FOURTH ESTATE February 08, 2016 | Volume 3 Issue 13 George Mason University’s official student news outlet gmufourthestate.com | @IVEstate
NORTHERN VIRGINIA TASK FORCE TARGETS
HUMAN TRAFFICKING PAGE 4-5
KEEP THE DOCTOR AWAY PAGE 12
NFL BRAINS ON
(KATIE MORGAN/FOURTH ESTATE)
Alexa Rogers Editor-In-Chief
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Communications Specialist to work in a higher education setting on website updates, design, and content; writing projects, publications, promotional pieces, and help with student activities. Candidate will possess excellent writing and communication skills, proficiency in PhotoShop and/or other design programs,be highly creative, energetic, and dependable. 15-30 hours per week. Salary negotiable. Contact Cheri at email@example.com
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Fairfax City declared January “Human Trafficking Month” to raise awareness about the issue in the region. A Fairfax County-led task force reported 290 victims of sex trafficking between October 2013 and January 2015. Full story on pages 4 and 5.
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2016-003900 / Destruction/Damage/
Assistant News Editor
Vandalism of Property / Summoning Fire-
Fighting Apparatus Without Just Cause Subject (non-GMU) caused $750 in damage to state property and unlawfully pulled a fire alarm. Mason Global Center / Pending/ 5:18 AM
Feb. 03 2016-003979 / Driving Under the Influence / Liquor Law Violations Subject (non-GMU) was arrested and transported to Fairfax County ADC for driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and under age 21. Outside of Hampton Roads/ Cleared by Arrest / 2:35AM
Feb. 04 CSA Report #020416 / Rape / Dating Violence Mason Police was notified by a Mason Employee that a student reported being sexually assaulted by an intimate partner (GMU) on January 31st, 2016. Due to confidentiality of reporting, limited information is available regarding this incident. Fairfax Campus / Student Housing/ Information Only/ Not Reported
Feb. 04 2016-004280 / Hit and Run Complainant (GMU) reported a hit and run of a parking garage gate arm.
ON THE COVER
Mason Pond Parking Deck / Inactive / 9:55PM
Feb. 04 2016-004285 / Liquor Law Violations / Drunkenness Subject (GMU) was arrested and transported to Fairfax County ADC for being highly intoxicated in public, and also referred to Office of Student Conduct (OSC) for possessing alcohol while under age 21. Braddock Road / Campus Drive/ Cleared by Arrest / Referred to OSC / 11:34 PM
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Medical Amnesty deemed still effective, but students fail to use it are expected to cooperate with professionals and provide accurate information about the situation. Finally, the students must practice accountability by following a list of parameters to prevent a conduct case. The students must request or obtain medical attention at the time of the incident, before police or emergency personnel arrive and then follow up with a member of the Office of Student Conduct to determine eligibility for medical amnesty. Lastly, the students must meet with a professional for an educational conversation and assessment, and to receive a potential referral for additional services. Records from the Office of the Dean of Students show that only 15 students have used the program since it started in the fall of 2014 and of those students, only five used it last semester. This number barely compares to the 202 referrals for violations of the University’s alcohol policy last semester, according to the Office of Student Conduct. “Each referral is reviewed by a conduct officer to see if medical amnesty would be applicable,” assistant dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct Brent Ericson noted. The policy at Mason is similar to other regional and Virginia universities who have medical amnesty policies, Blank-Godlove said. “It is important to note that each institution’s policies are unique to that specific university based on the needs and climate of the campus and local communities,” Blank-Godlove said.
(LAURA BAKER/FOURTH ESTATE)
MELISSA MOORE | STAFF WRITER
The Medical Amnesty Program is continuing at Mason with no modifications after a review, though not many students have taken advantage of it’s benefits. A university committee reviewed the policy at the end of this past summer, which allowed time for the policy to be updated if necessary. The reviewing committee consisted of representatives from Housing and Residence Life; Dean of Students Office; Student Conduct; Wellness, Alcohol, and Violence Education and Services; University Police; Student Support; Student Involvement; Athletics; Student Health; and Counseling and Psychological Services. Amnesty, or non-disciplinary intervention for an alcohol-related medical emergency, can be granted after following a set of procedures listed in Mason’s Code of Student Conduct. According to the code, students must begin by taking action and calling 911 or University Police in a potentially critical situation for themselves or others. Next, reporting students who placed the call must remain with the student in crisis until help arrives. At that point they
Interim Chief of Police Thomas Longo believes the policy is important in regards to students and their safety on campus.
“When the topic of medical amnesty came up, it was quickly recognized how important it could be in terms of the protection of our students’ lives and well-being, which of course is a pillar of student success,” Longo said. “That’s our mission as administrators here at Mason, and the Department of Police & Public Safety was a supporter of it from the beginning.” Touching on the effectiveness of the program, Blank-Godlove reported that “students are utilizing the medical amnesty
option and feedback has been positive,” despite the low numbers. Marketing of the program has been focused through student organizations as well as Housing and Residence Life, Student Government and student athletes, and continues to be an area of focus for the committee, Godlove added. “Last year, Student Government launched a marketing campaign for the program,” Bhatia said. “We got door hangers made for the residence halls, and went around to student organizations, as well as student leader groups to educate them on the program, and encourage them to spread the word to their peers on it.” Bhatia noted that the door hangers were redistributed this past semester throughout freshmen housing and she also expressed hopes to continue to come up with creative ideas to get the word out to students. “I think that this program does a pretty good job of supporting individuals who go through an emergency situation,” Student Body President Khushboo Bhatia said. “I believe that as more students begin to utilize it, we can gather more feedback on it and make improvements accordingly.” Bhatia also believes that the program is effective. “I do think that the program is effective and working for students that are able to utilize it,” Bhatia said. “I think because the program is still relatively new, students are still learning that it is in place. Luckily, we have staff in Student Conduct that do care about the students that they work with, and help to educate them on the options and resources that they have available to them, including the Medical Amnesty Program.” Longo hopes that students aren’t afraid to make the right decision. “We continue to hope that students feel comfortable with calling for needed help when the situation appears to warrant it,” Longo said.
