BROADSIDE AND CONNECT2MASON PRESENT
FOURTH ESTATE George Mason University’s official student news outlet Oct. 07, 2013 | Volume 1 Issue 6
A DANGEROUS DANCE
A look at the popular drug MDMA, also known as “Molly” | page 4 (WALTER MARTINEZ/FOURTH ESTATE)
Oct. 7, 2013
In this issue
Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
COLLEEN WILSON EDITOR-IN-CHIEF firstname.lastname@example.org
Inside a live student media sports broadcast | 21
Green Machine ranked most entertaining pep band in college basketball | 17
Take a seat, because this week’s issue of Fourth Estate touches on some heavy topics. First, a disclaimer: the front-page photo, inspired by Miley Cyrus, is not an actual representation of drug use. That blurred pill is nothing more than an Altoid mint. Between the ex-gay activist group on pages 6-7 and the Molly story on pages 4-5, I fully anticipate some horribly offended and upset letters-to-the-editor from both sides of the controversies. In fact, I hope for them. I welcome the controversy because it brings discussion and analysis. The most controversial, uncomfortable and taboo topics are often the ones it is most important to be talking about. Unfortunately, they also happen to be the same topics we are most afraid to discuss. As a communication student, I’ve learned to see the world through a different lens. I recoil at the sexism in sixties sitcoms, I see racism in places I had never even thought to look and I recognize how the
media can function as a powerful player in culture, politics and everyday life. But I realize that not everyone takes courses that force you to plunge yourself into culture from the perspectives of others. And even though that process is a large portion of my degree work, I also realize that I’m still naïve to so much that goes on around me. My controversies are not the same as anyone else’s. Where I see an appalling ad or a disgusting TV show, others may find no harm. Where I see neutral content, others may walk away in protest. The disparity leads to two conclusions. One, that it is absolutely essential to be aware of the depth behind other people’s views. There is no responsibility to agree or join forces, but perspective and context can bring clarity to a situation. Two, it is important to discuss your own views. If you don’t share your own story, it makes it so much more difficult for those with opposing views to empathize and understand from their stance. What about you? What issues bug you as you walk around campus? What serious social discussion do you wish Mason was having? Addressing uncomfortable topics like racism, sexism, drug use and mental disorders can be difficult, but as a young college population with the potential to have an influence on our society and culture, it’s time to start talking.
Why FOURTH ESTATE ?
Ric Chollar, Director of the LGBTQ center, responds to criticisms from ex-gay group | 6
Prior to Broadside, the student newspaper was called The Gunston Ledger. It was changed in 1969 to better represent the politically out-spoken student body at the time. A “broadside” was a pamphlet used during the American Revolutionary War to help spread information. While Broadside has become an important part of life at Mason, we believe it no longer represents the overarching goals of student-run news. Though not specifically outlined like the three branches of government, the concept of a fourth estate referred to journalism and the media as an important tenet in upholding justice and liberty through establishing an informed public. These historic roots coincide with the transforming industry of modern journalism.
Oct. 7, 2013
gmufourthestate.com First Board of Visitors meeting of the semester The Board of Visitors met on Oct. 2. Fourth Estate live-blogged the meeting. Read Executive Editor Frank Muraca’s recap of the meeting. http://www.gmufourthestate.com/ content/recap-board-visitors-meeting-3-oct-2013
Costs block development of Greek Row Without campus-provided housing, Mason fraternities and sororities face unique problems like reserving spaces for events and forming their own living arrangements. http://www.gmufourthestate. com/content/ costs-block-development-greek-row
Sept. 30 Correction
Photo of the Week: Drag Queens
(WALTER MARTINEZ/FOURTH ESTATE)
Alumni dressed in drag entertained a crowded Dewberry Hall on Friday Oct. 4.
Q. What do you think about the government shutdown?
“I think it’s a huge thing because my dad works for the state department and it affects a lot of people there. So I just hope that they can somehow come to an agreement, because I think maybe it’s a big issue of pride too, not wanting to come to, you know, an agreement and compromise. So I hope they do.” Andrea Salazar, freshman, music composition
“It’s kind of annoying that we put these people into office and then they can’t get along enough just to do what they're supposed to be doing for us.” Mary Buckner, freshman, biology
The rider in the picture for “A course on a horse” on page 28 was incorrectly identified as Jade West. The rider is actually Sarah Vasilakos.
“It doesn’t really affect me, I guess, because government shut down doesn’t mean the government doesn’t exist anymore. Things still happen without the government there. I think people are reacting more than they should.”
“I haven’t really been catching up so much on it. I’m a little indifferent towards it, like I said I haven’t really been up to speed.”
Will McKenney, freshman, computer science
Eric Dubay, sophomore, undeclared
Oct. 7, 2013
MOLLY AT MASON (ILLUSTRATION BY KATRYNA HENDERSON/FOURTH ESTATE)
National rise in use of Molly leads officials to raise awareness DENISHA HEDGEBETH STAFF WRITER Kathryn Hernandez first heard about Molly in a popular song on the radio. Hernandez, a criminology major at Mason, didn’t think much of the song until she received a mass email from Rose Pascarell, vice president of University Life, warning students about the dangers of the drug Molly. “You always hear about it in songs on the radio, but I didn’t know that Molly was something big on campuses,” Hernandez said. “So her email really brought it to the forefront that it’s becoming a problem among college students.” Following a series of fatal overdoses around the country, some involving college students, Mason and Fairfax County officials hope to raise awareness of the dangers of the popular
club drug “Molly.” Molly is the powder or crystal form of MDMA, the chemical used in ecstasy. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, MDMA acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen that can significantly increase heartrate and blood pressure and interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature. Mary Ann Sprouse, director of Wellness, Alcohol, and Violence Education and Services (WAVES) at Mason, said that Molly is often mixed with other chemicals and drugs. “[Doctors] have been starting to test different samples of Molly in people who come in saying they’ve used molly or people who are arrested with molly, and what they’re finding is that it is almost always mixed with different chemicals and other drugs,” Sprouse said. “And it’s not really even pure MDMA, which is dangerous enough on its own. It’s
MDMA plus whatever chemical or drug could be found to mix with it.” Lucy Caldwell, the public information officer for the Fairfax County Police Department, said in an email that Molly is cut with many agents and that many other drugs have been sold as Molly in Fairfax County. Molly use has seen a significant rise among college students due to its increasing presence in popular culture. “It’s advertised in a way that makes it seem like if you take it on the dance floor, it would amplify your experience,” Pascarell said. “The danger of that is that if that’s all you know about it -- that it’s a fun, easy party drug and its effects are not long-lasting -- you’ll be more inclined to try it. But the reality is that you’re taking a really big risk, and that’s the part of the story that nobody is telling.” According to a press release by the FCPD,
the Fairfax County Police Organized Crime and Narcotics Unit (OCN) detectives have seen approximately 168 cases involving Molly, which translates to an average of eight per month between January 2012 and August 2013. The OCN has confiscated over 3,000 pills in that time span. “Trends in illegal narcotics are cyclic. Molly is marketed by sellers as a ‘pure’ or ‘safe’ form of MDMA, and as a result, it has become more popular,” Caldwell said. “This increased popularity has resulted in increased incidents. But it is no purer or safer [than other forms of MDMA].” Sprouse says she has not heard of Molly use becoming an epidemic this semester. “It’s just the start of the semester, but we haven’t had anybody who’s admitted [to using it]. We’ve even asked about friends, because sometimes people will say, ‘you know I have
FOURTH ESTATE a friend who does this,’ and we haven’t even heard that. So, so far, we haven’t heard of any,” Sprouse said. Regardless, FCPD and Mason officials have been working to increase awareness of the drug in Fairfax. According to Caldwell, the FCPD has provided releases to the media about the dangers of Molly and created internal bulletins to patrol officers to increase awareness of what Molly is and how to spot it. Sprouse said that information about Molly has been added into all of the WAVES presentations and that a fact and information sheet has been created for University 100 professors on campus to bring up as talking points in their classes. WAVES has also been active on Facebook and Twitter in order to get the word out. In addition to WAVES, Student Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services being a central means of educating students about Molly, Pascarell said that they are also focusing on educating student leaders. “What we heavily depend on is training our student leaders,” Pascarell said. “So whether you’re a resident advisor, peer leader, Patriot Leader, peer advisor…we’re thinking, you know, what are the ways we can work with student leaders who are working with other students?” Sprouse believes that the recent Molly-related deaths of college students in the news have played a role in bringing the conversation about Molly to the surface. She hopes by increasing awareness on campus, students will take the time to educate themselves about what they choose to put into their bodies. “If you hear in music and pop culture that this is a safe and fun drug and there’s no big deal about it, I would just ask students to investigate the other side of that,” Sprouse said. “How much of it is true, what really is molly and how can it impact my body? Right now I just think that there’s so much out there saying that it’s an okay drug, but it’s not--it’s a dangerous drug, and it can be very risky.”
