NYU’s Daily Student Newspaper
WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS Vol. 41, No. 87
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2013
Students protest Barneys
LS sophomore rescued from between buildings
By KEVIN BURNS, EMILY BELL and NICOLE BROWN
LS sophomore Asher Vongtau was trapped between Lafayette Street residence hall and a parking garage before New York City Fire Department rescue workers removed him from the two-foot wide space on Nov. 3. Vongtau was placed in an ambulance at 6:36 p.m., after an hour and a half-long rescue, and taken to Bellevue Hospital. His sister, Zoe Vongtau, said he was in stable condition as of 9 p.m. “We just ask for continuous praying and love sent his way,” she said. Vongtau was reported missing late Nov. 2, NYU spokesman John Beckman said. Public Safety officers had been searching for him since that time. As of press time, reports about how Vongtau became trapped were not confirmed. “One of the public safety officers was the person who found him in a very small space between 80 Lafayette St. and a [neighboring] garage,” Beckman said. “And he alerted the NYPD and the FDNY,
By LARSON BINZER and AFEEFA TARIQ
A small group of demonstrators gathered on Nov. 2 outside Barneys New York on Madison Avenue to protest the department store’s alleged racial profiling of shoppers. This year, two black shoppers were detained after making expensive purchases. Both shoppers were not convicted, but one was arrested and is now suing the department store for racial discrimination. At the store, co-organizer NYUPoly sophomore Justin Sutton said the protest aimed to bring attention to racial profiling. “I hope to accomplish bringing more attention to the issue of racial profiling and systemized abuse of police authority and power,” Sutton said. Sutton said he was less interested in seeing a change in WILLIAM MARTIN/WSN
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Gallatin alumna, junior collaborate for film starring Broadway actor By RITANSHA JALAN
Gallatin junior Tommy Craven is collaborating on the film ‘Blonde.’
Short films by NYU alumni are relatively common, but few can claim to have Broadway stars involved so quickly after their graduations. Joanna Strange, who received her master of arts degree from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study in spring 2013, recently began shooting the short film “Blonde” alongside Gallatin junior Tommy Craven, the assistant producer. Originally, Strange had written “Blonde” as a short story but
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Court of Appeals halting stop-andfrisk improvements The city was on the road to amending stop-and-frisk policies before the court stopped the process.
STORY on PG. 7
said it was easy to transform the story into a screenplay. The short story was originally published in the quarterly magazine Vitrine: A Printed Museum. Strange described the movie as the genesis of a young woman who turns out to be a serial killer. The female protagonist’s name is Blonde and the male protagonist is simply named The Man. “Giving a name to a character creates a whole story about them and I wanted it to be as clean as possible,” Strange said. “We know nothing about [Blonde], and she
has no background issues.” NYU students are not the only members of the film’s cast and crew — Broadway star Max Von Essen acts in a starring role. Blonde is being played by Gallatin junior Annabelle Attanasio and The Man by Von Essen. “We knew we wanted somebody who we could tap into the audience of,” Craven said on signing Max Von Essen as The Man. Both Strange and Craven wanted somebody who would be interested in the project. Von Essen turned out to be just the person
who not only fits the role but is also passionate about the film. “Although the underlying theme of ‘Blonde’ is quite complex and perhaps disturbing, I was drawn to the simple human desires of my character, The Man,” Von Essen said. “We’re all grown children wanting to find love and connection. He may mask his desires with an air of confidence, but he deeply wants to fall in love.” Blonde and The Man were written to seem like stereotypical in char-
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Violets finish second at UAA championships By SYDNEY PEREIRA
The NYU men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Pittsburgh this past weekend, as the UAA Cross Country Championship took place on Saturday, Nov. 2. The hilly course in Schenley Park did not hinder the teams’ perfor-
mances, with the men’s (49 points) and women’s teams (60 points) finishing second to Washington University in St. Louis (26 points) and the number-nine ranked University of Chicago (54 points), respectively. This is the fourth consecutive second place finish for the men’s team.