Fairfax proclaims January “Human Trafficking Awareness Month” MADISON ANTUS | STAFF WRITER
On Jan. 12, the City of Fairfax decreed that January would be Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Negar Ehsani, chair of the City of Fairfax Commission for Women, said that the Commission supported Fairfax’s decision and that the. proclamation was an official way to raise community awareness about human trafficking. “We definitely want to be raising public awareness, and a proclamation is a very formal way of doing so about human trafficking. We did a proclamation about Domestic Violence Awareness month, so we are trying to kind of make another avenue to spread the word about these issues that are important to women and girls in the City [of Fairfax],” Ehsani said. The City of Fairfax Commission for Women aims to identify and acknowledge the needs of women in the City of Fairfax. According to their website, “this includes advising City officials on legislative and policy matters relating to women and advocating for programs to appropriately address their needs.” In addition to raising awareness about human trafficking, the commission also publicly addresses issues such as domestic violence, women’s health issues and hate crimes, among others. Fairfax’s decision to make January Human Trafficking Awareness Month followed a proclamation by President Obama that January would be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, ending with the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on Feb. 1. In his press release, President Obama said, “I call upon businesses, national and community organizations, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we can play in ending all forms of slavery and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.” Detective Bill Woolf is the head of the Fairfax County Human Trafficking Task Force (HTTF). Though HTTF has existed since 2004, it was mainly dormant until it received a $1 million grant from the Justice Department in 2013. According to the task force’s website, “Virginia is 1 of 10 states that make the most calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. A large percentage of these calls are made from Northern Virginia.” The task force reported that between October 2013 and January 2015, 290 victims were identified, of whom 47 were adults and 243 were minors. 202 leads, which may have been instances of human trafficking, were also reported during that time, as well as a total of 17 cases of confirmed human trafficking, two of which accounted for about 160 victims. The task force attributed the high number of human trafficking in the area to the high prevalence of gang activity, especially from MS-13 and the Underground Gangster Crips, two gangs that have been prosecuted for prostituting underage victims in Northern Virginia. NOVA HTTF said that pimps are currently using Facebook and other social media platforms as both recruiting tools and “virtual brothels.” In 2013, Shared Hope International (SHI), a nonprofit that aims “to prevent the conditions that foster sex trafficking, restore victims of sex slavery, and bring justice to vulnerable women and children,” gave Virginia a grade of “D” for its Protected Innocence Challenge. SHI determines grades by reviewing each state’s human trafficking laws and their effectiveness. The Protected Innocence Challenge is a study SHI conducts that evaluates each state’s laws and how they respond to human
trafficking. Each law is evaluated based on how it protects the victim and prosecutes traffickers as well as traffic facilitators and anyone taking part on the demand side, that is, someone who is paying for sex. In the original report from 2013, Shared Hope International explained its decision, noting, “Virginia does not have a human trafficking or sex trafficking law. The abduction law is used to prosecute cases of sex trafficking; however, minors are not considered abduction victims unless they are subject to force, intimidation or deception. Demand may be deterred through felony penalties and vehicle forfeiture for violations of commercial exploitation of a minor.” Woolf said he had hoped the grade Virginia received for 2015 would be higher than the “D” previously received because the state enacted its first law focused solely on combating sex trafficking on Apr. 1, 2015. However, SHI’s grade for Virginia for 2015 was still a “D.” The report explained the grade, stating, “Virginia criminalizes child sex trafficking without requiring proof of force, fraud or coercion, but the sex trafficking law does not reach buyers of sex with minors. While defendants convicted of sex trafficking face sex offender registration and asset forfeiture, minor victims still face delinquency and detention for prostitution charges.” While Virginia passed its human trafficking law last year, the state does not have any “Safe Harbor” laws, which are designed to protect minors by stating that anyone under the age of 18 cannot be charged with prostitution or solicitation. While many see Safe Harbor laws as an important way of protecting the victims, Woolf said that the laws can sometimes make it more difficult to find the traffickers, because the victims will often leave police custody and return to their traffickers, continuing the cycle. According to Woolf, the time that the victims spend away from their traffickers can encourage the victims to realize that they are being trafficked and help law enforcement. In 2015, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) reported 145 human trafficking cases in Virginia, of which 103 involved sex trafficking, 31 involved labor trafficking, seven involved unspecified kinds of trafficking, and four involved both sex and labor trafficking.
(MEGAN ZENDEK/FOURTH ESTATE)
traffickers create a feeling of helplessness in the victim, according to Delacourt. Delacourt mentioned a case in which two juvenile girls found in a hotel in Herndon, Va., were found to originally be from California. Delacourt said distance is a common tactic traffickers use to disorient victims and make it nearly impossible for them to escape. Both Woolf and Delacourt agreed that one of the biggest issues law enforcement personnel face with human trafficking is lack of resources. Woolf pointed out that he is the only specialist in the Northern Virginia area who focuses solely on human trafficking. He estimates that about six detectives are needed to effectively combat this issue. He explained that if there were six detectives who specialized in combating human trafficking in Northern Virginia, they would be able to make a “sizeable dent” in the amount of trafficking occurring in the area. Woolf compared addressing human trafficking to addressing gangs, saying that the six specialized detectives focused only on gang-related issues in Northern Virginia have been successful in their pursuit. “It’s really an issue with resource allocation,” Woolf said However, while the NOVA HTTF has been successful in uncovering trafficking victims, their main priority is to help the victims.
Woolf explained that one way people become victims of sex trafficking is through emotional manipulation.
“Rescue, recovery, and rehabilitation of victims are the number one priority when it comes to investigating human trafficking. The secondary priority is going after the traffickers, and then the third priority is going after the demand side,” Woolf said.
“When we talk and we meet with a lot of these victims, a lot of them are very compassionate individuals, and the traffickers take advantage of that,” Woolf said.
While Woolf believes that changes are coming, he said they are going to be slow. He continued that lawmakers will only act if a large number of the population calls for change.
Woolf ’s partner with the FBI, Special Agent Ted Delacourt, agreed and added that another factor traffickers often use is distance: by taking victims away from everything they know and taking away any sort of resource, such as cash or a cell phone, the
“The question really is, is the public going to continue to push the issue?” Woolf said.
City of Fairfax provides human trafficking info session for community
(CLAIRE CECIL/FOURTH ESTATE)
MADISON ANTUS | STAFF WRITER
On Sunday, the City of Fairfax Commission for Women sponsored “HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Get the Facts and Take Action,” a free public event that highlighted the importance of community support and awareness, specifically in the Northern Virginia area. The event was sponsored by the Fairfax County Commission for Women, the Alexandria Commission for Women and the Arlington County Commission for Women. Negar Ehsani, chair of the City of Fairfax Commission for Women, said she and other members of the commission spent over a year and a half planning the event. Elizabeth Scaife, director of training for Shared Hope International, was the event’s keynote speaker. Scaife told the audience about her initial introduction to human trafficking, which took place while she was working overseas. She returned to the United States wanting to help these victims and subsequently began working for Shared Hope International. While Scaife initially wanted to work
toward helping international victims of human trafficking, she now works with domestic victims, many of whom are in the Northern Virginia area.
presented by Payne; and a session presented by Shelley and Saunders that discussed the business and international aspects of human trafficking.
According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, human trafficking is “a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will.”
Shelley is a Mason professor who works with the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) through Mason’s School of Policy, Government and International Affairs. The founder of TraCCC, Shelley has had several years’ experience fighting human trafficking and managed programs in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia between 1995 and 2014. While Shelley’s work has focused mostly on international human trafficking, her work with the labor aspect of human trafficking has been vital to her current, locally focused work, according to Ehsani.
Human trafficking is also usually split into two categories: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. “These victims can be in your community. They can be your neighbors, they can be working in the restaurants, they can be going to your schools, they can be going to school with your kids, they can be all of these things, and you have no idea what’s going on in their world,” Scaife said. Later in her presentation, Scaife displayed a picture of an iceberg and used it as an analogy for human trafficking: only a small part of the iceberg is visible above the surface and the majority is located beneath the water. “This is a great analogy for the issue of human trafficking because this is a class of victims that does not self-identify. Most of what’s going on in their world is underneath the surface,” Scaife said. The event also featured a panel comprised of members of the community who spoke on legal, educational and business perspectives. Elizabeth Payne, Ed. D.; Beth Saunders; Louise Shelley, Ph.D.; and Detective Bill Woolf with the Fairfax County Police Department sat on this panel, which Scaife moderated. There were also three breakout sessions: “Law Enforcement and Legal Issues,” presented by Woolf and his partner FBI Special Agent Ted Delacourt; “Informing and Activating Students,”
“She also mentions labor trafficking, which I think gets lost a little bit. When we talk about human trafficking, a lot of times we think of kids’ sex trafficking and adults’ sex trafficking, and that labor trafficking piece is not always there,” Ehsani said. The event ended with each speaker giving their own call to action and a reminder that it’s always better to say something if you feel like something is wrong than to keep quiet. Woolf used the story of a young girl who was approached by a 23-year-old male who was attempting to “groom” the girl for sex trafficking as an example. It was only when a guidance counselor began talking to the girl that authorities were able to help her and arrest the man. “[We] are now talking about the issue, and that’s so important that we do talk about it ... that we’re just asking the right questions, that we’re not just saying ‘Something’s not right with this situation, but I’m not going to get involved.’ So it’s all about this global responsibility. Not to sound cliché, but it takes a village to raise these children. We all have a responsibility,” Woolf said.