News 5 Veterans connect through Mason resources Oct. 7, 2013
(PHOTO COURTESY OF WALTER SWEENEY/USMC)
VETSOC members Walter Sweeney and Jacobo Flores help raise money for VFW Post 8469 on Mason’s 9/11 Day of Service, 2013 KATLYN BABYAK STAFF WRITER The Office of Military Services fills in the gaps left by other university services to help veteran students maximize their education benefits. Military Services falls under the Office of Admissions, allowing them to inform students about their benefits and offer them assistance from the very beginning of their college experience. “[The] office is unique in the fact that we help with admissions, and then once the students [are] here, we try to ensure success. So it’s a multifaceted program,” said the Director of Office of Military Services Jennifer Connors. The Office of Military Services has recently received national recognition for offering various programs for Mason students and faculty aimed at increasing retention, promoting success and utilizing benefits. In 2012, Mason was classified as a military-friendly school for the third year in a row by the G.I. Jobs Military Friendly Schools lists featured in G.I. Jobs magazine. Mason’s military services office has also been nationally recognized for its dual-certification process, in which paperwork goes through the Registrar’s Office and Student Accounts to avoid billing problems. Veterans Affairs cites Mason’s dual-certification process as a nationally-suggested model. In addition to serving students during their years at Mason, the Office of Military Services provides post-graduation help. “We try to target employers who are classified or considered veteran-friendly or [who] have a
preference for hiring veterans. We bring them to the office for an hour or two a few times a semester, and have lunch,” said Walter Sweeney, the associate transition coordinator at the Office of Military Services. VetSuccess On Campus is a two-year program funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans Affairs counselors help veterans with post-9/11 G.I. Bill issues, including helping them process and understand different aspects of the G.I. Bill. Another program, Battle Buddies, provides academic support to veteran students According to Sweeney, Battle Buddy-type relationships are formed naturally, without any formal arrangements. Students who need help in a certain area are matched with older peers who mentor them, give them advice and generally build meaningful relationships. Sometimes the program extends to helping students familiarize themselves with the campus and acclimate to college life. The Student Veterans Housing Project, a new program this semester, assists veterans with finding off-campus housing. Sweeney is the president of the Mason Veterans’ Society, a student organization started in 2006. “[VETSOC] connects us to each other,” said Vice-President Maria Halkiadakis. “[Veterans are] a lot different than the rest of the student body. We were all a little bit older, some of us have families, but we all have a military background so that’s what we have in common. So it gets us together and helps us make friends.” Halkiadakis, a single mother, explained that
veterans with families and other obligations offcampus often have a harder time being connected with college life. “We do have a lot of our vets who have families with children, so that’s something that we have to take into consideration when we’re organizing events and such,” Sweeney said. “Our students like to come to campus, go to class, go home, take care of their family. Or go to work - a lot of people have full-time jobs as well. Most vets don’t want, at 24, to have a 17-year old roommate.” Since the veterans often find little in common with their classmates, the Veterans’ Society helps to bridge the gap and serves as a resource for veterans to teach each other about student veteran resources. “It provides that support network,” Sweeney said. The Veterans’ Society engages in intramural sports and monthly service projects and hosts special events, such as Thanksgiving dinner and Veterans Day weekend dinner at the local VFW post. One of the key goals of the organization is to continue veteran social and service society beyond campus and after graduation. Sweeney hopes the Veterans’ Society will help student veterans to continue to serve and connect with the veterans’ community. “We join the military for a lot of different reasons, but one thing that we all have in common is that we joined to serve, so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t continue that service to our country and our community after we get out,” Sweeney said.
Oct. 7, 2013
Ex-gay group goes undercover at LGBTQ services Organization accuses Mason of suppressing ex-gay resources
(ILLUSTRATION BY KATRYNA HENDERSON/FOURTH ESTATE)
JANELLE GERMANOS NEWS EDITOR Voice of the Voiceless, an organization advocating for the rights of ex-gay individuals, recently went undercover at the Mason LGBTQ resource center to examine how individuals dealing with unwanted sexual attractions are treated at Virginia universities. Christopher Doyle, president and co-founder of Voice of the Voiceless, believes LGBTQ resource centers at Virginia universities discriminate against both former homosexuals and individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions who do not identify as LGBTQ. During his experience at Mason’s LGBTQ resource center, Doyle said he witnessed discrimination in these centers that he thinks has been going on at college campuses across Virginia. Doyle also said he received medically inaccurate advice and biased counseling. Ric Chollar, the director of the Mason LGBTQ center, disagrees. “We don’t give students advice, we give options, and I did that with him,” Chollar said. Doyle’s organization works closely with Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays, an organization supporting the families and friends of the
ex-gay community, which has sent brochures for students questioning their sexuality and interested in changing their sexual orientation to LGBTQ resource centers at Mason, the University of Virginia and other Virginia statefunded universities. After Doyle conducted the investigation of Mason and other Virginia public universities, he contacted Liberty Counsel, a non-profit, anti-abortion, Christian litigation group that advocates for religious freedom. Doyle said that, because Mason is a public university, the LGBTQ center should be value-neutral and treat brochures from ex-gay organizations the same as those from gay-affirming organizations. Doyle accuses the university of suppressing the ex-gay therapy pamphlets and refusing to give them out to students. Chollar, meanwhile, said that whenever students ask for these materials, he brings them out. “As soon as someone asks me for information about these groups, I tell them we have the information and if they would like some, I’ll get that for them,” Chollar said. “He and I sat in the office and I turned and I pulled the file drawer out and I have them sitting in my file drawer.” Doyle said he went into the LGBTQ center
at Mason posing as a graduate student unsure about wanting to be gay. “Our investigation was an effort to see what a student would experience if they were to go into this office and speak to a counselor, Ric Chollar, who is the director there, and I did that,” Doyle said. According to Chollar, however, Doyle did not aggressively ask for the ex-gay materials as Doyle said he did in the Voice of the Voiceless press release. “What groups like his are asking, in fact demanding, is that written information like brochures be displayed publicly,” Chollar said. “I will admit that is not what we do. However, he also says that he had to aggressively ask over and over again. That is just not my memory at all.” Rose Pascarell, the vice president of University Life, said that the restoration therapy supported by the Voice of the Voiceless has been proven null. Several medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association and the American Psychiatric Association have advised against reparative therapy. “Mainstream medical associations have rejected it and have said that it is not a healthy response to the individuals and their questions
and concerns about their sexual orientation,” Pascarell said. Doyle, however, believes this untrue and cites organizations such as the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality to explain his stance. “What he told me was that if I tried to change, if I tried to change sexual orientations, I would likely become depressed, disillusioned, anxious and commit suicide,” Doyle said. “That is absolutely and scientifically inaccurate. There is no research data to conclude that people who go through a sexual orientation change over therapy experience what he said that I would experience.” Pascarell also said that Chollar handled the situation in the gentlest way possible, performing his duties as a licensed clinical social worker by explaining his concerns with reparative therapy. “The press release is misleading,” Pascarell said. “I think we have a phenomenal LGBTQ resource center that absolutely supports students in all their choices.” Doyle, himself a psycho-therapist, said that LGBTQ resource centers at public Virginia universities should be value-neutral and present both sides of an issue. “That is what proper and ethical
FOURTH ESTATE psychotherapy and counseling is about,” Doyle said. “You take the client’s goals, and you work with their goals and you don’t impose your own values. It’s supposed to be value neutral.” Pascarell and Chollar believe that Chollar was responsible and acted ethically in handling the situation. According to Chollar, Doyle told him that he was straight and had just recently become aware of his feelings for other men and wanted help as to the direction he should take while at the same time remaining an Evangelical Christian. Chollar advised Doyle to attend the Metropolitan Community Church, a gay-affirming congregation, and to read a book entitled “The Lord is My Shepherd and He Knows I’m Gay.” “He would have had a different reception with me if from the very beginning he said he didn’t want to [be gay],” Chollar said. “He presented as neutral and unknowing and that he was experiencing these feelings and he didn’t know what to do about them.” According to Pascarell, prominently displaying the ex-gay resources would interfere with the goal of providing students support and would be giving them information that mainstream associations have said can be harmful to an individual. “It presents quite a contradiction when we know the information actually can be quite unhealthy in the long run,” Pascarell said. “Every mainstream medical association has said that.” According to Chollar, the LGBTQ center at Mason works to help all students find their voice, and he believes prominently displaying the ex-gay resources would be contrary to that mission. “LGBTQ center and neutral are not the same thing,” Chollar said. “An LGBTQ center wants to provide services and is open and available and welcoming to anybody, so all students who are interested in even themselves or their friends or their family can learn about becoming successful, happy, productive lives.” Liberty Counsel has sent a letter to both Chollar and President Cabrera explaining their position that, because the center is at a state-funded school, all views on homosexuality should be presented. They expect a response by Oct. 25. “Around that time, we will be making specific policy recommendations for reform,” Doyle said. According to Doyle, these policy recommendations include sensitivity training and professional development for staff to be more aware of how to treat someone who wants to change sexual orientations. “They say, if we don’t respond, they will assume that their accusations are true, and they will go forward from there,” Chollar said. “We’re just now trying to educate and fill in our senior staff, so that they are prepared for thinking through the response. Our legal university counsel team is looking this over.”
