on the fact

“Edits are fast and clean, jolting the action from burning classified documents to young Iranians breaking down the doors of the buildings.” Steven Williams ’15 that he wasn’t Mexican. However, Affleck presumably sought artistic control of playing the main character and it paid off. But Mendez is far from the only substantial character in this film. In his quest to bring the plan—and consequently the fake movie—to life, Mendez meets film insiders John Chambers (John Goodman) and Lester Siegal (Alan Arkin). Mendez needs their help in order to give his pseudo-film more credence. The two, fed up with the Hollywood hoopla at this point in their careers, take a little convincing, but more than willing for a little altruism in their lives, even-

A weekly space highlighting the creative pursuits of student-artists

tually throwing themselves in fully. Soon, they create a stunning facade, complete with production company, script, and concept art. Arkin, in particular is excellent in his role, embodying the cynicism of a director beyond his prime. Also the Chambers and Siegal aspects of the film bring the film a necessary dry humor to keep it from dragging too far into desperation. Bryan Cranston, who plays Mendez’s CIA friend Jack O’Donnell, gives an admirable performance despite the predictability and triteness of his character. He is the one Mendez looks to in the Agency when he needs help and not much else. However, much of the strong acting in this movie comes at the hands of those holed up with the Canadian Ambassador, the “House Guests.” They are a complex bunch, and their antagonism both within the group and with Mendez is realistic but frustrating. Argo is not shy about showing off its ’70s/’80s flair. Overhead shots of Hollywood, open shirts (with lots of lots of chest hair) and unimaginably thick glasses exude the feeling of the period. This is just another way it shows off its production values. Also impressive are some of the more expansive shots with countless extras. Deserving of credit for much of this are Affleck’s fellow producers Grant Heslov and George Clooney, themselves responsible for creating the 2005 Clooney-directed film Good Night, and Good Luck. Always a risk in movies portraying Middle East politics is the potential for offensive misrepresentation of Islam. Argo does a fantastic job in this regard. It can be easy to get wrapped up in an American nationalistic mindset when confronted with the issue that Argo tackles, but the film equally portrays the suffering of the Iranian people. Also, the film interposes real footage of xenophobic American citizens advocating for violent actions, showing the kind of short-sighted intolerant mindsets we all hope to avoid. Ultimately Argo is such a tightly-wrapped experience that it’s hard to find any glaring missteps. But watching the film, the last thing you’ll be doing is trying to find something wrong, as it’s near impossible, as events unfurl, not to be entirely invested in the outcome of this lesser-known (but legendary in its own right) piece of secret agent history.

submit to

“Bombay Bicycle Club.”

—Maddie Szkobel-Wolff ’14

“1960s French girl pop.”

­­—Zoey Peresman ’13

“‘I Just Had Sex.’”

—David March ’14

“Requiem by Mozart.”

—William Barker ’15


t’s tough for me to ever pick out a favorite image from any shoot. I can usually narrow down to favorite shoots (some days are clearly better than others), but I have a tough time beyond that. I guess it’s because of the way I shoot—I start with props and a location, but really no concrete ideas in mind. I just take pictures of my friends (or collaborators, if the shoot is the context in which I’ve met them) running rampant in these (often dangerous) abandoned spaces. In my favorite shoots, it feels more as though my friends/collaborators and I are adventuring together. I don’t want to feel like a director so much as one of the other actors. So each image from a shoot is a strange sort of snapshot of a point in our adventure. I realize that most people won’t ever know the context of a single image I take and that the images have to stand alone rather than as parts of a whole...that’s something I’m still learning to navigate.


—Manny Singh ’15


—Claudia Portillo ’15

—Gretchen Heinel ’13

—Adam Buchsbaum, Arts Editor — Katie de Heras, Photo Editor



Page 18

November 1, 2012

Pereira receives academic honors from Liberty League Meaghan Hughes RepoRteR


Emma Redden/The Miscellany News

eing on a team that won the Liberty League Championships last year while maintaining a busy academic schedule can build up a lot of pressure. But for Juliano Pereira ’14, a Psychology major, this is familiar territory. The student-athlete has recently been named to the Liberty League Honor Roll for his exceptional performance in recent games. Though it is not the first athletic award for Pereira, he credits his teammates for making him the great player that he is, and works hard to be productive in all aspects of his college career. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, soccer was a huge part of Pereira’s life. He often played with his father, and Pereira always knew he wanted to continue playing at the highest level that he could. When the Head Coach of the men’s soccer team Andrew Jennings met him at a tournament in San Diego, Pereira became interested in Vassar College’s team and campus. “After getting in contact with [Jennings], I visited the campus and immediately loved the atmosphere,” wrote Pereira in an emailed statement. Starting the soccer preseason gave Pereira a chance to get close to his teammates and make friends right away. The team became close very quickly, and that hasn’t changed. “My experience on the team has been one of the most positive experiences in my time at Vassar,” wrote Pereira. “We’ve been there for each other through thick and thin. We’re a tight group and we make every effort to support each other in all aspects of college life. I think that’s one of the main components to our successes both on and off the field.” Many members of this close-knit team were also part of last year’s Liberty League Championship. It was the first time in the program’s history that Vassar won the title after defeating Rochester Institute of Technology with a score of 3-2. Pereira scored the first goal of that game, but it was at another game against Clarkson University, in which he scored a three goals–a hat trick–that was one of the most memorable games for him. He wrote that, “The second goal

