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NYU’s Daily Student Newspaper

washington square news Vol. 40, No. 4

MONday, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012

Freshmen placed in Coral, Greenwich

NYC Dept. of Ed. eases disciplinary policies By Michael Domanico

The New York City Department of Education has revised rules of its disciplinary code that will be applied starting this academic year. The DOE is required by New York State to annually review and revise their Discipline Code. Any revisions with the Discipline Code must be brought up at a public hearing. In June, many students, teachers and parents attended the hearing to show their support for the revisions. According to the changes posted after the hearing at the end of August, student misconduct that had previously been grounds for suspension, including smoking, cursing and cutting class, will be treated with more leniency. Level 1 and Level 2 infractions, which the DOE defines as uncooperative and disorderly behavior,

RULES continued on PG. 4

By Charlie Spector

James Kelleher/ WSN

Built to Spill rocks NYU’s Mystery Concert Zola Jesus and Built to Spill performed at Le Poisson Rouge during the first week of school at a concert hosted by the NYU Program Board, bringing back sounds from the ‘90s and welcoming the Class of 2016.


Men’s soccer extends historical start to season By Francisco Navas For the first time since 2006, NYU Violets men’s soccer defeated the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks 1-0 at Gaelic Park. This victory puts the Violets atop their division and adds to a historic 4-0-0 start. The team has never begun their season with four consecutive victories. “It’s a great start, but we can’t get carried away,” Violets coach Joe Behan said. Coming off a 2-1 victory over the William Paterson Pioneers on Wednesday, Sept. 5, the Violets intended to keep their streak running. “It was our best chance to beat Stevens,” said senior forward Paolo Luciano, who scored the game-winning goal at 58 minutes. Luciano played through an arm injury he suffered in the 32nd minute, which was treated after the game. Luciano’s one-touch sliding goal was possible thanks to a handball called against Stevens Tech in the midfield. The free kick was taken by defender

Tino Kardassis, which led to low a header from forward Kyle Green and finally put into the back of the net by Luciano. Before this, Luciano had not yet scored a goal. “I’ve had a few rough games, so to put the ball in was great,” Luciano said. The chemistry between starting forwards Luciano and Green was visible throughout the game, even though Green’s presence seemed to diminish at certain points during the second half. Nevertheless, NYU dominated the midfield and held possession with efficient passing. Sophomore midfielder Nimo Bergstroem made crucial steals and passes. “After the first 15 to 20 minutes we had it, and we knew it,” Luciano said. For the first five minutes of the second half, Stevens Tech controlled the ball and stunned the Violets. But in both halves, the Violets maintained defensive pressure and structure that was directed by junior left back Juan Velez. Velez played with a

MENS SOCCER continued on PG. 4

More than 4,000 freshmen arrived and settled into one of seven dorms exclusively for first-year students last month. But about 100 members of the incoming class were placed into upperclassmen dorms instead. According to senior associate vice president of Student Affairs Tom Ellett, 74 freshmen have been permanently placed in Coral Towers residence hall for the 2012-2013 academic year and 26 temporarily in Greenwich Hotel residence hall. He added that Coral Towers has designated two and a half floors for freshmen while the students in Greenwich Hotel will eventually be placed into first-year dorms. Since then, six students who were staying in Greenwich Hotel have moved into first-year dorms. Ellett said the university had to assign freshmen into upperclassmen dorms because of a high yield rate. Yield rate refers to the percentage of

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Art community connects at NYU By Margaret Weinberg The NYU art community has been working to create a network that will allow students easier connection to information about the many art galleries on campus. The effort began in 2009 with the formation of Grey Art Gallery’s Student Friends Committee. The committee is comprised of student representatives and meets monthly to brainstorm ways to get NYU students more involved with Grey Art Gallery, such as networking with students and handing out gallery-related literature. Last spring, Pamela Jean Tinnen, curator and exhibits coordinator at NYU’s Kimmel Galleries, teamed up with the Student Friends Committee to create the Gallery Crawl. Students, alumni and NYU curators led a group on a walking tour of six NYU galleries, including the Grey Art Gallery, the Gallatin Galleries and the Gallery Space at Wagner. Both Tinnen and Lucy Oakley, head of education and programming at the Grey Art Gallery, agreed the

