VOL 34 Issue No. 8 In This Issue
Features 2 Movie Review 5 Infographic 6 Career Services 7 The Back Page 8
Students Speak about Tech Graduation Speakers David Hannant BUTTE - Montana Tech made a colossal, albeit controversial, announcement to host Greg and Susan Gianforte as this year’s commencement speakers. The announcement of the Gianfortes has caused a splash among the Tech student body, with waves of curiosity, praise and pride, abhorrence and antipathy, spreading outwards from the impact point. Greg Gianforte is often referred to as the “Bozeman Whale”, holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in computer science. Beginning his career at Bell Laboratories, Greg has since gone on to start five software firms, including his Bozeman based company, RightNow Technologies. Over the past decade, RightNow Technologies has been a regular employer of Montana Tech, the University of Montana, and Montana State University computer science graduates. In October of 2011, the company sold to Oracle, for a staggering total of $1.5 billion dollars. Susan Gianforte, Greg’s wife, holds masters degrees in both mechanical engineering, and business administration. Continued on page 2.
The Technocrat 1300 W. Park St. Butte, MT 59701
Is the Marcus Deli any good? Jessica Tonkin Making the switch from the beef ole, nachos, and the lasagna surprise sold in your high school cafeteria to the wide variety of food offered in college can be a liberating experience. You don’t have to listen to your parents anymore and can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. But is the food being offered on campus really all that satisfactory? One of the major complaints about most college cafeterias is that the food served is plentiful but not necessarily nutritious and healthy. In fact, my breakfast today came from the vending machine in the library.. Many students gained the freshman 15 faster than you can say, “Grill special, please.” College and graduate students often gain weight during their first and second year of school, because of poor eating habits. But gaining 15 lbs. may not be the biggest problem facing college students today. According to new market data from Technomic, the College and University Consumer Trend Report, states that out of the 16 million hungry college students, only 28% are satisfied with the healthy foodservice offerings at their schools. Low scores for food on recent Montana Tech student satisfaction surveys indicate students at Tech are not happy with the quality of food offered by the Marcus Deli in the Student Union Building. However, Austin Ranney, a junior in electrical engineering, said he “likes the food Tech offers and, when you use your Digger Dollars, it’s pretty cheap for students.” Ranney also said “the buffet is good and you can eat as much as you want.” Continued on page 3.
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Tech Graduation Speakers cont. Also working for Bell Laboratories at the start of her career, Susan has helped to back Greg in his entrepreneurial efforts over the years. In addition to finding wild success in their entrepreneurial endeavors, the Gianfortes have used their financial accomplishments to help fund higher education in the technological sciences. During the Montana Economic Summit held in September of 2013, Greg Gianforte, in conjunction with Montana Tech, announced CodeMontana. Touted as an “initiative to teach Montana high school students computer programming through an online software development curriculum,” CodeMontana has been working with the Gianforte Family Foundation and Montana Tech to “offer $160,000 in scholarships over the next three years to students interested in enrolling in the Computer Science and/or Software Engineering” programs at Tech. In the past, the Gianfortes have also donated generously to the MSU computer science programs, however after speaking with Dr. Donald Blackketter, Chancellor of Montana Tech, he has made it clear, “the press release does say the scholarship is from Tech and we have some funds that we have set aside. I’ve never even talked to Greg and Susan about funding the program here at Tech. So no, that money was provided by Tech [not the Gianfortes].” Not only have the Gianfortes seen massive financial achievements and given massive contributions in the past, the family is seen in the political arena throughout the state. Greg is the Chairman for the Petra Academy, a privately run Christian school; as well as, the Advisory Board Chairman the ACE Scholarship program for Montana, a program designed to help low income families obtain scholarships in order to send their children to private schools. Furthermore, Susan Gianforte while sitting on a number of non-profit boards, most notably sits on the Board for the Montana Family Foundation. A controversial party in Montana, the Montana Family Foundation (MFF) claims openly on their website, montanafamily.org, that they have helped pass bills “Protecting unborn children [and] Require parental consent before an abortion can be performed on a minor”. Additionally, the MFF website claims opposing