News Chollar said that, after receiving the letter from the ex-gay organization, President Cabrera has asked his team for advice. Chollar has spoken with his superiors, including Pascarell. “I would welcome the chance to talk with Dr. Cabrera directly about this,” Chollar said. Chollar said that this is not the first time ex-gay groups have demanded their resources be prominently displayed at Mason’s LGBTQ center. “In the past, one series of events got to this stage. We didn’t respond, and it was followed up with a Freedom of Information Act request that was linked with the beginnings of a threatened lawsuit. In one instance, we complied with the FOIA and that was as far as it went. In another instance we responded saying we will comply, but it will cost you the amount of hours and copying and materials, and we never heard from them again,” Chollar said. However, Chollar believes this case may be different. “This time seems to be different in [that] I have been led to believe that the attorneys from different universities that were served these letters have been talking to each other, or that they have reported this to their deputy attorney general. It’s bigger than just one institution,” Chollar said. Elvira Razzano, the Webmaster at Pride Alliance, an organization that serves as a safe space for LGBTQ students, found the Voice of the Voiceless press release to be surprising. “Their movement is based on telling people that [being gay] is wrong,” Razanno said. “We’re based on telling people to be who they are. For them to tell us that we are obligated to tell people that’s wrong to have sexual attraction against someone of the same sex is just against what we stand for.” Chollar is upset that the time and resources that could be spent helping students are being used to deal with this situation. “I’m guessing that at the heart of this is one person, if not a number people, who were very badly hurt at some point, and that they are really struggling,” Chollar said. “I wish he and I could have been honest with each other.” Pascarell said that, as an institution of higher learning, it is important for Mason to help students make healthy choices. “Whatever your sexual orientation, it’s perfect,” Pascarell said. “The world is imperfect. So let’s work to change the world, rather than to change one’s self-identity, which is completely normal.”
Oct. 7, 2013
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Listen to a recording of parts of Doyle and Chollar’s conversation at the LGBTQ resource center.
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Oct. 7, 2013
Faculty pay based on competitive marketplace NIKI PAPADOGIANNAKIS NEWS EDITOR
Disparities in faculty wages can amount to over $20,000 from professor to professor. For example, one Mason history and art history professor received $87,783 in 2011, while an economics professor received $108,655 that same year. “That’s a marketplace phenomenon,” said Guilbert Brown, assistant vice president and chief budget officer of the Office of Budget and Planning. The market for certain fields yields higher wages than in others. In 2011, Mason’s highest-paid English professor made $118,576, whereas the highest-paid law professor made $325,583, according to Collegiate Times, a Virginia Tech-based publication. “Universities are very diverse little cities,” said Linda Harber, associate vice president of Human Resources and Payroll. “And so the issue is, everyone does not do the same work, everyone’s work is very different. So even if they are all in an instructional research category, the diversity of complexity of those jobs is vast and different.” Additionally, instructional faculty pay also depends on merit. Setting a salary takes into consideration a faculty member’s experience, expertise, research and reputation. “The salary of a highly accomplished researcher who is bringing an entire research team with him or her could be multiple, like a couple hundred thousand dollars,” Brown said. “As opposed to someone who’s got the same position basically who isn’t bringing a research team, maybe hasn’t published a dozen books and maybe they’re going to get $90,000.” Out of the university’s over $9 million budget, over 50 percent goes to pay wages and salaries. Over half of Mason faculty members are instructional faculty, professors, instructors and researchers. Administrative faculty includes the president, vice presidents and other administration positions. In 2011, the top two highest-paid faculty from the university were President Emeritus Alan Merten and former Men’s Head Basketball Coach James Larranaga. “[Basketball coach salary] doesn’t come from tuition,” Brown said. “It’s actually a combination of private gifts and program revenues and [athletic] student fees.” Earlier in 2013, Collegiate Times released information about President Emeritus Alan Merten’s $1.87 million in retirement benefits, which made him one of the highest-paid public university leaders. After 16 years in the presidency, the private funding for Merten’s compensation that had been put aside all came to him at once.
VS. (GRAPHIC BY WALTER MARTINEZ/FOURTH ESTATE)
$60,000 “The state provides a certain level of presidential funding,” Brown said. “Everything beyond that is paid for through private gifts. So [the budget office doesn’t] even get involved in presidential compensation.” Approved presidential salary levels are laid out in the Virginia state chapter budgets for each university. For Mason, the authorized amount for President Ángel Cabrera to be paid from state funds is $296,614 for a fiscal year. “Everything beyond that comes from private funds and private gifts,” Brown said. There is a hierarchy of instructor positions, each of which often comes with a pay raise. Part-time faculty includes instructors such as graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants and adjunct faculty. Adjunct faculty, part-time instructors who
often have full-time jobs outside of the university, do not usually receive benefits and are of the lowest-salary earners. For example, an adjunct instructor that is “highly qualified/experienced” teaching a 300-400 level course is paid $1,037 per didactic hour. “Adjuncts here tend to be extremely well-qualified,” Brown said. “They’re in the real world. Arguably, it’s one of the strengths of our program that we have such highly qualified [instructors]. Depending on what program you’re in, but say engineering, you’re going to get great faculty who are out in the field and so they bring that into the classroom. And they are less expensive.” Full-time faculty includes assistant professors and associate professors. Tenured faculty professors, who have a
permanent job contract, are also paid more. Faculty can only become tenured after a certain number of years on tenure-track. Tenure-track is the term used for professors who are working towards a permanent professor position. “We also have a strong local market for [term faculty],” Brown said. “They tend to be paid in between what tenured faculty and what adjuncts are paid.” Term faculty are hired on contract for a certain time span. Each department chair makes pay recommendations for its faculty to the dean, and the provost has final approval. If there are recommendations for extraordinary raises of over ten percent, it goes before a review committee.
President Cabrera, Parking Services use Twitter to connect with students
(ILLUSTRATION BY KATRYNA HENDERSON/FOURTH ESTATE)
JULIANNE WOODSON STAFF WRITER In a world increasingly interconnected by social media, President Ángel Cabrera and Director of Parking and Transportation Josh Cantor utilize Twitter as a means to connect with and inform students. President Cabrera joined Twitter in 2010, realizing that the website’s increasing popularity could be harnessed as a valuable student outreach tool. “I don’t know how I would connect with students otherwise,” Cabrera said. “I hear about student trends, what’s going well and what’s not going well. I just don’t have any other channel to do that. We manage surveys and polls, but normally that’s imperfect information and too late.” Cabrera uses Twitter frequently throughout the day, posting his thoughts on Mason life, higher education and international affairs. Since joining Twitter, Cabrera has garnered over 9,900 followers, many of them Mason students. A defining characteristic of his account is the level of interactivity he has with his followers. Cabrera often re-tweets and replies to student tweets, taking what they say into account. In one recent exchange on Twitter, a Mason student tweeted his concern about the state of the inflatable “Welcome to the A10” ball that was floating in Mason Pond. The ball, referencing Mason’s recent induction into in the Atlantic 10 Athletic Conference, was said to be dirty. Cabrera tweeted back that he agreed and the ball was removed from Mason Pond shortly afterwards.