Jonathan Tan/WSN

Broadway Windows is one gallery of many in NYU’s network. event was a huge success and plan to hold a second crawl event this spring. “[There was] a real thirst for wanting to see all the different places,” Tinnen said about the tour. Based on the success of the Gallery Crawl, Tinnen and Oakley, along with other members of the NYU art community, are working to form a university Gallery Network. The goal of the network would be to create an ongoing dialogue between the galleries and various departments and stu-

dents — ultimately making information more accessible. “[Each gallery has] their particular audience, and sometimes it can be hard to make themselves visible to other audiences,” Tinnen said. “The hardest part is getting someone in the door once.” Tinnen and Oakley hope the new Gallery Network map they created, and the online resources they plan to launch, will help raise student awareness of gallery exhibits at NYU.

GALLERY continued on PG. 5


Washington Square news | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 |

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They ran out of forks at Palladium so these two Asian kids are using 2 knives as chopsticks #nyu

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College football game this week coming up cant wait <3 #NYU

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Wore an #NYU sweatshirt today. Dude on street said, “Oho, New York! You must be mean, or a writer!” People know me here already #journo #fb

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#nyu freshmen spotted: having to check their NYU id for their N numbers #rookies #nyu2016 #memorizethat

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In response to “Letter to the editor” (Published Sept. 4, 2012) Thank you, Ms. Karl, for responding to that article. I hope the NYU community evaluates this plan not just on the renderings but the actual financial cost, increases in student tuition, and impact of 20-years of construction on the neighboring community.

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— NYU Alumni In response to “Tadashi Shoji Spring/Summer 2013” (Published Sept. 7, 2012) Wow ­— these dresses are like a dream.

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7 p.m. Skirball Center of the Performing Arts | 566 LaGuardia Place

Sept. 10 at 9 a.m. - Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. Rogers Hall, Regna Lounge | 6 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn

7 p.m. Strand Bookstore | 828 Broadway

The Skirball Center presents a stage version of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” based on Mark Haddon’s novel. Tickets are $12 for NYU students.

The Polytechnic Institute of NYU community commemorates 9/11. The exhibit features original work from NYU-Poly students who entered their freshmen year when 9/11 occurred.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

NYU-Poly Student 9/11 Art Exhibit

Charles Simic and Téa Obreht

Nobel Prize-winning poet Charles Simic and novelist Téa Obreht present readings and discuss Simic’s new book of poetry, “Master of Disguises.” Simic and Obreht will talk about their Slavic background and how it influenced their lives.

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Financial firm loses silver SpongeBob coins

Peregrine Financial Group collapsed this July as a result of embezzlement by its CEO. According to the bankruptcy filing, the missing assets include not only client money, but also 304 silver SpongeBob SquarePants coins — totaling $20,000. Approximately 39 ounces of gold, worth over $66,000, is also missing. Although the company would like to have those assets returned, the missing items are minimal compared to the $215 million lost by Peregrine CEO Russell Wasendorf. — reuters

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Boston University

Bomb threat at the Match school just hoax, officials say — the Daily Free Press

Hudson River Park puts on a free concert series featuring new and upcoming artists like DIIV.