Kamp Washington renovations to clean up busy intersection ROBERT WINSHIP | STAFF WRITER
The intersection of Fairfax Boulevard, Lee Highway and Main Street (alternatively known as Routes 236, 29 and 50) is undergoing major construction. Mason students might know this area -- called as Kamp Washington -- as the X-shaped intersection just north of campus that slices between Washington Sports Club, Zoe’s Kitchen and a T-Mobile store. The project, estimated to cost $11.5 million, is designed to alleviate traffic congestion by increasing vehicle capacity with new lanes, lights and medians. The total project budget includes construction, design and utilities. The cost of the improvements will be split between federal, state and regional funds, including $50,000 from the City of Fairfax. This project has been in the works for several years and began on Jan. 11 when crews started installing erosion and sediment control devices along with construction signage. While construction measures are not currently affecting traffic, and the overall impact of the construction period is supposed to be minimal, the coming months will see many more workers on the roads. This has the potential to irritate drivers in the short term, but promises long-term satisfaction, according to the Kamp Washington project website. Since the intersection is located just a few miles from Mason’s campus, its problems may be painfully familiar to commuters and residents alike. “There hasn’t been a time I’ve ever driven on that road where it wasn’t super condensed,” said junior Nour Nadri. Nadri previously worked at the Guitar Center in the Kamp Washington plaza where she came to loathe the intersection’s crisscrossed layout. “It could be like a minute drive, but it will turn into five minutes,” Nadri said. “So I don’t normally like to go down that road.” Since she no longer works there, she said she avoids the intersection at all costs. Among the major problems in the current intersection is the lack of driving and turning lanes. The city has addressed this by adding a dual left turn lane from Fairfax Boulevard to Northbound Fairfax
Boulevard/Lee Highway. On the project’s website, the City of Fairfax highlighted the need to adjust and eliminate “substandard horizontal geometry” along the main intersection and update not only the infrastructure, but also signal patterns and turn lanes to manage traffic in the existing space more efficiently. The two-phase project will include a mix of large- and small-scale changes. Phase One began last month and is planned to wrap up in Jan. 2017. This phase includes the installation of roughly 2,500 linear feet of pipe, divided up to address the water main, drainage structures and sewage. Phase One also tackles the construction of new sidewalks and parking entrances as well as the construction of new traffic signal arms. Phase Two will stretch from Dec. 2016 into April 2017 and includes the construction of medians as well as the finishing touches on surrounding sidewalks, new traffic signals and the final road paving. Additional updates include a new southbound lane on Route 29, from the intersection to the Shell station, extension of through-lanes on Main Street and extended turn lanes. “After numerous public meetings and discussions, the project has been well received by the local residents and businesses,” said Christina Alexander, stormwater resource engineer for the City of Fairfax, via email. Alexander said the improvements will benefit the local drivers and commuters who drive to and through Kamp Washington.
(ROBERT WINSHIP/FOURTH ESTATE)
In addition to smoothing out traffic, the project aims to increase the flow of pedestrians in and around area businesses like Aldi, Epicure Cafe, Chipotle and a string of auto dealerships. This strategy includes new crosswalks, sidewalks and curb ramps to enhance the walkability of the area. The city has also taken into account the messy visual traffic and will replace the tangle of span-wire signals that guide traffic with clear, overhead mast arm signals. During the construction, all businesses will maintain access, though property entrances will at times be closed off -- only one at any time -- as part of the project. “The city has taken great strides in developing the plans and the construction contract to minimize the impact of the construction on the residents, businesses and the traveling public,” Alexander said. However, this doesn’t mean the project will not cause some problems for drivers. “As with any construction project on an urban environment, there will be times of construction delays,” Alexander said. She said significant portions of construction will take place at night in order to accommodate daytime travelers and businesses. However, Alexander pointed out that most night work will likely be excessively noisy. The city will also keep daytime work restricted to non-peak travel times in order to avoid compounding traffic during rush hour. “These strategies will be closely watched and adjusted as necessary to further minimize any disruptive activities as the project progresses,” Alexander said. A public hearing was held on Jan. 6 to deliver the final plans to local residents. While there are no more public information meetings scheduled now that the project is underway, those interested can visit the official project website (www.kampwashingtonimprovements.com) for a project presentation, detailed changes and weekly updates on construction progress, as well as announcements regarding planned closures. Residents may also submit comments and concerns.
New center provides place for Mason students to mentor at-risk youth NINA MOTAZEDI | STAFF WRITER
A Mason-affiliated non-profit that aims to help recently released juvenile inmates transition back into the community is currently working on a new center to expand it’s services.
which focuses on self-improvement, employability and personal accountability “to guide each participant to self-actualization,” according to YOS’s website.
Youth Outreach Services (YOS) was founded in September 1990 by Elizabeth Charity, a Mason alumna. YOS initially started by offering after school activities to at-risk youth, and recently, the non-profit has been looking to expand its services. The organization has been working with various Mason departments and local businesses to develop a Nontraditional Career Center in Woodbridge, Va., to house a variety of programs for recently released juvenile inmates. In addition, YOS recently asked the Virginia Board of Juvenile Justice for funding and access to juvenile correctional centers in order to begin a mentorship program for juveniles while they are incarcerated.
The Job Readiness Mentor Program helps turn the juvenile reentry population, or ex-juveniles, into “contributing members of society,” according to sophomore Phebe Ciemny, director of Social Media Relations for YOS.
Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the recidivism rate by pairing at-risk youth with mentors who are college students or business leaders and owners. According to senior Daniel Lavelle, a project development manager for YOS, many juveniles leaving the system soon find themselves back in it. “A lot of students are getting incarcerated, and then once they are released they are either rearrested, re-incarcerated or re-convicted … We’re trying to reduce the rate,” Lavelle said. The Nontraditional Career Center hopes to accomplish this goal by providing a series of programs that will transform juveniles into productive members of the community. Mason engineering students created conceptual designs for the two-story center, which includes an art gallery, computer room, music room, music studio, paint studio, fashion studio, classroom, barber shop and a space for cosmetology services. The center will house a Job Training Program, Apprenticeship Program and Entrepreneurship Program, which juveniles would enroll in after the completion of the Job Readiness Mentor Program. In the past, YOS has offered the Job Readiness Mentor Program,
Local businesses have already partnered with YOS to provide instruction and training in the areas of heating and air conditioning, construction, landscaping and demolishing, according to Charity, who is also the CEO of YOS. However, the non-profit is still seeking companies and business mentors in the areas of cosmetology, barbering, finances and real estate development. For example, juveniles in the Apprenticeship Program working toward a cosmetology license would be able to receive on-the-job training from business mentors, while simultaneously accumulating hours toward licensure. The Entrepreneurship Training Program, for example, is partnered with Mason’s Social Entrepreneurship Society, a fairly new organization that aims to educate students about the basics of starting and operating a business, which involves business tax law, writing business plans and performing market research. According to YOS’s website, students will be able to register a business, register a non-profit and write an official business plan, among other skills, upon completion of the program. This allows students to “come out and do something positive and productive,” sophomore and YOS mentor Alexander Powell said. Additionally, Mason’s Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence in the Department of Criminology Law and Society has partnered with YOS to help conduct a research project. According to Charity, the project will aim to measure the number of students -- both mentees and mentors -- who complete the program, the impact it had on their lives, how it broke the recidivism cycle, the number of juveniles who went on to pursue a college degree, the number of jobs created, the amount of money the state saved and the percentage of college students who got a job in their area of study through the hands-on experience offered through the program. YOS is currently in the process of selecting a construction company to build the center. One price estimate says phase one of project will cost approximately $1.3 million and take eight months to complete. However, since YOS has not selected a company, no official estimates have been made. The non-profit will fund the creation of the center and its programs through fundraisers and donations, including a $100,000 gift from Dr. Faye Taxman, a university professor and faculty advisor to the Social Entrepreneurship Society, and “her team of researchers,” according to a press release written by Taxman in September 2015.
(IMAGE COURTESY OF FAHIM PANJSHIRI, PERRY BUCKLEY, PATRICK WONG AND ARKADII LEBEDINSKII)
Four Mason engineering students designed the future YOS Nontraditional Career Center, including rooms that will be used for various apprenticeship programs, like this cosmetology studio.
Continued on page 8
Keeping juveniles out of the system In addition to planning the Nontraditional Career Center, YOS is looking to start another mentorship program. On Jan. 11, Lavelle went before the Virginia Board of Juvenile Justice to propose a program that would pair juvenile inmates with college students. YOS was seeking funding for the program and access to juvenile facilities. Although they did not receive an answer at the time, Lavelle said the board members had a positive response to the proposed program. While waiting to hear back from the state, YOS is actively recruiting college student mentors and is currently training about 10 Mason students. Charity said the non-profit intends to train another 90 mentors from Mason and other colleges in the area. The goal is “to have Youth Outreach Services working with every single juvenile facility in Virginia and to have [mentors from] all the local colleges within those areas actually beginning to go into the juvenile facilities,” Lavelle said. Again, this mentorship program is intended to help YOS achieve its ultimate purpose: reducing juvenile recidivism rates. Upon release, juveniles oftentimes end up in the same environment surrounded by the same friends with a lack of proper guidance, according to Powell. “I think just a lack of somebody being there as a proper example kind of leads some of these juveniles to make the choices that they make, and that’s why they fall into these situations,” Powell said. “I believe us as mentors have a chance to show them a different light.” The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice measures recidivism rates for 12 months after someone is released from a juvenile
facility. For example, “In 2013, rearrest occurred within one year for 46.3 percent of juveniles released from a correctional center,” according to the state-run Virginia Performs website. In 2012, re-conviction remained the same at about 40 percent and has since 2010. In 2012, reincarceration increased to 21.6 percent. Ciemny, also a mentor, remarked that “more money is spent on getting kids in trouble with the law than [with] helping them recover or giving them the resources they need.” She added that oftentimes there is a lack of resources, like an exit program, available to juveniles upon release. When Lavelle was in Richmond to propose this mentorship program to the Virginia Board of Juvenile Justice, he was able to see juvenile inmates participating in the Community Treatment Model and realized that YOS services, including those that will be provided in the new center, are needed. The Community Treatment Model is a program the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice has recently implemented in the Beaumont and Bon Air juvenile correctional centers. The goal of the model is to reduce recidivism after release by creating a “consistent, rehabilitative community within each living unit in the facilities,” according to the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice’s Facebook page. Although the model provides support for the juvenile inmates while in the facility, there is no program to help transition juveniles released from prison back into everyday life. “[The model] works on interpersonal communication, dealing with emotions, getting them [juvenile inmates] set up for a routine and getting them ready to transition out into society,” Lavelle said. “But what we did not hear was any sort of plans for them to receive any sort of mentorships once they were actually released from the institution, and that is what our organization does.” Additionally, YOS is working to end the school-to-prison pipeline. “Students [who] go to regular public schools…might have ordinary behavioral issues, but the teachers, they don’t have the patience to deal with them, so they refer them to the police and at that point in time they get arrested or … sent to an alternative school,” Lavelle said. “The school system fails because instead of educating the students and getting them into high school and on to college, they actually put them into the system.” Cimney said that even though punishment might be an easier solution, it is not always the correct one.
(MEGAN ZENDEK/FOURTH ESTATE)
Juvenile recidivism rates from 2009-2013 according to the Virginia Performs website.
She agreed with Lavelle that misbehavior in the school system is “sometimes taken
(MEGAN ZENDEK/FOURTH ESTATE)
more seriously than it needs to [be] … [and] kids need help and transformation, not punishment.” According to the Center for Public Integrity, data from the 2011-12 U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection showed that Virginia has the highest referral rate in the nation, referring 15.8 out of 1,000 students K-12. From that point on, juveniles often stay in the system since it is hard to escape the recidivism cycle, according to Lavelle. “What we aim to do is that once that transition happens, from the public school to an alternative school or potentially getting called to a police facility, that they refer them to us,” Lavelle said. While the programs YOS offers are directed toward improving at-risk youths’ lives, volunteers may experience a personal transformation as well. According to Cimney, working for a cause that you “can wrap your heart around” impacts your life. “Putting efforts for positive change before other things in life has gotten me out my comfort zone, which is good because nothing great ever comes from comfort zones,” Cimney said, “YOS has directly enabled me to make a difference. It’s simpler than we think.” Mason students interested in getting involved with YOS should contact Elizabeth Charity via email at email@example.com.
Boyfriend hand-crafts Nimbus 2000 for girlfriend SAVANNAH NORTON | LIFESTYLE EDITOR
It’s time for a serious question to all the muggles out there: what would you do if you owned a Nimbus 2000? This past Christmas, senior tourism and events management major Shelby Stein received a handmade Nimbus 2000 from her boyfriend, Jared Weissman, a junior civil engineering major. “When I opened up the Nimbus, I of course was ecstatic,” Stein said. She was surprised after her and Weissman’s families had just finished opening presents together. “I thought he had already given me everything!” Weissman had brought out a broom-shaped gift wrapped in brown paper and twine -- just like in the movie when Harry Potter receives it in the Great Hall from his owl, Hedwig. “Unfortunately, she [Stein] could tell exactly what it was when she saw it,” Weissman said. “It’s kind of hard to hide the shape of a broom when it’s tightly wrapped. She was extremely excited though, and she even cried!” Weissman built the broom over the course of three weeks, without any magic. “It definitely would have been quicker, but I was finishing up my semester so I had a lot of studying to do ... [P]lus I didn’t have all the material or tools I needed so I had to get all of that together as well,” he said. “I used a [two-by-four-by-eight] piece of pine for the handle and cut it out with a jigsaw and sanded it to shape with a block plane,” he said. The bristles were shaped out of basket reed, which he reinforced with Styrofoam circles to create the shape before spray painting them dark brown. “I finished the handle with a mahogany wood stain, because in
the movie it is made out of mahogany,” Weissman said. “I hand painted the Nimbus 2000 logo on the top. Then I made the kickstand out of plastic rod that I heated [both] in the oven and with a heat gun to shape [it]. ... [I] then spray painted it gold. I attached the kickstand with metal L brackets to the broom, and then I finished everything off with a clear polyurethane coat to make it shiny.” The “Harry Potter” book series has been around since 1997 and the movie adaptations have been gracing our theaters and televisions since 2001. It is now 2016 and the phenomenon is still as charged as ever. “Harry Potter plays a significant role in my life,” Stein said. She even has a small Harry Potter tattoo on her ankle that spells out the word MAGIC with the ‘A’ as the Deathly Hallows symbol. “I am constantly on the lookout for unique and rare memorabilia items that I could add to my collection.” She looks on websites like Etsy, eBay and prop collection websites like the Noble Collection. She even has an ongoing list of items she wants to own from the series. “Some of those items include a Mandrake, a chess set, and the ultimate is a Quidditch Chest,” she said.