Graduate student Dylan Karten has performed well consistently for the men’s team, and is ranked seventh nationally. At the UAAs, Karten placed third in the eightkilometer race with a time of 25:24.6. Senior Ross Wistar and ju-
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‘BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY’
— ISABEL JONES
— ALEX GREENBERGER Before “Y.A.L.A.,” the fourth single off of M.I.A.’s upcoming album “Matangi,” even begins, it’s obvious the song shares only a nominal relationship to Drake’s life motto YOLO, or you only live once. Like pretty much any other M.I.A. song, “Y.A.L.A.” combines American and Asian cultures, but one reason “Y.A.L.A.” is so fun is its sense of humor. There’s a political message there — reincarnation allows people to change, hence the full title, “You Always Live Again.” But rapping about bongs, guns and Buddhism shows how creative M.I.A. can be when she is at her best.
“Bridget Jones’s Diary” remains, 11 years after its debut, one of the most iconic book-to-film adaptations, standing as one of the few instances in which a novel’s translation to film is nearly seamless. Renee Zellweger shines as the film’s quirky heroine in a manner she has been unable to replicate since. If you’re in the mood for British witticisms and Colin Firth, revisit this modern classic.
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‘THE HOLLOW CROWN’ — DYLAN JARRETT Most students know a few of Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies, but fewer people are familiar with his historical plays. If you want a taste of them, watch BBC’s “The Hollow Crown,” a series of four of Shakespeare’s histories, “Richard II,” “Henry IV, Part 1,” “Henry IV, Part 2” and “Henry V.” Starring Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston, “The Hollow Crown” is an action-packed and beautifully acted series that offers the perfect introduction to the lesser known genre of Shakespeare’s plays.
BILLY RICHLING books/theater DYLAN JARRETT film ALEX GREENBERGER entertainment ISABEL JONES music JAKE FOLSOM the highlighter blog VALERIE NELSON features MARINA ZHENG beauty & style ARIANA DIVALENTINO dining DANIEL YEOM sports CHRIS MARCOTRIGIANO multimedia RACHEL KAPLAN, JOON LEE video ALEX LINZMEIER copy THOMAS DEVLIN social media SYMONE WILLIAMS
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OPINION PAGE opinion editor
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Cheesy, heartfelt, hilariously dated — “The Golden Girls” is everything an ’80 sitcom should be. When your brain tires from studying and homework, “Golden Girls” is a welcome diversion. Sophia, Rose, Blanche and Dorothy are not your average grandmas. These gals define the phrase “young at heart” and will live on forevermore through reruns on TV Land.
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— JONATHON DORNBUSH The surprise hit of the fall season, FOX’s “Sleepy Hollow” shouldn’t work on paper. A mix of the famous tale of Ichabod Crane and the headless horsemen combined with witches, demons and biblical allusions translates into a knowingly wacky yet entertaining show. Set in modern times, the show balances its insanity with enjoyable performances and a pace that never lets up. While not the smartest hour you’ll find on TV, it has plenty of thrill to keep viewers engaged every episode.
Kids dressed as an astronaut and a bumblebee walk through Union Square Park on Halloween.
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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 Jordan Melendrez at email@example.com or at 212.998.4302.
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Security increases for New York City Marathon By AFEEFA TARIQ
The New York Police Department sealed off part of Central Park West. Travelers exiting the northwest side of the Columbus Circle subway station were met by NYPD personnel and told to go back down the subway. “It is making us detour right now because we were supposed to go in on [65th Street],” said Ninni Sahaola, a 27-year-old spectator. “We don’t really know where to go, [and] how to get in.” These reactions occurred in response to the New York Road Runners, the organizers of the 2013 ING New York City Marathon, introducing new security measures at the race on Sunday, Sept. 3. The new measures included required inspection of baggage for spectators in the Central Park grandstand, increased screenings at family reunion areas and no strollers or bags were allowed at certain venues — pets were not allowed at all. NYRR worked with the NYPD
and its federal, state and city agency partners to analyze the security for the marathon. “[F]ollowing the Boston bombings, NYRR partnered with one of the world’s top security firms to conduct a top-to-bottom analysis of our existing security program,” NYRR spokesperson Emily Gallagher said. “While the audit of our safety and security efforts prior to the 2013 race received high marks, we are strengthening our already comprehensive security plan in ways that the public will and won’t see in order to ensure the event is as safe as possible for runners, spectators and volunteers.” A list of prohibited items for runners released by NYRR included backpacks, containers of liquid holding more than one liter, hydration backpacks, weight vests, suitcases, glass containers and bulky clothing. An NYPD spokesman declined to comment on the security measures for the race.
