FOURTH ESTATE Feb. 9, 2015 | Volume 2 Issue 14 George Mason University’s official student news outlet gmufourthestate.com | @IVEstate
Food for Thought New food pantry serves homeless students l page 9 (AMY PODRAZA/FOURTH ESTATE)
INSIDE: NEWS / UNDOCUMENTED / 8 • LIFESTYLE / RIDESHARING / 11 • SPORTS / SCOREBOARD / 16
Crime Log Feb. 3 2015-002757 / Hit and Run. Complainant (GMU) reported damage to a parking garage control box. Damage estimated $5,000. (54/King) Rappahannock River Parking Deck / Cleared by Arrest / 09:04 a.m.
Feb. 4 2015-002796 / Drug/ Narcotic Violations. Subject (GMU) was referred to Office of Housing and Residential Life for possessing illegal drugs. (59/Willis) Hampton Roads/ Referred to OHRL / 12:28 a.m.
Feb. 5 2015-002992 / Hit and Run. Complainant (GMU) reported damage to a parking garage lift gate. Damage estimated $250. (54/Kendall) Rappahanock Parking Deck/ Pending/ 4:50 p.m.
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram : @IVEstate Use the hashtag #IVphoto on snapshots of Mason for a chance to see it in a future issue!
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
Mason’s Board of Visitors met on Feb.4 in Merten Hall to discuss the current and future state of the university.
POPULAR LAST WEEK 1 Mason students
divided on gun control debate The Va. Senate rejected a package of gun regulation measures proposed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Jan. 26 amid concealed carry debates on college campuses throughout the country.
“Ask Dr. Cabrera” forum centers on Koch donations Mason President Ángel Cabrera took questions and concerns on Feb. 3 in a public forum of students and faculty.
Mason professor heads Obama task force on policing A national task force led by professor Laurie Robinson is investigating the relationship between U.S. law enforcement and the communities they oversee.
CLASSIFIEDS NOW HIRING DRIVERS! !!!GMU STUDENT SPECIALS!!! (Valid for Carry Out with GMU ID or Delivery to GMU Fairfax Campus Only)
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One Xtra-Large Cheese…$8.99 (Online Code XL) 2 (or more) Med pizzas w/2 tops each….$5.99 each (Code 9193) (online code items good for both on & off campus delivery) (Remember some deals are not available online. Pan & Brooklyn crusts additional) Must mention special when ordering. Offer can’t be combined with other offers or specials. Prices do NOT include sales tax. Delivery areas may be limited to ensure safe driving and excellent service. Pan & Brooklyn crusts are additional. Delivery charges may apply. Drivers carry LESS than $20.00 MINIMUM DELIVERY is $9.00
HOURS OF OPERATION during GMU School Year… Mon-Thurs 10:30am until 1am and Fri-Sat until 2am (Summer and Mason school break hours we close at 12mid Mon-Thu and 1am Fri-Sat)
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Child Care I am seeking a full time summer nanny (live in or live out) for my 8 yr old son. Duties will include various activities, such as swimming, short field trips, sports activities, etc. Light cooking will be needed such as breakfast, lunch, snacks, etc. Email: email@example.com Phone: 301-221-2767
Services $15 car rental for errands Call/Text Abdul (703) 623-8696 VIRGINIA PARIS SHUTTLE Pick Up & Delivery Service Do you need boxes, small-furniture or other items moved? Call MP @ 703-896-2545 or visit us at www.therosienetwork.org Transcription Services Available for academic interviews, Rates start at $1 per audio minute and a turnaround of 48 hours. I do not transcribe focus groups or meetings with more than 2 people. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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news Ike’s will serve Mason-grown food
RAQUEL DESOUZA | ASSISTANT ONLINE NEWS EDITOR
The President’s Park Greenhouse will start harvesting food for Ike’s dining hall this spring. “We have an arrangement with Sodexo where they have committed to $20,000 a year to support this project in exchange for us giving them all of our produce that we grow,” Director of Outreach for the Office of Sustainability Danielle Wyman said. The arrangement also has an understanding that the first year’s use of the greenhouse will not produce the maximum capacity of food. The maximum is expected to be thousands of pounds of produce per year. The greenhouse will grow leafy greens such as lettuce, basil, oregano and cilantro and also microgreens. “We’ll be growing microgreens, which are only a couple week old plants and the nice thing about them is that they’re really nutrient dense, and they’re packed full of flavor,” Wyman said. The microgreens available will include corn sprouts; sweet pea sprouts; arugula sprouts; mizuna, which is a type of cabbage; and amaranth, which is similar to quinoa. According to Wyman, these tend to be served at high-end restaurants as garnishes, and everything except the root of the microgreen plant is edible. Although everything will be grown locally and nothing will be sprayed with pesticides, the food won’t be certified organic. “The fertilizers are not certified organic. It’s mined from different parts of the world and then shipped overseas,” Greenhouse Coordinator Donielle Ward said. “But we do have a local business that we’re in communication with that they’re experimenting with creating an organic fertilizer made for hydroponics.”
The produce will be grown with hydroponics technology. This means that no soil will be used, all the nutrients are mixed into the water and less water is used compared to soil-planting. The Office of Sustainability is new to hydroponics technology, but according to Wyman, they have researched and been trained on it to prepare for operating the greenhouse. “So it’s very clean,” Ward said. “When we sell the produce there’s no dirt from the ground on it. You still have to wash it before you serve it, but it’s not nearly as laborious a process.” The hydroponics growing channels are slightly tilted so that a stream of about 1/8 inch of water trickles down to all of the plants’ roots. This water is then circulated through the plumbing and reused again. The plumbing equipment is still being installed. Due to being dormant for one year and the ongoing construction nearby at Taylor Hall, the 2,000 square foot greenhouse had some cleaning and repair recently done. It was used for science classes, but became available for the Office of Sustainability when the Exploratory Hall rooftop greenhouse opened in. But there are talks about adding more greenhouses to Mason’s campuses. Ward thinks that the Prince William campus would be a good choice because of the amount of land available. “Our Sodexo representation, Michel Wetli, every time we meet with him he starts dreaming up all these big stories like how food at Mason is going to evolve into being very fresh, very local, organic; that’s what we’re heading towards,” Ward said. “He wants more greenhouses, more systems, more fresh food, he’s all about it.” Welti was unavailable for comment on this new partnership.