Syracuse University

Buddhists eagerly anticipate Dalai Lama visit — the Daily Orange


keith leighty EDITOR-AT-LARGE

FRANCIS POON About WSN: Washington Square News (ISSN 15499389) is the student newspaper of New York University. WSN is published Monday through Thursday during NYU’s academic year, except for university holidays, vacations and exam periods. Corrections: WSN is committed to accurate reporting. When we make errors, we do our best to correct them as quickly as possible. If you believe we have erred, contact managing editor Jaewon Kang at or at212.998.4302. | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 | Washington Square news

Mystery Concert echoes ’90s nostalgia By Bianca Mukhi

The NYU Program Board hosted their annual Mystery Concert this past Thursday at Le Poisson Rouge, which featured up-and-comer Zola Jesus and indie-rock veterans Built to Spill. The groups ushered in the academic year and the class of 2016 with energetic ’90s throwback tunes. This seemed appropriate, as this year’s freshmen may very well be the last group of kids born in the ’90s who will remember a time before music was free. As the petite Zola took her place on the glowing stage, her band intrigued the crowd with their set up, which included a keyboard, synth, violin and minimalist drum set. Solemn and eerie, the music complimented her resonating voice, which held a timbre that might have been born under the same stars as bands No Doubt and Nightwish. Her militaristic beats instilled a sense of urgency, but the audience seemed to want to hear something a little more energetic. However, Zola hit her stride about five songs into the performance with an up-tempo pop tune that the audience thoroughly enjoyed. She set it off with the energetic tune “Vessel,” the first single from last year’s “Conatus,” and by the end of her 13-song set, spectators were not quite ready to let her go. When Built to Spill took the stage, they also did not dis-


Zola Jesus took the stage at the Mystery Concert last week. appoint. Their brand of lightly distorted indie rock brought listeners back to a time when human emotions were more convoluted and not yet diluted by the simplicity of Internet euphemisms. Built to Spill also captured the anxiety and optimism of embracing college life, and then promptly erased them when they played “Traces,” a tune from their 2009 album, “You In Reverse.” The eager audience erupted into an exuberant mosh pit. With a laugh for the student who surfed the crowd, the seasoned band continued the good vibes with the crowd-pleasing “Distopian Dream Girl” until the show ended. This was Gallatin junior Rose Mardit’s second time at the mystery concert. “I mean, when do you actually get to see some well known

bands for free?” she said. “I think students tend to take for granted the fact that we can go out and have so many options to do cool stuff like this and have cool experiences with nightlife.” As it turns out, Built to Spill was the perfect act for this year’s mystery concert. Although it was much more reserved than previous shows, the performers were a suitable soundtrack for the transition NYU freshmen are making as college students, and upperclassmen are making into a new age of continuously seamless access to countless resources. In the words of Built to Spill, we all need to “keep on livin’” until we get to where we are going. Additional reporting by Alexandra Cardinale. Bianca Mukhi is a contributing writer. Email her at

Commuters dabble in dorm life By Hannah Stern

This past summer, commuter students had their taste of dorm life for the first time in NYU history. The Commuter & OffCampus Student Services collaborated with the Office of Residential Life and Housing Services to host the optional Commuter Overnight Retreat for incoming freshman commuter students. The Commuter Student Council, along with 18 commuter assistants, helped organize the event. On Aug. 17, 150 freshmen checked into Hayden residence hall for the night and enjoyed receptions hosted by all of the undergraduate schools, presentations by Global Programs about studying abroad, optional Shabbat and Ramadan dinners hosted by the Bronfman and the Islamic Centers, a New York City biking excursion and a trip to the Hudson River Park. Stern sophomore and student liaison for the Commuter Student Council, Rosario Giarratana, explained that the one-day commuter orientation offered in previous years was upgraded to an overnight stay to facilitate a feeling of community among first-year commuters. “Too often, commuters are drawn into the trap of coming to class and then going home,” Giarrantana said. “Not partaking in the many events and experiences at NYU.”