LS professor Shaghayegh Harbi, who volunteered at the finish line with Achilles International, said despite the increased security, there was a good showing of volunteers. “Security was intense and wellorganized,” Harbi said. “We were screened by the organizers before the event and issued ID badges. I was nervous at first, but felt very secure.” This was the first New York City Marathon after the 2012 race was canceled because of Superstorm Sandy. First-year graduate student Manhee Nah attended the marathon two years ago as a spectator. This year, Nah volunteered at the marathon for his planning and development of major sporting events class midterm. He said that in addition to required credentials, more police were present than two years ago, as well as police canines. “I think there was a nervous vibe in the air,” Nah said. “The race itself was pretty unaffected. People came out in numbers and still cheered [for runners].” Class of 2013 graduate Celine
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A small pack of runners compete in the New York City Marathon. Reyes was running a marathon for the first time and was not concerned about safety as much as other aspects of the race. “I honestly wasn’t thinking too much about the security,” Reyes said. “I knew that they were being extra careful after the events at Boston. I
was mainly focusing on finishing the race. I did once or twice think about the possibility of something happening, but again I was more focused on finishing the race.” Afeefa Tariq is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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NYU students stage protest against NYPD, Barneys, ‘shop-and-frisk’ policies
Barneys’ policies than in NYPD’s protocols. “[I would like Barneys to do] nothing. I’m not even surprised by what they did,” Sutton said. “I’m focused on the NYPD. They need to stop. That’s what the issue is in my mind.” Steinhardt sophomore Grace Plihal, one of the organizers, said she believes racial profiling extends beyond Barneys. “What we want Barneys to do is to admit that they are a racist institution and to formally apologize for their racial profiling,” Plihal said. “It’s not just about Barneys, it’s about the fact that racial profiling exists in so many other institutions.” The group stood outside
the entrance of Barneys, chanting “Barneys encourages racial profiling,” while shoppers walked into the store. Barneys issued an apology on the brand’s Facebook page on Oct. 24. “We offer our sincere regret and deepest apologies,” Barneys CEO Mark Lee wrote. “We want to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination.” Barneys also posted on its Facebook page on Oct. 23 that they conducted an investigation into the incidents and said its sales associates were not involved with the detainment of the shoppers. Plihal said the protest was originally meant to be a sit-in but was changed to
Students protest and chant with signs outside Barneys New York on Madison Avenue.
an outdoor protest. “We realized it was more effective,” Plihal said. Sutton said more organizers from around the city were supposed to protest as well but never showed up. Demonstrator Kianna Jackson, a Tisch sophomore, hoped people would notice the protest. “We’ve gotten a little bit of positive feedback from [passersby],” Jackson said. “It just sucks that they have Barneys bags in their hands.” Sutton explained that he believes the police are looking for minority groups to target. “[New York City] is progressively moving toward a police state,” Sutton said. “The police are basically just wasting their resources to go out and harass blacks and other minorities.” “I don’t even understand why black people are buying stuff at Barneys anyway, if they obviously do not support minorities,” he said. If the protest is not successful, Sutton said he plans to contacting governmental authority. “I’ll probably write a letter to [Bill] de Blasio if he becomes mayor,” Sutton explained. “[If] I feel I need to say something again, I’ll probably just try and organize another protest.” Larson Binzer and Afeefa Tariq are staff writers. Email them at email@example.com.
