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BLACK HISTORY GREECE’S BUDGET pg.
February 18, 2015 VOLUME XXXVII, ISSUE I
A student newspaper of New College of Florida
New College receives $540k from BOG in performance improvements BY BIANCA BENEDÍ
PERU ISP ADVENTURE
RT A N IEDITIO R JU HIB EX
12 FUN AND FITNESS EXPO
Last year, New College lost $1.8 million in funding following a low score on a performance-based metric system devised by the Florida Board of Governors (BOG). After a successful sixmonth performance improvement plan designed by the school in conjunction with state standards, New College has earned back $540,000. This will allow the school to cut back on the use of reserve funds and offers a promising outlook at funding for the future. On a scale of 50 points, 26 points were required to pass the metrics; New College received 25. The lowest three performing schools, regardless of score, would be denied any funding; New College fell into that category. John Martin, vice president for finance and administration, worked with President Donal O’Shea and other administrators to negotiate with the BOG in order to save the school’s funds. The BOG agreed to hold back the funds of the three lowest-performing schools and allow them a chance to create a plan and potentially get back all their funding. “I hate that term, lowest performers,” Martin said. Since then, the school constructed a year-long
Photo courtesy of NCSL..org
The BOG adopted performance based metrics after deciding that they were a growing and inevitable trend.
performance improvement plan, with a stipulation that the BOG would look at performance improvement midway through the academic year to evaluate the possibility of returning half of the budget at the end of December. To cope with the loss of $1.4 million
in the operating budget, New College began drawing on cash reserves, rather than making budget cuts. Although relatively risky, administrators believed that the possibility of restoring the full
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Venezuelan condom shortage threatens public health BY SARA MINEO
Earlier this month, U.S. citizens were shocked to hear that boxes of condoms cost $755 on MercadoLibre, a website where Venezuelans purchase goods in short supply. The unavailability of condoms, birth control pills and other forms of contraception are low on the priority list for a country plagued with an “economic warfare” waged by predominantly wealthy, fascist-influenced youths. In a country where abortion has been criminalized but sex work is legal, this deficit of contraceptives can be catastrophic. “The whole thing makes you feel like an animal under control,” Viviana Gonzalez, a native of Venezuela and a college student at Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, said in an email. Patrons desperately in need of basic food and sanitary staples are herded into lines by armed officials. “The basic necessities are not being satisfied. I can’t wake up and say that today I will do the laundry, get the groceries I need, and get some medicines at the drugstore.” Gonzalez reported that whenever a product arrives at a
courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Empty shelves line Venezuelan grocery stores due to “economic warfare.” Household items like toilet paper, feminine products and detergent are difficult to find.
store, a surge of people will be waiting in line to purchase it. It is a common fact to Venezuelans that the wealthier population pay off proxies to wait in line for them. Only they can afford to pay the extremely inflated prices for basic goods. The rest of the population is not so lucky. The average minimum monthly wage in Venezuela is 5,600 bolivares,
roughly $882. Meanwhile, a 36-pack of condoms costs 4,760 bolivares which is equivalent to 85 percent of the average wage. “What costs you 45 [bolivares] today, could cost you 250 tomorrow,” Gonzalez said. “Minimum wage is set at around 4,300 [bolivares] per month I believe, and I spend at least 2,000 per week on just my food.”
In 2012, it was reported by the World Bank that Venezuela had the second highest teenage pregnancy rate in South America. Sexual health officials are finding it difficult to prevent the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancies without contraception. “Without condoms we can’t do anything,” Jhonatan Rodriguez, general director at StopVIH, reported to Bloomberg Business. “This shortage threatens all the prevention programs we have been working on across the country.” According to the World Health Organization, people in developing countries make up more than 95 percent of the world’s HIV infections. These are individuals who have limited, if any, access to contraceptives and HIV medications. “Sex is a basic physiological need, and those who can’t find protection will probably engage in unsafe sex when desperate,” Gonzalez said. Over the past few months, she has watched her friends frantically search every store for condoms and birth control pills
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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015 www.ncfcatalyst.com | @ncfcatalyst
briefs by Caitlyn Ralph
McCord returns for one class Professor of Biology Elzie McCord, who retired last fall after spending 13 years at New College, is back on campus to teach Plant Biology this term. McCord expressed appreciation for the welcome he has received since returning. “It’s gratifying that students and faculty greeted me so warmly,” McCord said. Up until right before the semester started, Professor of Biology Christopher Frost was slated to teach the course. However, students who attended Frost’s mini-classes instead met Professor of Biochemistry and Chair of the Natural Sciences Division Katherine Walstrom, who informed them that Frost would be leaving for a job offer in Kentucky, a move supported by the understandable needs of his family. Consequently, Plant Biology was cancelled indefinitely and students appeared devastated at the news. “When Professor Frost decided to leave, they were looking for someone to continue his class because students had already registered for them. It was fortunate that I had just hired a new nurse to take care of my wife that same day,” McCord, who accepted to teach the course in module one, said. “I had to teach the class in the spirit that he advertised it in.” The possibility of a module two course is still uncertain. “I only agreed to teach it mod one because I wasn’t sure how my home life is going to work with this new nurse,” McCord said. “If it works out well, then I will probably teach the advanced class in the second mod.” This is because biology, marine biology and plant biology students need the information from the course for their curriculum. McCord told students to check Moodle for any updates on the course, and that he is available for contact by telephone or email.
A preview of PCP On Feb. 21, Pei Campus will once again be host to one of New College’s most enduring traditions: the Palm Court Party (PCP). This time around, however, thesis student and PCP sponsor Taylor Barton is looking to update some elements of the event for the better. “The idea was to democratize the process,” Barton said. In the past, the winning theme would use all the funding even though it received less than 30 percent of the popular vote. “That didn’t seem right,” Barton continued. “We decided to give second and third place a third of the budget so that everybody could have at least one of the themes that they wanted be expressed in the decorations.” “Choose Your Own Adventure” holds the slot for the overall theme. The Black Box Theater will be Tronthemed, complete with a DJ booth, and the Nook will be the “Garden of Earthly Delights,” adorned with paintings, fruits and yes, a giant strawberry. Palm Court, the “Center of the Universe,” will be transformed with a Sailor Moon theme that includes space projections on the walls. There will also be bands in the Old Mail Room.
Barton supported the new PCP organization. The pressure of planning the large-scale event is spread across multiple teams rather than one, which has helped with each delegation’s accountability. “[With] having the other teams be involved there’s a hint of, not competition, but that everyone is holding up their end of the bargain. No one wants to be the least involved person, the least committed person, so everybody stays in it,” Barton said. “I think it’s working out well.” Another new addition to Saturday’s PCP is the inclusion of not one, but two chill-out rooms. “It is the first I have ever heard of it happening,” Barton said. Barton described one as the “medium chill room” in HCL 7 where students will still have the opportunity to take part in activities. The other will be in the Prayer and Meditation room, which will play ambient music in a dim, quiet and chill atmosphere. PCP wristbands will be available in Hamilton Center on Wednesday, Feb. 18th from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 19th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 20th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.; and Saturday, Feb. 21st from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Preferred names on student ID cards Starting this term, the Office of the Registrar is allowing the use of preferred names on ID cards. Previously, the only way to have a preferred name on an ID was through a formal name change, which entails court documents and monetary costs exceeding $500, a process that the Registrar understands is not a feasible option for every student. For a $10 charge, preferred names will now show up on student IDs as well as in the Student Evaluation System (SES). “We would like to give everyone the opportunity to have the correct name on their ID card, but because of state laws and state regulations, we’re constrained,” Assistant Director of Records Philip Carrasco said. The new preferred name program works through some of those constraints, however, legal names will still be printed at the bottom of the cards. Preferred names will not carry over to students’ email addresses and transcripts – this only comes with a
“Cast them out cause this is our culture; these new flocks are nothing but vultures.” © 2014, the Catalyst. All rights reserved. The Catalyst is available online at www.ncfcatalyst.com, facebook.com/NCFcatalyst, @ncfcatalyst The Catalyst is an academic tutorial sponsored by Professor Maria Vesperi. It is developed in the New College Publications Lab using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign and printed at Sun Coast Press with funds provided by the New College Student Alliance.
formal name change. “[The program] will give us the opportunity, especially for our offices, to make sure that we’re using the correct name,” Carrasco said. The preferred name process is now much more straightforward. Students simply come into the Office of the Registrar and fill out the preferred name form with their N numbers, their legal names and their preferred names. Then, preferred names are transferred into the system and show up on the SES within 24 hours. “Everybody is trying to figure out what they can do best,” Carrasco said. For right now, this new preferred name program was chosen because it could be implemented quickly. However, with the subject of preferred names surfacing on college campuses nationwide, more changes may be made in the future. Carrasco encouraged students to contact the Office of the Registrar with any questions.