“the ACLU’s effort to secure marriage benefits for same-sex couples.” Moreover, statements of principle on the website can be quoted as, “The Family is defined as people who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption, and should be founded on a life-long marriage of one man and one woman.” Currently the MFF is attempting to push through legislation under the guise of a school choice bill that would take funding from public schools, and turn it into vouchers for low-income families wishing to send their children to private schools. Given this info, it is in no short order to state that the Montana Family Foundation is in opposition to LGBT civil liberties, in great opposition to pro-choice parties, and in great support of privatization of Montana’s public school systems. What’s more, the MFF is largely funded by the Gianforte Family Foundation. A report from March of 2014 by the Great Falls Tribune states, the Gianforte Family Foundation has given “more than $335,000 to the Montana Family Foundation between 2006-2011, the most recent years for which records are available. “In a separate point, over the past year the idea of Creationism and Creationist Christianity has largely become a hot topic, thanks in part to the evolution debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye this last February. What is interesting to note, is Mr. Ham’s Kentucky based creationist museum is not alone in the United States. There are in fact a number of these museums around the U.S., one of which is located in Glendive Montana, and known by the name of the Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum. The website for the museum states in its info section “When you visit a major natural history museum today, you will see wide-eyed elementary and preschool children (not to mention their parents and teachers) being funneled into an abyss of scientific deception. No matter whether it’s the study of animals, earth science, or astronomy, the wonders of God’s creation are prostituted for evolutionism”. The museum opened in May of 2009, and was funded largely through a nonprofit organization known as the Foundation Advancing Creation Truth (FACT). Among the exhibits, featured is a large T. Rex and Acrocanthosaurus exhibit in the museum’s main display hall, donated by The Gianforte Family Foundation. In view of the Gianfortes financial and entrepreneurial successes, political positions, and reliContinued on page 3.
Marcus Deli cont. So, we have found quantity – but what about quality? One website, called College Niche, has reviews of colleges written by current students all over the U.S. According to this website, the rating for campus dining at Montana Tech is a C+. Montana Tech’s weather is rated a B-. Basically, this implies that our weather is better than our food. The Director of Dining Services, Alan Couture, as well as management and support-staff “are dedicated to providing a variety of nutritious, well-balanced meals at reasonable prices.” Yet, sometimes healthier foods are offered alongside greasy, unhealthy foods. Even though students have some fresh fruits and salad bar options available to them, the selection is usually less varied and flavorful, and therefore, many students still choose the unhealthy food. Sure, it’s a college cafeteria, and not a five star restaurant, but it’s up to the students to become knowledgeable about proper eating habits. When talking with students around campus, I found that most people think the food at Tech is not too bad. But there are some that feel the food could be better and less expensive. For example, Mary McDunn, a freshman at Tech, said she lives in the dorms and sometimes has to eat on campus, but “never eats the breakfast from the buffet.” And Stacy Caissey, a senior at Tech, said she would eat there [Marcus Deli] more often, but “it’s kind of expensive.” It is somewhat unclear if the campus food is of good quality or not. That is for you to decide.
Tech Students Participate in National Sexual Health Campaign Amanda Badovinac The Butte-Silver Bow Health Department and Montana Tech are again partnering in the local sponsorship and promotion of the national “Get Yourself Tested” (GYT) Program. The GYT Days at Tech will be from 9-3 on Monday, April 14, Room 115 at Highlands College and from 10-4 on Tuesday, April 15th in the North Campus Student Health Center. This annual event at Tech highlights the very Continued on page 8.
Tech Graduation Speakers cont. gious outlooks, students and graduates of Montana Tech have voiced mixed opinions towards the speaker’s for this year’s graduation ceremonies. When asked whether they believe the Gianfortes to be qualified to speak to this year’s batch of graduates, Robyn Fisher, a Geological Engineering Senior who graduates this spring stated “I think they are very qualified. They have worked in industry, and have been out in the world.” In addition, a Mechanical Engineering alumnus who wished to remain anonymous for this article stated: “Qualified? Yes, they are very qualified. [Though] I’m not entirely sure they are appropriate for Tech. Mr. Gianforte seems to be primarily a businessman and secondly a software guy.” Alternatively, other graduating students have expressed outrage at the selection of the Gianfortes for the commencement speakers. Caleb Hill, local author and a sophomore in Professional and Technical Communications stated in an interview: “They are qualified in that they own a successful computer business. However, their religious beliefs and opposition to equality and diversity stand in direct contradiction to Montana Tech’s Mission Statement: ‘To meet the changing needs of society by supplying knowledge and education through a strong undergraduate curriculum augmented by research, graduate education and service.’ This is a school of science, not fairy tales used to justify hate and oppression.” Jasper Caraway, a senior in Nursing at Montana Tech, and advocate for the LGBT community in Silver Bow County stated when asked: “I can’t go to a graduation ceremony with those people heading it, knowing how deep the Montana Family Foundations prejudice runs.” Jasper has stated that in opposition to the Gianfortes speaking at graduation he will be boycotting the ceremony. Chris Danielson, an associate professor of history, and campus advisor for the Alliance for Equality, a student LGBT group, met with the chancellor of MT Tech, Donald Blackketter, shortly after the initial press release for the Gianfortes. He regarded the meeting as positive, primarily addressContinued on page 4.