Juliano Pereira’s outstanding academic performance contributed to the team’s cumulative 3.27 GPA, among the highest in their NCAA division. The men’s team also won the Liberty League last spring. I scored was one of my best ever. I chested the ball down, took a touch around the defender and shot from about twenty-five yards out. My third goal was the icing on the cake when I scored from a free kick just outside the penalty box.” His coach, Jennings, has seen Pereira grow as a player, and is pleased with the results. “He has developed technically, tactically and as a leader. He was always a quality player, but his exposure to the college game and his play during the summer months has allowed [him] to step up to the next level.” Jennings also recognizes that the team functions as a unit, and every player does his part to advance the program. “Our program has always valued the contribution of every player and [Pereira] will play his part.” As a talented athlete, Pereira has not strayed from focusing on academics. Though college has certainly proven more demanding in terms

of commitments to both soccer and school, he has adapted well. “Balancing school, soccer and other extracurricular activities has certainly been a challenge, but it has taught me to be organized and diligent,” he wrote. “I really put a lot of effort into organizing my daily plans so that I’m always on top of things. I find that I’m most productive during soccer season because I’m forced to be.” Pereira has certainly been successful in finding that balance between academics and athletics. Last year, the men’s soccer team was ranked 15th nationally among all NCAA divisions for the highest cumulative GPA. The team’s GPA of 3.37 earned Pereira–and his teammates–the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSACAA) Team Academic Award. Jennings sees the combination of this award and Periera’s most recent nomination to the Liberty League Honor Roll as indicative of his abilities as a student-athlete. “He is an essential com-

ponent of the way we play, and other coaches recognize this.” Part of the way the soccer team plays is by working with each other as a cohesive unit. Pereira underscores this by noting that the award speaks to the abilities of his teammates as well as himself. “I wouldn’t be receiving honors if it weren’t for the help of my teammates. The entire group has been outstanding this season, and I’m glad that I can contribute,” he wrote. This is the second time this season that Pereira has been named Liberty League Performer of the Week. The most recent accolade was in response to Pereira’s game winning goal in the soccer team’s 2-0 defeat of Hunter College last Saturday. The team has continued their excellent performance and ended their season by shutting out Bard College with a final 6-0 score. This leaves the Brewers with a record of 11-4-2 and in the number one seed for the approaching Liberty League playoffs. Of course there is some pressure following last year’s great success, but Pereira is confident in the abilities of his team. “We played well and were successful, but we know there’s always room to get better. This year we set our goals higher, and looked to get better in every aspect of the game.” Pereira’s preparation for games does not come from superstitions, but instead he focuses on getting enough sleep and eating healthily. His pre-game ritual mostly involves metal preparation. “I also spend any down time I have thinking about the game and visualizing our team being successful. I do everything I can to prepare mentally and physically so that come game time I can perform at my best,” he added. Though currently dominates the statistics of the men’s soccer team, Pereira remains committed to success as a team rather than as an individual. He knows that all the work he and his teammates have done will prepare them for what lies ahead. “We’ve put on some great performances, and we’re on the verge of finishing first place in the league outright. We’d love to repeat as Champions, but we know that doesn’t come without hard work and determination.”

Lebron James will never live up to Jordan’s all-star legacy Luka Ladan

Guest Columnist


adies and gentlemen, the NBA season is almost here. Before I go any further, let me start off by saying that “it’s about damn time,” to quote one LeBron Raymone James of the Miami Heat. The summer months of baseball and WNBA basketball are just too long, and seeing SportsCenter highlights of double plays and no-hitters just isn’t the same as watching buzzer-beaters, alley-oops and picture-perfect assists. LeBron James. He is undoubtedly the most talented and versatile basketball player in the world. He possesses the rare, once-in-a-lifetime combination of elite strength, jumping ability, quickness, court awareness and skill set. Furthermore, he is absolutely the scariest player to root against in the league, something that I know pretty well as a die-hard fan of the Boston Celtics. You can argue Kevin Durant or Kobe Bryant and I can counter with Game 6 of this past season’s Eastern Conference Finals. It was an awe-inspiring sight to behold. Yes, I’m still bitter. And I’m still suffering from an unfortunate combination of emotions. So, as LeBron continues to wreak havoc on opposing players’ confidence and ruin opposing coaches’ defensive schemes en route to a highly likely 2012-13 NBA Championship, his ongoing journey toward a cemented legacy of clutch performances, postseason success and an expanding trophy room will undoubtedly stick in our minds as one of the season’s primary storylines. Already, there is intense speculation as to what LeBron will do next for an encore routine, after his extremely successful campaign last year. Can his statistical output and on-floor efficiency be even better this year? Will he repeat as the NBA’s Finals MVP? Does he have the necessary supporting cast to eclipse 72 wins in 2012-13? With these astronomically high expectations will inevitably come daily comparisons to Michael Jordan, without question the greatest