General Editor Managing Editor Copy Editor Online Editor Layout Editors Staff Writers & Photographers
Sara Mineo Pariesa Young Yadira Lopez Caitlyn Ralph Bianca Benedí and Jasmine Respess Colt Dodd, Katelyn Grimmett, Giulia Heyward, Haley Jordan, Sydney Kruljac, Adilyne McKinlay, Ryan Paice; Kaylie Stokes
Bike thefts over break Within the first few weeks back from Winter Break this year, the number of stolen bike reports from students had escalated to about 15, much higher than the norm. The Campus Police Department disseminated extra officers, hired private security and closely monitored security cameras on locations hit the hardest. Alerts were also sent out via email to keep the community well informed of the situation. Early on, the police did not have many leads. Up until the last stolen bike, the department received only one call alerting them to a suspicious person. Officers located the individual near campus. Police were not able to arrest him at that time because he was found with a different bike than the one reported stolen. “Ultimately, it ended up being him,” Sergeant Christopher Rivett said. This individual, who was later arrested, was stealing bikes on campus about a year ago. “He came back to his old stomping grounds,” Rivett continued. There are a number of precautions students can take going forward. “Students really need to be vigilant of strangers on campus,” Rivett said. “Call us and let us know.” Bike and laptop registration is also encouraged. “The most successful people who get their bikes back are the ones who had them registered with us,” Tully said. However, the best defense is locking and securing personal possessions. It may sound simple, but, as Rivett pointed out, “A lot of students tend to go in the HCLs or Hamilton Center or the library and just leave personal property behind, sometimes it’s as small as a cup or as large and expensive as a laptop.” This feeling of comfort breeds complacency. “The worst thing that happens is nothing,” Rivett continued. “You come back, and it’s there. You get complacent.” Students can rent sturdy bike locks from the police for free. “Some people take advantage of it, but not as much as we would like,” Tully said. “We have to make it more difficult [for the criminals].”
Direct submissions, letters, announcements and inquiries to: The Catalyst 5800 Bay Shore Road Sarasota, Florida 34243 firstname.lastname@example.org The Catalyst reserves the right to edit all submissions for grammar, space and style. No anonymous submissions will be accepted. Submissions must be received by 12:00 p.m. Friday for consideration in the next issue.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015 www.ncfcatalyst.com | @ncfcatalyst
NEWS PAGE 3
An eclectic mix at the student art exhibition BY JASMINE RESPESS The Juried Student Art Exhibition is a chance for selected New College works to be shown and judged by a jury. The juror’s talk, by Joseph Loccisano, and reception was held on Feb. 5 at the Isermann Gallery in Caples Fine Art Complex. Professors, parents and community members were among those in attendance to witness an eclectic mix of paintings, sculptures, woodworks, photographs and drawings. The show, sponsored by Art and Frame of Sarasota, opened on Feb. 2 and can be seen until March 19, 2015 from Monday through Friday, 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. “Just being selected is a great honor,” Joseph Loccisano said. The first place award went to thirdyear Davin Aberle’s “Cave d121.4.” This is Aberle’s first show. “I have been exploring a lot of environmental issues and environments in general and evolution,” Aberle said. “It’s mostly just ideas that come into my head … I have been trying to work with a lot more of the theoretical stuff lately” “I’ve finally found my own groove,”
Aberle added. “After that happened, it’s been amazing,” Thesis student Rachael Zucker received second place for her work titled “Without Mercy.” “I am trying to portray the femme fatale in a way that is not exploiting the female figure,” Zucker said.” “Because there are a lot of complications with the femme fatale in a lot of mobile works of art which you can see in all types of art especially in tattoos.” First-year Sarah Bradicich was awarded third place for “Mirrored Dimensions.” “I actually wasn’t going to submit anything until I finished that piece for ISP,” Bradicich said. “And I was really proud of it.” “I didn’t expect to win an award so I was very surprised and happy,” Bradicich added. Honorable Mentions went to second-year Francisco Perez for “Digital Romanticism,” thesis student Isabelle Duvall for “View for Apache,” and thesis student Grayton Cloos for “Heart and Soul.” “I hadn’t had any work in a show at New College before and I felt that I am
doing so much in the sculpture program that it would be fitting,” Cloos said. Other artists whose work was in the show included, Daniel AndersonLittle, Alexandra Bauman, Cassidy Bingham, Coral Chepren-Moore, Meris Drew, Danielle Dygert, Zeyna Hadidi,
Zoe Heuermann, Aubrey Neher, Julia Pope, Paoge Rawitz, Ashley Rodrigues, Sara Sarmiento, Kamron Scruggs, Jeanine Tatlock, Alexander Walzem and Miriam Zeitz.
A spectator admires student work.
Newly elected Greek prime minister faces economic and political challenges BY SYDNEY KRULJAC As Greece embarks on what it hopes is a new and promising era, recently elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras prepares himself for a challenging battle. Prior to his win on Jan. 25, the left-wing Syriza party prime minister promised to renegotiate the terms of the country’s bailout by rejecting the extension. Tsipras addressed parliament on Sunday, explaining that Greece would seek a bridge loan in its road to progression. The prime minister intends to keep his pre-election promises to raise the minimum wage, distribute a pension bonus, rehire public workers and provide free access to food and electricity to those who were victims of the bailout. “Greece wants to service its loans,” Tsipras said. “The debt is not sustainable. The problem is political. If our partners keep insisting on austerity, the debt will only continue to grow.” Since 2010, Greece has received 240 billion euros worth of bailout funds. As a trade-off, the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission insisted on austerity measures, meaning strict action would be taken by the government to bring expenses in alignment with the country’s income. These measures include tax increases, a halt on state pensions, a ban on early retirement and significant cuts in government salaries. In his address to parliament, Tsipras turned the focus to Greece’s humanitarian crises, which he stated were due to “catastrophic austerity.” According to Anna Kapetaniou, Greek native and a cousin of this article’s author, optimism, a now foreign idea,
photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
Greek citizens rally together while waving their nation’s flag.
has once again been restored in the hearts of the Greeks. “The people of Greece are hoping
that Tsipras will change everything,” Kapetaniou said. “Right now, nothing has changed and the market is frozen.
We are all just waiting.” The previous prime minister, Antonis Samaras, said that his “conscience is clear.” Samaras held office through most of the crisis. According to Samaras, Greece is now stable and “slowly walking away from the crisis.” The program for Greece’s loan distribution is set to end on Feb. 28 as a final amount of 7.2 billion euros is given to the country. However, Tsipras is hoping to find a way in which he can receive a short-term debt while the country decides on a new deal. At the moment, Greek debt has soared to more than 174% of Greece’s economic output, according to BBC. Elliot Tricot O’Farrell, an international relations student attending Université libre de Bruxelles, lives in Belgium, the heart of the European Union. As optimistic as Greece is, civilians of the European Union, such as O’Farrell, are suspicious of Tsipras and his promises. “He’s promised a lot and is reliant on the EU for help,” O’Farrell said. “Most everyone is skeptical about him.” United Kingdom native Steve Sathasivam also fears for Greece. “Every economy in the world should be a little worried about it,” Sathasivam said. “It could have pretty big ripple effects if half their debt is written off.” In regards to Tsipras, Sathasivam believes the new prime minister has given Greece a little too much optimism. “To be honest, it’s too early to pass judgment on [Tsipras],” he said. “But promising a country that is desperately in recession with high unemployment and low wages that he will have half the country’s debt written off is false hope.”