Cabrera’s strong presence and popularity on Twitter has not gone unnoticed beyond the Mason community. Education Dive, a website that provides content concerning higher education, recently featured Cabrera in “10 College Presidents on Twitter who are Doing it Right,” a list recognizing college presidents that excel in using Twitter as a tool for student outreach. Despite this positive feedback, Cabrera is occasionally questioned about his frequent Twitter use. “Other presidents sometimes ask me, ‘how in the world do you find time for Twitter?’ What I normally tell them is, ‘you are a leader. What do you have to do with your time that is more important than understanding the needs of the people that you lead and letting them know what you think about things?’” Cabrera said. “There are not many things more important than that: understanding the community that you lead and having them also understand you.” Cantor approaches Twitter in the same spirit of understanding and information exchange. In 2009, Cantor created the Twitter account George Mason Parking as a way to provide quick, real time updates on parking, transportation and traffic issues to students. “We’re able to provide pertinent information [on Twitter] in smaller chunks than we can in an email that often has a lot of information,” Cantor said. Due to the rapidly changing nature of parking and transportation issues, Cantor believes that having these smaller chucks of information in real time is an advantage not found in other forms
Oct. 7, 2013
of information distribution. Cantor also highlights the viral nature of re-tweeting as a benefit of Twitter. “Twitter allows an organization to be more active in directing its message, as well as tap into a larger network with student media and others being able to re-tweet messages,” Cantor said. Mason Parking has gained more than 3,700 followers since its inception, due to popular features such as the updates it provides on the number of parking spots available in different parking lots across campus. Its Twitter feed also provides updates on construction affecting travel, regional traffic patterns and alternative transportation options available to Mason students. Far from being simply an effective information feed, Cantor regards Twitter as an optimal avenue for students with questions and feedback to voice their concerns. “We [Parking Services] find that many people are more comfortable using Twitter, especially for a quick question, than they are by email or phone,” Cantor said, “It is two-way communication so just like email, if you write, you will get a response.” Cantor encourages student feedback on the George Mason Parking Twitter, seeing it as a tool for improvement. “Even when people make complaints, we’re able to take that feedback if it’s constructive and see if we can make changes or correct something,” Cantor said.
Oct. 7, 2013
Mercatus Center project ranks states on freedom REEM NADEEM MAHMOUD BEAT REPORTER
The Mercatus Center at Mason has released the results of the Freedom in 50 States project, a study aimed to show how states match up to each other in terms of freedom. The Mercatus Center, located in Arlington, conducts research on political and economic issues. The Freedom in 50 States project was conducted and authored by William Ruger and Jason Sorens and ranks states based on different aspects of freedom. “We thought that that was a downside of a lot of studies that measured freedom and ranked states either internationally or domestically on freedoms,” Ruger said. “They focused on the economic freedoms. Yes those are very important, but freedom is more than economic freedom. It’s also personal freedoms. The most important question was how to include personal freedoms.” A state’s score is based on fiscal policy, regulatory policy and personal freedom. Fiscal policy is weighted the most, followed by personal freedom and then regulatory policy. Some of the liberties, such as civil liberties, gun control, marriage freedom and education, are widely discussed across the nation, while issues such as helmet requirements, family friendliness and fireworks are much less controversial. Each category of freedom
contains a color-coded map of the United States and detailed lists of states ranked in order of their calculated freedom. Each state page also has a short video presenting the material about the state of whichever freedom the reader chooses. The ‘overall freedom’ section of the study combines personal and economic freedoms. According to Freedom in 50 States, North Dakota ranked highest on the list, followed by South Dakota, while New York was ranked the least free. Virginia was ranked as the eighth most free state. Detailed breakdowns of each state’s freedoms and restrictions can be found on the site as well as policy suggestions to increase freedom. Ruger cautioned against trying to separate any of the freedoms. “[The freedoms are] interconnected,” Ruger said. “As economist Milton Friedman said, ‘economic freedom is important in order to have political freedoms.’ So they’re connected, we do it as a whole.” The third edition of Freedom in 50 States gives citizens a chance to rank their valued freedoms and see how the states currently stand. According to the Mercatus Center’s Director of Communications Carrie Conko, page views of the study have increased 92 percent since it has become interactive with users. The third edition has also looked at migration patterns in the United States, which have proven that low
(GRAPHIC BY WALTER MARTINEZ/FOURTH ESTATE)
ranking states are losing taxpayers to the states that have more freedom. People tend to vote with their feet, Ruger said. States that have been surprisingly affected by out-migration include New York, ranked 50, and California, ranked 49. “I was surprised that there was a lot more movement of people than expected,” Conko said. “So that notion that people follow jobs and jobs follow freedom, that was a theory, but to actually see that playing out in the data was really interesting.” Freedom in 50 States shines an unflattering light on many states with serious economic and regulatory issues who stand to lose taxpayers and workers.
“In so many areas and so many places, there’s such a huge reach into peoples’ lives, whether economically, regulatory, fiscally or in their personal freedoms,” Ruger said. “Whether that’s involved with dealing with marijuana use or how they can homeschool their children or rules about occupational licensing. A lot of those issues in our study really cut across traditional conservative [and] liberal politics.” The detailed information provided for each state can help students who plan to vote in the upcoming elections. The policy suggestions can help undecided voters know what to look for in candidate platforms as well as what to avoid. “I think political literacy is
important because whether we like it or not, politics affect us,” Ruger said. “So this provides particular state profiles, a kind of handy way to look at what’s happening in your state.”
View the Freedom in the 50 states map here
FREE TICKETS FOR MASON STUDENTS! THE VISION SERIES Sea Turtles as Sentinels of Ocean Health A. Alonso Aguirre, speaker October 7 at 7:30 p.m. FREE HC
VISUAL VOICES SPEAKER SERIES The Eclipse of Equality: Genealogy of a Missing Category Solon Simmons, speaker October 14 at 7:15 p.m. FREE FH
VISUAL VOICES SPEAKER SERIES On My Work and the Portrait Image Susanna Coffey, speaker October 10 at 7:30 p.m. FREE HT VIRGINIA OPERA - Falstaff October 11 at 8 p.m. $86, $72, $44 October 13 at 2 p.m. $98, $80, $48 CA 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. NOW
MASON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA October 16 at 8 p.m. $10 adu., $5 stu./sen. CA 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. Oct. 8 MARIZA October 18 at 8 p.m. $46, $38, $23 CA 2 Free Tickets per ID avail. Oct. 8
METROPOLITAN JAZZ ORCHESTRA Latin Nights Chuchito Valdés, piano October 19 at 8 p.m. $44, $36, $28 HC 2 Free Tickets per ID avail. Oct. 8 HUNGARIAN STATE FOLK ENSEMBLE Hungarian Rhapsody October 19 at 8 p.m. October 20 at 4 p.m. $46, $38, $23 CA 2 Free Tickets per ID avail. Oct. 8
THE VISION SERIES Nature-inspired Computation Ken De Jong, speaker October 21 at 7 p.m. FREE CA SCHOOL OF MUSIC Mason Wind Symphony & Fairfax Wind Symphony Fall Concert October 22 at 8 p.m. $10 adu., $5 stu./sen. CA 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. Oct. 8
THE MERCHANT Preview: Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. – Pay what you can Oct. 24, 25, 26, 31, Nov. 1, 2 at 8 p.m. Oct. 26, Nov. 2, 3 at 2 p.m. $20 adu., $15 stu./sen. HT 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. Oct. 15 LAR LUBOVITCH DANCE COMPANY October 25 at 8 p.m. $46, $38, $23 CA 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. Oct. 15 FAIRFAX SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA October 26 at 8 p.m. $60, $45, $25 CA 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. Oct. 15
CA CENTER FOR THE ARTS FH FOUNDERS HALL FG FINE ART GALLERY HC HYLTON CENTER HT HARRIS THEATRE TS THEATRESPACE
703-993-8888 or cfa.gmu.edu/students
Center for the Arts
7 0 3 - 9 9 3 - 7 7 5 9 o r h y l t o n c e n t e r. o r g / s t u d e n t s
Hylton Performing Arts Center PRINCE WILLIAM
Oct. 7, 2013
(GRAPHIC BY WALTER MARTINEZ/FOURTH ESTATE)
Mason rated best school for English and history majors NIKI PAPADOGIANNAKIS NEWS EDITOR English and history majors got a breath of relief in September when PayScale named Mason the best school for those majors, with alumni earning a median mid-career pay of over $80,000. “The first thing I did, actually, was to send the news to our current history majors,” said Brian Platt, chair and associate professor of history and art history. “We get lots of bad news about the job market and especially in the humanities. There’s an emphasis towards STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields and a pessimism on whether universities should support the humanities, and I wanted to give them some good news to counter the bad news.” PayScale’s 2013-2014 College Salary Report uses starting pay and mid-career pay to calculate which colleges are the best options for certain majors. Mason made the top of the list for English and history, with median mid-career pay for English majors at $95,000 and for history majors at $88,000. The statistics include alumni who received only a bachelor’s degree.