basketball player of all time, by certain members of the sports media, however unwarranted they are at this point in LeBron’s career. Thus far, he has been crowned a champion once in his career. He has been named the NBA Finals MVP once in his career. He has lived up to title expectations once in his career, having failed in 2008-09, 2009-10, and, most notoriously, 201011, with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh by his side. We cannot be naive prisoners of the moment, forgetting the failures that preceded the triumph. To say that the two are equal at this point in time should be deemed a blasphemous act. I’m in the camp that wishes to postpone any LeBron-Michael comparisons until the Miami Heat win two or three more championships, at least. But, let’s leave all of that aside right now. Let’s assume hypothetically that LeBron James is a six-time champion and has rattled off just as many NBA Finals MVP showcases in the month of June. This would tie up LeBron James and Michael Jordan in the title-winning category, leaving the rest of the debate open for other measurables and intangibles. When I envision the day of a legitimate LeBron versus Michael conversation, I cringe. I don’t exactly know why, but my instinctive emotions are those of dread, sadness and frustration. When my mind wanders into the realm of basketball (as it often does), I wonder why I have such an enormous problem with LeBron James, somebody with whom I have very little in common, reaching the greatness of Michael Jordan, somebody with whom I also have very little in common. What if LeBron were to surpass Michael in stature, as he already does from a purely physical standpoint? To put in plainly, I would hate it. As a passionate viewer of NBA basketball I place a lot of importance on players’ mannerisms, on and off the floor. The way in which a player acts after hitting a timely three-pointer or slamming home a flashy alley-oop pass reverberates with me. Focusing solely on an ath-

lete’s statistical output or skill set is impossible because sports are predicated upon emotional tendencies, attitude, and demeanor. At least, that’s how I watch the National Basketball Association, or any other professional sports league for that matter. I’m not a fan of Russell Westbrook’s clownish celebrations, even though his talent, work ethic and competitive drive are unquestionable. Michael Jordan. He is incredibly articulate and clever with his words; if you were to put him in any situation, Michael Jordan would act with a certain intelligent suavity that escapes many contemporary athletes. I could listen to the man talk for hours on end, whether it’s about his childhood, the way he lifts weights or Game 1 of the 1991-92 NBA Finals. Michael Jordan doesn’t have any tattoos. You may laugh and question why I’m making a point of this little tidbit, but appearance is important to me. Wearing his famous Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards jerseys, there was no blemish on Michael Jordan’s exterior. He was blessed with a perfect height for basketball, worked hard with his personal trainer, Tim Grover, to obtain a perfectly proportionate physique, and presented himself in a perfectly clean-cut, visually appealing style. Subjective? Of course, but the fact that his body wasn’t coated in tattoos brought about a certain level of purity and spotlessness that always comes to mind when I think about the athlete that is Michael Jordan. This sense of bodily wholesomeness created an almost divine aura of basketball holiness, which cannot be attained with any amount of permanent black ink carrying the message of “Chosen One.” Extensive ink jobs, particularly those revealing an athlete’s arrogance, take points away on my personal scoreboard at home. Some may like them or even love them, but I don’t think that tattoos ever enhance somebody’s image. Michael Jordan. His pre-game, in-game and post-game celebrations didn’t border on clownish, obnoxious, or immature. Michael