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NEWS PAGE 4
After failed amendment, new medical marijuana bill emerges BY GIULIA HEYWARD The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative seeks to change the legal standing of medical marijuana in the state. This proposed ballot comes on the heels of Amendment 2, a bill that was shot down in the Nov. 4 election and would have decriminalized the use of medical marijuana for qualifying patients and personal caregivers in Florida. Amendment 2 would have added Florida to a list of 23 other states in the country where medical marijuana is legal. Supporters of the new initiative, which retains the end goal of Amendment 2, hope it will appear on the 2016 ballot. “Because of the relaxed standards, the industry booms and marijuana culture as well as the economy surrounding it are really visible,” firstyear Rebecca Caccavo said. Caccavo is
a resident of California, where medical marijuana was legalized in 1996, with the passing of Proposition 215. “To me, it makes more sense to decriminalize it and medicalize it, or just simply legalize,” Caccavo said. “I feel if it’s just legalized for medical purposes, restrictions could make it hard to discern who is ‘worthy’ of legal and affordable access, resulting in no change in cursory drug arrests that hurt low income and communities of color.” If the initiative becomes a bill, it would prevent physicians or caregivers from being “subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law solely for issuing a physician certification with reasonable care to a person diagnosed with debilitating medical conditions.” These medical conditions include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD), and any other medical issue for which “a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks.” “The medicinal marijuana that is going to be used for pain is Charlotte’s Web,” Professor of Plant Biology Elzie McCord explained. “This [strand] does not contain the hallucinogen, which is a cannabinoid. Therefore it locks the cannabinoid receptors. The problem I have with it is whether it will be injectable or in a pill form. It needs to be standardized.” “Because if you grow marijuana in your backyard or in a growth facility, you give it all the water and all the sun it needs because you want it to grow quickly,” McCord continued. “Plants don’t produce secondary metabolizers, which the cannabinoids are for us. It produces them for the protection of
themselves; we just found other uses for them. Once you produce the ideal growing condition that you think it needs, the plant does not require the protection anymore so it doesn’t produce as many secondary metabolizers.” Although many see the potential in the legalization of medical marijuana, supporters need to collect a minimum of 683,149 signatures in order to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot. “I think that there is a subset of people who appear to have good evidence that medical marijuana helps them,” Anne Fisher, program director of the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC), said. “I think that it’s like any other medicine, it’s got its pros and its cons … If you’re trying to help people with symptoms, any medicine they take is going to have side effects and is going to have some risks with it.”
Anthem’s 80 million hacked: Identity and information protection BY HALEY JORDAN Anthem Inc., parent of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, stated it had fallen victim to a massive data breach in which as many as 80 million current and former members’ and employees’ personal information may have been stolen. According to Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish, the hackers received access to names, birth dates, member IDs, Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information Wednesday, Feb. 4. However, Swedish stated that there was no evidence of credit card or medical information being stolen. The No. 2 U.S. health insurer has promised to provide free credit monitoring and identity protection services for the next two years for every customer whose information is at risk. Unfortunately, Anthem customers are still in danger as a new email scam is being sent out to mine even more information from those targeted. The phishing email resembles official Anthem communication containing credit monitoring of restoration services but instead delivers malware or asks for more information. Lawsuits have already been filed in several states, and more are surely to follow. The definition of identity theft according to the Federal Trade Commission is “your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes.” There are, however, a myriad of easy ways to secure one’s identity and personal information. One should be careful to shred sensitive information before throwing it away, keep social security numbers in a safe place, avoid giving out credit card information over the phone, abstain from clicking on links provided in unsolicited emails, create varying and
complex passwords, and inspect one’s credit report regularly. “College campuses in particular seem to be at a higher risk and are targeted more often,” Kelly Fisher of the New College Police Department commented. “It’s extra important that college students keep an eye out, check your credit report, check your bank statements, keep everything in a secure location. In Hamilton Center a lot of students keep their mailboxes unlocked. Keep your mail secure because it’s easy for someone to just take your mail.” Fisher also advises against sharing one’s pin number with others, even friends, connecting to unknown WiFi networks, and to be cautious of one’s surroundings while withdrawing money from an ATM. “If your identity is compromised, contact your financial institution first to get all your credit cards and debit cards cancelled, contact your local police department, and you would probably also want to contact the FBI, because they would be the ones to investigate,” Fisher said. She herself was a victim of skimming in an airport terminal. “Skimming is basically an electronic device that somebody would carry on them, they don’t even need to have it out in their hand, they could have it in their pocket, waistband, or purse and as you walk by it automatically pulls information from anything with a magnetic strip,” fisher explained. She recommends aluminum cardholders that prevent the machines from accessing credit and debit card information. Beyond the threat of identity theft, there are also a myriad of risks associated with social media that are not advertised when one signs up for services. Facebook, which boasts 1.35 billion monthly users, is a natural target for those looking to scour and misuse
personal information. Although it is common knowledge that one should not share plans to be out of town, and to deny friend requests from strangers, there are many widely practiced and seemingly harmless habits that can put social media users at risk. Computer Weekly advises against providing phone numbers, email addresses, and even dates of birth. Users are also advised to ignore links supposedly sent by friends, as they are often sent by hackers. Past the threat of someone targeting another person, there exists in the world of social media the risk of selfincrimination. Often, users are not in full grasp of what is and is not available to the public on their Facebook profile and postings made by others are out of the user’s control unless the privacy settings are altered. A team of college students recently created a tool named Simplewash, previously Facewash, in order to combat this. The application searches Facebook for certain phrases
and words that it believes could incriminate or simply embarrass the user. It is programed to find any and all profanity, drug references and even comments that might be considered offensive. This is especially useful to those concerned with an upcoming application to a job or internship. A similar application is Socioclean, which sells the same service particularly tailored to college students. Despite these helpful applications, a general safeguard to fraud and any unwanted exposure is to simply refrain from sharing your information anywhere on the Internet. “You just have to be aware, the main thing is just don’t share your information with anyone,” Fisher noted. “It’s one of those things you don’t think about too much but it’s ten million people a year.” Enrollment information for
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This graph shows the increase in U.S. data breaches since 2005.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015 www.ncfcatalyst.com | @ncfcatalyst
NEWS PAGE 5
Study finds more college students feel depressed BY PARIESA YOUNG Emerging concern about the mental health of entering college students was reinforced this week by a survey demonstrating a sharp increase in students who reported feeling frequently depressed or overwhelmed. “The American Freshman: National Norms 2014” survey has provided experts with important research on how to deal with the changing faces on college campuses. The survey, conducted by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) at the University of California, Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute, has been a source of comprehensive data revealing trends and interests among recent high school graduates for 50 years. While it compiles data on matters as diverse as political views, partying and social networking, the survey has been of particular interest to experts in mental health. More than 150,000 students were polled around the United States. Dr. Anne Fisher, director of the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC), noted that stigma attached to mental illness has declined significantly in the last few years, especially among students at New College. “We don’t have the level of stigma here that might be at a different campus. I think this is a very enlightened student body,” Fisher said. “I think the student culture is one that has been very supportive of
counseling.” “In national data, counseling centers serve about 10 to 15 percent of a student body,” Fisher added. “We’re well above the national average.” In last year’s data, the CWC saw 304 individual New College students for counseling, roughly 35 percent of the student body, with an average of about eight sessions each. Decreased stigma may directly correlate to higher reported rates of depression and mental illness because more students feel willing to disclose information relating to mental health. For many students, decreased stigma may also encourage them to seek help before a crisis. “When I first got to New College [25 years ago], there were a lot more dramatic crises,” Fisher recalled. “Something would happen and all of third court would be in an uproar over a person or two. We don’t have that much anymore. I think what has changed is that students are more open to help. The last couple of years is the first time I’ve seen students walk other students over for a hospitalization.” Respondents reporting that they frequently “felt depressed” rose from 6.1 percent in 2009 to 9.5 percent in 2014. Over the same five-year period, the percentage of students who “felt overwhelmed” by schoolwork and commitments grew from 27.1 to 34.6 percent. These changes reflect the evolving