However, according to its website, Sodexo started a global sustainability project in 2009 called “The Better Tomorrow Plan.” Its four priorities are: “as an employer, actively promote nutrition, health and wellness, commit to local communities and protect the environment.” “I think it’s [the greenhouse] a great initative that will utilize unused university land and save precious finite resources, particularly petrol,” senior and government major Justin Yu said. “However, greater insight must be taken into how such foodstuffs are produced, [type of] fertilizer pesticides and [the] labour hired.” Ward is the only Mason employee solely assigned to the greenhouse project. Ward and Wyman hope that student and faculty are interested in volunteering. Mason students don’t need to be enrolled in a related science or environmental course to participate. “The main purpose is educational. It’s a tool for Mason students and also the community as a learning opportunity to learn how to grow food in a space-saving environment, indoors,” Ward said. The greenhouse will also produce compost for the campus gardens. There are three boxes with a total of around 4,000 of red wriggler worms. “There’s going to be quite a bit of waste from the roots [of microgreens]…and we can put all that waste instead of putting it in the trash, we can feed it to the worms and that turns into more fertilizer to help the garden,” Ward said. Ward and Wyman plan for the first harvest to be around early March. There will also be a ribbon-cutting event for the renovated greenhouse sometime around Earth Week in April.
(ERIKA EISENACHER/FOURTH ESTATE)
Sustainable agriculture course returns to Mason
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
NATALIA KOLENKO | STAFF WRITER
Mason will be offering a week long introduction course in Permaculture this spring and is currently the only higher-learning institution in the DC Metro area and one of two in the Mid-Atlantic region to do so. Mason’s program website describes Permaculture as an ecologically inspired landscape system that combines food, energy, shelter and water. They say the course, which is offered through the Mason Sustainability Institute (MSI), is for anyone who would like to learn how to be more sustainable, particularly individuals who have access to a space where they can grow their own food. The course will be taught on the Fairfax campus by Wayne Weiseman, who is recognized by the Worldwide Permaculture Network as an instructor of the Permaculture Design Certification. The course will take place during the week of March 7-14 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be the third time Mason has offered this course. Jonathan Storvick, a Natural Resource Manager for the Office of Sustainability, held a workshop on February 2 with the Mason Green Patriots that explained what the course would offer. Storvick, who took a Permaculture course in 2009 with Dave Jacke, author of Edible Forest Gardens, says that the course will cover many topics including Permaculture ethics, principles of natural systems and design and natural patterns to name a few. Permaculture is used in a variety of ways. Storvick said it can be used for designing sustainable systems like Mason’s Innovation Food Forest and creative problem solving such as what and how to grow things in a specific area, on a specific landscape. Storvick said the benefits of a Permaculture course extend to all majors. “The general principles [of Permaculture] are applicable to nearly any field of study and to any system that someone might want to design, whether that is a business, a social program, or a garden,” Storvick said. “Students in environmental and science concentrations will find new ways of understanding the natural world and their relation to it. Business students will discover new methods of looking at capital, at investing and at the areas where they interact with their customer base.”
Elizabeth Torrens, who took one of the first Permaculture Design Courses offered at Mason and was instrumental in the original creation of the Innovation Food Forest on campus, also believes the course could benefit students of any major. “[The PDC] teaches you to look at systems as a whole, rather than as individual components. It’s a really good experience because you get to meet a lot of people that have diverse experiences and can learn from them and each other,” Torrens said. The PDC is one way Mason participates in the nationally growing sustainability conversation. “In addition to the Spring PDC, we are increasing the amount of Permaculture-related workshops offered on campus, and are exploring the possibilities of offering a second PDC during the year,” Storvick said. Storvick went on to say that the second PDC is still in the discussion stages, but if it does happen, it will be in early 2016. Mason also has several Permaculture garden spaces on campus including the Innovation Food Forest and the Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden. Storvick said Mason hopes to expand service learning and volunteer opportunities in those spaces, as well as create more spaces like them. According to the Innovation Food Forest website, the food forest is a garden that demonstrates the practicality and sustainability of permaculture. It emphasizes water management, increased biodiversity, food security and community development. The Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden is run by the GMU Organic Gardening Association who plan, care and harvest the vegetables which are then donated. The garden offers the chance for students to learn how to grow their own food and increase awareness about sustainable food. “Permaculture thinking and design has the potential to increase well-being across the entire community – from regenerating and healing damaged ecosystems to providing healthy local food to residents, to providing jobs and boosting local economies. There is also huge potential for academic learning and research, multidisciplinary integration and skill-building for students,” Storvick said. Danielle Wyman, who is the PDC coordinator, believes that
Permaculture and this course can benefit the community in a number of way, just like the Innovation Food Forest and the Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden have. “Our main priority is to get as many Mason community members as possible to take the PDC. Every single student that has been through this course has just come out of it a changed person,” Wyman said. “They’re engaged, they’re very involved, and they want to do work in their community, to better their community from a sustainability perspective whether it be the Mason community or the community they live in.” After taking a PDC in Georgia in 2011, Wyman said she and members of Mason’s Office of Sustainability decided to begin a yearly course for Mason students and the broader D.C. Metro community that were interested in learning more about Permaculture. Wyman also said that she and the Office of Sustainability are working on getting the course into Mason’s course catalog so that students can earn credits for taking the PDC. Christine Harris, an intern for the Office of Sustainability who has been helping manage the course, took the PDC herself and recommends it to everyone. “It’s an intense experience mixed with modern day research and creativity. It’s amazing,” Harris said. You will gain so much knowledge that can be applied in an endless amount of ways. And the people that are by your side taking the class will become your friends.” Storvick said the PDC Mason is offering can be traced back all the way to 1979 in Australia where the first Permaculture Design Course was taught by founder Bill Mollison. The first U.S. course was held in 1982 and since then, thousands of courses have been held since. “The PDC is an incredible and intense experience. There’s a great balance between classroom and hands-on learning, field trips and guest lectures from practitioners in the field,” Storvick said. “The course culminates in the student using what they have learned to actually create a Permaculture design for a real site. It is one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had and I couldn’t recommend it more highly to anyone who might be interested.”