FDNY removes LS sophomore from crevice, in stable condition at Bellevue
who began a rescue operation.” Beckman said Vongtau is not a Lafayette resident. FDNY deputy chief Joseph Schiralli said Vongtau was trapped at the base of the buildings for at least a day. He said the student was found conscious, trapped on his side and only able to move his right arm. The rescue workers drilled through the parking garage’s double-quartz cinder block wall to retrieve the student. “There was no way to get him from either side,” Schiralli said. “The walls had to be breached.”
The rescue workers provided medical attention, including an IV, before rescuing the student. As of press time, information about the incident was not released to Lafayette residents. “We’re glad this worked out in a way where, in spite of what must have been a very traumatic, difficult and scary experience, the student seems to be okay,” Beckman said. Additional reporting by Michael Domanico. Kevin Burns is a deputy news editor. Emily Bell and Nicole Brown are news editors. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FDNY rescue workers breach a wall to save a trapped LS sophomore.
WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS | MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2013 | NYUNEWS.COM
EDITED BY JONATHAN KESHISHOGLOU FEATURES@NYUNEWS.COM
WHAT’S IN YOUR BAG?
By KHALEELAH LOGAN For Tisch freshman Anna Rose, dance has been a constant in her life since the age of 3. Although she has dabbled in acting, singing and playing piano, Rose is committed to dance and just a glance in her bag reveals her passion. Her schedule keeps her on her toes between her academics, job at the Joyce Theater and dance activities. Her bag, which she considers to be a “jumbled bottomless pit,” and its contents are essential to get her through the day.
Ballet Slippers and Pointe Shoes Dance shoes are as important to a dancer as a notebook is to a writer. Since her focus is on contemporary and modern dance, she
is currently taking a modern dance class and a ballet class, and her shoes go with her everywhere. She also choreographs pieces and contributes to other student and faculty pieces within the Tisch dance department. Rose is currently a part of two student pieces and one faculty piece.
Deodorant & Ibuprofen These are two items Rose consistently totes around. The ibuprofen is useful for whenever she has been on pointe for a while and it also helps to reduce any swelling that may occur. “As a dancer, I always have deodorant,” Rose said. “It’s a necessity for obvious reasons.” iPod Rose loves her iPod and her big headphones, which she says will double as
earmuffs in the winter. Rose said she is passionate about her music and says her favorite artists are Iggy Azalea, Lana Del Rey, The Doors and Jim Morrison. Rose said she also loves jazz and listening to Billie Holiday, and often sings jazz herself.
Various Books To keep herself organized, Rose carries a standard agenda. Within it, she lists all the times for her different classes and her work schedule at the Joyce Theater. She also has an anatomy coloring book for her Anatomy for Dancers course, which requires her to carry colored pencils regularly, and her Writing the Essay textbook. She also has a Russian textbook for a class she takes three days a week.
Graduate student shares NYC Marathon experience By LAWRENCE WU
At the age of 31, graduate student Christopher Kuales will be tackling one of the most enduring tasks in the world — running a marathon. This Sunday, Austrian-born Kuales, who is in his second year at the masters of the public administration and nonprofit management at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, will be competing in ING New York City Marathon. Considered to be one of the most competitive marathon races of the year with participants from all parts of the world, runners complete a 26.2 mile course that starts in Staten Island, continues
through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and ends on the south side of Central Park. “The NYC Marathon is probably the marathon of all marathons,” Kuales said. “When I found out that I would be going to school in New York City, doing the marathon while there was very high on my lists of things to do.” Although it is his first marathon, Kuales has competed in cross country skiing marathons before. Being a fairly consistent runner and endurance athlete for most of his life, he has also biked and swam. “I have mostly just done it for the fun of it or for myself and have not really competed in any races in the
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Participants pass the 25-mile mark on the marathon route.