expectations and responsibilities of college students. Mental health workers have noted that the modern college experience is much more stressful and demanding than before. As students juggle classes, part-time jobs and competitive internships, the time they have to spend on mental and emotional wellbeing is diminished. “I think there’s more pressure to do well because increasingly there’s fewer jobs that allow for only a high school degree,” thesis student Angelica Alexander of the Mental Health Alliance wrote in an email interview. “I think it might be more stressful in part because a lot of schools don’t adequately prepare students for college. Many students were smart but coasted through their classes. Here, they’re ‘average’ and they have to develop new skills very quickly.” Economic woes befall many graduating college students who attempt to find jobs while they pay off hefty college loans. “School costs are rising so rapidly,” Alexander said. “That’s a huge stressor. Also, the economy hasn’t been good which means it’s harder to find jobs and you can no longer pay for your education through a parttime job. There’s also more competition for even part-time jobs, like at fast food restaurants. Increased stress means higher chances of depression.” For students with existing mental health issues or disabilities, the strains of college life are even more
pronounced. “There’s a lack of support for existing mental health issues and learning disabilities, such as anxiety and ADHD,” Alexander said. “They might not be diagnosed until you reach college, and at that point you’re either already close to dropping out or just barely hanging on.” As students’ needs change, mental health experts are tailoring therapy to suit a new generation. Options for online therapy have proven to be effective in treating anxiety. Therapist Assisted Online (TAO), a service provided by the CWC, allows students to utilize therapeutic resources directly from their personal computer. Along with a weekly video chat with a therapist, TAO offers daily exercises to alleviate anxiety. Fisher noted that these short, daily activities keep students committed to therapy for a short time every day, and they are more convenient and accessible than weekly therapist visits. The CWC has also begun offering three group therapy sessions a week, focusing on grief, identity and mindfulness. Group therapy sessions allow counselors to fit more students in their schedule, and many students who may not need weekly individual therapy can take advantage of group sessions. In the 2014 survey, students selfrated their emotional health at 50.7 percent, the lowest score in the history
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Students honor Black History Month with speakers, performances and discussions BY ADILYNE MCKINLAY In honor of Black History Month, a committee has created a month full of programming for the first time in recent history. Events have been engaging and well received so far. New College’s theme for this year’s celebration is “Black Optics: Our World Unfiltered.” The committee, which has been meeting since November, is comprised of Professor of Sociology Queen Meccasia “Mecca” Zabriskie, third-year Nasib McIntosh, second-year Donovan Brown and first-years Ijeoma Uzoukwu and Paul Loriston. Black History Month has occurred annually since 1976. According to History.com, each American president since then has designated February for the celebration “and endorsed a specific theme.” This year’s theme, selected by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) is “A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture,” in honor of the one hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), the precursor to ASLAH. Founded in 1915 by Carter G. Woodson, the ASNLH established “Negro History Week,” the predecessor of Black History Month. According to asalh100.org the Association was
dedicated to “the belief that historical truth would crush falsehoods and usher in a new era of equality, opportunity, and racial democracy.” The Association pursued this belief by “researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent,” as History.com notes. ASALH continues this work today. “It’s been going on for so long,” Zabriskie said. “1926 was Black History Week, and it’s really amazing that some people still don’t know that history around Black History Month. I think it’s really important, but I think that it also shows the history of this struggle around representation and including Black history and creating a space to talk about and celebrate Black culture and Black achievement.” In the recent past, Black History Month has been officially celebrated on campus only with an African American Read-In at Jane Bancroft Library. Zabriskie wanted to expand the celebration across campus and throughout the month. She sought out students who were interested in the project. Events that have already occurred include an opening discussion to kick off Black History Month that occurred in the GDC; “Revolutionary Art, Propelling History Forward,” an Artist Talk by Dread Scott; and the African
American Read-In at the Library. “The opening conversation for this month was about race and ethnicity,” McIntosh said. “What are those things? What is race? Just getting people to think about themselves as racialized.” All of the events have been well attended so far, with Dread Scott’s talk reaching an audience of about 50 people. Dread Scott is a multidisciplinary artist that creates revolutionary art. He has visited New College in the past. “Get outside of the normal comfort zone,” Scott said in response to a question on how to start change in Sarasota. “If it’s a segregated city, what can we do to transform it? The world is a bad place for a lot of people. We have to change it.” Other scheduled events include a speech by Dr. Lisa Merritt on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. in Hamilton Classroom Building 7 (HCL 7). Merritt is the founder and executive director of the Multicultural Health Institute, and her lecture covers the topic of race and health disparities. “Dr. Merritt does a lot of work on campus,” Zabriskie said. “She does a lot of work in the community. We wanted to make sure we gave space to a local activist or scholar doing work relevant for the month.” There will be a lecture by keynote speaker Kortney Ryan Ziegler Ph.D. on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. in Sainer Auditorium.
Ziegler is a transgender artist, scholar and activist. “I’m really excited to bring him here, especially because I think New College is one of the spaces that is having these dialogues around gender and sexuality,” Zabriskie said. “Connecting what we’re doing with Black History Month to the existing dialogues taking place on campus and the existing work happening around those issues was really important.” A closing concert and open mic will be held on Feb. 27 at 9 p.m. at the Four Winds Café. Zabriskie noted the importance of making this month a collaboration and a school-wide effort. The committee has been pleased with the turnout for events and positive feedback they have received. They encourage everyone to continue sending in suggestions for future programming. “I know other people are interested in working with this, and I’m interested in making it a larger project as well,” McIntosh said. “We’d really like to see this become an institutionalized thing.” Information from this article was taken from History.com and asalh100.org
An Adventure Abroad: BY KATELYN GRIMMETT Fantastical insects, glowing fungi, leaf-cutter ant colonies and glorious sights of canopies stretching as far as the eye can see. These are some of the wonders the Canopy Ecology ISP of 2015 came across during its stay in the Peruvian Amazon. Composed of 14 mostly Natural Science students, the group spent a week concentrating on the region’s literature before boarding a plane to experience the Amazon first hand and conduct experiments amidst the grand biodiversity of the rainforest. After flying into Lima on Jan. 15, a short flight took the group to the city of Iquitos, located in the northeastern Amazon Basin of Peru. Here, we were picked up by our tour guide, Abelardo Hidalgo. Abelardo was witty, infinitely knowledgeable and eager to share his world with us. A boat ride up the Sucusari River took us to our first destination: the Amazon Conservatory of Tropical Studies (ACTS) Research Lodge, home to one of the longest canopy walkways in the world. Explorama and Exploration The group spent three days at ACTS where the majority of the experiments were completed and our canopy ecology craving was fulfilled. A minimum of two treks up the walkway per day had us ascend more than 115 feet into the treetops. Each lodge stuffed us with meals such as fresh papaya, rice, potatoes, lettuce with lime and various meats and fish. Peter Jenson founded Explorama Lodges in 1964 with the goal of maintaining primary rainforest reserves and educating guests on the surrounding wildlife and culture of the local riberenos or “river people.” The lodges were thatch-roofed resulting in a constant sensation of being surrounded by the forest with all of its scents and sounds. ACTS was complete with a dining, laboratory and conference room in addition to rooms with mosquito-netted beds and kerosene lamp lighting. A trail led right from ACTS to the Canopy Walkway entrance, crossed in a 15 minute walk through the virgin Amazon forest. After an incredible stay at ACTS, the group moved on to the next part of the expedition. Abelardo led the mile hike to the next lodge: ExplorNapo. Before reaching the lodge itself, we were treated with a visit to the Ethnobotanical garden on the outskirts of the lodge. A large, circular hut stood just beyond the garden and a shaman awaited our arrival. Shaman Guillermo Rodriguez welcomed us into his realm of knowledge and explained his responsibilities as the local doctor and natural healer. “I was shocked when the shaman said that mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety don’t exist in