Jordan never flexed, never blew out his guns after a three-pointer, never danced on the sidelines. He found the common fist pump satisfactory, similar to a Dirk Nowitzki in today’s NBA. Anything much more than raising one or both fists was seen as superfluous and potentially offensive. Of course, Michael Jordan was considered one of the game’s premier trash-talkers, believing in “psyching out” the opponent, as he puts it. He was by no means a choirboy between the lines, but he also wasn’t a showboater and chronic attention-hoarder. Going further than psyching out, such as dancing on the sidelines of a regular season match-up in January, was detrimental to the sanctity to the game, at least in his eyes. Somewhere along the line, this changed. And, yes, Jordan played in a completely different era with different personalities and different cultural codes of conduct. But, bringing that up is a cop out. Kobe Bryant doesn’t act like LeBron James. Ray Allen certainly doesn’t act like Nick Young. In the end, maybe LeBron will have accomplished enough by 2016 to deserve a comparison to the greatness and class personified by Jordan. Maybe, LeBron will someday pass Michael. I personally hope that never happens. Maybe, the true reason is that Jordan carried himself in a way that I believe an athlete should carry himself. Throughout his career, Michael Jordan’s on-court and off-court behavior matched my schema of perfect conduct by a world-class, larger-than-life athlete. I’m not talking about statistics or records or even championships. What I’m focusing on lies beyond facts and figures. Who is Michael Jordan? Who is LeBron James? What are their defining characteristics, as men in the spotlight? These are the questions that I’m considering and Michael Jordan earns perfect scores in all of the necessary categories, presentation, behavior, and so forth. Call me superficial, but LeBron James doesn’t even come close in that regard. But, I guess that it’s still a matter of personal preference.

November 1, 2012


Critics overlook Armstrong’s philanthropy Eli J. Vargas I

Guest Columnist


hen we think of Lance Armstrong numerous images come to mind; cycling, the cancer survivor, the Tour de France, philanthropy and yellow Livestrong wristbands. But recently there has been something else that comes in to the mind of many, and it is completely unsuspected. That is the image of a cheater and a doper, an image that seemingly contradicts everything that we have thought of this man who singlehandedly put cycling on to the map in America. Lance Armstrong has won the Tour de France an impressive record of seven times in a row from 1999-2005, and was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. He has also survived testicular, lung and brain cancer, and has done countless philanthropic deeds with his Lance Armstrong Foundation and Athletes For Hope foundation. Yet with all of these amazing feats, Lance Armstrong is capable of great acts of doping in the cycling world as well. Recently, Lance Armstrong has been stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and has been given a lifetime ban from all competitions that follow the World Anti-Doping Agency code. Such changes were made following his conviction on doping and distributing charges by the USADA. And now, even more recently, Lance Armstrong has stepped down as chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Nike, the maker of the Livestrong wristbands, has also cut all promotional ties with him as a result of his drug usage. From 1999-2005, Lance Armstrong was

considered to be the face of cycling around the world. When one thought of the sport of cycling, one consequently thought of Lance Armstrong. During his run of the seven Tour de France victories that captured everyone’s hearts in cheering for this inspiring cancer survivor and this hero halfway around the world who seemingly defied the laws of medicine, Lance Armstrong was using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) and pressuring his U.S. Postal teammates to take them as well to satisfy his desire to be the best. Allegations of doping have followed Lance Armstrong all throughout his career, but many fans just attributed that as responses to his sheer dominance in the sport of cycling. Now, it has become clear that not only are these allegations true, but Armstrong has continually lied for over a decade about his drug usage. Despite all of these previously unknown facts, our image of Armstrong should not change. We should not imagine Lance Armstrong as a cheater. We should not even just imagine him as a cyclist. Rather, we should know that he is a philanthropist and a man who used his achievements and successes not for his own self gain and power, but to further his cause of the fight against cancer. I don’t wish to make his misdeeds seem any less wrong, but since 1961 only ten Tour de France winners have not been tested positive or banned for using some sort of PED, and that is out of a total of twenty five different winners. So should Lance Armstrong be vilified more than any of the other numerous PED-using cyclists, especially in an era where PEDs have dominated the entire sport of cycling? This goes against Lance Armstrong’s whole

characterization as a trustworthy hero of all those affected by cancer. However, it is fair to say that, without doping, he would have never been able to keep up with all of those that were doping at the time, and thus would have never been able to have had such a great impact on the whole landscape of cancer awareness around the world. It is also safe to say that Lance Armstrong has not done more harm than good. His foundation has raised over $300 million through the sale of yellow Livestrong wristbands in order to contribute to cancer awareness. It’s not as if all of these millions that he managed to raise went to his own needs, but the money went instead to the needs of those affected by the deep emotional scars left behind by cancer. Instead of relishing in his success as a global icon, Lance Armstrong decided to make a change in the world, a change for the better in an area that has deeply resonated within him. At the end of the day, it should not be the doping that characterizes the legacy of Lance Armstrong, nor the numerous victories in an era where he dominated the landscape of cycling. Rather, we should focus on his work as a philanthropist and his battle against the fear that cancer has held on countless families and individuals throughout the world. Cancer survivor, Tour de France winner and now a cheater: these are all words that are now associated with Lance Armstrong, but in an era where doping was rampant in the sport of cycling and where Lance Armstrong dominated, it is the word “philanthropist” that should be at the forefront of people’s minds in an era where he actually dominated the landscape of cancer awareness.