“The way we do it [at Mason] feeds well into the jobs in this region,” Platt said. “I think that’s probably also part of what’s going on there, whether it’s government work, non-profit, the things that D.C. does a lot of. But also in general about the value of the humanities degree.” Though the statistics do not show which jobs make up the mid-career median pay number, Platt said that history alumni are successful in real estate, non-profit administration and federal government jobs, such as in the State Department, CIA and military. According to Platt, even though those jobs can provide a good salary, the alumni with jobs in business are the ones making the midcareer median pay number higher. “We have lots of history majors succeeding in business,” Platt said. “There’s this idea that you need a business degree to succeed in business, but the alumni I know who have really done well economically out in the work world have been in business. Doing well in business is about, it’s not a mathematical skill for the most part, it’s an analysis skill. So you have to be able to look at a problem and analyze it and come up with a solution and articulate your solution well. That’s most of what business is about and I think history
and English teach students how to do those things.” For English, Platt attributed the high midcareer median salary to Mason’s location near the D.C. metro area, the university’s strong writing and rhetoric program and the engaged student body. “Often, you see lots of people who are successful in fields of English or the humanities and they get treated as the exception,” said Robert Matz, senior associate director of curriculum and technology for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Like, ‘well, I made it but I’m just special.’ No, there are lots of people all over who are doing good, interesting work that’s also well-paying work. And people are just in denial about it. It’s a great story, major in English and you’re going to end up with no job or a job you don’t want. It’s a good story, but its not really born out both anecdotally, and if you look at statistics, English majors do pretty well in terms of unemployment rates.” According to Matz, English majors find jobs in government or non-profit industry, similar to history majors, but also in writing and digital writing. Matz described the common notion that someone who majors in the humanities, such as English or history, will not get as high
of a salary as those with other majors. Sometimes, he said, this is a deterrent to students choosing a major in the humanities. “If you major in petroleum engineering, you will have a higher starting salary, and if you love petroleum engineering, you should do that because it’s both lucrative and something you love,” Matz said. “But, if you don’t love petroleum engineering and you love to write, you could major in English or communication and know that there are plenty of employment opportunities for writers too or critical thinkers or any of the other skills, like problems solving or creative thinking, that one gets in a bunch of fields in this college.” Despite PayScale’s findings, there is still pessimism about finding a well-paying job after graduation, said Platt. “There’s a lot of what I think is almost excessive worrying about what major you’re going to take with the sense that, if you don’t major in some field, you’re going to be in trouble.” Matz said. “You know, there’s this joke of, ‘oh you’re an English major and you’re gonna end up having no job.’ The statistics show that that’s really not the case.”
Oct. 7, 2013
Deals for the budget-concious
(JENNY KRASHIN/FOURTH ESTATE)
Fun and Functional
Accessorize your room with a homemade white board (NATHAN AMMONS/FOURTH ESTATE)
The Pot Belly in Fairfax City, like many restaurants, will soon be accepting Mason Money, giving students an even wider variety of discount dining options. HALEY MCCOMBER STAFF WRITER From paying for school to groceries and everything in between, living on a college budget can be hard. With all the expenses they have to pay, students may find it difficult to go out and have fun or to go shopping every once in a while. However, many local vendors offer relief in the form of discounts for students who show their Mason student ID. The University Mall Theatres sells $3 tickets to any student with a Mason ID. The theater shows movies in transition between theater and DVD and is now playing Monsters University. For new, in-theaters hits, Regal Fairfax Towne Center offers tickets for $10.50 after 4 p.m. Hungry students can use their ID card at local restaurants to receive a discount on their meal. P.J. Skidoos, off Lee highway, offers 20 percent off food to
students at Mason. The Greene Turtle, a popular sports bar on Main Street, offers a 15 percent discount off food for Mason students. Students can receive 10 percent off food at Buffalo Wing University, off Willard Way. For a faster meal, Qdoba offers a free drink to students with a Mason ID. Several spas and salons in the Fairfax area also offer discounts to Mason students. Comfort & Joy Wellness Spa offers 10 percent off any spa service to Mason students, including massages, facials, nail services and body wraps. Out-of-state students can get discounts to make traveling home easier. Amtrakâ€™s Student Advantage Discount Card, which costs only $20, gets students 15 percent off train tickets, 20 percent off Greyhound and discounts on other locations near campus. Every college student needs a computer, but they can be way out of a college budget. Apple offers $5 back
and students can save up to $200 on the purchase of a new Mac. Students can also receive varying discounts on Microsoft Office and 20 percent off a Windows phone at a Microsoft store. Discounts can also help students update their wardrobes without breaking their bank. Fair Oaks Mall, roughly 15 minutes from campus, holds a number of stores with discounts for students. J. Crew, The Limited, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor Loft all offer a 15 percent discount, while Ann Taylor gives a 20 percent discount for students. Students can also get professional clothes for discount prices from these stores, which can be important for internships or job interviews. The Vamoose Bus offers students a $21 round-trip ticket to New York when you book with your Mason ID card.
TIFFANY TAYLOR STAFF WRITER Accomplish two goals with one craft this week with a DIY white board complete with storage pouch. For the price of a cheap picture frame and some scraps of paper and fabric, itâ€™s easy to have a new storage and organization item for a desk. Pick out a picture frame with a glass plate and a wide border. Frames can be found for cheap at craft stores and thrift shops. Next, grab a left-over gift bag or other printed paper to
use as a background for the board. Thicker paper holds up better when assembling the project. Find a recycled piece of fabric with a complementary design to the decorative paper. To create the board, remove the glass from the picture frame and cut the background paper to size. Insert the paper just like a traditional photo. Wrap the fabric around the edges of the glass frame and re-fasten the glass into the frame. Store dry-erase markers or other useful items in the pouch. To personalize the frame, add glitter or paint to the frame edges.
Oct. 7, 2013
Students want to be heard in their own TED conferences New student organization hopes to put students at the center of the conversation (COURTESY OF THE WAVES OFFICE)
Turn off the Violence Week offers victims’ stories, support SARA MONIUSZKO STAFF WRITER While Turn off the Violence Week has changed significantly since its start in 1994, the spirit of the event has always remained the same. “Turn Off the Violence Week is] a powerful time for our campus to come together to better understand interpersonal violence and the ways it impacts all members of our community,” said Hope Savolainen, a coordinator for Violence Prevention and Response at Waves “It also gives support and voice to those whose stories we need to hear but too often don’t.” Savolainen works with students and colleagues during Turn Off the Violence Week to address interpersonal violence, which includes sexual violence, dating and domestic violence and stalking. The inspiration behind the week of events is “a deeply held belief that we can work towards a safer campus and community. Raising awareness through initiatives like TOV helps bring life into the movement to end violence, a movement that we all have a part to play in,” said Savolainen. During the Clothesline Project, survivors of sexual violence and their supporters decorate shirts in order to honor victims of such crimes. Not only is the project meant to help victims heal, it also gives them a voice amongst the Mason community on campus. Students who are unaware of the sexual violence that takes place on college campuses can see these shirts on display as they walk
by Robinson Hall, SUB I and Fenwick Library during the week and gain a better understanding of the suffering. Another event during the week, the White Ribbon Challenge, stresses men’s role in stopping and preventing violence against women. Men are encouraged to take a visual pledge to end violence against women by wearing a white ribbon. The Survivor Space event allows students to speak about their experience with sexual and domestic violence in a safe environment and provides encouragement to those who have gone through similar traumatic experiences and are seeking support. Mason also hosts a Take Back the Night rally and march, which focuses on letting victims of sexual violence gather without fear in a supportive environment. The event provides encouragement and hope through the rally of speakers and performances and raises awareness with the march. “Change does not happen overnight and it does not happen with one person, so annual events like TOV help to keep the momentum of change moving forward and it’s imperative that students attend because they are critical agents in the movement of change,” Savolainen said. According to Savolainen, creating change is one of the most important parts of Turn off the Violence Week. “[TOV promotes] change for a campus where every survivor is supported, change for a campus where no violence is tolerated, change for a campus where all members have the opportunity to thrive,” Savolainen said.