Tech Graduation Speakers cont. ing concerns he had for the LGBT body on campus due to the Gianfortes associations with anti-gay groups like the Heritage Foundation and Focus on the Family. Professor Danielson mentioned his “concerns, because he is the faculty advisor for the Alliance for Equality, [were] about how this would be interpreted when we have a non-discrimination clause regarding sexual orientation”. Danielson also mentioned that while he spoke primarily on LGBT issues in his talk with the chancellor, there were other faculty members who are also concerned with the Gianfortes associations with the creationism museum. Professor Danielson said that after he spoke with the chancellor, his concerns were appreciated, and addressed directly with the Gianfortes, and their reply was that their speech is going to be non-political and non-religious. Chancellor Blackketter has confirmed this. In speaking with Chancellor, the Technocrat asked,” What is the selection process for graduation speakers?” and “When you’re selecting graduation speakers you try to find some connection to your institution, “responded Chancellor Blackketter. “Usually you’re looking for a high profile person, and then you have to do this process to see if they are available. We then go to our vice chancellors first, and then actually gave it to ASMT leadership, to okay them. You then ask them [the speakers].” Because the selection of the Gianfortes is causing a rising controversy among the students and community, we also asked the chancellor why the Gianfortes were selected. “I got to know them at the economic summit in September. One of the things they have as a passion is to double the number of graduates in the computer science programs in the Montana university system. It was interesting because as we talked, we found 15 or 20 graduates came out of Bozeman and 15 or 20 out of Missoula. I said ‘well we have a computer program up at MT Tech. They looked at the program.” After the summit, the CodeMontana program was introduced for Montana Tech. Student opposition towards the Gianfortes speaking to the campus has been growing at a rapid pace since the press release of the selection in March, due to either their religious view points, political agendas, or both. When questioned about the Gianfortes
controversial background Chancellor Blackketter stated, “To be clear, we honor the policy of being non-discriminatory. I have not talked with Greg and Susan about their beliefs on creationism. It’s sort of against that policy, [and] I just don’t think that’s part of the decision making process. It’s not part of our decision making process for hiring faculty, it’s not part of our decision making process for admitting students.” Chancellor Blackketter further stated, “I think that this is a good time for us to be an example, and make sure that we are following our policies. It is a principal of ours that we are accepting of others, despite our differences. “He is currently working with Professor Danielson on plans to raise diversity awareness on campus, not just for the LGBT body, but the religious body and non-religious body of Tech students. As well as asking students at Montana Tech, what their opinion of Gianfortes is and whether or not they believe them to be qualified, we also asked students what sort of commencement speaker they would like to hear, and responses all tended to fall into similar answers. Of the students interviewed, they want to hear someone with a fair amount of industry experience, who graduated from Tech, and do not happen to be so controversial. Some have suggested using our own professors; others have been more specific by stating they would like to hear from Edwin Dob, a Butte local and lecturer at UC Berkley. Some students have also decided to protest the official commencement, and instead host an alternative ceremony. Chancellor Blackketter has supported the idea and said that they are within their student rights to do so, if they so choose. The writers at the Technocrat have heard a few of the student opinions on campus toward this year’s graduation speakers, The Gianfortes, but we would like to hear more! Please email us your comments, questions, or concerns at: firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit us on the web at https://www.facebook.com/MontanaTechnocrat In response to this article, for those that wish to be quoted, student opinions will be made public in our next and final issue of the year.