the Amazon,” first-year Grace Bishop said. “What was their secret? It really made me step back and look at the sort of life I want to lead in the future.” Shaman Rodriguez passed around some of the plants grown in the garden for his professional use. Cocona, a popular and tart fruit, was described as “jungle insulin” due to its ability to soothe diabetic pains. Shaman Rodriquez walked around with Dragonblood, 100 percent pure sap from the Dragonblood tree, and offered it to anyone with a mosquito bite (in other words, every person in the group) as it calms itching from the bites. Next was a bottle of Iowaska, boiled with other liquids to create a dark, hallucinogenic beverage used as a rite of passage for shamans. Once they fully understand its effects the shamans can prudently prescribe the medication to those in true need. Another medicinal plant was the Golden Button which has numbing effects and is used for tooth aches by chewing on the stem of the flower. The shaman offered to cleanse the group of negative energy through a traditional ceremony. We all received Shaman Rodriguez’s blessing while he chanted a sacred song. He blew thick tobacco smoke behind the center of our heads and brushed our backs with a palm leaf. At the end of the ritual, we were given an invigorating rosewood oil to pass over our faces. The last lodge was Explorama where we watched a presentation from the Yagua tribe, visited a molasses factory, went piranha fishing, toured a clinic and got to talk to Linnea Smith, a doctor who one-handedly established a clinic and opened it for service to the area. Her services include family planning, vaccinations, treatment of diseases and other care such as dentistry. She is now a vital resource to the area and has changed the lifestyles of the locals. Experiments The group performed four main experiments: Leaf Damage Assessment (led by sponsor Christopher Frost), Malaise Trapping, Chemical Ecology and Leaf-Cutter Ant Testing. Our first and main experiment was contributing to Frost’s seven-year data set recording the leaf damage in the understory and canopy. The damage was assessed based on a scale created by Frost himself. The goal was to estimate how much herbivore damage each leaf had by looking to see what percentage of the leaf was left. Each student set out and recorded the level of damage on at least 200 leaves. “I am currently planning to use the entire data set and the methodology for collecting as the centerpiece for a chapter in my upcoming book on canopy ecology,” Frost said. “It is fair to point out that the dataset isn’t complete, the contribution
the Canopy Ecology ISP of the 2015 ISP group is part of an ongoing long-term data set that will hopefully continue for many years. It’s part of a project I have called the ‘The Million Leaf Project’, in which I intend to collect damage counts on one million leaves. Thus far, the data set has about 100,000 leaves counted, so it’s about 10 percent of my goal,” Frost explained. For the Malaise Trapping experiment the group hung four traps in a daisy chain from one of the walkway platforms. The next day, the group implemented a manipulation factor of Jasmonic Acid, a chemical known to attract insects. The result was more insects caught near the spray. After each of the two days, the insects were taken out and separated into vials. It was decided, retroactively, that the experiment had to be replicated more times to be able to extract any solid conclusions from it. The chemical ecology experiment tested the phenol content of different leaves. The group grinded leaves with acetone, straining the liquid into a vial and evaporating the acetone over the heat of a kerosene lamp. The extractions were dotted onto filter paper and dipped in a solvent which seeped into the paper and flowed upward, carrying the extracts at different rates, depending on the phenol levels. The last experiment involved interacting with a colony of leaf-cutter ants by testing which chemically altered filter papers they would pick up. The test used salt, water, leaf extract, sugar and other factors, all of which were picked up by the colony and carried into their home gardens, with the exception of the leaf extract paper, most intriguingly. Plating, a method used to preserve, was also done over the trip. The plates were sprayed with isopropanol and the specimen were then placed in the center of the plate and pressed down until flat and in place. Last, the plates were topped and wrapped with parafilm. Thesis student Ross Joseph, a biology AOC who focuses in mycology, plated some of the insects from the traps as well as several leaves and species of fungi. “Of the mycological specimens encountered in the field, several species of Ganoderma and Cordyceps were found and sampled in addition to many unidentified species,” Joseph said. “Given the overwhelming number of unidentified species of fungi, especially in tropical regions, further research and conservation efforts in these areas are imperative for the discovery of new organisms which hold the potential to benefit medicinal and environmental fields.” The People of Peru The students interacted with two main groups of people: the Yagua tribe and the community of the Capironal village. The interactions with the two groups were exceedingly different and
resulted in polarized experiences. The meeting with the Yagua tribe was arranged through and set at the Explorama Lodge. An Explorama Guide stood in front of a bench lined with men, clearly Yagua from their traditional clothing. The guide discussed the history of the Yagua, beginning with their close ties to Explorama. In 1984, tourism was getting so big that Explorama developed an agreement with the Yagua tribe to show tourists a part of their culture in exchange for the promotion of trade with their hand-crafted goods. The guide then moved on to a stronger part of history, one that began in the late 1800s and perhaps was recalled too sharply for the audience’s comfort. The rubber boom of the time had begun to devastate the forest and foreign countries came to claim their cut, literally. This resulted in the exploitation of previously untouched cultures, including that of the Yagua. Such exposure of cultures resulted in many forms of globalization. The Yagua began to wear modern clothing and speak Spanish, the size of families decreased and expectations developed. The guide explained how the tribe wore traditional outfits for the demonstration but, on a normal day, they would be sporting Nikes and other modern brands. After the guide finished his introduction, the Yagua showed us their dances, taken from old celebrations and honoring animals such as the Anaconda, yet it was clear that their everyday lives no longer incorporated many of their ancestral customs and traditions. The group’s experience with the Capironal village was considerably different. With Abelardo as our translator we finally got to fulfill our desire to meet the locals and share something universal with them: a game of soccer.
(left top) The 2015 ISP group with their new friends from the Caprional Village. (left middle) An Amazonian lodge. (left bottom) Female sloth hangin from her perch in a tree. (right top) Canopy in the forest. (right middle) Students watch for sights in the forest. (right bottom) The canopy walkway at ACTS stretches for 500 meters, rising up past the canopy itself. (headline) The sun rises above the canopy horizon. Top left photo courtesy of Christopher Frost; Bottom left photo courtesy of Reed Barry; All other photos Katelyn Grimmett/Catalyst
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015 www.ncfcatalyst.com | @ncfcatalyst
Poet Tod Edgerton to teach creative writing BY GIULIA HEYWARD When Michael Tod Edgerton took creative writing courses in college, he did not view the professors and the resources as the most valuable part of his experience. For him, the best part was the community of fellow writers. This semester, Edgerton is creating and teaching two creative writing workshops of his own for writers, both beginning and experienced. Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Edgerton fostered a love of writing during his early adolescence. “I think it coincided when I was thirteen and I stopped believing in God,” Edgerton said. “I turned, almost simultaneously, to philosophy and poetry. It’s always been sort of in my brain, since, to find out what is true. I needed to fill this void that had now become a center of my universe. And I turned to philosophy and poetry as modes.” Edgerton was originally inspired by what he described as the “lyrical, musical” quality of poetry. Some of the first works Edgerton created at 13 and 14 were songs. It was his 10th grade English teacher who, upon viewing some of his work, encouraged him to get involved in his high school’s literary magazine. When Edgerton graduated from high school, his immediate plan was to study English Literature. A plan that lasted for the duration of a semester.
He became interested in poststructuralism, critical theory, gender studies and contemporary philosophy and would switch to a self-designed major. It was also during this time of self-exploration that Edgerton decided to take a break from writing in order to pursue these interests. “I just didn’t think poetry could change the world. I didn’t know why I thought theory would and poetry couldn’t,” Edgerton said. Edgerton would refuel his love for writing during a particularly difficult time in his life when writing then become a means to vent and express what he was going through. He decided to pursue both a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Literary Arts at Brown University in 2006 and a PhD. in both English and creative writing at the University of Georgia in 2014. “I think that writing is a part of my DNA, whether literally or figuratively, that I’m drawn to language as a medium for art,” Edgerton said. During this time, he began publishing his works, which have appeared in publications such as the “Boston Review” and the “Denver Quarterly”. His first collection of poetry, titled “Vitreous Hide,” was published in 2013. Edgerton describes it as a meditation on the experiences of wanting to feel connected and present in the body. Edgerton was able to combine his love of writing with his love of teaching
Photo courtesy of Tod Edgerton
Tod Edgerton describes his book “Vitreous Hide” as a meditation on wanting to feel connected and present in both the human body and the world.
through the various courses that he has taught. He views teaching as a way to cater to the specific needs of each type of student. Edgerton is currently teaching Introduction to Creative Writing: Explorations Across Genres for beginning writers and Ek-Static
Ekphrastic: An Inter-Arts Writing Lab for more advanced students. Despite the differences between the workshops, a common theme is the practice of revision.