General Assembly considers mandatory police involvement in campus sexual assault MADISON ANTUS | STAFF WRITER
The Virginia General Assembly is currently considering multiple bills that propose mandatory reporting of campus sexual assaults to a law enforcement agency. For example, SB712, introduced by Richard Black (R-Loudoun), requires campus and local police to report all sexual harassment to the Commonwealth’s Attorney within 24 hours. The summary of the bill states that it, “requires any administrator or professor employed by a public institution of higher education who through the course of his employment obtains information alleging that a criminal sexual assault has occurred to report within 24 hours such information to law enforcement. The bill provides that a person in violation of the reporting requirement is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.” These proposed bills would be state laws and would be implemented under federal laws concerning sexual assault that are already in place, such as Title IX and the Clery Act. The Clery Act requires that universities release an annual security report every October that includes statistics on stalking, intimidation, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and hate crimes. Title IX applies to students regardless of their gender or sexuality, and requires Mason to be proactive in ensuring that campus is safe from forms of sexual violence. Rose Pascarell, vice president of University Life, began her career working with female victims, and said that when it comes to reporting sexual assaults or harassment, privacy is a large factor. “Privacy concerns are really, really, really significant in whether or not the victim chooses to
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come forward and make a report under Title IX,” Pascarell said. “If a report comes into a crisis counselor, into a WAVES office, that report and the person who files it remains completely confidential under Clery. A WAVES office is required to report a set of incidents that may have happened.” The Clery Act and Title IX do not require a faculty or staff member that a student confides in to submit a report including their personal information, nor do the laws require a report to be made to the police or the Commonwealth’s Attorney. However, they do allow for victims to receive healthcare and other benefits from the university. Junior Kellie White, president of the Feminist Student Organization, first heard about the new mandatory reporting bills over the summer while attending the annual National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. “It’s a slippery slope to navigate,” White said. “With mandatory reporting in general, I think it’s something that you have to navigate carefully on behalf of both the accused and the victim. I think it’s important that the victims’ statement and the inherent truth of what they’re saying and their experiences be taken 100%. That is not to be undermined or undervalued.” White agreed that steps need to be taken, and said that the organization was supportive of the national and state level movements to end sexual violence on college campuses, but stated “it’s an entirely other thing to actually consider what’s driving these forces, and what kind of social movements are needed to really dismantle rape culture and really address the entire problem behind rape instead of putting a band aid on it.”
Mandatory reporting was also a topic at the recent Mason Lobbies event, which occurred last month. Kyle Garvey, a Government and International Politics major and student advocate, said that they were informed about the topic during their training. “One of the things they did talk about specifically legislation-wise was the bill, and how the student body and how the student government felt about it… most of the time we were lobbying against it,” Garvey said. According to the Washington Post, Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax), described the current method of handling sexual assault cases on college campuses as a process that protects institutions, not individuals. The Post also said there is bipartisan support for the bills regarding mandatory reporting. It will be voted on in next year’s session. Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax), has proposed a similar bill that would require campus or local police to inform the Commonwealth’s attorney within 48 hours of an investigation into a felony criminal sexual assault case on a college campus, according to the Washington Post. She was quoted as saying “This problem needs to be addressed across campus. Whether in a fraternity house, dorm room, parking garage or research facility, everyone on campus should feel safe and be protected.” Pascarell disagreed. She referred back to her years helping victims of sexual violence, many of whom came to talk to the university’s services specifically for confidentiality reasons. “We know there are a set of reasons why victims choose not to come forward, and one is they may not feel comfortable going to the police, and they may not feel that their confidentiality
or that their privacy will be respected,” Pascarell said. “The idea that if I’m a student and I go to a faculty member who I trust, or I go to a staff member who I trust, I haven’t told my parents yet, I haven’t sought out services yet, but I know that I feel a connection to you and I say this is what happened to me, to then require that faculty member, that staff member to report to the police in 24 hours is a complete breach of confidentiality between a student and faculty or staff member.” Mason provides several options for students who want to discuss a potentially harmful experience without worrying about privacy, such as Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education Services. Marianne Sprouse, director of WAVES, described it as “a good first stop for student who have been impacted d by sexual assault, stalking, dating violence or stalking. We’re considered a confidential resource, so we don’t have to report people’s identifying information. Students can come here, tell us about what happened to them, and we can tell them about all the options available to them.” With mandatory reporting laws, this would change. University staff members who serve in a confidential capacity would be required to report sexual assault. “The assembly has the right intentions,” Pascarell said. “They want to encourage reporting. This is what we all have in common - we, everybody, recognizes this is a significant issue. Everybody recognizes we need to do more than what we’re doing, and their approach is we’re just going to force people to report it to the police, which again, best of intentions, worst of legislation, because that’s not going to do it. If anything that will stop people from coming forward.”
Local Muslim organization makes space for all ASHLEY COOK | STAFF WRITER
MakeSpace is a progressive Muslim organization located in Alexandria that practices Islam through peaceful, all-inclusive acts of service. MakeSpace defines itself on its Facebook page as “an inclusive and transparently-managed hub for the D.C. area Muslim community.” Senior and former MakeSpace volunteer Naila Rafique said the organization’s importance as increased in light of the recent attack on the Parisian newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, which brought radical Islam into the global media conversation again. Coupled with radical demonstrations by ISIS militants, people have been linking Islam to violence, according to CNN. “I do not think it’s only important but essential rather for a Muslim community to have an organization like MakeSpace in this very volatile time, especially for the Muslim youth in America,” said Rafique. MakeSpace was founded in 2012 and has since witnessed continuous growth. Their website states that the inspiration for the name comes from the Qur’an. The version on the website is from Surah al-Mujadilah verse 58:11 which says, “rise and make space for others so that Allah will make space for you in His grace.” This verse is the inspiration and foundation for the organization. MakeSpace aims to draw its members closer to Allah by eliminating distractions in society, particularly distractions that target today’s youth. One of the ways members work to achieve this is by focusing their efforts on productive acts of service. Volunteers represent the MakeSpace mission by exhibiting selflessness through serving the community. Some outreach programs include distributing meals to the homeless in D.C., volunteering at the ALIVE food pantry in Alexandria, and their Adopt-A-Highway initiative. Makespace’s pledge statement urges Muslims to “categorically cease all attacks on individual Muslims and organizations, especially urging the immediate cessation of all implicit or explicit charges of disbelief.”