Movie Review 5
Movie Review: Noah Macy Ricketts The month of March saw the release of director Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, a modern-day interpretation of the biblical epic. The film stars Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind) as Noah alongside film stars Jennifer Connelly (Hulk), Emma Watson (Harry Potter, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal). Released on March 28, the film garnished an array of reviews, some proclaiming the film as “fiercely relevant,” (Rolling Stone), while others claimed the film to be “an epic misfire,” (IndieWire). In the film, Noah has a dream of “death by water. “Noah’s grandfather, Methuselah, explains Noah’s dream by stating “Man has corrupted this world and filled it with violence, so he must be destroyed.” As Noah builds his ark, the young king TubalCain, Noah’s brother-in law, becomes jealous. “You don’t know your king,” Tubal-Cain says. “I have men at my back, and you stand alone and defy me?” To this, Noah replies, “I’m not alone.” The rest of the movie is a series of ups and downs as Noah tries to prepare his family for the upcoming flood. As the rain begins to pour down, Tubal Cain, who has gathered an army against Noah, storms the vessel, and a Gladiator-esque battle scene ensues. Protected by six-armed angels known as Watchers protect Noah and the ark. Eventually, Tubal-Cain’s warriors are swept away by the raging floodwaters, and, as the Bible depicts, Noah, his family and two of each animal survive. Aronofsky, admittedly, took some creative license with this film. While the biblical depiction, which is relatively short, is found in parts in the movie, others, such as the bits with the six-armed angels and Tubal-Cain attempting to take the ark, are added. The film attempts to follow the biblical plot, with some embellishments. An aging Noah is called by God to build an ark by which Noah will save not only his family, but two of every animal in the world from a global flood that God promises will destroy the world. However, the film adds segments such as the cannibalistic army of a young king, Tubal-Cain, storming the ark, determined to pillage it for its stores of food. According to a review from Entertainment Weekly, the film has been largely accepted by the
Christian community. Several Christian organizations have expressed support for the Noah film. These leaders include heads from the American Bible Society, the National Catholic Register, the King’s College, and Focus on the Family. While many Christian groups have given kudos to Aronofsky for taking creative license with the relatively brief biblical account, others have said the film inaccurately portrayed the story. Aronofsky, a self-proclaimed atheist, stated himself that his rendition of the story of Noah’s Ark was the “least biblical biblical film ever made,” (Entertainment Weekly). Because of Aronofsky’s statements, there has been some push back from Christian groups, as well as Islamic groups. The film was banned in Pakistan, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Middle East, and some North Africa Countries prior to its release, with religious authorities saying that the film contradicts the teachings of Islam. Despite the pushback from religious groups, the film has done well in the States, grossing an estimate of $44 million during its opening box office weekend. The film also has a seventy-five percent approval rating from critics.
Letter to the Editor: Chancellor Blackketter’s welcome letter states, “Montana Tech is a premier institution of higher education in the United States.” I concur. I grew up in Butte, and have friends and family who graduated from Montana Tech. Tech is a public institution, which makes it unfathomable that Greg and Susan Gianforte were chosen to be its 2014 commencement speakers. Blackketter’s letter continues, “While Tech is known world-wide for its mining and petroleum engineering programs, excellence is found in all our disciplines including science, health, business, communications, trades, technical education and a variety of engineering programs.” I ask why then, would a couple who has invested thousands of dollars against public education and funded a museum which strives to prove there’s no scientific evidence to support evolution (http://www.creationtruth.org/) be invited to speak at Montana Tech’s commencement? Continued on page 7.
DIGGERS DINING STUDY
Data from 164 Tech Students
Does the Marcue Deli provide enough food options?
64% NO 36% YES
NO 72% How convenient are the hours of food servcie options at Montana Tech?
5% Extremely 55% Moderately
WEEKLY COST Weekday Plan
healthy food options?