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Professor’s art memorializes slain transwomen BY YADIRA LOPEZ Professor of Art Jono Vaughan’s work subscribes to the notion that one may catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Her ongoing multimedia collaborative work, “Project 42,” juxtaposes a series of brightly patterned dresses and lively choreography with the grim issue of deadly violence against transgender individuals in America. “Project 42” began in June of 2013 in response to the gruesome murders of transgender women across the country as well as alarming statistics about the median life expectancy of trans individuals. Although Vaughan found claims as low as 25 years of age, she admits that it is near impossible to get accurate figures associated with these issues. “This [project] isn’t a scientific study. These numbers are completely unverifiable,” she said, adding that she settled on the number 42 as a symbolic representation of a truncated life expectancy. “One of the reasons that number means something to me is that I’m getting close to that age,” Vaughan, who will turn 38 in May, confided. “I haven’t had any type of violence projected onto me but you don’t know when something can happen. So as I’m getting closer to that number I think about these things.” At its completion, the project will have memorialized 42 transgender women. Each dress, of which four have already been created, starts off with a
photo courtesy of Jono Vaughn
Three of the dresses Vaughan has created so far were exhibited last year at The Engle wood Arts Center in Englewood, Florida.
Google Maps screenshot of the location where the victim was murdered. Vaughan then uses Photoshop to manipulate the screenshot into colorful shapes and patterns that will ultimately become the fabric. The next step involves a collaborator who, in Vaughan’s words, acts as a “host” to the victim’s memory by performing a dance in the dress. “When we think about [what makes life meaningful] we think about opportunities and experiences and these are people who had those
opportunities and experiences stolen from them,” Vaughan said, explaining the incorporation of dance and travel as a way to symbolically give back life to the victims. The project’s first garment honored 23-year-old Paige Clay by transforming screenshots of the dingy alley in Chicago where she was murdered into an abstract landscape of primary colors on the cotton fabric. This dress traveled to Vietnam, where one of Vaughan’s collaborators filmed herself
triumphantly dancing in the garment. Vaughan’s latest collaborator, a Berlin-based dancer, was initially skeptical, “When he wrote to me he said, ‘I’d love to collaborate with you but I’m not gay, I’m not transgender, I’m very hairy [...] why do you want to collaborate with me?’ So I wrote back, that’s exactly why I want to collaborate with you.” Vaughan hopes that by working with people who may not have much exposure to issues plaguing the transgender community her collaborators will learn something and, in turn, teach others, “I’m seeking to expand this discussion because it needs to be expanded.” Asked whether her work is didactic, she pauses to consider the question. Being a teacher, she recognizes a desire to educate, but she prefers to view the project as “seeding change.” Vaughan wants to increase discussion and visibility on the issue in non-confrontational ways. “A lot of my work deals with accessibility, and the idea that when something is accessible you can confront viewers and audiences with big concepts that they themselves maybe are uncomfortable with because they have a way into that discussion,” Vaughan said, explaining the role of aesthetic pleasure in her work. “And sometimes it’s a bit subversive; they don’t really know they’re having that
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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015 www.ncfcatalyst.com | @ncfcatalyst
MLB spring training reveals a new baseball landscape BY RYAN PAICE The 2014-2015 Major League Baseball (MLB) offseason has been an offseason like no other. Between a litany of trades and major free agent signings, the 2015 MLB season promises to bring a whole new league, and the action might not even be over yet. Nineteenyear-old Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada is one of the most highly touted infielder prospects in the history of the league, and has gathered plenty of interest but has yet to sign. Cole Hamels, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasberg are all young and elite pitchers who are reportedly available to be traded, but their high asking prices have prevented any final deals. Even the rules are looking to be changed with the arrival of a new MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, who is looking to spark the declining offense with the elimination of defensive shifts and a possible altered strike zone. However the offseason comes to a close, spring training is unveiling an MLB that is incredibly different from that of last year. One of the busiest teams of the offseason, the San Diego Padres made an enormous splash with the many trades that brought them a whole new offense, namely, the additions of the
former MVP runner-up Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks. The Padres’ offense ranked last in the MLB in several categories last season, but with the almost entirely remodeled lineup they might be a force to behold. Their rotation – while it was a league leader last year, ranking fourth in overall team ERA at 3.27 – also looks to be improved, as the team added James Shields. The pitcher helped bring the Kansas City Royals to their first MLB postseason since 1986 with a solid 3.21 ERA through 227 innings. The Padres look to make the playoffs with their revamped team, after falling 11 games short in 2014 with a mediocre 77-85 record. Another team trying to escape from their division’s basement is the Boston Red Sox. After winning the World Series in 2013, the Sox fell to last in their divisional standings with a 71-91 record. Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli battled stressful injuries throughout the year, and prospects Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts failed to live up to their heavy expectations, resulting in a losing season and a fire sale at the trade deadline in the pursuit of assets. With those assets, the Sox restocked their already plentiful farm system and traded Yeonis Cespedes for
Rick Porcello. Shoring up their lineup further, Boston signed free agents Justin Masterson and Wade Miley, and bolstered their lineup with the signings of sluggers Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. After the storm of offseason action, the 2014 AL East’s worst team looks to sport the best offense in the league and make another run at the World Series. The Chicago Cubs are looking to end their World Series drought – dating back to 1908 – with a stellar rise of young talent and the signing of the game’s premier pitcher. Jon Lester, who was traded from the Red Sox to the Athletics just last year, signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs after posting an elite 2.46 ERA over 219 innings in total throughout in 2014. With one of the top hitting prospects in the game, third baseman Kris Bryant, looking to break into the major leagues after a ridiculous run through the minor leagues, Chicago might make a run at the playoffs. With several of the best young players and prospects in the game and a newly signed ace pitcher in Jon Lester, the Cubs enter spring training with a full head of steam. After several years of bolstering a strong rotation, the Washington Nationals might have assembled the
best rotation in the history of Major League Baseball with the signing of Max Scherzer. While the former Detroit Tiger might have been signed for a ridiculous seven-year, $210 million contract, the Nationals have added another ace to their already league-best 2014 rotation. Last year’s rotation alone sported the best ERA in the league with a stellar 3.14 mark, and now Scherzer will join Stephen Strasberg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez in what may very well be the best group of pitchers ever. Washington is a strong World Series favorite after their monumental signing and are even willing to part with either Strasberg or Zimmermann due to their confidence in their rotation. All of that action, along with Nelson Cruz, Russell Martin, Ervin Santana, Andrew Miller and Chase Headley all finding new teams through free agency, guarantee that the MLB of 2015 will not be the same as last year’s. Several teams that struggled through last season are looking to contend, and topple, the favorite and possibly historic Washington Nationals. With spring training already beginning for many teams, the sun is rising over an unfamiliar but exciting new MLB landscape.