light in it to illuminate the map and reveal the people ‘walking around,’ a framed collection of all 8 movie posters with two film cells for each, and the Triwizard Cup,” he said. The couple have dated for five years and describe their relationship as fun, adventurous and magical. They are always looking for fun dates, some of which are Harry Potter marathons. “We definitely watch the movies together every once in a while, and he’ll share any funny memes about Harry Potter he comes across online,” Stein said. She explained that gift giving has become pretty easy for Weissman recently and will be for a very long time because now he knows he can just make her cool prop replicas. This Valentine’s Day, the couple plans to just take it easy. “Valentine’s Day isn’t a huge deal for us since we’ve been together for over five years, but last year he surprised me and we went to a cooking class where we made cupcakes and drank champagne, so hopefully he’ll come up with something cute this year. I haven’t brought it up to him to be honest.”
Weissman explained that Stein has been obsessed with Harry Potter for a long time. “We went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this past summer where she bought the Sorcerer’s Stone, Tom Riddle’s diary, and a plaster scroll that says Dumbledore’s Army with [six] wands mounted on it … [belonging to] Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Neville and Ginny.” But adding the Nimbus 2000 to her collection was the ultimate gift. “An authentic-looking broomstick is pretty much the ultimate prop that I could ever add to my collection. He really did an amazing job on it, so I couldn’t be happier!” Weissman also got her a Marauder’s Map where he drew in characters’ names and footsteps with invisible ink. “I made a wand that had a black
(COURTESY OF JARED WEISSMAN)
TO DO THIS WEEK: MONDAY 2/8 On campus:
Homcoming Hustle/Mason Majesty
“Yall I’m so sick of Mason wifi like I need drugs to deal with this it’s horrible”
St. Johns Red Storm at Georgetown Hoyas
Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
@saraha3012 Sarah Adcock “Those at #GMU this A.M. who thought they saw a group near the JC burning incense and chanting: that would be my Music class. You’re welcome.
TUESDAY 2/9 Off campus:
Homecoming Blood Drive
Baladna Restaurant & Lounge
The Hub Ballroom
12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
@itsneumantime Stu Pickles
WEDNESDAY 2/10 On campus:
“new fenwick is great but i like old fenwick where I can pretend to be a 1970s collegiate woman who studies 3 hours per 1 hour i’m in class
PAC’s Big Bingo Bonanza & More!
Disney on Ice:Treasure Trove
@carofinew Caroline Weinroth
THURSDAY 2/11 Off campus:
On campus: “Why mason like to mess with my finances i’ll never know smh”
Kathy Griffin Live!
8 p.m. - 10 p.m.
FRIDAY 2/12 On campus: The Vagina Monologues Harris Theatre 8 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Off campus: Live Music at the Winery Bull Run Winery 4:30 p.m.
Kathy Griffin talks lovatics, improv and politics your generation might believe he is God,” Griffin said. Griffin doesn’t always get love from everyone who knows her. Some fans send her hate mail on social media because of the snubs she has made at their celebrity favorites. “I’m going to bring you my personal run-ins with the likes of Demi Lovato whose Lovatics, by the way, are actively trying to kill me via Twitter on a daily basis,” she said. “So we are going to hash all of that out.”
(Courtesy of Elysia Berman)
SAVANNAH NORTON | LIFESTYLE EDITOR
The two-time Emmy and Grammy award-winning comedian will be performing Thursday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m., at EagleBank Arena, one of the 80 stops on her tour. Fourth Estate and WGMU were able to chat with Kathy Griffin before her “Like a Boss” tour stop in Fairfax for Mason’s Homecoming Week. “My friend and Academy Award host, Chris Rock, asked me if I owed child support,” Griffin said. “That’s a lot of shows to do in one year! But I am very excited to be in Fairfax.” As an improviser, Griffin never knows what’s going to come out of her mouth during her shows. “I honestly don’t know what I’m going to say until two minutes before the show at 8 p.m.,” she said. On Thursday, Griffin will be talking about things that happened to her personally as well as current events.“My act is truly ever-changing,” she said. “It’s not airline peanuts jokes or knock knock jokes.” She is even going to do a little research on the Fairfax area before the show. “I’m hoping that the flooding and snowing has died down a little bit, because I watch the weather like I’m Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel,” she said. “I’m going to say the stuff at George Mason that I can’t say even like on HBO. I’m going to say things that are heinous, and I stand by them,” she said. Griffin stays true to herself and believes in going all out at her shows. “As a comedian, I have a reputation for not holding back, and that’s what I strongly believe is essential to stand up comedy,” she said. Before she hits the stage at Mason, she will be presenting an award at the Director’s Guild of America Awards (DGA) on Saturday, Feb. 6. “It’s going to be star-studded,” she said. Her experience at the event should add to her repertoire for Thursday’s show. “I will be seeing Morgan Freeman, a lot of people know him as God, and
that have fearlessly gotten me in trouble and fired for decades, this is your night!” She explains that every show is different, since they are all improv. “I’m going to bring a personal touch to the water cooler talk,” Griffin said.
Griffin is also friends with someone who is currently very popular in the news and might be our country’s next president. “I actually -- and I say this with shame -- I actually know Donald Trump,” Griffin said.
Comedians like Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld avoid college shows because they are worried that politically incorrect humor might offend college students. Griffin is actually looking forward to seeing college students’ faces in the crowd. “I played a college last year where they put a sign [with] ... a list of all the things that I might say that might trigger someone,” she said. “So let me just be clear, I want to trigger you!” She is going to say everything on ‘the list’ -- and more.
She explained that viewers aren’t just going to get stories about Trump’s hair. “I’ve actually been with Donald Trump when he was driving a golf cart and in the back seat of the golf cart [were] myself and Liza Minnelli,” she said. “I’ve had Lovatics come after me, and I was more afraid of that golf cart.”
“I’m so glad you guys are letting me be part of your homecoming weekend because years ago, my agent said touring is gonna go away,” she said. “Everybody is just on their phones and their devices. And yet you will see the level of vulgarity and inappropriateness that I bring to that stage will be something that you realize cannot ever be filled.”
Many comedy tours, like Robin Williams’ a few years ago, use a promotional photo in which the comedian’s mouth is covered by a piece of duct tape, indicating that the performance jokes may ruffle a few feathers. In line with this tradition, one of the photos promoting “Like a Boss” features Griffin’s tongue caught between a pair of scissors.