(COURTESY OF ANTONIO REYES)
NATHAN AMMONS LIFESTYLE EDITOR Antonio Reyes, a senior Management major, believes Mason fosters the ideal environment for social and political debate. Reyes wanted to create a venue that puts students at the forefront of the conversation. Thus began Mason Talks, a TEDTalks-style conference that features students speaking about scientific, social and political issues. TEDTalks was first started as a one-time conference in 1984 and has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon. TED conferences are held twice a year in locations such as the United States, Asia and Europe, and speakers discuss a range of topics that pertain to science and culture. These talks can be found online through Youtube and the TED website. Reyes believes that the TED style of information sharing is conducive to a positive learning environment. “After attending several meetings of Startup Mason and interacting with many very creative students, I began to think of a way to highlight the human capital and
creativity of our students,” Reyes said. Mason has already embraced the idea of bringing TED conferences to the university with GeorgeMasonU TEDx. The TEDx conferences are held twice a year and host Mason faculty and guest speakers presenting “ideas worth sharing.” The last event was held in April 2013 and included speakers like Kirk Borne, a professor of Astrophysics and Computational Science at Mason, and Heather McDonald, an acclaimed Pulitzer-nominated playwright. “In an effort to promote the IDEA concept, we want to promote the students as innovators themselves,” Reyes said. While the focus of Mason Talks will be on creating dialogue between students about topics like the sciences, the humanities and the arts, Reyes stresses that there is a learning aspect involved. “We want to invite students to practice their public speaking skills and get to network with other creative students on campus doing research or something new,” Reyes said.
Mason is considered a Tier I research institution, making the focus on developing research skills an important selling point for Reyes’ organization. Mason is also one of the only universities in Virginia to put research money in the hands of undergraduate students. Though one of Mason Talks’ missions is to be a “student-to-student learning tool where ideas are shared through the medium of brief, well-presented and creative talks,” Reyes said that restrictions may arise on topics related to politics and religion. These restrictions are meant to keep the conversations civil, as Mason’s campus is relatively moderate and opinions on such issues can potentially cause conflict and interfere with communication. Reyes and his six team members are planning to host four Mason Talks conferences over the course of the academic year. The talks will be livestreamed and will last about 10-15 minutes in length.
Oct. 7, 2013
Mason Makes Careers Each week, Fourth Estate features a student or alumnus with a great internship or job to highlight the opportunities a degree from Mason can provide. (COURTESY YARA MOWAFY)
SAVANNAH NORTON STAFF WRITER Yara Mowafy is an intern with Partnerships for Finance and Development in Washington D.C., a global consulting group that helps private sector companies grow in their international development work.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your internship and what it is like?
the right things and making sure that everything is proper.
Our main job is assisting clients win contracts financed by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) like the World Bank, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank and others. It’s a lot of corporate work but for development. It’s very weird because my major is international development, so I’m more of a hands-on, researching and field studies type of person.
Q: How did you first learn about this internship?
Q: What is your position and what kind of daily tasks are you responsible for? My position is Assistant Business Development Coordinator. Some of my tasks include writing Expressions of Interests (EOIs) for clients to send off to bid on contracts financed by the IFIs. Another big part of my job is to scan project opportunities for clients, as well as collect and analyze information about newly-released compacts or projects. I do a lot of lessons-learned documents, so I look at previous compacts that are a part of the five-year project in a developing or an undeveloped country. And I see what the MCC kind of came out with after the project has been implemented, so any things that went wrong and recommendations or announcements after the project has been completed, and [then I] compile that into a document that we can use for other projects. Everything I do is kind of like a final draft. Nobody looks after my writing, which is a scary thing! So my daily tasks include a lot of researching, making sure I’m writing
I heard about the internship from the Global Affairs BA Digest. It was kind of like ‘email your resume to this person’ and it was so easy so I thought I might as well. So I did and 24 hours later I got a call and they said, “we’d love to interview you!” So I went to D.C. and did the interview and just a few days later it was all set. So it was very quick! Q: What is one of your favorite experiences from this internship? Last week we had a visit from one of our European clients, we had to take him to the World Bank to talk to different task team leaders for different countries. We had these company CEOs and we were going to the World Bank and had meetings with different people who represented different areas of the world. So that was my favorite part, to be a part of that and go to the World Bank and have my little visitor pass. Q: What lessons has this internship taught you so far? Mainly, learning about the field. I did development work this past spring semester in Egypt. That was awesome! This is more on field research. So just being on the other side, like the corporate world and just understanding how that works. So whenever I am doing any field research I can come back to that and know what I should expect or have a clear idea of the end fold.
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Oct. 7, 2013
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Affordable Care Act not a bargaining chip
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WILL ROSE OPINION EDITOR As you probably know, the United States Government has shut down for the first time in 15 years. But perhaps you need a refresher on why we’ve closed the doors to DC. The government’s fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, and Congress--as many of you likely know--has the power of the purse. Specifically, the House of Representatives could be said to have the most direct control over the United States’s expenditures. However, the House this year has decided that the only way in which a budget will be passed is if the proposed budget does not fully fund the Affordable Care Act. According to a recent poll by CNN, Republicans are split 50/50 with regard to their interest in shutting down the government. And according to a recent Quinnipiac, 72 percent of voters oppose shutting down the government in order to stall the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. And though voters are now split down the middle concerning their support for the new law, 58 percent are against it being defunded. Bizarrely, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) chose to filibuster the budget vote in the few remaining hours before the American government shut down. The Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law three years ago, was the subject of concern for Cru. In defiance of this perceived overreach of government--God forbid a President attempt to fix our healthcare system, which was recently ranked 36 in the world--Cruz read from the children’s book “Green Eggs and Ham,” a story about not liking something until you’ve tried it. Spot on, Ted. Most of us have likely let Schoolhouse Rock explain the legislative process to us at one point or another. And as the song goes, a bill floats around through the houses of government and, after approval from Congress, is signed into law by the President. The Affordable Care Act passed and, when challenged in the Supreme Court, was ruled constitutional. It doesn’t matter if you agree with the law or not--it’s a law. The process the bill went through was absolutely by the book. It has stood up against challenges from both camps of the argument, and one side has finally been named the victor. So when you cite the Constitution and complain about what the founders wanted with regard to Obamacare, keep in mind that you’re attempting to justify breaking the founders’ system of governance. It’s childish to shut down the American government simply because you lost the argument. If the House can’t pass a budget, that’s one thing. If the House wants to use a law as a bargaining chip, the ones who are most directly responsible sure as hell better not get too comfortable at their desks. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), when asked if she’d be donating her congressional paycheck to charities while the rest of American government workers are furloughed, said, “I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line.” I guess she must be the only one a little tight for money. Now imagine if she got sick without access to affordable health insurance; then she might be better able to relate to her constituents. The Affordable Care Act is a law. Deal with it.
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Oct. 7, 2013
(HANNAH KREIDER/ FOURTH ESTATE)
(Above) Green Machine Director Michael Nickens leads the band in song at a men’s basketball game. (Left) The Green Machine in action filling the Patriot Center with music and spirit. (AMY ROSE/ FOURTH ESTATE)
Green Machine brings spirit and zeal to Mason IAN CRIMAN STAFF WRITER On Sept. 15, Doc Nix and the Green Machine ranked number one on Bleacher Report’s list of the “Most Entertaining Pep Bands in College Basketball.” Assistant Director Jeremy Freer partly attributed the Green Machine’s success to the enthusiasm of the band’s members when performing. Freer also notes that the Green Machine works extremely hard in practice to improve the quality of its product. “I was really pleased to see the hard work get recognition. There’s honest enthusiasm and we really try to have a collection of songs that resonates with people,” Freer said. “If we were just going through the motions, there is something dishonest about that, and I don’t believe people would respond to the music we make as much. We have a good time and other people do too. I think that is a winning combination.” Freer and Director Michael Nickens -- more commonly known in the Mason community as Doc Nix-- write all of the music. If a member of the band has an idea, they can arrange and propose the piece to either Freer or Nickens.
“They really encourage ideas. To suggest an idea of a piece is as easy as walking across the room,” said Malia Pereyra, senior violinist. “They know the ropes and once you are in the Green Machine, you’re in.” After a piece is written, Nickens never knows when the finished product will be performed. Students in the band have significant freedom in suggesting how to edit or improve a certain part and the music is always evolving. Nickens and Freer develop a concept of what the music should sound like, but they welcome any idea that improves the composition. “I like celebrating individuality, uniqueness,” Nickens said. “You never know when innovation hits. People are generally excited to work hard and play. We have a lot of students that help put the music together. It’s a collaboration.” Nickens and Freer use a computer software called Finale to help write the music. “A new tune is something else, somebody has been making all the parts and it is pretty isolating work,” Nickens said. “When I’m done writing the music, I always get tears in my eyes because it always sounds so much better live than I thought it would, although occasionally, not often, the tears aren’t the good kind.