past 10 or so years,” said Kuales. When he found out he had secured a spot in the marathon in the spring of 2013, he decided to start seriously training. During this time, most of his runs were in the evening after his classes, and he usually tallied 6 miles five times a week. In the summer, his running mileage increased to 10 miles, as he included speedtraining exercises such as fartleks, interval training and hill sprints. By the end of the summer, Kuales was running 12 to 16 miles consistently, and his courses typically were along the Riverside Bike Trail or Prospect Park. However, as a full-time student who also works 20 hours each week during the fall semester, Kuales had to cut down on his training. “The past two months I had to cut back a bit, unfortunately, still doing at least two to three 6 to 7 mile runs and a long run, 10 miles, per week,” Kuales said. “I usually tried to get up and do runs early in the morning before work at least twice a week and do longer runs on the weekends.” Kuales chooses not to run with music or a watch. For Kuales, he
said running is a meditative activity where he can simply think and relax. He said music distracts him from what’s going on around him. As for not wearing a watch, he would rather listen and respond to what his body has to say than follow a rigid time frame. Besides running to complete his own personal goal, Kuales is also running to compare his times with his dad, who also ran marathons, as well as to fundraise for Doctors Without Borders. After completing the marathon, Kuales said he was satisfied with his experience. “The marathon went well. I ran 3:19:25, which is a decent time and I’m quite happy about it. I will say though, that around mile 20 I really hit a wall, got cramps and just had to force myself to keep going and push it,” Kuales said. “But it was worth it. The experience, the masses of people lining the streets, cheering; the first mile across the Varrazzano Bridge, the finish in Central Park is unforgettable. It was a good race.” Lawrence Wu is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.
“I chose Russian because I am extremely fascinated by the language, it’s beautiful and both my best friend and a mentor of mine are Russian,” Rose said.
Thera-Bands, Tennis Ball, and Rubber Ball To maintain her physique, Rose tries to cross train a few times a week. When she cannot make it to the gym, she uses Thera-Bands and a tennis ball to work out. The other ball she carries is a rubber ball about the size of a tennis ball, and she considers it to be the “most essential” tool she has to maintain her muscles. She uses it to roll her muscles, and she pays particular attention to her feet. Khaleelah Logan is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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‘Blonde’ visualizes story of twisted romance acterization, but ultimately defying explanation. Strange stated “Blonde” would be entertaining for anybody who likes romances with a twist, and that she hopes to create a “visually spectacular” movie. “I am a very visual person so I wrote a short story with absolutely no dialogue,” Strange said. “I would love to watch this romancegone-wrong and see how the movie conveys its meanings by focusing on the images rather than the dialogues,” CAS sophomore Shradha Shetty said. Strange described the rest of the cast to be “NYU-heavy,” which is why she said she hopes to plan a screening at NYU when the film is completed. Strange and Craven are also going to submit this film to film festivals such as TriBeCa Film Festival and New York Film Festival. Pre-sales of the movie will be available on blondeshortfilm.com starting next week. Ritansha Jalan is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.
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EDITED BY FRANCISCO NAVAS SPORTS@NYUNEWS.COM XCOUNTRY continued from PG. 1
Men’s, women’s cross country teams finish second in close races in Pittsburgh, anticipate regional championships later this month
nior Dharan Kadiyala placed eighth and ninth, respectiv-ely, with a 25:37.7 and 25:38.9. Gallatin junior Sebastian Oja and Steinhardt junior Johnny Lake finished shortly after, in 11th (25:47.2) and 18th (26:01.8), respectively. “I was second last year, and I was right with them at the last mile,” Karten said. “I was a little unhappy I let them get away, but I learned from it. Now we’re going to focus on those last few hundred meters, so hopefully
they won’t get away from me next time.” The Violets finished second place behind the Bears, ranked number two in the nation by the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association. “Going into the fourth mile, we were all together, but Wash. U ran the last mile better than we did,” CAS junior Dharan Kadiyala said. “We’re not satisfied with second place, but we’re not going to let it affect us too much. There’s still three weeks left,
The women’s cross country team competed in Pittsburgh over the weekend.