Live entertainment is Griffin’s obsession. “I have been doing standup for a long time. I love it, it’s my favorite thing to do in the world,” Griffin said.
“I love that photo because it was taken by the great Tyler Shields, who loves to do edgy photos,” she said. “The reason we took that photo is it kind of exemplifies everything my act is about.”
The photographer, Shields, decided to use a man’s hand to hold the scissors in the photo. “It represents how stand-up comedy is a very male dominated field,” Griffin said. “There are still people out there that say things like ‘Chicks aren’t funny,’ and it makes me insane.”
On Griffin’s Twitter account, she has been asking fans about the GOP (Grand Old Party) debate, something she is excited to talk about at her shows. “When you’ve got this political landscape happening, how can you not talk about it?” she asked, noting that she sees “any[one] from Ted Cruz to Donald Trump” as “fair game.” She finds it funny when a person gets so offended that they leave the show. “I have to say I enjoy a moment when someone stands up, usually an older person, and just goes ‘screw you!’, and then they storm out,” she said. “What I find is audiences don’t mind a storm-out and neither do I. If a stand up comedian triggers you to do something that endangers you in any way, then I don’t know, bring a Xanax.”
Griffin is an advocate for many important causes, including LGBTQ rights, for which she organized a rally against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2010 in Washington, D.C. She also feels strongly about women’s rights and works to prove every day that women are just as funny as men. The only female presenter at the Mark Twain Awards last October, Griffin said she “got to walk out on stage and say, ‘I’m Kathy Griffin and I’m tonight’s diversity hire,’” she said. Griffin speaks her mind, and there is no doubt her show will do the same. “If you are, lets say, faint of heart; if you are someone who walks around all day with your Bible, this probably isn’t the show for you,” she said. “If you are someone who doesn’t like cursing and negativity, this is not the show for you. But if you’re in the mood to really hear me say the things
Photo credit Ty;er Shields)
IV lifestyle Mason finds pet ownership decreases healthcare costs GMUFOURTHESTATE.COM @IVESTATE
ALEC MOORE | STAFF WRITER
A new study, “The Health Care Cost Savings of Pet Ownership,” published by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) shows that there may be significant health and financial benefits to pet ownership. Dr. Terry L. Clower, Northern Virginia Chair and Professor of Public Policy at the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs at Mason, was one of the two researchers who ran the study. The aim of the study was to review existing academic and professional literature regarding the health effects of pet ownership. “[This] determined if there [was] sufficient data to conduct an assessment of the economic consequences of these health effects [to use this data to] estimate the healthcare cost savings related to pet ownership,” Clower said. This drew attention to the further need to explore the economic aspects of human-animal bond interactions. The study had 25,000 respondents and 65 percent had one or more pets. The researchers found that Human Animal Bond (HAB) had positive health and psychological influences and lowered the risks of cardiovascular disease, allergies and obesity. “Pets can help relieve stress, improve our outlook and be non-judgmental companion[s],” Clower said.
are two other equally important types of benefits received from pets: financial and physical. These two benefits are interconnected, because evidence presented in the study shows that not only does exercising pets help our physical health, but owning pets also lowers the amount we spend on healthcare every year.
The final goal of the study was to draw attention to the economic A previous study mentioned that pets were given to workers in impact human-animal relations have. The executive summary of high stress jobs to see if they had an effect on blood pressure and the report shows that the annual health care cost savings of pet heart rate. The findings showed that after six months, both blood ownership through a decrease in physician visits and obesity treatpressure and heart rate had significantly decreased in the participants. The researchers found that Human Animal Bond (HAB) had positive health and “I wouldn’t really say that they really have an effect on my physical health, but I would say though that if I’m stressed they definitely are able to help me calm down quicker than I would without them,” Saunders said.
psychological influences and lowered the risks of cardiovascular disease, allergies and obesity. “Pets can help relieve stress, improve our outlook and be non-judgmental
The financial savings, the second aim of the report, was one of the findings that stood out to Clower. “This study confirmed that even small changes in our consumption of healthcare services can have big-dollar impacts on total national healthcare spending,” Clower said.
Senior Hazel Saunders has two Maltese/Yorkshire Terrier mixes that she can’t help but smile about. “My younger male dog is almost like a little brother to me because he follows me around everywhere and is really attached to me,” Saunders said. “I love knowing he’ll be waiting for me right where I left him when I get home.”
Mason senior Nico Rodrigo, an owner of two Maltese/Yorkshire Terrier mixes, as well as a Siamese cat, said that he already recognized some of the benefits mentioned in the study. “Their companionship and just having something to do definitely helps,” Rodrigo said. “Though they do cause me stress at times, overall they are a great stress reliever for me.”
The study identified that, outside of the emotional benefits, there
It is important to note here that it is not only dogs and cats that have this effect, but also less common pets.
(ALEXA ROGERS/ FOURH ESTATE)
“Interestingly, these benefits are shown for many different types of pets, including exotic pets,” Clower said. “Personally, I am not sure I would find having a venomous snake in the house relaxing, but some folks apparently do.”
companion[s],” Clower said. ment is $11 billion annually. This figure alone should be enough to encourage further research; and with an average savings of $88.78 per pet owner, it should encourage individuals to consider pet ownership as well. Owning pets can be extremely beneficial for owners in a variety of ways, but it is important to make sure they are also returning the favor. “With the benefits of pet ownership comes responsibility,” Clower said. “I think students should be very careful to make sure they have the time, resources and housing arrangements to provide a safe and appropriate home to a pet before making that commitment.”