“We found that this event, just by having the students spend a single night together, helped many commuter freshmen meet some of their first friends here at NYU in a similar way to how on-campus students are able to create some of their first friends when they move into their dorms,” he added. While Commuter & Off-Campus Student Services offers many programs throughout the year that caters specifically to commuter students, the club now encourages a large percentage of the NYU population to also get involved in universitywide programs. According to assistant director of the Student Resource Center, Paulina Abaunza, one of the Commuter Student Council’s advocacy plans for this coming year is to change the meeting times of the 300-plus NYU clubs to earlier in the day so commuter students are more inclined to join. According to participating CAS freshman John Rezkalla, the retreat was nothing short of a success. “Through interactions with other commuters, I developed a stronger sense of community with NYU and the commuter community,” Rezkalla said. “[The event] broadened my scope of life at NYU.” Hannah Stern is a contributing writer. Email her at


HOUSING continued from PG. 1

Freshmen assigned to upperclassmen residence halls accepted students who decide to attend the university. “A successful yield campaign, it’s not a science,” he said. “It’s really an ever-changing world, one with financial issues. It really is a changing environment in higher education. With the admissions world that’s happening out there, it’s very difficult to determine how many students are going to say yes.” However, he said only 74 permanent placements of freshmen into an upperclassmen residence halls — out of a total of 4,300 freshmen — was successful. In 2010, the 26th Street and University Court residence halls were transferred for exclusive use to NYU School of Medicine, which removed 6.5 percent of beds that were initially dedicated to under-

graduate housing. Since then, NYU has assigned students to temporary locations. Last year, the first floor of Greenwich Hotel was used to house freshmen who could not be accommodated in a residence hall for first-year students, and students were also temporarily placed in a hotel. LSP freshman Cara Best, who is staying in Coral Towers, said she was uncomfortable with the aspect of living with upperclassmen. “As a freshman, it’s kind of hard when you’re surrounded by people that already know what they’re doing,” Best said. “It makes you feel a little smaller.” Charlie Spector is a contributing writer. Email him at

Rachel Cabbitt for WSN

More than 70 freshmen were placed in Coral Towers this year.

New market causes stir in Meatpacking district By Danny Garzon The new Urban Space Meatpacking Market opened last week after a brief halt in construction that threatened to delay its opening. Operated by Urban Space — the same company that runs the popular annual Union Square Holiday Market — the newly inaugurated open-air marketplace aims to bring together top-tier food vendors, designers and artists in a creative space under the High Line Park in the Meatpacking district, according to Urban Space media manager Lula Brown. “It’s the perfect place to spend a day eating, shopping and engaging with fellow creatives,” Brown said. Located at 13th and Washington streets adjacent to The Standard Hotel, the new market features a variety of retail and food vendors that are open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. According to Brown, an issue arose when the New York City Department of Buildings ordered the company to stop construction only days before it was set to open because the market did not have a permit for construction. However, the permit issue was resolved and the market

opened on Sept. 1 as scheduled. Lorin Milman, co-owner of Hot Blondies Bakery on Sixth Avenue between 14th and 15th streets, believes the new market is ideal for businesses such as her own. “It’s a great space and a great market. All of the food vendors are in one area, so it gives [the market] a social feel,” Milman said. “We are excited to see how it goes.” She also sees this open-air market as an opportunity for her business to expand and reach new customers. “We don’t have our own retail storefront,” Milman said. “All we have is a commercial kitchen. We started getting into the market circuit and we thought [Urban Space Meatpacking] was a good opportunity to get in front of a different audience.” Steinhardt freshman Sarah Song, who recently visited the market, said the marketplace is a conveniently located establishment to eat and shop. “They had tons of different places to eat, and the clothing stores were all really nice,” Song said. “The market is a really cool place to go hang out.” Danny Garzon is a contributing writer. Email him at


Washington Square news | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 |

RULES continued from PG. 1

NYC Department of Education revises disciplinary policies for public schools will no longer result in suspensions. But more severe rule breaking, such as physical assaults, will still carry the suspension punishment. The DOE defended its policy change by stating their new, more progressive discipline will concentrate on resolving problems rather than punishment.

school system, also has an optimistic outlook on the changes. “I think [the proposed counseling] is great,” Binder said. “Maybe they will be able to help these children.” However, Steinhardt professor of Educational Psychology Mark Alter said he is unsure if public schools have enough resources to support staff members who will be responsible for counseling according to the Discipline Code’s new standards. “I hope this is not an unfunded, under-resourced and unaccountable mandate,” Alter said. He added that the Department will need to implement a “transparent and accountable process to ensure a viable, efficient and effective intervention” to help children who are committing low-level infractions. But Steinhardt freshman Mimi Broderick believes the new rules will have a positive impact on the students. “Instead of being so severely punished

“The changes will help us address the issues before they get worse, and our focus is on

counseling including meetings, peer mediation

and conflict resolution, to name a few, and other student support services.”