As a part of their effort to be inclusive within the Muslim community, they have stated their efforts are focused on non-secular acts of service and productiveness. The mission statement includes that the tension within the Muslim community is caused by the emphasis on certain rituals. These rituals have caused divisions in the community and have pushed the youth to one extreme or another, like what is seen in radicalism. MakeSpace offers an invitation to those who are willing to focus on bettering the local community. The organization believes that focusing energy on inclusion and unification in the name of Allah is more productive than focusing only on divisive issues. Mason student and current volunteer Sarah Olibah explained that MakeSpace is not focused on helping individuals of just one particular faith, but on the improvement of all humanity. “These experiences keep us humble, they remind us of our blessings, they make us aware of the needs within our own community, and they allow us to fulfill the obligation that we have to our neighbors as Muslims to take care of one another,” Olibah said. Olibah said MakeSpace is a place where people can come and experience the true meaning of being an American Muslim. The main focus is establishing an inclusive space. “As Muslims, we must take care of one another regardless of differences. It is about growing both spiritually and intellectually. At MakeSpace we can grow, learn, care, and deepen our connection to God and to one another,” Obilah said. According to the mission statement, MakeSpace’s focus on Muslim youth empowers its members to become future leaders. “It is important to allow the youth to take hold of our community and to allow them to lead in a way that will address the most relevant and prominent issues that we are surrounded with,” Obilah said. MakeSpace is currently addressing issues such as health and civic engagement. The volunteer-based organization offers a place to get
involved regardless of age, beliefs, or background. “We hold many different programs through our branches of recreation, education, community service, and high school membership. There is a space for every interest from Public Relations to sports to civic engagement,” said Olibah. Rafique describes her previous volunteer experience at MakeSpace as “immensely beneficial” in many aspects of her life. “I have become closer to my community by interacting with all types of people from all walks of life. I have further benefitted by polishing my identity as an American Muslim woman,” Rafique said. The positive change that volunteering causes in an individual’s life was present in her experience at MakeSpace, according to Rafique. “The countless blessings and prayers I have received from setting the prayer mats, to helping serve the food, and even long nights of cleaning up, are all small ways in which I have helped serve the Muslim community,” said Rafique. According to Rafique, the opportunity for Muslims to gather in an inclusive environment to pray, serve, and socialize is what attracts so many to MakeSpace. She says the attendance for weekly prayer and various other events often reaches over 500 people. Rafique said the inclusiveness of all members of the Muslim community is a distinguishing factor. The manner in which the organization cuts across all nationalities to provide a hub for the Muslim faith is something that is rarely found elsewhere. “It is easy to go to a mosque run by Arabs, Pakistanis, etc. but this in some regard only polarizes the youth. Islam is not a faith of one kind of people; it is a religion of many people from Burkina Faso to Malaysia, from Tibet, to America, and further,” Rafique said. Freshman at Mason Omar Abderhman believes that the misinterpretation of the principle beliefs of the Islamic faith is detrimental to the Muslim community.
A MakeSpace Halaqa for Khatm-ul-Quran, which celebrates completing a recitation of the Quran, often held during the month of Ramadan.
“The large misconception and false stereotypes are negatively impacting the entire Muslim world. One third of the world’s population is Muslim, yet people allow the small extremist groups to shape their perception of all Muslims.” Abdherman said. Abderhman, like many others, believes that people must educate themselves on the principle beliefs of Islam in order to realize the small extremist groups are the polar opposite of what constitutes the vast majority of the Muslim community. “The small extremist groups terrorize in the name of Islam but in reality their actions are prohibited in Islam. Islam is a religion of peace and forgiveness. Muslims are not the violent, close-minded people that the media tends to portray,” said Abderhman. Sanna Naqash, who serves on the Public Relations team at MakeSpace, describes the controversies in the Muslim community as a distraction from what really matters in the Islamic faith. “I feel the biggest issue in our Muslim community is when brothers and sisters feel deprived of fitting in with the rest of the community. MakeSpace is not just an organization where men and women mingle, but it is a safe haven. A home.” Naqash feels that no matter what debates are currently polarizing the Muslim community, it is important to stand together in the name of what is right. “Whether people in the Muslim community erred or are not as pious or practicing as the other individuals in the community, there is no reason one should feel like they wouldn’t or couldn’t fit in and grow closer to God,” said Naqash. MakeSpace’s pledge statement conveys its mission to serve as a place to make the community a part of the solution. This is achieved by seeking common sense solutions to common challenges in light of the universal as well as Islamic values of compassion, cooperation, and service to God’s creation.
(Photo courtesy of MakeSpace)
In-state tuition for undocumented students up for debate
(LAURA BAKER/FOURTH ESTATE)
HAMNA AHMAD | STAFF WRITER
In April 2014, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced a directive to students at a Northern Virginia Community College campus allowing certain illegal immigrants eligibility for in-state tuition rates under an interpretation of existing state law. This announcement followed President Barack Obama’s 2012 initiative, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which offers temporary protection from deportation and a work permit to thousands of illegal immigrants who arrived as children. “We should welcome these smart, talented, hard-working young people into our economy and society rather than putting a stop sign at the end of 12th grade,” said Herring in his speech at NVCC. To be eligible under Herring’s directive, undocumented students must be declared “lawfully present,” which, defined by DACA, means that the students must have been under the age of 16 when they came to the United States, have resided continuously in the country since 2007 and were under the age of 31 in 2012. In Virginia, 9,000 undocumented residents are eligible for in-state tuition. Like legal Virginia residents, the students or their families usually pay income tax; supporters of Herring’s directive believe this makes them eligible to receive benefits that the state provides. Out-of-state rates tend to be more than double what residents pay, and for some undocumented students, that makes the prospect of attending college impossible. Since last April, only 81 undocumented students have taken advantage of paying in-state tuition rates, although far more are eligible under DACA. Dayana Torres, an Honors Computer Science major at Mason and President of Mason DREAMers, is one of these students.
“Undocumented students, for the most part, have arrived at the United States through no fault of their own,” said Torres. “They have dreams and show great perseverance in spite of facing countless obstacles when trying to attain a higher education.” Herring’s announcement did not come without controversy or contest. Two Northern Virginia lawmakers filed opposing legislation, which have been dubbed the “Anti-Dream Act” bills, in early January of 2015. HB1356 and its equivalent in the Senate, sponsored by Delegate David Ramadan (R-Loudoun), a Mason alum, and Senator Richard Black (R-Loudoun), were both introduced not only to reverse the extension of in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, but also to clearly state that any extension would be a violation of state law. Their argument is that existing state law does not allow for this sort of provision—in fact, it clearly prohibits it. A prohibition of this sort “is what constituents want; this is what Virginians want; this is what my constituents are telling me — people who work hard and earn their money and earn their status,” Ramadan said in a recent Washington Post article. Senator Black’s legislation advanced out of the Senate Education and Health Committee in early January. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe quickly responded in a statement declaring his intent to veto the legislation if it was voted through the Senate, calling it “counterproductive and mean-spirited.” Ultimately, such action was not necessary. The Senate voted against passing Black’s bill 20-19, Jan. 20. Voting was split almost completely down party lines, with Republicans voting for and Democrats voting against. “This is good news for Virginia’s economy, its
businesses, and especially for the hardworking young immigrants who want to pursue an affordable college education in their home state,” said Herring in a statement issued after the vote. “It’s heartening to see a bipartisan group of Senators showed [sic] compassion and fairness towards these young people.” The debate, however, still continues. Arguments against allowing in-state tuition for undocumented students often include the possibility that it could be a tough and unfair burden for legal taxpayers to bear. “We’ve got families who have paid Virginia taxes for a lifetime in the hopes that maybe one of their kids can go to a state institution of higher learning, and all of a sudden, we’re going to have foreigners on the fast track,” Black was quoted as saying by the Washington Post. Some argue that the law is unfair for international students who come to the US through legal channels but still have to pay out-of-state fees at many Virginia colleges, including Mason. Also, if Herring’s interpretation of Virginia law is to be broadly applied, argues Black, then in-state tuition would have to be extended to all citizens in the country, regardless of their state of residency. Supporters of similar legislation in Texas argued that by allowing undocumented students to pay the lower in-state rates, the state is rewarding criminals by granting their children a reprieve. Torres said that students eligible under DACA who were brought to the United States as children have not consciously committed a crime. “Although parents of DACA beneficiaries have broken laws, either by entering without inspection or overstaying visas, [it was] in order to provide a better life for their families.” Rodrigo Velasquez is also a member of Mason DREAMers and actively works with undocumented students and their advocates around the state to advance their goals and to speak out
against bills such as those sponsored by Black and Ramadan. Both Velasquez and Torres argue that the problems facing illegal immigrants today, such as the inability to afford an education, are not issue specific, but part of larger problems with America’s society and laws. “Undocumented students and their families are constantly criminalized through xenophobic and racist rhetoric that is dehumanizing and hateful,” Velasquez said. To address this issue, the Mason DREAMers offer “Undocually Trainings” to share the stories of hardships that many illegal immigrants have faced, such as fleeing violence in their home countries. “Our work is to educate the community on the lived experiences of undocumented students,” Velasquez said. Torres said she believes that the solution lies in immigration reform, and that Congress should work on a solution that could grant an increased number of visas, offer a visa lottery, or grant asylum to a greater number of immigrants fleeing unlivable conditions in their native countries, among other options. No date has been set on when Ramadan’s bill will be introduced to the majority Republican House for a vote, and McAuliffe will likely counter with a veto. Herring, however, remains confident in the benefits of his directive. “If the Commonwealth is to remain competitive in a global economy, we must embrace a strategy that maximizes our talent pool and helps all Virginians reach their full potential,” said Herring in a statement. “These ‘DREAMers’ are already Virginians in some very important ways. In most cases they were raised here, they graduated from Virginia schools, and they have known no home but Virginia.”