(SAVANNAH NORTON/ FOURH ESTATE)
Rise and Shine with Women of Color in STEM organizations on campus geared specifically toward minority women in STEM, members of the group find that their organization is not only important to the Mason community, but to the STEM community as a whole. “I think this group is important to students and this campus because having an organization that provides the proper guidance for minority women in STEM will help to increase the overall retention of women of color in STEM programs,” Tilicea Henry, vice president of WOC in STEM, said. “With this organization, students will be a part of a community of people with the same willingness to succeed in STEM. This organization has the ability to create a lasting impact within and outside the George Mason community.” Henry encourages minority women in STEM fields to join the organization in order to engage with a positive community while learning how to excel in a field that can be discouraging to women of color. “Minority women are the most underrepresented group across all areas in STEM and many freshmen that start off in the STEM field choose different career paths before the start of their sophomore year,” Henry said. “For those of us that decide to pursue STEM, the journey to success may become a long, strenuous, and lonely journey. With all the hardships we have to face throughout this journey, everyday becomes easier to walk away when you have no one to uplift you, especially when you can no longer uplift yourself. As a community, we have the power to lift each other up during all trials and tribulations, academically and personal.” (COURTESY OF Women of color in STEM
TATYANA WHITE-JENKINS | ASSISTANT LIFESTYLE EDITOR
After noticing a lack of diversity in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field at Mason, a group of students created an organization centered on empowering women of color in STEM fields. Women of Color (WOC) in STEM is a new student-run organization on campus with a big agenda. While the idea for the group came about in 2014, conflicting schedules delayed the formation of the group. Women of Color in STEM was officially registered in September of 2015. “We started talking about creating this group in September 2014 when Dr. Davis, our now academic advisor, brought up the biases that women of color get while working in STEM fields,” Wintana Habtu, president of WOC in STEM, said. “We felt like there must be others who have felt this way.” Dr. Claudette Davis, a faculty member of Mason’s biology department, started a STEM accelerated program that the founders of WOC in STEM were members of during their freshman year. After discussing the biases in the STEM program and the need to build community, Davis encouraged members to start the organization. WOC in STEM hopes to inspire and support women of color in the STEM fields by holding various events like meetings, de-stress events and conferences. The group is dedicated to helping members thrive in their fields of study. “We’re hoping that the support group and mentoring will really help students realize their full potential,” Habtu said. “A lot of times with STEM fields, a woman of color will face racial and gender bias. This may deter them from continuing their studies and eventually [prompt them to change] their major. We’re hoping that having a positive influence in your corner mentoring you to continue to do your best will help achieve just that.” Being on a campus that prides itself on its diversity, the organization
is eager to create an environment where diversity in the STEM field is encouraged. “As we are not only just women, but minority women, it is unlikely to see many people that look similar or have similar perspectives in our majors,” Naomi Coles, treasurer of WOC in STEM, said. “Males dominate many STEM fields, and many times Caucasian males. This is a daunting sight when you look at yourself in comparison to the majority in your classes and will make you think twice about whether you are capable of succeeding or whether your voice matters. This is where we come in as WOC STEM to be that support system collectively as well as through mentorship.” Mentorship is an important aspect of the group’s mission. They have designed a mentoring program within the organization for freshmen and sophomore members to receive guidance from upperclassman with similar experiences. By helping better prepare women for their futures, WOC in STEM hopes to help members become more successful and confident in their field. “We focus a lot on mentoring within our organization as well as hope to get more involved in giving back through volunteering at high schools, women shelters, etc.,” Coles said. “We also want to ensure that the women a part of our organization are prepared in their various fields of study, and so we seek to provide them insight on networking and experiential opportunities, whether that be jobs, internships, conferences, or the like.” Since
For Coles, an important aspect of the organization is that it allows members to be open about their experiences and share their stories with people who can relate. “WOC [in] STEM provides a safe place for minority women in STEM fields to be honest about their experiences with one another and through those experiences encourage and uplift one another to keep moving forward in what they desire for their future,” Coles said. “As these women pursuing STEM fields come to campus, they can trust that they will be cared for and that they have people that can relate to them. It ensures the growth and success of our women embarking upon STEM paths here at Mason.” While WOC in STEM is a new and growing organization, members are motivated to make a change not only in the STEM field at Mason, but also around the world. “I really love when people ask, ‘what change do you want to have in the world?’ instead of ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’” Habtu said. “I want us to really excel and achieve the change we wanted to make in the world.”
Get a date with Fourth Estate! TATYANA WHITE-JENKINS | ASSISTANT LIFESTYLE EDITOR
Looking for love in all the right places... Guess who’s back? Get a Date with Fourth Estate, that is! With Valentine’s Day being right around the corner, Fourth Estate would like to help spread the love by bringing back our popular matching service, Get a Date with Fourth Estate! Whether you are just looking for a date, a friend or just someone to watch Netflix with- Get a Date with Fourth Estate is the perfect opportunity for students to meet someone new. The Fourth Estate Lifestyle editors have once again created a questionnaire written to help make connections between random students. Our questionnaire helps give us the best idea of the person’s personality, likes and dislikes. This way we can create a match that person will [hopefully!] click with.
(FOURH ESTATE ARCHIVES)
Once we have found you an eligible date, we will send you an email with your match and their contact information. After you receive your match, you have a week to schedule your date. We will list some events and restaurant suggestions happening that weekend for your date as well. After your date, you will be interviewed about your experience. Make sure to take a picture on your date and use the hashtag #GetaDatewithFourthEstate! Our focus is matching students based on personality, as opposed to looks on dating apps like Tinder. This forces people to keep an open mind and meet someone that they wouldn’t have met otherwise. May the odds be ever in your favor. Alex Hinton and Morgan Romero
Saranya Jagadish and Connor Smith.
To take the survey visit: http://goo.gl/forms/ypwTWawHmH (LAUREN BAKER/FOURTH ESTATE)
Hosack brings big swings, confidence to men’s volleyball ALEXA ROGERS| EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
The new head coach of the men’s volleyball team, Jay Hosack, is an unsuspecting force at the start of a game. He watches his players, analyzes, takes notes and repeats, interjecting only when they need an extra push. But perhaps his first most animated moment in their match-up against Pfeiffer this past Friday, was after a good volley that resulted in a point for the other team. Valuing good game play and good teamwork over the “W” is in every part of Hosack’s playbook. “I don’t care about the W. The W doesn’t matter to me,” Hosack said. “What I care about is the process and I care about us getting better and I care about us putting to use the tools we give them as a staff and seeing them progress.” After the resignation of long-time head coach, Fred Chao, last year, the team seems to have been stuck in a bit of a rut. Last season’s good but not great 15-28 record showed a sort of acceptance that even though they were good enough, other teams would always be better, according to Hosack. But Hosack, with a personality that, according to Penn State’s head coach and Hosack’s former colleague, Mark Pavlik, takes over the gym, doesn’t do ruts - and the transition has not been easy. “I walk in a gym expecting to win and I think they do too, but I think over the years it’s been more of a hope than an expectation, ” Hosack said. According to Hosack, it started with getting the guys to be more physical on the court, encouraging them to take bigger swings and forcing their opponents to work harder to earn blocks. Libero and outside hitter Christian Malias said that it’s helped all members
of the team, including the freshman, develop as players. “Not only has it improved our game performance, I also think it’s improved everyone’s confidence. If you get blocked, it’s okay. It used to be that everyone was scared to take big swings and get blocked ad get pulled and it’s completely different this year,” Malias said. Although it might seem like there’s only a bit of noticeable movement with a 3-9 record for the season, in part to a tough front-loaded schedule, outsider hitter Jack Wilson says he has noticed that the team has started to play more “mature volleyball” and that the biggest Men’s volleyball fell to IPFW 0-3. change will come when they start to play at that level consistently. Now that they’re starting to get into the groove, Hosack says they’ve become a really fun team to watch. “We’re one of the more scrappy teams in the country that sends balls over and tells them ‘that’s not good enough,’” Hosack said. “If we want to be the best team in the country, we have to beat the best teams.” The players haven’t been the only ones noticing the change either. Hosack says he’s been getting emails from people watching the games about the team’s improved performance. “Given time and given the support that I think Mason can eventually give men’s volleyball, Jay is not going to be worried about beating us. He’s going to be worried about winning championships,” Pavlik said. They’ve has also been focused on better communication on the court, which has allowed some members of the team to take on the role as coach and hold other players accountable for how they play. Outside hitter Paco Velez says it starts with “communicat[ing] everything you see. It doesn’t matter how little, just not being afraid to call something. If you make a bad call, it doesn’t matter. It’s better than not saying anything because then you can learn from it.”