—Marge Feinberg, a spokesperson for the DOE “The changes will help us address the issues before they get worse, and our focus is on counseling including meetings, peer mediation and conflict resolution, to name a few, and other student support services,” said Marge Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the DOE. Pamela Binder, a Manhattan resident with a child enrolled in the public

Courtesy of Fried Dough

Under the revised code, smoking will no longer result in suspension from school. for a small slip-up, students can get help with the problem rather than being punished and having that one slip-up on their transcript forever,” Broderick said.

Michael Domanico is a contributing writer. Email him at

SPORTS MENS SOCCER continued from PG. 1

Senior forward suffers arm injury, scores game-winner

Courtesy of NYU athletics

Junior Tino Kardassis assisted the winning goal. sprained ankle, but was still the main contributor to locking down the lower third of the field. This effort kept Stevens Tech to only three shots on goal and four attempts that missed wide. The only real danger posed by the Ducks came from a set piece in the 89th minute. Following a late tackle by Velez, who was given a yellow card, a dangerously close free kick was blocked by senior goalkeeper Jonas Poster. The Violets made many offensive mistakes in the final third

of the field rather than the Duck’s imposing a stronger defense. Luciano said there were many missed chances for goal scoring. Both Luciano and Velez believe the University Athletic Association Championship is in the not-so-distant future. The Violets’ next match will be on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 2:30 p.m. against the City College of New York at Purchase College. Francisco Navas is a contributing writer. Email him at

Violets fall short in Stevens Cup By Sara Levy The NYU women’s soccer team fell 4-3 to their opponents Ursinus College of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, in their match on Sunday afternoon during the Stevens Engineering Cup on Sunday, Sept. 9, in Hoboken, New Jersey. “We outplayed them in the second half, but we let in some sloppy goals, which cost us the game,” Junior forward Leslie Smith said. Intimidated by Ursinus’ quick first goal, the Violets had a tough mountain to climb after another goal was scored early in the first half. “They got a really quick goal, and therefore we were stuck playing catch up right off the bat,” said senior midfielder Serra Tumay. Sophomore forward Cami Crawford helped the Violets by scoring a goal in the 23rd minute. Unfortunately, Ursinus put two more goals in the net, making the score 4-1 at halftime. “I think there were some miscommunications that led to irreversible mistakes,” Craword said. “Ultimately, it led to too many goals scored against us and not enough [scored] for us.” In the second half, Tumay scored two goals for the Violets in the 56th and 78th minutes. It was not enough to secure a win, but the women certainly cannot be faulted for a lack of effort.

“We played much better in the second half because we were playing our game like we practice, by keeping the ball on the ground and playing to feet,” Tumay said. Freshman forward Melissa Menta agreed. “I think we were the better team overall,” she said. “However, they capitalized on our mistakes.” “We definitely need to start the game with more intensity and fo-

cus,” Smith said. “We have a ton of talent on this team.” In the end, Kean University from Union, New Jersey, won the Stevens Engineering Cup. Catch the Violets in their next match against the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, on Sunday, Sept. 16. Sara Levy is a deputy sports editor. Email her at