Predictions for approaching NBA season Denver, Atlanta expected to lead divisions Zach Rippe

Guest Columnist


t is the beginning of November and, depending on who you are and what you are a fan of, that can mean many different things. But to the fans–both loyal and casual–of Kobe and Lebron, of the Celtics and the Thunder, of slam-dunks and clutch threes, of huge contracts and whiny athletes, of the game of basketball itself, this means the beginning of NBA Basketball. Get ready fans, for this NBA season is shaping up to be, well...just as exciting as about any other season! Who are the contenders? Who are the lottery teams? How is Charles Barkley holding up? Here you have it, my 20122013 NBA preview. The Atlantic Division: A place once owned by the perennially contending Boston Celtics and their “big three” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Well, sadly for Boston, Ray left for a potential championship bid with the evil empire *cough* I mean the Miami Heat, and Kevin Garnett is aging. Shockingly, though, no one is counting the Celtics out–and no one should. They made up for Ray Allen with the signing of instant offense in the form of proven veteran Jason Terry. They also acquired guards Courtney Lee and the speedy Leandro Barbosa to go along with one of the top college players last year Jarred Sullinger. Out of everyone in the Atlantic Division, almost every team has a good shot at dethroning the Celtics. Brooklyn has potential, yet their defense and chemistry are far from being a finished product. The Knicks are still the Knicks, but as long as they have Melo, they will not be ascending to greater heights. Philadelphia also became a little richer with the Dwight Howard debacle as they wound up being the recipients of manchild Andrew Bynum. Poor Toronto. I mean, I guess they got Landry Fields, right? Derek Rose: A once-dominant force in the NBA has been forgotten by many a fan. Will he play? Will he be effective? The Bulls are good, but are they good enough to win it all without a healthy or effective Rose? Cleveland has a budding superstar in Kyrie Irving but not too much else at the moment. Watch out for the Pistons, though (it seems like it’s been too long since anyone’s said that). Greg Monroe is turning into a threat and their roster is improving and growing each year. Milwaukee could also

sneak their way into the playoffs with their high-octane backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, but the division seems out of reach. Indiana keeps improving. With developing big man Roy Hibbert holding down their dangerous frontcourt and an improving backcourt consisting of newly-added DJ Augustine and the freakishly athletic Paul George, the Pacers will prove that last year was merely the beginning and take home more than just their division. How do you improve upon a season in which your team boasts both the league MVP and wins a title? Oh you know, just go out and sign arguably the greatest three-point shooter of all time. Miami is scary. There is no reason why they shouldn’t do exactly what they did last year. There are only a few teams that can potentially stop them, and they are all in the Western Conference. Thus, the rest of the division must put the division in the back of their minds and focus on merely a playoff birth. Atlanta had a smart offseason as they dumped their massive contracts of Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams, yet still managed to remain competitive. There is not much happening elsewhere, however. Washington may have slightly improved with the acquisitions of Nené and Okafor, but John Wall still needs to prove himself a winner. The Orlando team completely caved in on itself. They could have gotten something for their “Superman” with a trade from Brooklyn, but decided to milk it to the very end, and instead ended up with superstar Aaron Afflalo. Seems fair right? And Charlotte? Well, I mean, they’re the Bobcats... Now we head west! After a few years of good basketball, Portland’s injury luck finally caught up with them. Considered pretty much to be the “Bad Luck Brians” of the NBA, Portland’s pick Greg Oden never panned out (or really played), Brandon Roy was forced to retire (before coming back) and the team was left in shambles. Utah does seem to have a lot of power forwards. But will that be enough? Denver, however, is fast, fun and dangerous. They are looking more and more like the clear winners of the dreaded Carmelo Anthony deal. With Ty Lawson at the point and newly added Andre Iguodala swinging around, the Nuggets could come closest to dethroning the Thunder. And

what an odd situation the Thunder got themselves into. James Harden wanted a max contract, OKC did not want to supply. Bye-bye to one of the cornerstones of their lengthy playoff runs. Surely they got some proven scorers in return, but it was the intangibles, the friendship and chemistry between Durant, Westbrook and Harden that got them to the finals last year. Don’t forget about the T-Wolves, though. With Rubio running the point, Kevin Love grabbing boards and hoisting threes and Brandon Roy showing his face once again, they could be one of the most exciting teams in the league. It seems like every year, the hype is all about Los Angeles. Last year, the Clippers obtained Chris Paul and groomed Blake Griffin to become fan favorites. This year, the Lakers signed Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. What? With four future Hall of Famers, there’s no way they shouldn’t win the title, just like they did in 2004...oh wait...In all seriousness, though, Los Angeles will be the only exciting place for basketball in the Pacific division, as the Suns lost Nash, the Kings are young and have a large personality to deal with in Demarcus Cousins, and Golden State has talent in Steph Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson, but no real shot at contention. The Southwest division should be interesting. The Spurs will probably win the division because they are the Spurs and Dallas looks drastically different. With Dirk out for a while, they suddenly will be forced to turn to guys like OJ Mayo. Houston traded for Harden, but a big three of the frankly overhyped Jeremy Lin, James Harden and Omer Asik is just meh. New Orleans should be exciting–if for no other reason than Anthony Davis’ being there–and Memphis will again content with pudgy Zach Randolph and dynamic Rudy Gay at the three and four spots. Let’s fast forward through the playoffs for the sake of time and go straight to the NBA championship. OKC doesn’t quite have the chemistry and San Antonio is just a little too old, giving the star-studded Lakers another chance at glory. They will go up against the destructive Miami Heat in the finals, but lose in six due to their lack of a bench and Miami’s surplus of Lebron. Soon, dynamics will change, but for now, this is Lebron’s league.