Food pantry to address student homelessness REEM NADEEM | PRINT NEWS EDITOR
A storage closet in Sub 1 was converted into a Pop Up Pantry to help homeless and financially unstable students. The closet houses supplies such as non-perishable food, hygiene items, coats and blankets. The Pop Up Pantry was started by graduate student Yara Mowafy, who has been advocating for the homeless and financially insecure by addressing several different needs. “As of November 2013, we had the Student Meal Assistance Fund. So that provides meal vouchers to students who seek them from the Office of Student Support. After that, I began doing research; it is Institutional Review Board approved research. So I’m looking to identify the prevalence and nature of homelessness and hunger at George Mason University,” Mowafy said. Though the research is still ongoing, Mowafy said results should be released by the end of this semester. “The research has shown us that there is a need for some sort of support or some sort of services that we’re not offering or not providing for students. And out of that, we started the Pantry,” Mowafy said. According to Mowafy, since the pantry began in Dec. 2014, it has been used almost weekly by students in need. Donations have been made by several Mason offices, including University Life and New Century College. “We always have food coming in, which is good because it’s always flowing out, and that also just proves to us that there is a need because the food is not just sitting there. There was a lot more stuff in that room three weeks ago, but the fact that it’s cut in half is showing us that people are really seeking this kind of resource,” Mowafy said. According to Michael Galvin, Director of Technology Integration and Mowafy’s research partner, the hope is that the research findings will give Mason incentives to provide a larger space for the Pantry. “That’s really what we’re doing right now: raising awareness, continuing with the research and then providing the resources that we can provide. We can’t promise housing, we can’t promise a meal plan but we can give small things,” Mowafy said. Homelessness extends beyond the boundaries of Mason. According to the Fairfax County website, the counties of Fairfax and Falls Church have one of the highest homeless populations in Northern Virginia, second only to D.C. Fairfax has attempted to find long-term solutions for such a large homeless population by establishing the
Ten Year Plan and the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness. The Ten Year Plan began in 2008 and according to the OPEH Program Manager, Thomas Barnett, the most accurate measure for the Ten Year Plan’s success is the annual Point-in-Time count. The count documents the number of people who are living in shelters, transitional housing or on the street. “The most recent Point-in-Time was last week, Jan. 28, so we’re all very eager to see the results of that and hopefully continue the downward trend,” Barnett said. The 2014 Point-in-Time revealed that 1,225 people were homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church area. There was a nine percent decline in homelessness since the 2013 count. The 2015 Point-inTime will be released late March or early April, Barnett said. Though the Point-in-Time survey reveals downward statistics about homelessness in the area, there are other measures that reveal there is still a problem. “…[R]ental vacancies are down, rental prices are up, the foreclosure prices, the recession - these are all things that create housing instability for people in our community. So it’s really almost miraculous that we haven’t seen an increase in homelessness, despite the recession and the housing crisis,” Barnett said. Large numbers of homelessness and unstable living conditions reveal a need for long-term efforts to end homelessness. According to Fairfax County’s website, a lack of affordable housing is the largest contributing factor to the area’s homeless population. Homelessness is also not the only way to identify a problem within the community. Even though Fairfax County is consistently rated as one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, there are still 60,000 people living under the federal poverty level in Fairfax, according to Barnett. “I think what we know is that there are many people who living unstably or on the verge of homelessness, at risk and probably sharing housing with people out of economic necessity,” Barnett said. “There was a code compliance enforcement aspect that came into play a number of years ago, making sure that people were safe. There were issues of boarding homes that didn’t have proper exits in case of a fire, so people were literally chopping up basements and renting them out to multiple people. It was completely unsafe but it speaks to this sort of a need for affordable and safe housing.”
Housing Selection The process by which current oncampus residents select housing for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Who Can Participate? Current on-campus residents who will have lived on-campus for six or fewer semesters as of the end of the 2014–2015 academic year (generally current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors).
Application Applications are available now. The deadline to apply is this Friday, February 13th. Go to housing.gmu.edu/selection to learn all of the details and complete the application.
Housing Deposit The $300 non-refundable housing deposit will be due shortly after you select your room. Credit cards are the preferred method of payment.
#GMU “Are you artistic? Want to show positive body image? Participate in our #LoveYourBodyGMU art contest by Feb. 20! #gmu”
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The homecoming basketball games are on Feb. 14: women’s basketball vs. VCU at 12:00p.m. and men’s basketball vs. Richmond at 4:00p.m., both at the Patriot Center.
“So grateful to be nominated and accepted in NYLF for Law and CSI program for this summer” @katie_rice77 Katie Rice
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what students should know about new ridesharing legislation HANNAH MENCHOFF | ONLINE LIFESTYLE EDITOR
For the last year, the state of Virginia has been a point of tension and confusion over Transportation Network Companies. Now that debate continues as legislation is going to increase regulations on TNC’s, better known as ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. It is making its way through the processes of the Virginia General Assembly. The bill is meant to enable these private car companies to continue running in the state, while adding updating policy on background checks and insurance coverage for the drivers.