Courtesy of NYU athletics

Sophomore Cami Crawford scored in the Violets’ second defeat. | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 | Washington Square news


edited by NICOLA PRING

Wagner opens annual lectures on global security and conflict By Daniel Huang Beyond the immediacy of a stagnant American economy and other domestic woes, many parts of the world are enduring the burdens of conflict and post-conflict strife. In Kenya, the most recent general election sparked riots and clashes between the nation’s diverse ethnic groups. In Latin America, government responses to violence have proven ineffective and the state must find a new way to provide security for its citizens. Somewhere in Africa, Joseph Kony is still plotting attacks and barking orders to a disciplined, albeit diminished storm of child combatants. In Liberia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, steps taken to implement security coordination have succeeded in some respects, but failed in others — offering valuable lessons for future improvement. This fall, NYU’s Conflict, Security and Development Series, now beginning its seventh year, is hosting another lineup of relevant and engaging speakers who want to impart insight into these issues and more. Bringing four distinguished university programs together, the series aims to create a space in which the latest developments in research, policy and practice can be shared to highlight the growing convergence between security and development issues around the world. Launched after the 2006 collaboration between the Wagner School for Public Service and the School for Continuing and Professional Studies’ Center for Global Affairs, the series has since grown to include the Master of Public Health Program and NYU Law’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. The result is a unique opportunity to hear from leaders in the field who come in to address some of the world’s most pressing concerns. Speakers are associated with different departments, so a wide range of perspectives are presented in each collaboration. “We wanted to give security and international development more of a presence here at NYU and produce more visibility for these important issues on campus,” said Katty Jones, director of Program Services at Wagner, who is one of the individuals who began the first series. Notable past speakers include Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush; John Keys, vice president

Courtesy of

Students listen to a discussion on global issues. of International Programs at the International Rescue Committee; and Chris Blattman, a professor at Columbia University and author of a popular international development blog. While all lectures in the series share a common theme in security and policy, this year’s speakers will also discuss topics ranging from media coverage and human rights abuses to experiential peace-building and the role of business in reducing violence. Wagner professor John Gershman, who helped start the series and co-organizes it every year, described the talks as providing the perfect mix of theory and practice on some of the most important sets of issues in the 21st century. “It’s the best 60 minutes you can spend all week,” Gershman said about the lectures. The first speaker of the series, Colette Mazzucelli from the Center for Global Affairs, will present her talk, “Crisis Mapping in Elections: What Kenya Can Teach Us,” on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 12:30 p.m. in the Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue on the second floor of the Puck Building. The lecture series continues through Oct. 16. Daniel Huang is a contributing writer. Email him at

Combat college, city on a budget By Priya Kamdar It is no secret that New York is an expensive place to live. A recent study by the Council for Community and Economic Research shows that New York is the most costly U.S. city in which to live. As students may know, it can be extremely difficult to live in the city on a small budget, and adjustment can seem tricky for those who are new to city living. Here are a few tips and resources to help students on a budget make the most out of New York without breaking the bank. Budgeting Smartphone apps like Expenditure, a budget and finance tracking application, are becoming popular because of their unique, easy-to-use features. Expenditure features a built-in currency converter, which is perfect for budgeting vacations and study abroad opportunities. Other helpful Smartphone applications include Mint, the app that auto-


matically updates spending and transactions without user input, and Moneybook, which provides easy back-up of the user’s data. Food New York City is home to a variety of great, but often expensive food. NYC Restaurant Week is a fantastic opportunity to sample new restaurants at fixed prices. Twice a year, fashionable restaurants across the city open with significant price discounts perfect for foodies everywhere. Street fairs and street carts are another good way to sample different kinds of inexpensive foods. Websites like restaurant. com also offer discounts and halfoff gift cards. Discounts Being a student in the city has advantages, including countless opportunities for student discounts. Some AMC movie theaters have discounted tickets every Thursday, and stores from

Ralph Lauren to Topshop offer percentage discounts with student IDs. Never be afraid to ask for a student discount — often times stores and restaurants have discounts, but do not advertise them. Student discounts are also available online through websites such as HauteLook, which offers members access to limited time sales on designer items. NYU also offers discounts for students, like the new Freeseums program, where students can visit museums and exhibits for free with their NYU IDs. Living in a costly city as a student can be challenging, but there are many opportunities to enjoy New York at a minimal cost. Living here as a student requires financial responsibility, but it is always possible to be frugal and still have a great time. Priya Kamdar is a contributing writer. Email her at