Page 19

14 team turnout for Huck for Red FRISBEE continued from page 1

the teams progress. “Instead of telling everyone what to do, I try to figure what my teammates see as our weaknesses, and from there I try to create a dialogue about solutions.” Ultimate has a Fall and Spring season, with the Fall season focusing mainly on getting younger players more experience in game situations. However, there are big weekend tournaments, one of them being the Huck for Red October. The tournament is a USA Ultimate-sanctioned tournament, meaning that the results had a bearing on each team’s USA Ultimate rankings. “Rankings are important because they determine a team’s seeding in the College Series, our equivalent of the NCAA Tournament,” Kiureghian wrote. The tournament took place over the course of two days, with each team playing three games on Saturday and two games on Sunday. The Swinging Monks had a strong first day, defeating Ramapo College with a score of 15-3. They then went on to beat New Paltz 15-7. Their only loss that day was to Dickinson College. “Dickinson was able to take advantage of our fatigue in the 3rd game,” wrote Kiureghian. “We came back strong in the second half, picking up our intensity, but ultimately losing 15-8.” The first match on Sunday for the Swinging Monks was against Connecticut College, a notoriously strong team. The first half of the match was tight with each team trading points constantly, the halfway lead going to Connecticut with a slim 8-7 lead. The second half followed suit, with clutch points being made by both teams. In the end, The Swinging Monks lost 12-15. The record for The Swinging Monks over the whole tournament was 2-3. Dickinson College played the championship match against Connecticut College. Dickinson won the match 13-6. The Boxing Nuns also played five games against various schools during this tournament. In the first match, the women went up against Dickinson in a close competition. Dickinson ended up winning by only one point, with a final score of 10-9. The Boxing Nuns later beat Goucher College 105. The team also had the honor of playing against the Vassar Alums, a team made up of post-graduates of Vassar College’s Ultimate team. In the end, the Boxing Nuns went 1-4 in the tournament, while Columbia University won on the women’s side. Co-captain of the Boxing Nuns Edith Iyer-Hernadez ’13 was proud of her team, and said that she was not really concerned with winning. “We play Ultimate because we truly enjoy it,” Iyer-Hernadez wrote in an emailed statement. “We want to give everyone the chance to enjoy the sport as much as we do.” Iyer-Hernadez further pointed out that the Vassar Ultimate program is completely independent from all other sports teams here at Vassar. “We foster a democratic environment for our team, embracing the fact that we are entirely student run and highly value all our players and their opinions.” B-Love played in the tournament as well, playing three matches against Connecticut College, Dickinson and Vassar Alums. Sam Plotkin ’15 was happy with his team’s performance. “The main goal of our team is not necessarily to win tournaments, but rather to foster a positive atmosphere while playing hard at a sport we all love.” Overall, the Huck for Red October was a huge success. The Vassar teams played well, and many teams came together to play intense games of Ultimate. Kiureghian felt that Vassar’s performance in this tournament showcases a change in the dynamic of Vassar Ultimate. “In the past, we’ve tended to be mostly silly,” wrote Kiureghian. “Yet recently, we have balanced our openness with a lot more competitive spirit.” Kiureghian still feels that the team puts teamwork in front of winning. “We have still tried to maintain a base level of respect, love, and care for each other as teammates.”


Page 20

November 1, 2012

Winter teams brace to compete as fall season winds down Tina Caso

spoRts editoR


Men’s Cross Country

The men’s cross country team also finished in third place during Liberty League Championships at Clarkson University with a total of 71 points. Out of 131 runners, senior Sam Wagner finished the 8k in third place with an impressive time of 25:49. Freshman Jonah Williams, last issue’s Athlete of the Week, finished in seventh with a time of 26:04. These times were personal bests for Wagner and Williams, who both received First Team All-Liberty League honors. Sophomore Eliot Gerson (26:24) finished the 8k in 17th place followed closely by senior Roni Teich (26:28), who finished 18th. Men’s cross country will next race at the Late Season Invite versus SUNY New Paltz at the Vassar Farm this Friday. The race will begin at 4 p.m. Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team played their last game of the season on Oct. 27 at an away game versus Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. Freshman Kamaria Coley scored one goal for the Brewers, who lost in overtime with a final score of 2-1. Coley’s goal gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead despite the evetual loss and was assisted