“In this case, the driver, who had only a temporary license in Illinois, allegedly violated Uber rules by using his wife’s Uber account to pick up passengers, the company said,” Steve Schmadeke and Michelle Manchir wrote for the Chicago Tribune.
“I’ve taken Uber around 15 to 20 times and I’ve only ever felt unsafe once. The driver almost pulled out into traffic two minutes into the drive and didn’t improve much on his driving the entire way to our destination,” Horner said.
Some, like Orozco argue, that although this does happen, these sorts of incidents are rare. Moreover, even when issues come up the perpetrator is quickly discovered.
If the driver had crashed, Horner would have been covered by a million dollar liability coverage provided by Uber. This regulation only came about last August when Uber and Lyft were forced to strike a temporary deal with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Jacob Geiger reported for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
“I think it’s safer than anything else because saying I did something to someone, my address is there, my phone is there, my plates are there, you can do it but then you will get caught in minutes,” Orozco said. “If that’s the case. It’s pretty safe. You go in a cab
The law is likely to pass. The Roanoke Times reported that the bill had passed in the Senate unanimously and with a vote of 67-28 in the House of Delegates. This begs the question of how this could impact Mason students.
Take another example, what if the driver crashed on his way to pick up Horner and it was his fault? This is another aspect the legislation dealt with; if Uber and Lyft should cover their drivers, if they are in an accident with the app on, but without a third party in the car. Non-riders would be impacted at this point. With this bill, “the ride-sharing company also provides secondary liability coverage of $125,000 per person, $250,000 per incident and at least $50,000 for property damage” Geiger wrote.
Senior economics major Andres Orozco drives for Uber. He noted that he does not get a lot of ride requests from Mason students. However, those who do use the app are normally coming back from a night at the bar.
King explained that this is a fairly small amount of coverage. Moreover, he added that the injured person would still have to make a claim against the TNC user before Uber or Lyft would help with coverage.
“The majority of customers that I get are going out on a Friday night, Saturday night, they’re young professionals, recent college graduates, who make an income in either North Arlington, and Alexandria,” Orzoco said. This usage does align, however, with those Mason students who do use TNCs. Seniors Tessa Horner, an applied information technology major, and Connor Brassil, a government and international politics major, both use these services instead of assigning a designated driver. There has been questions regarding the extent to which TNCs perform background checks. “Next, unlike taxicab drivers, TNC drivers’ criminal background checks do not require fingerprints or even a face-to-face verification of their identity, said Charlie King, the vice president of Red Top Cab. “They sign up on the internet, with copies of their documents emailed or faxed, opening the door for identity theft so that you don’t know whose background is really being checked.” Red Top Cab and its affiliate Fairfax Yellow Cab, both cater to the Fairfax and Mason community. The combination of limited background checks, with the intoxicated state of passengers, is a primary argument taxicab companies make against TNCs. It is a problem that a student could realistically face, as well. King cited a recent example that happened in Chicago. An UberX driver picked up a drunk female passenger who fell asleep during the ride. The driver took her back to his home and sexually assaulted her.
(AMY PODRAZA/FOURTH ESTATE)
“Even under the legislation, however, there remain safety issues that many riders don’t understand. For example, unlike taxicabs, if a TNC driver does not have his app on, but picks someone up, say outside of a bar or from a call to his cell phone, that vehicle has no insurance coverage, so tell your readers not to hop into a car if they didn’t order it through the app,” King said.
you know, yeah there are plates, but, say you are drunk you won’t remember the cab color or anything. You know what I’m saying? That might be unsafe. But let’s say you’re drunk or something happens, there is going to be a record on your phone, [so you can know] who is the person who took you home.”
Another benefit to taxicabs is that they are insured at all times. There is no insurance risk for the rider or non-rider.
In the Chicago case for instance, the driver was still traced back to his wife’s account.
“I use Uber instead of a taxi service because once you order the Uber it arrives in less than 5 minutes (almost always), the app is functional and convenient and I like not having to pay cash and worry about tipping the driver,” Horner said.
The fact you can review drivers may help with this matter as well, making some feel more secure. “It’s not as regulated but, honestly for some reason I feel more comfortable taking Lyft or Uber than taking a standard taxi,” Brassil said. “I couldn’t really tell you why, but I think their review system works really well. Obviously it’s been used by bad apples in the past, but you could probably say the same thing for taxi drivers if you looked into it, you know.” An issue that can impact both riders and normal drivers is insurance, or the lack thereof. Non-riders can of course include anyone in the Mason community who would commute to campus.
However, students seem most concerned with the amount of time that it takes for their TNC car to arrive versus a cab.
The time and ease of use is one added benefit to TNCs. But King did remark that it will simply force cab companies to change and develop as well. “What this will mean for locally-owned taxicab companies better regulated for public safety remains to be seen, but companies like ours are continuously updating our services to give the riding public what it wants, including options to order and pay for service electronically and cashless,” King said.
(LAURA BAKER/FOURTH ESTATE)
complications with flu season
BARBARA BROPHY | STAFF WRITER
This year’s flu season has proven to be worse than in recent years, but Mason students may not be taking the necessary precautions to stay healthy. On Jan. 31, The Centers for Disease Control declared in its Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report that influenza activity in the United States continues to remain above an epidemic threshold. This means the number of hospitalizations and deaths from infection have exceeded national averages for this time of year. Although it is not uncommon for influenza activity to reach periods of epidemic level during a given infection season, rates of illness have remained at an increased level for over ten weeks. Scientists are attributing the severity of the current flu season to the decreased affectivity of the vaccine intended to protect against this year’s strain. Each February scientists at the World Health Organization design a specialized vaccine for the coming flu season. The vaccine created for the current infection period protects against three strains of flu, with some protecting against a fourth strain. However, a recent analysis of the circulating viruses indicates that some of the strains have mutated. Still, vaccine affectivity fluctuates from year to year, and doctors are strongly encouraging those who have not been vaccinated to do so. “Even during seasons when drifted viruses are circulating, we still recommend the flu vaccine,” Dr. Wagida Abdalla, executive director of Student Health Services at Mason, said. “Vaccination can still prevent some infections and can reduce severe disease that can lead to hospitalization and death.” Though young adults tend to be at a lower risk of infection compared to young
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children, the elderly, and the chronically ill, they are not entirely protected. Close living quarters, shared athletic and dining facilities, and constant social interaction raise students’ chances of contracting influenza, a 2013 article published by MedlinePlus explained.
Mason Department of Economics and ICES Experimental Economics Lab
Yet according to a survey conducted in 2010 at the University of Buffalo, only about eight percent of college students choose to get vaccinated annually.
Social influence has the strongest impact on whether students will choose to get the flu shot, the survey indicated. If universities advertise the necessity of the vaccine, students are more likely to take it seriously.