GALLERY continued from PG. 1

University Gallery Network to make NYU art accessible “Bringing it all together just makes it so much easier for people to see what’s going on at NYU,” Oakley said. Other members of the arts community agree. Helen Opper, a 2011 graduate of the Graduate School of Arts and Science Museum Studies program, has observed that many NYU students do not visit the galleries enough. “Since NYU is such a big and allencompassing school, its various gallery constituents should work harder to collaborate with each other and publicize their hard efforts,” Opper said. “[The Gallery Network] is such a fabulous idea.”

Jessica Stambaugh, a second-year graduate student in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, is part of the Student Friends Committee and contributes artwork to the Gallatin Galleries. Stambaugh often encourages students to drop by exhibits and galleries. “[Students] should see what has been planned already, and bring ideas for exhibitions and new ways to use the space,” Stambaugh said. “It’s never too soon to ask around about how to get involved.” Margaret Weinberg is a contributing writer. Email her at

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staff editorial

Bloomberg’s reform fails to address basic concerns By Brittany Sherman Education has been a top priority for the Bloomberg administration. Since he took office in 2002, Bloomberg has vowed to increase teacher salaries, raise standardized test scores and students’ overall performance, in addition to improving parents’ involvement in their children’s educational futures. All of these options sound great, but only if they are given somewhat equal attention. Harlem is the prime example of how easy it is to boast about improvements in the school system, yet sidestep the areas that are still extremely lacking. Bloomberg often touts impressivesounding statistics. For example, the administration is quick to note that 500 new schools have been opened in the city, 100 low-performing schools are currently closing and 139 charter schools have been able to effectively function. This has, in fact, transcended into positive results as it has encouraged parents to get more involved in their children’s education. It was Bloomberg’s goal to make education more of a shopping experience — meaning that parents can choose the school they want their chil-

dren to attend much like they choose homes or cars. With the opening of new charter schools, parents are finding themselves with more options for their children than ever before. Furthermore, Bloomberg’s goal to increase teacher salaries has actually materialized. In his State of the City speech in January 2012, he boasted about the 43 percent base salary increase that teachers have received throughout New York City over the last decade. Certainly this, in conjunction with more parent involvement, is an amazing accomplishment about which to boast. But what about the schools’ overall performance and the faltering standardized test scores? While a number of charter schools have been closed because of poor performance, but are going to be replaced by new ones, there still isn’t enough attention given to the quality of the actual education offered in these New York City schools. For instance, The New York Times reports that of the 25 traditional elementary schools in Harlem and East Harlem, only a handful had at least 50 percent of children reading at or above their average grade level. This is an astonishing statistic and not an isolated instance. Public School 208, a small

magnet school on West 111th Street, is famed for its advanced technology and unique greenhouse, yet 70 percent of their students cannot read at their grade level. Something must be done to change these faltering statistics, and focus needs to be drawn away from emergence of increased technology in the classroom, such as iPads and laptops for students. In reality, technology cannot make up for bad test scores. And it certainly won’t increase graduation rates. While Bloomberg and Education Department officials acknowledge that more work must continue to improve New York City’s school system, it cannot be ignored that arguably the most important aspect of the educational system — school performance — is still nowhere near where it should be. Other factors such as increased wages for teachers and improved parent involvement are certainly positive steps in the right direction. Ultimately, it is the quality of the school and the performance of the students who attend the academic centers that matter the most. Brittany Sherman is a staff columnist. Email her at