(DAVID SCHRACK/FOURTH ESTATE)
country, including UC Santa Cruz, Idaho State, Irvine Valley College, USA National teams and most recently, one of the team’s conference rivals, Penn State. During his time with the Nittany Lions, according to Pavlik, Hosack extensively trained an outside hitter that is now starting on the United States National Men’s Volleyball team. As for their matchups against Penn State later this season, Hosack says it’s just another game and another opportunity for the team to showcase their talents. “My goal is to always make it the best program it can be for that season, whether it’s that practice, that week, or that moment,” Hosack said. Coach Pavlik doesn’t seem to expect anything less and looks forward to sharing a “healthy rivalry” with his former assistant coach. “Jay is going to have his team ready to go and that’s what excites me,” Pavlik said. Hosack’s coaching style is partially responsible for the team’s change. While he describes himself as the kind that might not “pat his team on the back enough,” he’s the first one clapping and cheering when the team makes a good play. As a coach, he lives by a phrase his mom told him many years ago. “Coaches are the people that get you to do what you don’t want to do to get you to become the person you’ve always wanted to be,” Hosack said.
It also shows that Hosack has come to coach the right team at the right time.
Most importantly, he walks into the gym with a good attitude and expects his players to do the same. Malias says that the team has changed in a sort of way that’s been refreshing for him as a player.
Hosack has coached at schools across the
“Jay reminds me why I’m here and it’s because I love volleyball
IV Take a stance: Football concussions continue to spark debate
every Monday throughout the fall, will be full of not just scoring plays but the night’s biggest hits.
suburb. If the Texas high school football bug can bite a Canadianborn retired NHL player, it can bite anyone.
But at what cost?
Last year being an exception, the state championship games have been played in AT&T Stadium. Every Friday, local news stations cover games around the Metroplex, from the morning pep rallies to the final score. Dozens of head coaches make six figures, and most don’t teach any classes.
“I’ll hold on as long as I can to you/I may not remember your name/Or the smell of the cool summer rain.”
(MEGAN ZENDEK/FOURTH ESTATE)
BEN COWLISHAW | ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
“I am in here countng the days/While my mnd is slipping away” The opening lines of the emotional ballad “You Will Always Be My Girls,” written by former NFL tight end Ben Utecht, paints a picture that has become all too common: players coming to grips with permanent brain trauma. Utecht played in 51 games over four seasons with the Bengals and Colts, winning a Super Bowl with Indianapolis in 2006 before retiring at 27 after suffering five diagnosed concussions over his career. Utecht, now 34, has been suffering from memory loss since 2011. He wrote the song for his wife and then three, now four, young daughters. Along with every other football fan in America, over the last few years I have grown acutely aware of the mental health risk the game poses to its participants. Everyone knows concussions are not healthy, but it has been long understood that if they are managed correctly, the game is safe. However, quietly, then loudly, that narrative has withered. The gradual discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a progressive, degenerative disease that can only be diagnosed post-mortem — in countless brains of otherwise prematurely deceased football players has led to the realization that perhaps football is wholly unsafe. Thousands of former players have claimed the NFL tried to cover up how football can cause permanent brain injuries. After years of denial and spin, in 2013 the league changed their tone, reached a $765 million settlement and agreed to invest in further research; despite this, the debate over the actual level of risk involved and prevalence of brain trauma in football rages on.
I never played football. I can’t pretend to be an authority of ethics either; I have more questions than I do answers. But since watching the PBS “Frontline” documentary “League Of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, ” which coincided with the book of the same name, a little voice in the back of my head reminds me every time I watch a game that I am probably watching at least some of the players on the field destroy their brain, slowly but evermore surely.
When all is said and done, Monday’s highlight reels, as they are
There’s nothing so far to suggest that the high school talent pool is shrinking or that high school football is on the decline. “Seasons turned and turned again/‘Till they become ‘remember when?’” A prevailing theory is that it is really only NFL players at serious risk of CTE and that only repetitive concussions can cause it. That might generally be the case, but it is not absolute.
My original inclination after watching the film and doing some follow-up reading was that the NFL was a ‘dead league walking.’ I saw no way for it to continue operating indefinitely, perhaps with only a couple decades left. I am not alone in that view, but it is no doubt a questionable one. How can the multi-billion-dollar juggernaut that is the NFL ever fall?
Owen Thomas, a lineman at UPenn, hanged himself at 21. Doctors discovered CTE, which is linked to depression and impulsive behavior, among other symptoms, in Thomas’ brain yet Thomas had never been diagnosed with a concussion. It is presumed that the repetitiveness of sub-concussive hits can cause CTE — no concussions required. Whoever can figure out how to take sub-concussive hits out of football, the ones produced every single - play, the NFL might like to hear from you.
“If ten percent of mothers in this country would begin to perceive football as a dangerous sport, that is the end of football.” That’s the reply Dr. Bennet Omalu, portrayed by Will Smith in “Concussion,” received from a league doctor after presenting his findings to the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury committee that football was directly linked to brain damage.
The victims can be younger, still. High schooler Eric Pelly was 18 when he died after suffering two concussions which “no one who saw them happen thought [were] life-threatening,” according to a Rolling Stone article on his death. Eric’s brain had “clumps” of CTE.
Omalu, a neuropathologist, was the first doctor to diagnose an NFL player with CTE after discovering Hall of Fame center “Iron Mike” Webster’s brain had shriveled from Alzheimer’s, leading to his death at 50 in 2002. The NFL largely ignored Omalu’s findings until Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry was diagnosed with CTE after his 2009 death from an unrelated cause at 26. Henry was the first still-active NFL player to be diagnosed with the condition. With a lot of uncertainty still surrounding the sport and its affect on the brain, Omalu’s credibility wavered among those closely associated with the sport. I wonder how right the league doctor who threatened Omalu with the demise of football will prove to be. At least in one part of the country, high school football is going nowhere. I grew up in north Texas, also known as high school football-powerhouse-central. At least a couple of times each season, my alma mater, Coppell High School, will sellout it’s 10,000 seat capacity at Buddy Echols Field — modest, when compared to the 18,000 seats at Allen High School’s $60 million Eagle Stadium.
And the game continues. It’s not excusable, but it is understandable as to why the league would be motivated to avoid talking about the risk of brain injury. Football would not be football without hits. This Super Bowl Sunday, millions will tune in to watch, although a sizable portion may just be watching for the commercials. The rest have an emotional or vested interest in the outcome or just want to see a ‘good game.’
“Everything and nothing has changed/Nothing has changed.” There’s an ever-expanding list of current and former players who have said they wouldn’t want their kids (real or hypothetical) to play the game. Among them are Mike Ditka, Jermichael Finley, Troy Aikman, Adrian Peterson, Terry Bradshaw, Kurt Warner, Brett Favre…the list goes on. We have reached a point where suicidal former players who know there is something wrong with their brains are choosing to shoot themselves in the chest so their brain can be examined — among them Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, both who were diagnosed with CTE. There’s an argument on the other side that can be hard to dodge, but we will eventually have to move past it: The players know what they are getting into. It is their choice whether or not to risk their health. Then why not give consenting MMA fighters gladiator swords?
At a recent Washington Capitals game, I had a chat with former NHL right winger Alan May about the recent UIL realignment. For those I just lost, May is now an NHL analyst for Comcast living in Frisco, Texas and the UIL is Texas’s high school sports governing body. When the UIL realigns high school divisions every two years, it is statewide news. May seemed thrilled about Frisco’s eight high schools getting district 13-5A all to themselves and the district’s agreed upon use of the Dallas Cowboys’ new practice facilities within the Dallas
Football is a game. Players have wives, sons and daughters and lives to live. There is no game worth the death penalty. Whether that death comes on the field or from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a game is not worth it. I love football and I’ll be watching Cam and Peyton on Sunday. But that only pushes the conversation back one more season. One day, we will be asking ourselves when we have had enough. Everything has changed, nothing has changed.