Men’s Soccer

In its dramatic match versus Union College on Oct. 25, the men’s soccer team triumphed with a final score of 2-1. Sebastiaan Jansen scored the first goal for Union, and the Brewers retaliated with a goal by senior Zander Mrlik, who was assisted by freshman Jordan Palmer. Sophomore Tom Wiechart scored the game-winning goal in overtime off of an assist by sophomore Justin Mitchell. On Oct. 27—their final match of the regular season—the team beat Bard College with a final score of 6-0. Senior Dante Varotsis scored two goals for the Brewers, and sophomore Zachary Nasipak, sophomore Andre Cousineau, junior Rob Manukyan and Wiechart each had one goal. This Tuesday, Mrlik was named Defensive Player of the Week by the Liberty League, and Wiechart was named to the Liberty League Honor Roll. The Brewers end the regular season with a winning record of 11-4-2 (5-1-2 Liberty League). Women’s Volleyball

On Oct. 27, the women’s volleyball team honored seniors Christina Verdirame, Hilary Koenigs, Cebe Loomis, Hannah Cassius, Chloe McGuire and Brittany Stopa for their last home game of the season. The team won both matches versus Farmingdale State College (25-11, 25-15, 25-15) and Misericordia University (26-24, 25-17, 25-20). Versus Farmingdale State, freshman Chloe Hallum had 18 assists while Koenigs had 20. Stopa had 13 kills versus Misericordia. This Tuesday, the Liberty League honored Koenig’s academic achievements and placed her on their Honor Roll. Women’s volleyball Finals will take place on Nov. 2 at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

courtesy of the Athletics Department

omen’s Cross Country On Oct. 27, the women’s cross country team finished third place at Clarkson University during Liberty League Championships. Out of a total of 110 runners, junior Aubree Piepmeier finished in 12th place with a time of 23:03, and was named Second Team All-League for her performance. She was followed by senior Stephanie Malek, who finished 18th with a time of 23:35. Senior Emily Sufrin (23:55), freshman Noel Dibona (24:00) and sophomore Cassidy Carpenter (24:09) finished in 25th, 27th and 30th place respectively. The women’s cross country Late Season Invite vs. SUNY New Paltz will take place at 4:30 p.m. this Friday at the Vassar Farm.

by freshman Lucy Brainerd. Senior goalkeeper Ali Higgins had twelve saves for the last game of her career. Regardless of the team’s most recent loss, women’s soccer finishes their season with a winning record of 9-7-1 (3-5 Liberty League).

Caroline Shannon ’13 shows off her breast stroke at last week’s women’s swimming season opener. Teammates Shannon Sara ’13, Lilliana Frye ’16 and Juliana Struve ’15 took first place in their events. Men’s Rugby

Women’s Swimming and Diving

The men’s rugby team played one of their last matches on Oct. 27 versus SUNY New Paltz in Kingston, N.Y. Tries were scored by junior Andrew Jdadydani (4), junior Tom Rafferty (1), senior Alan Kenney (1) and senior Nick Placeres (1). Sophomore Nick Graham had two cons for the Brewers. The final score was 39-7. The “B” team also finished with a win, and tries were scored by a variety of players including junior Hayden Moon (1), junior Riley McCabe (1), freshman Alan Hagins (1), freshman Alex Voynow (1) and sophomore Jake Sheehy (2). McCabe had six cons, and the “B” team ended the game with a final score of 52-15. Rugby’s next match will take place on November 4th at 1 p.m. The Brewers will face Marist College on home turf.

This Saturday, the women’s swimming and diving team had its season opener versus Clarkson University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The results were mixed, and The Brewers won versus Clarkson 229-59, and lost to WPI 161-138. Senior co-captain Sydnie Alquist stood out amongst the swimmers and finished first place in the 200 yard freestyle and second in the 100 yard freestyle. Senior co-captain Shannon Sara, freshman Lilliana Frye and sophomore Juliana Struve all had first place finishes in the 200 yard individual medley, 100 yard freestyle and 100 yard breaststroke respectively. The team will next race against Skidmore College on November 3 at 1 p.m. The meet will take place at Kresge Pool in Walker Athletics Center.