and we’ll see them again at nationals.” The women’s team came in second to Chicago by six points. Sophomore Lily Corsaro led NYU with a fourth place time of 22:06.1 in the six-kilometer race. Shortly behind were junior Sarah Czuprynski and senior Hannah Borenstein in seventh and eighth, respectively. Coming in at 11th place was senior captain Emily Cousens, and freshman Kassiani Chrysanthopoulos finished 30th. “I was happy with how I did. I was trying to improve on my race last year,” Corsaro said. “It was also good to see Sarah’s and Hannah’s race,” Corsaro said. “They’ve been improving and racing so well this year. It was awesome that we were all so tight, which makes us a better team than we even were last year.” The top four women runners were within 31 seconds of each other, and this close proximity helped them to a secondplace finish overall. Going into the NCAA Atlantic Region Championship with a “pack mentality” will help them hold onto their top rank in the Atlantic Region. “We definitely have been trying to emphasize a pack mentality, which we haven’t really had as much in the past before,” Cousens said. “During workouts, we run really close together, so it’s more
fun to go out and run races together because we can all run strong together.” Both teams compete again on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the NCAA Atlantic Region Championship in Geneseo, N.Y. Sydney Pereira is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite close games, men’s, women’s soccer fail to capture victory The men’s and women’s soccer teams competed against the University of Chicago Maroons and the University of Washington in St. Louis Bears. Read our full coverage online of the games at nyunews.com.
WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS | MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2013 | NYUNEWS.COM
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34 “Yikes!” 36 Where to get a taxi 37 Mutual of ___ 38 *Opening segment in a newscast 39 Fit of fever 40 Stalin’s land, in brief 41 Nurse a beverage
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51 “___ were the days …” 57 Arctic explorer John 59 Relax, with “out” 60 3, 4 or 5 on a golf course 61 ___-mo replay
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Appeals Court wrong in stop-and-frisk ruling BY HARRY BROWN
Last Thursday, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit suspended a wide range of reforms to the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, which had been established by Judge Shira Scheindlin earlier this year. Dubiously citing judicial misconduct and inappropriate behavior, the Appeals Court was not only misguided in its decision to overthrow Scheindlin’s ruling, it also severely weakened the chance for substantial improvements to be made to the unconstitutional police method. The Appeals Court suspended a landmark ruling Scheindlin made in August, which determined that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy failed to adhere to the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches without probable cause. Scheindlin justifiably wrote in her judgement that the policy “perpetuates the stubborn racial disparities in our criminal justice system,” violating the 14th Amendment of equal protection by discriminately targeting black and Hispanic people. Her ruling also ushered in a series of reforms within the confines of her power to remedy
this policy, including improvements to NYPD training and requiring that officers wear body cameras to document their actions. An independent monitor would also have been appointed to ensure the improvements were carried out. The court’s decision to block Scheindlin’s ruling is an abandonment of justice. The reasons cited by the Appeals Court do not take issue with the ruling itself, rather taking grievance with Scheindlin herself. The Court reprimanded her for sitting for nterviews during the time of the case, which it believed gave the appearance of judicial impropriety. Indeed, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ridiculed Scheindlin’s original judgement, stating that “Throughout the trial … the judge made it clear she was not at all interested in the crime reductions here or how we achieved them.” The decision reached by the Appeals Court negates that the policies sug-
gested by Scheindlin are entirely appropriate. Last year, New Yorkers were stopped by the NYPD 532,911 times. Of those stopped, 89 percent were innocent. Black and Hispanic people were overwhelmingly targeted. Only 10 percent of those stopped were white, while 55 percent were black and 32 percent Latino — numbers completely disproportionate to the demography of New York. As the NYPD themselves admit, 9 out 10 New Yorkers who are stopped are completely innocent. “Justice delayed is justice denied” — the legal maxim could not be more fitting in this latest development of the stop-and-frisk chronicle. The Appeals Court made a misguided decision, with legal technicality trumping the rights of minorities. But efforts to reform the NYPD’s policies should not just reside in the court. Consistent constitutional injury should not be the norm on the streets of New York. The next mayor must pass substantive reforms that outlaw this unacceptable practice. Scheindlin was brave enough to speak out. She should be applauded, not resisted. Harry Brown is a staff columnist. Email him at email@example.com.