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GMU’s Student Health Services offered flu vaccines at Winter Wellness Day held on all three campuses last October and at a three-day clinic hosted at the Prince William Campus in mid-November.
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But receiving a flu shot was not a priority for many Mason undergraduates this year. “I saw flyers about Student Health Services offering flu shots,” Freshman Samara Singer said. “I would have gone, but all the times I had class. I wish there were more times available.”
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According to the aforementioned survey, college students consider the flu less of a threat because it spreads annually. For most undergraduates, concern for one’s health takes a backseat to the innumerable lab reports and papers that tend to pile up as flu season arrives. But getting sick prevents students from keeping up with their studies and extracurricular commitments. “If there’s a test or an essay due, there’s not much I can do,” Sophomore Nikki Gerald said. “It can seriously affect my grades if it happens at a bad time in my school schedule.”
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For this reason, unvaccinated Mason students are encouraged to receive a flu shot. Student Health Services continues to offer vaccines to students on a walk-in or appointment basis, though appointments are preferred. Dr. Abdalla also recommends students take basic but important precautions to avoid getting sick. “Get enough sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, and wash [your] hands regularly,” Abdalla said. “And make sure to get the flu shot.”
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(WALTER MARTINEZ/FOURTH ESTATE)
Get Your Heart On
Yearbook Portraits Are Back! Attention all Mason students: Introducing a new Mason tradition! This year, the staff of GMView is inviting all Mason students to be featured in the yearbook—not just seniors. It is our hope that this more inclusive approach will involve more members of the Mason community than ever before. All students who would like to be featured in this year’s GMView are encouraged to attend one of our LifeTouch portrait sessions this February: Feb. 10: 10 a.m.—5 p.m. @ HUB Room 1012 Feb. 11: 10 a.m.—5 p.m. @ HUB Room 1012 Feb. 12: 12 p.m.—8 p.m. @ HUB Room 1012
(LAURA BAKER/FOURTH ESTATE)
ALLISON LUNDY | STAFF WRITER
The Mason community is teaching students about healthy relationships and self-respect. The Get Your Heart On event hosted by Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Prevention Services is being held on Feb. 10. It is a result of the collaboration of a variety of offices at Mason. WAVES promotes education and awareness about health, alcohol and drug use, and violence. Through their many services and programs, they encourage students to make safe and healthy life choices. WAVES has partnered with five other offices – Women and Gender Studies, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education, the Office of International Programs and Services, and the Office of Disability Services. Lauren Mattos, coordinator for Violence Prevention and Response at WAVES, is the main coordinator for the Get Your Heart On event. She hopes to bring the Mason community together through a variety of activities hosted by the various offices present at the event. The offices have come together, “to educate Mason students about the positive characteristics of healthy and happy relationships with themselves and with others, both romantically and platonically,” Mattod said. The offices will each have a table, at which they will educate students on different elements relating to their services. There will be a variety of topics covered at the event, from healthy relationships and consent to global and cultural appreciation. Jennifer A. Crewalk, Assistant Director of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education, says their office’s table will educate students about ODIME’s services, and then allow students
to participate in a “pay it forward” activity. “After learning about our office, participants may reach into a jar and pick a piece of paper with instructions on a meaningful action,” Crewalk said. “The goal of ‘Pay it Forward’ is to encourage our Mason community to build healthy relationships through appreciative and inclusive action.”
Schedule an appointment for your portrait sitting online at www.OurYear.com or by calling 1-800-OUR-YEAR™ (687-9327). Enter school code 700. Walk-ins are handled on a first come, first served basis. A $10 sitting fee is required.
Crewalk gave examples of these meaningful actions students may pick. Some of these examples included learning what micro-aggressions are and then teaching someone else, a hand written letter to appreciate someone who works at Mason, attend a Black History Month event with some friends, and invite someone to lunch who commutes to Mason.
Pre-order your official copy of the 20142015 GMView Yearbook+DVD when you have your portrait taken, or reserve your copy in person in HUB 1201. We accept cash, check, Visa and Mastercard.
Other offices will offer different interactive activities to contribute to the cause of helping students make a positive difference and appreciate themselves, along with others.
Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to preserve your Mason memories!
“By educating the community on methods of creating and maintaining healthy relationships with themselves and others, and by promoting awareness of unhealthy relationships, the bonds within the George Mason population will continue to strengthen and grow,” Mattos said. Students can expect to leave the event not only with a new understanding of what constitutes a healthy relationship, but with some cool giveaways as well. “For those who participate in the activities, there will be ‘I [heart] Consensual Sex’ tee shirts and posters available, crafts, a raffle and lots of fun. Lauren may be able to get you the artwork for the event flier,” WAVES Associate Director for Interpersonal Violence Education and Services Caren Sempel said. Get Your Heart On is held annually by WAVES, and Mattos says with all of the offices involved the event generally gets a good turnout. This year, she hopes to extend awareness about these offices to even more of the Mason community.
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Words of caution to SG When I was an undergrad, I was involved in Mason’s Student Senate. During that time, I served as vice chair for the Diversity & Multicultural Affairs Committee.
To be sure, Student Senate’s Resolution 17 does not mention bathrooms in any way or shape, much less calls for the elimination of gender-specific bathrooms.
As part of my duties, I attended a meeting of a group known as the Multilateral Diversity Task Force. Among its many goals, the notion of eliminating gender specific bathrooms was mentioned.
Still, an absence of mention has never stopped the LGBT rights movement or its allies from acting upon a cause.
There was even a planned campaign for the idea, based on euphemistically referring to them as “family rooms.” When the idea was brought back to the committee proper, however, it was shot down. That past debate came to mind when I learned the current Student Senate passed a resolution calling for the addition of Gender Identity & Expression to University Policy 1201. Known as Resolution 17, the measure invokes state and federal level measures of a similar nature, meant to protect transgender individuals from discrimination. Introduced last year, Faculty Senate is considering it also and, given our ideological sensitivities, will likely pass the resolution. On the surface, the intentions of Resolution 17 sound quite pure. Students should not fear discrimination when entering a campus, least of all one that is able to function because of said student’s financial investment. As with so many good ideas, plans and intentions, a horrible menace lurks beneath the kind words and golden ambitions: the question of implementation. What does a campus that bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression look like exactly? For example, can we still have gender-specific bathrooms? One may laugh, but in some circles within the LGBT community and its allies, the abolition of gender-specific bathrooms is seriously discussed. As they see it, the harassment and discomfort caused for transgendered individuals supersedes the harassment and discomfort caused for non-transgendered individuals. This was a big issue for Diversity Committee years back. The idea that a woman must go in a facility where a man she does not know drops his pants right next to her did not appeal. Furthermore, Mason has a sizable student population raised with and adherent to strict gender norms that mandate certain barriers must exist between men and women. Mason can cater to this gender-blind ideology to an extent, but it becomes weird to claim that a transgender individual’s discomfort is inherently more important than a woman’s discomfort or an international student’s discomfort.