You always know, though, what kind they are.” The songs are designed to resonate with people and help create an emotional connection. “We try to create a sort of Mason soundtrack that people care about,” Nickens said. “We might play a song in the second half of a basketball game during a timeout, and if something great happens after the timeout hopefully if we play that song again it’ll bring people back to that moment.” Nickens came to direct the Green Machine the year after Mason men’s basketball went to the Final Four at which the pep band won the Battle of the Bands. “The music department wanted to expand the organization and that’s when I came on board,” Nickens said. “There was already a solid foundation there, so it was an easy transition and it has really grown since.” During basketball games, the Green Machine aims to provide energy for the crowd and get fans more involved. “First and foremost, we are there to support the basketball team at games,” Freer said. “We tastefully heckle the other team and try to give the fans something to participate in to help them share their energy.”
As a group, members of the Green Machine know each other well and support each other. The students also hang out outside of practice, adding to the chemistry of the band. “It’s a lot of fun, when you are a part of it, it’s like family,” Pereyra said. “When you play music together with other people it can be a whole different level of friendship.” Alicia Suchicital, a freshman vocalist and violinist, said she joined the Green Machine because her brother had previously been in the band and to continue playing music. “I didn’t want to stop playing in college since I’m a bio major,” Suchicital said. “I didn’t want to take private lessons, so this is a perfect way to keep playing.” Roughly half of the band members are not music majors. The band meets every Wednesday from 7-10 p.m. for rehearsals. The band is currently preparing for a concert after the Nov. 8 home game against American University. “Practices are a blast, it is a celebration of making good music together,” Freer said. “It’s much looked forward too. We get a lot of work done, but it’s a celebration of music expressiveness.”
Oct. 7, 2013
Stream team provides first-hand learning experience
(JENNY KRASHIN/ FOURTH ESTATE)
(Left) Jake McLernon, supervisor of the stream team, gives instructions to announcing team Tyler Byrum and Tyler Resh. (Above) Sophomore play-by-play announcer Tyler Byrum and freshman color commentator Tyler Resh in the middle of their pre-game show. DANIEL GREGORY ASST. SPORTS EDITOR With Daft Punk and Pharrell blaring in the background, the Mason women’s volleyball team took the court to begin warming up for their first home Atlantic 10 game in Mason history. While the volleyball team warmed up to take on St. Louis University, they were not the only team prepping for the evening. In fact, neither the Mason women nor the St. Louis women were the first team to arrive at the Linn Gym on Friday night. The Mason “stream team” beat them by two hours. “’Stream team’ is what I like to call it,” Jake McLernon said. “No matter what you do, you want to brand something.” On Friday, Oct. 4, McLernon, a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Media, led a crew of ten Mason students in broadcasting the women’s volleyball game live from the RAC. Beginning this fall, the Office of Student Media partnered with Mason Athletics to livestream Mason sports games over GoMason. com and on Mason Cable Network for students on campus. “Jake had expressed an interest last basketball season with his position at MCN to start doing a collaboration, and then my boss
Maureen (Nasser) took the ball and ran with it,” said Jeff O’Bier, the director of Patriot Productions. “It’s been a good partnership and it is something we have been wanting to do for years is get more students involved in television production.” While the stream team strives to produce a quality broadcast for people who want to watch the games, covering these events also provides students with opportunities to work in live television. From the set up before a game to operating cameras and providing commentary, the broadcasts are entirely student-run. “Everything that goes on is student-driven production so that means myself, I’m a graduate student, I produce and direct the broadcasts on the student media side,” McLernon said. “I am the one who recruits. I’m the one who makes sure the cameras are in the right place and that everything is working. So myself, I have very little when it comes to the broadcast itself.” A typical production day usually consists of McLernon and a team of assistant producers meeting at the Office of Student Media around 3:45 p.m. to assemble the required equipment for a broadcast then traveling to the venue to set up. Equipment varies depending on the sport, and, so far this year, the stream team broadcasted women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer.
When setting up equipment, McLernon directs the assistant producers in the necessary steps required to set up the technical side of production. Set up for the volleyball game took about an hour, leaving a break until the entire broadcast team met for the pregame brief. During this meeting, McLernon made the call to switch-up the roles of the on-air broadcast team. Usually, sophomore Tyler Byrum calls the play-by-play while freshman Tyler Resh provides the color commentary, adding anecdotes and observations to what Byrum says. For the St. Louis game, the roles were reversed because Resh played volleyball and has more experience with the sport. “It is not a big deal,” Byrum said. “Honestly, calling color is a little bit easier.” The on-air analysts help give the broadcast a more professional feel. Both Resh and Byrum expressed excitement with their roles. “Jake called me up and told me we were planning on doing actual D1 sports, and I was like ‘heck yeah,’” Resh said. “We’ve been doing women’s and men’s soccer and now volleyball. It has been pretty fun.” For the St. Louis game, the stream team had three cameras: one wide angle of the entire court, one stationary camera for close-ups and the hand-help hero cam that also provides close-ups of athletes throughout the game. Seated at the broadcast table, the switcher was responsible for changing between the
cameras for the live broadcast and the graphics coordinator was responsible for changing the score in the graphic created by O’Bier. Throughout the entire broadcast, McLernon announced to the camera operators which camera was live and offering advice to improve camera shots. Other than the occasional late switch or awkward shot, things went well. But not all broadcasts have gone so smoothly. In one game, an analyst’s microphone went down, forcing the team to adjust on the fly. Such challenges provide valuable learning experiences on how to work in live TV. “I will admit there have been times when we have had an issue, but it is going back and bouncing back from it that makes everything work and everything successful,” McLernon said. “The biggest saying that I have been taught is, ‘it is not what happens, it is what happens when you bounce back that matters.’ How did you handle it? How did you succeed?” Currently, the stream team wants to continue broadcasts throughout the season, but currently they do not have the equipment to broadcast in larger venues like the Patriot Center. Moving forward, the stream team hopes to provide quality broadcasts that serve both the Mason community and the athletic department, but O’Bier does not see that as the most important outcome of the stream team.
Oct. 7, 2013
Cycling club aims to combine social, competitive riding HAU CHU SPORTS EDITOR After past cycling clubs have seen interest and participation wane, a group of students at Mason is now trying to revive interest in cycling as a competitive sport. “[T]here has existed for the past three years, in some form or another, a social-oriented cycling club on campus,” said Michael Lagana, vice president of the Mason Cycling Club. “Mason did at one point have a club cycling team a while back, but it fell by the wayside before I even began at Mason, which was in 2010.” Club president Kyle Bondo spearheaded the effort over the summer to start a cycling club that focuses on competitive cycling in addition to welcoming those who wish to join a social group of cyclers. “It was difficult for [Bondo] to start because of communication difficulties with responsible offices within the athletics department,” Lagana said. “Also, because competitive cycling is inherently risky and requires more funds and travel, it was much more difficult to start up as a club. I mostly ran the social club, but we ultimately found more people wanted to race and compete.” It was in August, after some changes in the Office of Student Involvement, that Bondo’s efforts to make an official, registered student organization for cycling saw the elevation of the group to an officially recognized club within Mason. “We’ve had much more luck getting recognized, and the athletic department has been very helpful, encouraging and supportive of our endeavor,” Lagana said. “Now that we’re a recognized, tier III RSO we can now be officially sanctioned for competition by USA Cycling.” The competitive cycling schedule features mountain-bike racing, where courses are long-distance and consist of muddy, dirt trails with lots of hills, in the late summer to early autumn season. During late autumn and winter, collegiate cycling competition focuses on cyclo-cross. This is a form of racing which is raced in a closed, short-distance course and requires a specialized bike that -- at points -- has to be carried by the rider through mud and dirt obstacles. The spring season focuses on road racing, distinguished by its long road and asphalt courses raced at high speeds. The club’s paperwork is still being finalized to compete in competitive cycling races against other colleges, but Lagana hopes to have some riders competing in a couple of weeks at the midpoint of the mountain-bike racing season. Mason’s cycling club consists of members with varying backgrounds and experience in cycling. Sophomore club member Peter Mostoff’s passion for cycling came at an early age. “When I was a kid, my grandfather -- who to this day still really likes biking-- bought me my first bike and we went on, what seemed at the time, fairly long bike rides,” Mostoff said. “It was a really cool thing to do with him, kind of like a bonding experience, and ever since then I’ve liked biking.” Mostoff still enjoys biking and sees it as a method of relaxation and a way of building friendships. “Most people who really are passionate about riding bikes will agree that it’s a very soothing experience,” Mostoff said.