Business of being thin

By Terri Burns

Last Thursday, Washington Square News writer Sasha Leshner wrote an article titled “Fashion Week Distorts Female Beauty” that condemned the fashion industry’s emphasis on ultra-thin models. In light of fashion week, I’ve been spending time looking at runway shows, draping over issues of Vogue and looking at super artsy photographs of beautiful girls on Tumblr. And what do they all have in common? All I see are thin models. The thinnest of the thin. Which is perfectly fine. The fashion industry, including both designers and models, is a professional environment ultimately working to sell a product: clothing. There is no problem with realizing and benefiting from the fact that slapping clothes on a thin girl sells more than slapping clothes on a thick girl. The consensus, of both the fashion industry and general public, is that clothing is most effectively sold by using thin models. I am a strong advocate for health and by no means would condone an industry that promotes sickness in human beings. Sure, models go through various


lengths to stay thin. But thin models are not necessarily immoral, nor are they necessarily victims; doing whatever they can to look good in a photograph or on the runway. They are rational human beings perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves. It’s about success, or perhaps just paying the bills. If you have what people want, and can translate that to moving forward, then making use of what you have seems rather smart to me — be it a thin frame or something else. Most rational beings would agree that beautiful people constitute a wide range of body types. That being said, it is perfectly fine to celebrate a particular body type. Just as opponents of ultra-thin models often choose to celebrate those on the thicker side, it’s equally great to celebrate those on the thinner side. The world of professional modeling prefers skinny because skinny sells; that does not mean that thick, curvy or any other body type is not just as beautiful. On the same note, equal opportunity is very important, but it’s okay to prefer a certain body type in the context of an industry. To play basketball, it helps if


you are tall. To be a gymnast, it helps to be short. To be a model, it helps if you are slender. Athletes, dancers and models all go through various lengths to achieve or refine a specific body type. Being a petite model does not necessarily mean you are on your deathbed, and it certainly doesn’t mean that everyone else in the world should be ultra-thin, too. We are talking about a business. Models are professionals who are more informed about their work and their bodies than you or I. They are making personal decisions about what they want to do with their lives and how they want to go about them. And when they promote themselves as beautiful, plenty of people agree, and thus the business thrives. The consensus that models should be thin is a mere collective matter of preference, not ethics. To be successful in the fashion industry, some people must make more sacrifices than others. For those who choose not to, it is unfair to judge those who are willing. Terri Burns is a contributing columnist. Email her at

Discipline Code makes progress, still flawed The New York City Department of Education revamped their approach to lowlevel disciplinary infractions from public school students. Under new provisions, counseling and peer mediation will replace harsher disciplinary actions such as suspension to address minor violations like cursing, smoking, tardiness and truancy. This shift in policy looks to replace harsh punitive measures with more correctional justice. Sending a child back to his house does not guarantee he or she will be adequately supervised, especially in households where both parents are working. In the 20102011 school year, the number of issued suspensions in public schools rose by 2.4 percent from the year before, demonstrating disciplinary action’s ineffectiveness toward promoting behavioral change. The DoE dropped harsh suspensions for cursing, yet stipulated a one-year suspension for a student who brings a firearm to school. This policy seems too lenient and insensitive to the possibility of violence and the psychological and mental well-being of students and teachers. The student may feel uncomfortable and insecure returning to an environment associated with trauma while fellow classmates may feel unsafe around the student because of his or her previous behavior. And while counseling sessions and peer meetings offer students an opportunity to address misconduct without fear of disciplinary action, we are concerned that healthy alternatives aimed at solving personal issues will be viewed by students as a form of punishment similar to suspension. If counseling is perceived as consequence for problematic behavior and not a resource, then students may be discouraged from voluntarily seeking guidance. Schools should be wary of substituting psychologists for penalties. That said, these reforms in disciplinary action are a mark of progress. Draconian suspensions for minor violations deny students of the most valuable asset of all: education. Students’ responses to consequences of their misbehavior varies from rebellion to self-discipline, but cannot be relied upon as the sole agent of reform. Offering students the opportunity to speak with a guidance counselor in confidence may foster personal development, rather than ostracisizing sentiments. These reforms are a marked improvement in public school disciplinary policy, but they will need to be monitored as closely as the students’ behavior.

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Washington Square News September 10, 2012