See also the numerous judges across the United States who concluded that a document which makes no mention of marital status one way or the other still calls for the immediate legalization of gay marriage. It is not inevitable that if Resolution 17 succeeds in its aims that Mason will abolish gender-specific bathrooms. After all, the same University Policy 1201 mentioned in the resolution lists sexual orientation as an identity that cannot be discriminated against. Even though such is listed, students remain free to publicly disagree with our Pride Alliance chapter or support campaigns to have Virginia only legally recognize heterosexual marriages. I know of no one involved in the pro-marriage amendment student group Virginians for Marriage from years back who was expelled for affiliating with such an organization. Nevertheless, there is precedent for campusbased decisions on behalf of the anti-gender binary movement being a zero-sum game. Years back, the university opted to change our homecoming titles from the gender specific king and queen to the intentionally gender neutral “Mason Majesty.” They could have made it so that there was a homecoming King, Queen, and Majesty titles to vie for, yet they chose instead to remove the original titles altogether. Presently, Fairfax campus has both gender-specific and gender-neutral bathrooms, a respectable compromise that reflects a diversity of thought and sensitivity. If Policy 1201 is changed to include gender identity and expression, how long will this compromise maintain itself ? Or, to inverse the famous Spock statement, will someone powerful conclude that the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many? Words of caution need to be spoken regarding Resolution 17 and the unintended consequences therein. Protecting a marginalized group from discrimination is amiable, but if it comes with marginalizing a much larger community when less strident measures are available then it fulfills no benevolent purpose. MICHAEL GRYBOSKI | COLUMNIST
Regarding police and community relations
Over the last months we have faced immense anger and tension with regard to police and community relations. With that, we have seen social media sites flooded with popular one-liners like “black lives matter” or “blue lives matter.” After the Eric Garner case in New York, Facebook was dominated by posts of “I can’t breathe.” The response to this was “breathe easy, don’t break the law.” Our love for overly-simplified, inflammatory statements posted on social media has reinforced our human tendency to take sides, and stick to them. I get it, people are angry. I am angry also. Citizens have died. Police officers have lost their lives too. We should be angry. However, while anger is a powerful emotion, it is not an effective game plan. Being angry is easy. What you do with your anger is the real test. What if we were to use our anger to propel us into the process of sustainable, and peaceful conflict resolution? Let us start with the basic conflict resolution adage of the orange. I learned this story as a graduate student at the Mason School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Once upon a time, there were two chefs in a kitchen, both focused on creating specific dishes. There was one orange in the kitchen, and both chefs grabbed for the orange, exclaiming, “I need this orange for my dish.” A conflict was established. The chefs did what most people would do; they agreed to cut the orange in half. One chef took his half and squeezed the orange juice into a bowl, discarding the peel. He didn’t have quite enough juice to make the dish taste right. The other chef took the second half, grated the orange peel into his bowl, and discarded the fruit juice. He didn’t have quite enough peel to make the dish just right. What if the chefs had stopped and explained why they needed the orange? They would have realized that one chef could use all the juice and the other chef could have all the peel. The orange story is an example of what happens when we focus on our stated positions instead of our underlying interests. The conflictive position in this case was, “I need this orange.” However, at a deeper level, there were specific interests that created this position. Since the chefs did not take the time to discuss the interests, they failed to see the clear resolution that was right under their noses.
In today’s conflict, police and community members have pitted themselves against each other, with opposing positions. Upon closer inspection of their interests, these groups are more similar than we thought. If we carefully listen to the gripes, we hear a plea for respect, empathy, and valuation of life from both sides. Young black men are tired of being stopped and being told they “fit the description.” Police officers are tired of being stereotyped on the whole, as “brutal”, based on a handful of incidents. One group is hurt by being called “thugs” while the other group is hurt by being called “pigs.” The list of similarities goes on and on. When, as a police officer, I was in a cold dark alley at 2am, facing a citizen during a stop, Twitter and Facebook weren’t going to protect me. The Mayor was at home. CNN and Fox News were busy stirring up anger in people’s living rooms. During the moments of the typical police/citizen encounter, there are two individuals facing each other who likely want the same bottom line: Survive this with my life and my dignity. And what prevents the citizen from resisting arrest? What deters the officer from using force? All of those outcomes are determined by the words and actions of the officer and the citizen. However, if that officer and citizen have taken the time to listen, and try to understand the interests of the other person, maybe they will each realize they aren’t so different from each other. Unfortunately, this isn’t a process that can begin at 2am during the encounter. We must push police departments, communities, politicians, and media to focus more on the interests and less on the positions. Celebrities and sports stars, push yourselves to type more than a three word tweet to sum up a complicated situation. If you really want change, you must be willing to put your anger to use, and seek a better understanding of your perceived foe. Find out what can be done to appease both of your interests, because it seems like we all have a lot more in common than we thought. BURKE BROWNFELD | 2009 GRADUATE CERTIFICATE RECIPIENT OF MASON’S INSTITUTE OF CONFLICT ANALYSIS AND RESOLUTION | FORMER ALEXANDRIA POLICE OFFICER (VA.) | CHIEF OF SECURITY AT THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
SCOREBOARD SCORE/ RECORD
60-72 (L) [7-14]
73-84 (L) [11-11]
54-58 (L) [7-15]
THE WEEK AHEAD SPORT
HOW TO WATCH
FEB. 13 6 P.M.
RAC Tennis Courts
FEB. 14 12 P.M.
FEB. 14 4 P.M.
All men’s and women’s basketball games have a live audio stream available on wgmuradio.com Mason Cable Network will be streaming all home baseball, men’s volleyball and women’s lacrosse games this season. For more information, visit masoncablenetwork.com
Mason hosted in-state rival VCU on Wednesday. The Patriots lost to the number 17-ranked Rams, 60-72.
(AMY PODRAZA/FOURTH ESTATE)
UPCOMING IN SPORTS
Coming home The men’s basketball team will go on the road Wednesday to take on Davidson, the Patriots hope to break a three-game losing skid. Then on Valentine’s Day for homecoming weekend, the team will take on Richmond at 4 p.m. in the Patriot Center.
Stepping up play After winning three of their first four A-10 games, the women’s basketball team hit a dry spell. The Patriots have a chance to rebound when they travel to take on UMass on Wednesday before coming home to take on rival VCU on Saturday at noon.
Baseball preseason rankings On Feb. 6, the A-10 preseason coaches poll was released, and Mason was voted to finish third in the conference this season. The Patriots are the defending champions and start their season on Friday in Florida with the Snowbird Classic.