12% Not at all
Does the Marcus Deli offer enough
Career Services 7
The Action Continues at Career Servcies! The 6th Annual CareerSmart Fair was a record setting spring event for Montana Tech! With 59 companies represented, 496 students visited with 150+ recruiters. This fair had something for everyone! The list of companies, including 16 new to Montana Tech events, had career and internship opportunities for every college. Many students have been actively involved in other career building events offered by Career Services. Montana Tech alumni for some time have volunteered to talk to current students in an Informational Interview format. This is a great chance to ask those really hard questions like, “What is a day in your job like? If you had a chance, would you pick the same career?” Stop by the Career Services office in the University Relations Building for more information. The next big event was the 3rd Annual Spring Volunteer Fair which was held in the Student Union Building. This was another highly successful fair with non-profits from across the local communities recruiting over 90 volunteers. Missed it? Don’t fret!! The Volunteer Fair handbook that lists all who attended and their current volunteer needs is available online at www.mtech.edu/career/volunteerism. Did you know that while recruiting at Montana Tech for interns and full-time positions, many companies LOOK for activities or volunteer experience on resumes? Your volunteer hours mean a lot, not only to the organizations. Currently one hour of volunteer work is valued at $15.73 according to www.independentsector.org. Don’t forget to check out the Job Search in DIGGERecruiting. Currently, there are 626 active full-time, part-time jobs and internship openings posted. We get daily additions from across the globe, including Canada, Korea, and South Africa. Want to stay closer to home – we have many local and regional listings, as well. Our interview calendar at Career Services remains busy. We have companies from across the spectrum coming to interview students they met at the fair, or those who have responded to a resume collection or pre-select schedule event. Watch for announcements of upcoming Information Sessions and interviews. (Hint – many times recruiters fill empty slots from those attending the Information Sessions.) Recently, two companies held interview events at the Highlands College campus and were very impressed with the
quality of candidates. In addition, we have several booked for the north campus in the coming weeks. Opportunities abound – but you have to do your part, too! This starts with creating and keeping your DIGGERecruiting account active and current. Targeted e-mails sent on a regular basis to alert students about upcoming events are sent based on the profile details and the company criteria. This is very easy to do by clicking the Student Login on our homepage. Call Career Services if you have any trouble creating an account or logging into your account. If you’ve already accepted a summer position in your degree or a full-time job, please let us know by filling out our quick online Questionnaire in the green box in the top left-hand corner online at www.mtech.edu/career under the heading, Got a Job? Report It! Be sure to sign up for our upcoming workshop series, “How Not to Get Fired Continued on page 8.
Letter to the Editor cont.
Another cause of concern is that Butte recently passed a nondiscrimination ordinance. The Gianfortes testified against a similar ordinance in Bozeman, and have invested thousands of dollars in the anti-gay movement. Where is Chancellor Blackketter’s consideration for students, families, faculty, staff and donors who support equality and inclusion? Does he expect anyone who identifies as LGBT or supports those who do—particularly the 2014 graduates—to attend Tech’s commencement ceremony? College acceptance letters are making their rounds. As the controversy over Tech’s selected speakers makes its way into statewide and national media (and perhaps gains international attention, since Tech “is known world-wide”) I fear a decline in enrollment if the invitation extended to the Gianfortes is not rescinded. The University of Montana is a case in point about a damaged reputation and its resulting enrollment decline. I urge Chancellor Blackketter to consider current and potential future students, families, faculty, staff and donors who value public education, give credence to science, and support human rights. His letter ends, “The future is bright for our university.” May his speaker choice affirm his assessment. Sincerely, Karen Buley
The Back Page APRIL 2014 The Technocrat Staff
Edi t o r- i n - c h i ef: Adam M. Hawks
Deputy Editor: Darcie Evans Macy Ricketts Reel Deal Movie: American Hustle
Video/Photography Team: Ali Almeshaal David Hannant
Get Yourself Tested (GYT) Program (Highlands)
Get Yourself Tested (GYT) Program (North)
F a c u l t y Ad v i so r:
Reel Deal Movie: Ride Aong
Reel Deal Movie: The Nut Job
Green and White Game
Career Services cont. The Technocrat is an independent, student-run newspaper at Montana Tech. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the college or the student body. The Technocrat is funded through student fees from the Associated Students of Montana Tech and advertising revenue. All material printed in this newspaper is the property of the creator and cannot be duplicated without permission from the creator. The Technocrat welcomes submissions of material for publication upon editorial approval.
From Your Internship/Summer Job.” If you have any questions about these events or would like to personally talk about your career search, set up an appointment by calling (406) 496-4140. Remember, Career Services is here to help all Montana Tech students continue to be IN DEMAND!
Health cont. important statistic that 1 in 2 sexually active people will get an STD by age 25. Although, GYT focuses on free HIV testing, it is also an opportunity to offer information, support, and direction for intervention to those at risk for an STD. Those who participate in the Tech event will receive a chance to win tickets to PBR at the Civic Center, April 18-19, courtesy of Bill Fisher and the
Butte Depot. “We are pleased that Bill continues to support our very important community intervention,” notes Jamie Paul, Director of Health Promotions and Family Services of the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department. “We are now in our 4th year of promoting GYT,” reports Cricket Pietsch, Montana Tech Student Life Counselor. “We have been pleased that students take advantage of this opportunity to know their HIV status.” For any further information about this event or any issue pertaining to Montana Tech, please contact Dr. John M. Garic at 406-496-3714 or Amanda Badovinac at 406-496-4828.