An open letter to the Sarasota community SUBMITTED BY JEREMY ALDERSON Creator of the Homelessness Marathon The Homelessness Marathon was a 14-hour live broadcast aired at WSLR 96.5FM on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2014. It aimed to bring the voices of Sarasota’s homeless to the forefront of the discussion on homelessness. Sarasota has already begun a community-wide dialog about how best to deal with homelessness. We want to contribute to that dialog, but before we can do that, there is something you should know: The single piece of information about the homeless that Sarasotons have either most passionately embraced or vehemently rejected, is almost certainly fake. By this I mean the assertion by Dr. Robert Marbut, the pricey consultant hired by Sarasota, that 93% of the money given to panhandlers goes to alcohol or drugs. This statistic has been put up on signs downtown and made the subject of countersigns, but here's why I don't believe it's true. First, I consulted with 6 of America's foremost institutions and experts in the field of homelessness*. None of them knew of any data that would substantiate that 93% claim. I could only find one survey, conducted recently in San Francisco. It asked 146 panhandlers what they spent their money on. 94% said they used some of the money for food, while only 44% said they used some of the money for alcohol or drugs (undoubtedly a much smaller figure than among housed people). That's 44% who spent even a
nickel on alcohol or drugs, not 93% of their money. After finding no published evidence to support Marbut's figures, I interviewed Marbut himself. He acknowledged that his 93% figure was not based on anything he had read. Instead, he said, he came up with that figure through his own research. He said he had done two studies on this issue, one in San Antonio, TX in 2009, involving 150-200 homeless panhandlers and the other in Pinellas County, FL involving 250 panhandlers. According to Marbut, the methodology was to give money to panhandlers and then follow them to observe what they did with it. He reports that they went off to make purchases "almost immediately when they finished [panhandling]" and that "in San Antonio we actually followed right to the location of purchase." Researchers were able to see what was purchased, he said, and one could "easily verify the price." But could such a survey really have taken place? Unfortunately, homeless people all across the country are frequent targets for random violence. If you were homeless, what would you think if a stranger came up to you, asked if you were homeless, gave you some money and then started following you around? What would you think if you were a homeless woman being followed by such a stranger? Would your first instinct be to go to a liquor store? Marbut further claims that "a couple of times we had to go too, in case it might be bought under the counter, and you'd have to ask the store owner what it is." This is hard
to imagine. An under-the-counter transaction is an illegal transaction, so how could a researcher just walk up to someone and ask the extent of an illegal transaction, much less confirm that the perpetrator is the store owner? And if the panhandling money was spent on drugs, were Marbut's observers able to watch homeless people buy crack or heroin and then ask the dealers how much it cost? In a November 2014 interview on NPR, Marbut also claimed that some of that 93% went to prostitution. Are we to believe that Marbut's researchers were also able to learn how much panhandlers paid prostitutes? The reason there's virtually nothing in the literature about what panhandlers do with their money is because such research would be almost impossible to do. You'd have to show me the evidence that Marbut ever did it, and funnily enough, he doesn't have any. According to Marbut, these studies, involving hundreds of subjects in two cities, left no documentary record whatsoever. They were never published, and he cannot produce a single sheet of paper to show that they actually took place. He explains this by asserting that, with his studies, "the purpose is not to meet an academic rigor, the purpose is to determine policies" Apparently, he thinks it is self evident that, if all you're doing is making policy recommendations to govern the lives of poor and desperate people, you don't need to be particularly careful about how you gather information. Marbut claims that, for his second study, he was assisted by students from
Eckerd College. When asked for their phone numbers he says, "I could try to find them. I don't know if I can." When asked who he worked with at Eckerd College he says, "I don't even have the name anymore." When asked for any evidence at all, he says, "TV stations have gone off and replicated [our work]," but he doesn't know which TV stations, because "I don't keep an archive or anything like that." In point of fact, Marbut does keep an archive. Right on the Marbut Consulting website there is a subject heading entitled, "TV News Clips." It contains mostly broken links to television news stories that don't verify anything about his research. Marbut also said that there might still be some of his research files with "raw data" at Haven for Hope, the homeless organization he was affiliated with in San Antonio. But in response to my query, Laura Calderon, Haven for Hope's media liaison, wrote that, with regard to how much money panhandlers spend on drugs and alcohol, "current management is not aware of any study that was done to quantify the problem." The saddest part of this bamboozlement is its impact. Marbut's invisible studies weren't just fodder for a controversy about downtown signs. They were also a key piece of evidence in support of his plan for Sarasota. The first of Marbut's "Srategic Action Recommendations" is to "move from a Culture of Enablement to a Culture of Engagement" and he
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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015 www.ncfcatalyst.com | @ncfcatalyst
‘Book of Mormon’: Making me believe in musical theater BY RYAN PAICE Who would have thought that South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker would come up with such a good musical? If you can tolerate a few offensive jokes and a ridiculous plot, it is a thoroughly enjoyable and hysterical ride with impressive technical work and sharp performances. Almost every song was a home run, with surprising humor and a witty script that deserves to be lauded for its consistent laughs and outrageous situations. The audience follows Elder Price and Elder Cunningham as they are assigned their Mormon mission to Uganda, where they laughably attempt to convert the Ugandan village they find themselves in. While the very nature of a comedic musical does not have the impact factor of most dramatic work, “The Book of Mormon” does the best it can, and I left the Straz Center very satisfied with my decision to see it. First off, I need to mention the wonderful crispness of the set work, as I was in awe every time the story transitioned from one backdrop to another. While there is a period of time where the plot is developing in Uganda and there were a few unremarkable set changes that were simply doorways being swiveled around to make a pretend room, these instances do not begin to tell the whole story. From the airport of Salt Lake City to a beaten down village in Uganda and even venturing into a hellish dreamscape, the sets switched with pleasantly surprising quickness and simplicity. In the blink of an eye, covers were pulled away and different structures and landscapes were revealed. The most
notable transition was probably when the Ugandan landscape transformed into a fiery cave filled with demons as one of the main characters, Elder Price, tumbled into a dream about going to hell. These set changes and transitions were so noticeably brilliant that I was left in admiring awe after each major switch. While the sets and backdrops left me speechless for brief periods of time, the actors and their performances left me bent over the edge of my seat laughing. The Mormon Elders were adorably ignorant – having lived sheltered lives – and their lack of readiness for their exotic mission leads to laughable reactions and situations. Elder Price – played by Gavin Creel – was convincingly self-centered and driven, and was a strong singer. Elder Cunningham – played by Christopher John O’Neill – was Elder Price’s partner on their mission and as the second half of the main character duo. While he might have been the weakest singer of the actors, the Cartman-like character played the role of the extremely sheltered and socially awkward outcast and does an excellent job of it. You both laugh at the awkward delivery and content, while you feel for the character. These two actors shined, seizing the stage with their presence and evoking countless laughs from the audience. The rest of the cast did a great job as well, with an impressive vocal performance from Nikki Renee Daniels and a hysterically snappy Daniel Breaker. Every actor was on top of their game, and the production ran beautifully without any noticeable mistakes.
photo courtesy of Den of Geek
“The Book of Mormon” opened on Jan. 20, 2015 at the Straz Center.
While the set work and the performances were stellar, the real strength of the show was the outrageous script. Trey Parker and Matt Stone incorporate several elements of what makes South Park so funny, and the offbeat retorts, silly situations and a lack of fear of where they are going are even more effective in the theater than they are in the infamous show. No matter what you are expecting while going into the theater, I guarantee you that it goes farther than you foresaw – and the ridiculousness of the situations are not lost upon the audience, as Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ make several historically inaccurate but laugh-outloud appearances. It is unlike anything you will or have most likely experienced in a play, and I enjoyed the show and
the plot immensely. While it did not exactly impact me like some dramatic productions would, “The Book of Mormon” was a hysterically unique experience. If you enjoy South Park, you would enjoy this production thoroughly as it shares the same dark humor and satire that has made the show so popular. The technical work was astounding, and the actors were flawlessly on-key with the delivery of both their singing and witty dialogue. While expectations could never prepare you for this experience, “The Book of Mormon” made me believe in musical theater with its jaw-dropping set changes, ridiculously funny script and the confidence and vitality of the actors.
EVENTS: FEBRUARY 18-25
Conversation on Race and Ethnicity 5:30 p.m. GDC Race and Health Disparities 6 p.m. HCL 7 Sarasota Bradenton Modern Pentathalon 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nathan Benderson Park
New Topics New College: The State of Hate and Extremism 5:30 p.m. Sainer
Reid and Aric’s SelfIndulgence Wall 10 p.m. Palm Court
Four Winds Pizza and Trivia 6:30 p.m. Four Winds
Sarasota Bradenton Modern Pentathalon 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nathan Benderson Park
Sarasota Bradenton Modern Pentathalon 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nathan Benderson Park
Valentine’s PCP - Choose Your Own Adventure 10 p.m. Residential Side of Campus Sarasota Bradenton Modern Pentathalon 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nathan Benderson Park
Sarasota Bradenton Modern Pentathalon 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nathan Benderson Park
Dine and Discourse 6 p.m. Gender and Diversity Center
Ringo Starr Concert 8 p.m. Van Wezel
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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015 www.ncfcatalyst.com | @ncfcatalyst
Letter to Sarasota
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budget was well within reach, due to a well thought out plan. New College’s performance improvement plan included creating a much more robust program for workplace and internship connections, improving graduation rates of students who reach second year at New College, expanding the writing program and availability of assistance in writing, and strengthening academic advising. “These efforts will result in a stronger, more competitive New College, and guarantee that our best days as an institution are still to come,” concludes the report New College submitted to the BOG outlining the plan. In December 2014, the BOG voted that New College had met expectations in reaching their mid-year goals and returned the $540,000. Martin remains optimistic that New College will continue to exceed expectations and is on track to receive the full $1.8 million by the end of the year. “We are heartened by the progress so far, and are pleased that the implementation of the Performance Improvement Plan is months ahead of schedule,” the December performance report read. However, the end of year evaluation is not the only obstacle in the way of getting more funding returned to the school. In March, the BOG will evaluate the performance of New College compared to other universities, and, according to Martin, “Everyone else is improving as well.” While Martin estimates that New College’s metric score will rise to 35 points, he added that there is the possibility that all other schools will improve their scores just as much. “There’s no guarantee we won’t still be in that bottom three,” Martin said. There is still some discussion about changing the metrics; when they were initially proposed, many students and faculty felt that the standards could not work for New College. “All schools have different missions,” Martin said. “We’re the only public liberal arts honors college in the state.” According to Martin there is a possibility that the BOG will include one new metric that will favor New College: cost to the student. “When you calculate that, we rank no. 1,” Martin said. “Metrics are here to stay for a while,” Martin acknowledged. “But hopefully the BOG will tweak the metrics and make it more appropriate to the type of institution.” In the meantime, New College will be working on meeting the goals set out in its year-long improvement plan. “We look forward to presenting our f inal report in May,” the December report concluded.