Beginner rowers show promise in recent novice regatta Amreen Bhasin RepoRteR


ne of Vassar College’s most inclusive teams is the men’s and women’s rowing teams. Until recently, rowing was a Varsity sport, but it now functions as a club sport, which opens it up to more of the student population. But that hasn’t led to a drop in intensity; rowing is just as much of a commitment as it always was. Drew Nixon ’16 gives his morning hours to the sport. He wrote in an emailed statement that “each of us wakes up at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday, and gets transported by vans to the Hudson River, where we take out the various boats we need…and give everything in practices doing whatever drills or races our coach tells us to. Despite it’s club status, rowers put in the same time commitment as most Varsity teams on Vassar’s campus.” The rowing team is made up of two differ-

ent groups of rowers. The members who have previous experience make up the Varsity team while those who are newer to the sport row as a part of the novice team. Many of the novice rowers have had no previous experience before joining the team. Despite this lack of experience, they had their first race this weekend. Nixon has been pleased with his experience as a part of the novice team so far. “I think the quality of the team is fantastic. Even though rowing is a club sport at Vassar and not overly competitive in terms of making the team, the coaches and other experienced rowers make it seem very genuine and exciting.” This was the first race for the novice rowers and they met the challenge with raging success. The women’s Novice Four started last but managed to place 12th out of 18 teams. The women’s Novice Eight’s first race put them in

courtesy of Stephanie Ricker

Wendel Smith ’14, a two-year veteran of the Vassar rowing team, leads his four man crew from the bow seat. At last week’s regatta, the Vassar men’s Double earned a medal as the fastest undergrad boat

13th place out of 28 boats. The Novice men also raced a four and an eight race and met with similar successes. Nixon felt comfortable with the setup of the race and felt it helped contribute to his team’s success. “The race was not a head race, where boats line up on the water at the same point and race to the end.” he wrote in an emailed statement. “There were rolling starts, which is where the boats line up and are sent off in 15-20 second increments. It’s less competitive this way and easier to focus more on fluidity as a team instead of racing just to beat the boat next to you.” Cady Cirbes ’16, another member of the novice team, was just as impressed with her team’s success so far. “We are just doing a fantastic job working as a team and proving ourselves in our performance… the women’s novice eight at the Head of the Fish on Saturday we finished the race with the strongest power we’ve ever had.” Freshman Maya Grunfeld ’16 is one of the coxswains for Varsity, having coxed for years before coming to Vassar. She also has been incredibly pleased with the team so far. “We don’t have the largest team, which is unfortunate, but we have some damn good rowers. [The smaller size is] better because all the rowers can get water time and practice. All the rowers work really hard and take responsibility in knowing what they have to do to make our team better.” The Varsity team has been competing since earlier this Fall. One of the highlights of their Fall season was during the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta over October Break. The Vassar women fielded a single boat in the Collegiate Women’s 4+ event. The lineup consisted of Mary Clair Walker ’15, Ji Kim ’15, Carolina Gustafson ’14 and Ari Skoufos ’16 coxed by Grunfeld. They placed 18th overall guaranteeing the Brewers a spot at the 2013 competition by placing in the top 50%. Grunfeld listed the feeling she had getting out of the water at this particular competition as the best thus far this season. “Everyone had pulled amazing races. We didn’t crash into other boats, or bridges (The Charles River is known for collisions and right before us there


had been a crash involving 3 boats under a bridge)…we had pulled away from the pack of boats behind us, and towards the end closing the gap between the boat in front of us, and the feeling of being successful was incredible…we all earned our gold stars.” At the same regatta, the Vassar men’s Double earned a medal as the fastest undergrad boat in the entire event. The Collegiate men’s Four finished 39th overall. Head Coach Stephanie Ricker could not have been happier with her team’s performance. “[They] gained some extremely valuable speed and experience that they will be taking into the rest of their season.” The Brewers were also represented by the Mens Alumni 8+. The boat consisted of members of athletes graduating from 2006-2012. They hope to make it a yearly tradition. Grunfeld was also incredibly proud of her team this Saturday as well as their performance at the Head of the Charles Regatta. “Vassar’s first races were the men and women’s single, which was the first race for our two captains, Justin Nesheiwat [’14] and Mary Claire Walker. That was only the beginning as Nesheiwat raced again later, and Walker two more times. Nesheiwat and Walker had very good races and set up the momentum for the rest of the day… Everyone really stepped up their game. Also, since we don’t really have a very large team, some people doubled, or even tripled raced the 3.3k. Head of the Fish was the regatta which Vassar has put out the most boats all season: nine for Varsity, and four for novice, and even though people were tired, they put everything they had into it. The coxswains…called really great pieces, and the rowers all rowed hard and pulled some really great races. For most teams Head of the Fish wraps up the Fall season, but for Vassar, we have one more dual with [The University of Albany] this up-coming weekend.” Overall, Vassar College Rowing has had a strong start to their 2012-2013 competition season and things look promising for the spring. As they wrap up their Fall Season, all the athletes are hopeful for a great last race and a successful time in the Spring.

The Miscellany News Volume CXLVI Issue 6  

The Miscellany News has been the Vassar College newspaper of record since 1866