(PHOTO COURTESY OF MASON CYCLING CLUB)
Christopher Belin, Jose Candia and Michael Tyler Levesque after their first weekly road-training ride. “And most people who are into biking are extremely passionate about it, and that’s one thing I like about [biking]. It’s a really strong community.” It was when Mostoff went looking for that community of bikers on campus last spring that he stumbled upon the Facebook page for the then-unofficial Mason cycling club and got onboard. Lagana’s passion for biking started in high school and was fully realized when he came to Mason. “I began to pursue cycling as more of a hobby during my freshman year. [I] got a new bike, new clothes, new shoes and all the stuff I needed to ride well, fast and relatively comfortably,” Lagana said. “Also, for my first two years -- since I didn’t own a car -- a bike was one of the ways I needed to get around.” Lagana joined one of the now-defunct social cycling clubs after being recruited by a friend. “That really piqued my interest in cycling in a club setting, despite the low attendance,” Lagana said. “Then, in August, [Bondo] approached me about completely refocusing and rejuvenating the club to be more competition-focused, since a lot of riders wanted that aspect. He was able to do a good job networking and bringing people in, and now more people are interested than ever before.” Even though the club is waiting to compete against other collegiate cycling clubs, they currently organize events and foster relationships with alumni and local businesses.
The club is currently planning the Spirit of Mason ride, which will occur on Nov. 23. The ride will begin on campus and riders will travel roughly 20 miles to Gunston Hall, home of George Mason, and return to campus with the purpose of carrying the ‘spirit of George Mason’ back with them. The club is also in the process of acquiring alumni and local sponsors for their first jerseys in an effort to promote the club’s and Mason’s identity at competitive cycling events. Because the club is in its first year and still developing its membership, the goals for the year are modest. “Mostly, we’d like to get our foot in the door, so to speak, and get connected with the collegiate cycling community so we can be more in on events that are going on,” Lagana said. “In addition, we hope to have some of our riders compete in open races and place well enough to eventually get invited to invitationals.” The club meets every Wednesday at 6 p.m. on the lawn across from Starbucks in Northern Neck. The reason for the public, visible meeting of club members with bikes in tow is one of the club’s efforts to build and attract a Mason cycling community. “We’d like to foster an environment where all people of all ability levels who are interested in riding competitively or for fun feel invited and included in the club’s activities,” Lagana said. “In the cycling world, there are events for everyone.”
Oct. 7, 2013
DG explains: Fantasy football DANIEL GREGORY ASST. SPORTS EDITOR I generally catch myself falling into the same pattern when I get on my laptop to browse the Internet. Without thinking, I immediately open up a tab for Facebook, a tab for my Mason email and a tab for ESPN.com. But every fall without fail, a new tab makes its way to the front of the line: my fantasy football team. Myself and millions of other people across the country spend countless hours from August to January reading articles, talking trash and being generally unproductive in a quest to win at Fantasy Football. If you are like my editor-in-chief, you look at people like me and just don’t get it. Why? Why would I invest so much time, or even money, in such a seemingly pointless venture? Even I have a love/ hate relationship with the game. Why Fantasy Football Rocks
(JENNY KRASHIN/ FOURTH ESTATE)
(Left) This should be the starting position for the surfer step. (Right) Surfer step can be performed with a free weight for increased diﬀculty.
Workout of the week: Surfer step
MICHAEL SNOWDEN STAFF WRITER The surfer step is a great lowerbody strengthening exercise that can enhance any lower-body exercise program. To perform this exercise, begin in a kneeling position with both knees on the floor or mat and your trunk braced. Next, raise your right leg up to a high kneeling position while planting your foot. With the right foot planted, drive
through your right heel and come to a standing position. Perform one full squat. To return to your starting position, release to a modified lunge with the left foot now forward and the right knee on the mat behind you. Bring the left leg back so that both knees are back together in a high kneeling position before repeating on the opposite side, this time leading with the left foot. When first trying the exercise, begin with just your bodyweight. From there the exercise can be progressed by holding a weight plate with both arms in front of your chest. You can increase the intensity of this exercise by perform a jump squat in the standing position.
It’s been said, “those who can’t do, coach.” In my case, it should be, “those who grew up loving football but never played because their mom wouldn’t let them, play fantasy football.” While my mother fearing for my safety isn’t representative of the entire population, the idea behind it is. Football dominates sports talk the entire year. Even when the sport isn’t in season, half of SportsCenter ‘s segments focus on something football-related. Whether it’s Tim Tebow’s quarterback/situational comedy performances or a new Brett Favre Wrangler commercial, it’s all football, all the time. Fantasy football lets fanboys like me show my friends I know more about football than they do. For those who don’t know, fantasy football is based on stats. Each team in a league that varies in size from 8-14 teams that earn points based on how players perform statistically. Players earn points by scoring touchdowns and accumulating yards. You even get points from kickers. Starting lineups vary but usually consist of a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, a kicker and a defense. You also have a flex spot where you can put a wide receiver, running back or tight end. You set lineups every week, and you vary selections based on player health and weekly match-ups. Serious leagues require participants to at least set their roster or they won’t be invited back next year. Competition drives the fantasy football craze. This is the chance for people to trash talk to their friends and show them who is boss all from the comfort of their living room couch. It’s being an NFL general manager without ever needing any real football experience. The best part of the fantasy year is the draft process, in which members of the league pick their rosters. This year, I participated in my first live draft, where
instead of picking players online, my entire 12-person league actually sat in a room for three hours and made picks. I know that might seem ridiculous to the uninitiated, but add a spirit of friendly (or unfriendly) competition and a few adult beverages, and you have a party. For those of you who haven’t participated in a live draft, do it next year. It’s a blast. The draft is directly responsible for how your team will do. If you aren’t in a league full of dummies, there is no way you’ll be able to become a champion fantasy football player by picking up undrafted players. The draft gives you your chance to look back and brag all year to your friends about picking a certified fantasy stud like Jordan Cameron in the 8th round. As the season rolls on, fantasy owners make trades and set lineups just like real NFL coaches. You talk trash, read articles and make excuses all the way to the very end. There’s nothing better than pulling out a win with a big performance on a Monday night. Why Fantasy Football Sucks I didn’t get into the fantasy game until a few years ago, but I was hooked right away. This year I have three leagues with money invested from $20-$100 in the hope that I’ll get a big payout at the end. I spend way too much time on fantasy football with three leagues, and I play in leagues with guys who have 6-7 teams. When you have a bad team, you have to deal with that team all year. Like I said before, if you mess up your draft, it’s going to be a long season. Two of my teams I love, but I hate my team in my $100-league. From the second draft position, I managed to find fantasy duds like Maurice Jones-Drew and Dwayne Bowe. It’s going to be tough to come back from that. I’m in dead last now, so I can basically kiss that money I invested goodbye. Fantasy football makes Sunday a whole different animal. Instead of watching the Redskins and highlights of other games, now I go to sports bars and pull a muscle in my neck trying to watch six different TVs. Not only do I get distracted from my beloved Redskins, I also have to pay attention to teams I don’t care about. I experienced the ultimate conflict of interest watching the Packers destroy the Redskins this year. I wanted my team to win, but I needed Jordy Nelson to play well. The Redskins played terribly. Jordy Nelson put up 25 points. I felt dirty. It was like sleeping with your bestfriend’s girlfriend. I never hope to feel that again, but it was an inevitability, especially considering the Redskins are awful. Regardless of my internal conflict, I’m hooked. I will continue to play fantasy football. It’s more fun than not playing. Beating my friends in anything provides ultimate satisfaction. Here’s my lineup for my awful team (The Funky Bunch). Feel free to check out how my players did and see how my weekend faired. Quarter Back -Terrelle Pryor, Running Backss - Marshawn Lynch & Maurice Jones-Drew, Wide Receivers - Dwayne Bowe, Stevie Johnson & Jordy Nelson, Tight End Jermichael Finley, FLEX Charles Clay, Kicker - Greg Zuerlein, Defense - St. Louis Rams.
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Oct. 7, 2013