to no avail. Unfortunately, a lack of contraceptives does not usually result in a decrease in sexual activity for many people. This is where the risks increase and the danger lies. “Overall I’d say you’d start seeing illegal abortions done by people who may or may not be professionals,” second-year and VOX co-president Cristina Harty said. “This can lead to higher mortality or infertility rates as abortions become more risky. Even more concerning is that people, especially those that are younger, will be left with unwanted children. Even if they desired, parents may find that they cannot give their children the upbringing they need to be happy adults because it was not the proper time to raise them. This may lead later to higher crime rates and reinforced poverty within the Venezuelan population.” Without access to birth control, Venezuela’s teenage pregnancy rate is sure to increase. Information from this article taken from www.who.int, www.medicaldaily.com, www.bloomberg.com, www.workers.org, www.data.worldbank.org, www.unaids. org.
states plainly that giving money to panhandlers "actually perpetuates and increases homelessness." Essentially, he recommends making life more difficult for homeless people, to pressure them into services (which may be bad or inadequate). But should homeless people be pressured on the say so of someone who concocted nonexistent research to justify his position? Sarasota, please allow me to offer you a different vision of what should be done for homeless people. I don't get paid to do my broadcast, and I'm not charging you a cent. This is free advice from someone who has traveled all over this country looking into the face of homelessness and the faces of homeless people. Let me begin, not with an inflated false fact, but with a true one that's too much ignored: Homeless people in the United States are, overwhelmingly, citizens of the United States, just like
Mental CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8 of the survey. According to the survey report, “Students with lower levels of emotional health wind up being less satisfied with college and struggle to develop a sense of belonging on campus, even after four years of college.” Lower emotional health scores also correlate with students missing classes more often, feeling more bored in class and engaging less with other students. Students also reported spending less time drinking, partying and socializing. Alcohol and tobacco use dropped to its lowest point in 30 years. In contrast, time spent on social networks rose. Information for this article was taken from ucla.edu, nytimes.com
Anthem CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 Anthem’s free services is available at anthemfacts.com. A call to any one of the following numbers can provide a 90 day fraud alert: Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (3973742) TransUnion:1-800-680-7289 Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 Information for this article taken from: www.consumer.ftc.gov, www.cnet.com, www.reuters.com, www.computerweekly. com, www.nytimes.com, www.cnbc.com
Project 42 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8 discussion until a bit later.” These days, Vaughan is bringing “Project 42” closer to home by seeking collaborations with dancers in the states. The biggest hold-up for the continuation of the project has been funding. Since it costs Vaughan from 400-500 dollars to produce and ship each garment, she relies heavily on grants. Vaughan sewed a dress for herself that she wears when speaking about “Project 42.” At one conference, the dresses she has created so far tagged along and audience members were invited to wear them for the evening. “I want this to have different voices and different lives,” Vaughan said. “Let it grow and expand.” For more of Vaughan’s work visit her website www.fineartvaughan.com.
Edger ton CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8 “It is enjoyable to have students develop as thinkers, critical and creative, alike,” Edgerton said. “And, especially with creative writing, to develop their talents and connect more with their creative capacities, even if they’re never going to be a professional or published writer. I think it’s really important for everyone to have some type of creative outlet and writing is an easy one.” Edgerton hopes his students will gain something valuable from the experience of these two workshops that they would not have received otherwise. “Obviously, you don’t have to take a single creative writing class to be a writer. The best thing about a workshop for me really isn’t the professor,” Edgerton said. “Ultimately, I think, they function as another, much more experienced reader in the class.”
the rest of us. Whatever we do to them sets a precedent for what can be done to us. And ironically, while we have been noisily focused on whether or not to make illegal residents legal, with practically no notice at all, we have been making legal residents illegal. The government must not be in the business of declaring whole classes of people rights-less, herding them like Cherokees on the trail of tears, and then forcing them onto the rarely merciful mercy of the state. Yet this is what is being done in Sarasota and countless other cities across America, because there is no legal place to be homeless. People who sleep on the street are ticketed for minor but inevitable offenses, and then, when they cannot pay their fines, they are subject to arrest. In other words, in Sarasota, as elsewhere, you can be deprived of your freedom for the crime of being poor. This is the first thing that must change. There must be land in Sarasota where even the poorest of the poor can live as free citizens. It will literally be the land of the free, just like America is supposed to be. If there is no other place they can be or want to be, homeless people should be given a legal place where they can pitch tents or park cars, if they're lucky enough to have them. Showers, trash pick-up and porta potties should be provided. These tent cities should be regular neighborhoods, where the police can patrol, the fire department can make safety checks, and residents can come and go freely. There is good reason to believe, based on real, not made-up, research, that such a plan would save Sarasota tons of money compared to the police, court, and emergency service costs of the present system. And there shouldn't be any doubt that this can work. There are tent cities all over America that homeless people have erected on their own, and the number one reason why they fail is because the police intervene, not because homeless people can't lead orderly lives in tents. I once interviewed the manager of a municipally-sponsored homeless camp in Ontario, California, who said they quickly realized they had budgeted more than was needed for security. In Sarasota, a woman named Vallerie Guillory offered to run a tent city on land that someone else had donated for a rent of $1 a year. This would have been a start in the right direction, but Sarasota would not allow it. That was exactly the wrong thing to do. Yes, once there is a legal space for every homeless person, there will still be problems to address, and there will still be the same challenge of finding ways to move people into permanent housing. But homeless people, our futures, and Sarasota's finances will be a lot safer in the process than they are now.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015 www.ncfcatalyst.com | @ncfcatalyst
THE BACK PAGE
Fun and Fitness Expo lives up to its name BY KAYLIE STOKES The Fun and Fitness Expo is an opportunity for New College to engage and build partnerships with the wider community, while also highlighting the services provided by the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC). The annual event was held this past Wednesday, Feb. 11, complete with more than 70 vendors and beautiful weather. The event is a joint effort between New College and the University of South Florida. It is one of the largest events on campus each year and takes more than seven months of planning. “We’ve been meeting every three weeks since July,” Erin Robinson, associate program director of the CWC, said. The event’s budget totaled $4,000, and relied on donations for the door and raffle prizes. Hundreds of students and visitors made their way through the tables
arranged in front of the CWC. “This is my fourth Fun and Fitness Expo, and I think they have more cool activities and stuff this year,” thesis student Hilary Ramirez said. “But I wish there was the skunk,” Ramirez added, referencing the Sarasota Jungle Gardens table that had a snake, baby alligator, and hedgehog for people to hold. “Last year they had the cutest skunk named Mocha,” Ramirez said. Some of the other attractions included a rock climbing wall, bounce houses, and of course complimentary samples. Free services such as HIV and STD testing, acupuncture, manicures, and haircuts were also provided. Dennis Ford, one of the barbers from the Manatee Technical College, gave 10 free haircuts to students and visitors that day. “I just like to make people feel good,” Ford said.
clockwise from top: (top right) Students climbing the rock wall that was rented for the expo. (above) Dancers from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio entertained crowds throughout the day. (left) Students were able to hold the hedgehog brought by the Sarasota Jungle Gardens. (middle left) Third-year Taylor Toro enjoying free frozen yogurt with her face painted. (top left) Daniel Hernandez got his haircut by a student of the Manatee all photos Kaylie Stokes/Catalyst Technical College.