Newspapers justified in rejecting untrue letters By CHRISTINA COLEBURN
The Los Angeles Times recently announced it would no longer print letters that refute climate change, igniting a fierce discussion about the balance between free speech and the preservation of journalistic standards. Letters editor Paul Thornton contended that many anti-climate change pieces contained factual inaccuracies and maintained that the new policy was intended to minimize corrections. His explanation immediately prompted backlash, some claiming the paper was censoring the anti-climate change viewpoint to promote a political agenda. Skeptics can still, however, leave comments on online pieces that express the opposing perspective. Although The LA Times arguably has the strictest policy on such letters, other news outlets have guidelines in place to address climate change denials. USA Today editorial page editor stated that an aggressive fact-checking process is applied to every opinion piece, just as The Tampa Bay Times affirmed its commitment to ensuring that claims are supported with legitimate scientific credentials. Measures also exist to ensure both perspectives
are adequately represented, with USA Today often printing columns expressing the alternate view, while The Tampa Bay Times assesses submissions on a case-by-case basis. While climate change evidently sparks passionate debates, typically from an ideological angle, the crux of the matter is largely irrelevant to the topic itself. As a leading news source, The LA Times has a responsibility to uphold professional ethics, the foremost being that all printed material is accurate. This standard of journalism should be consistently maintained, especially when controversial subject matter is published. If editors know an opinion piece conveys misinformation, whether on climate change or another issue, it is irresponsible to market it as truth. This position certainly does not equate to believing that writers should not have journalistic latitude,
that opinions should be silenced or that free speech should be limited. By all means, the exchange of differing perspectives enriches the national dialogue. It is simply to say that the commentary published in reputable papers should be factually sound. The public turns to The LA Times, among other top sources, for credible information. Printing an editorial that contains errors or unsupported notions does the readership an intellectual disservice and abuses the influence the paper holds. If a climate change skeptic writes an opinion piece that bolsters his or her denial with legitimate scientific studies, there is no reason why it should not be published, as the viewpoint was articulated with reverence to journalistic standards. By the same token, if he or she seeks to publish an editorial that contains fallacies and lacks solid credentials, the news outlet should adhere to professional ethics and reject the submission. The issue of climate change is already controversial — the divide should not be needlessly deepened by irresponsible journalism. Christina Coleburn is a staff columnist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State privacy policies should prompt Congress
As Congress continues to neglect any form of online privacy legislation, 10 state legislatures have addressed the issue themselves, passing over two dozen laws in the past year restricting the collection of personal data by federal agencies and private businesses. These laws are a step in the right direction for Internet privacy, but remind us that more sweeping reform from Washington, D.C. is needed. The laws have been diverse, but like-minded. California has given kids the right to delete existing posts on social media. Oklahoma has provided students with strict privacy protection. Texas has proposed warrants be required for email searches. All of these efforts, however, are less comprehensive than the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, which was introduced by the White House last year but that Congress has yet to discuss. The state measures are largely symbolic because federal laws supercede state laws. The preemptive federal law at issue is the post-9/11 Patriot Act, which broadened government authority for surveillance on its own citizens to strengthen national security against terrorism. In particular, third parties such as Internet service providers and tech giants are obliged under Section 215 to hand over sensitive records of their customers when requested by the FBI. Nevertheless, recent efforts by states to curb surveillance challenge the constitutionality of the act itself. Although the law conditions the conduct of investigations to be in accordance with “activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution,” it gives authorities unchecked power with significant potential for abuse. Congress has a responsibility to uphold individual privacy, but it is apparent with the passing of the Patriot Act and the failure to meaningfully amend it that we cannot depend on lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to protect our personal liberties. In light of recent revelations about the NSA’s infringements of important civil rights, it is disappointing yet unsurprising that Congress has not passed any legislation restoring the protection of personal rights to privacy. These state measures, while small steps, are more than Congress has done to ensure this protection. Perhaps state action will put pressure on the federal government to finally address needless provisions that have not safeguarded national security but have only denied personal freedoms.
Email the WSN Editorial Board at email@example.com. EDITORIAL BOARD: Raquel Woodruff (Chair), Edward Radzivilovskiy (Co-chair), Peter Keffer (Co-chair), Harry Brown, Marcelo Cicconet, Christina Coleburn, Omar Etman, Nina Golshan, Nickhil Sethi
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