BROADSIDE AND CONNECT2MASON PRESENT
FOURTH ESTATE Feb. 24, 2014 | Volume 1 Issue 17 George Mason University’s official student news outlet
Scheduled road detour affects route to Mason | page 4
JOHN IRWIN/FOURTH ESTATE
COMMUTE UNDER CONSTRUCTION
IV ESTATE Hau Chu
LETTER FROM THE
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF I was hoping not to have to write something on this topic. Maybe it was ignorant of me to try and remain silent on the issue, but we really need to talk about LGBTQ acceptance in sports culture. Specifically, the case of University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam coming out before he is about to be evaluated by teams for selection in the NFL Draft. Tolerance and understanding of LGBTQ rights should be completely accepted in society, full stop. There should be no question that our common goal as a society should be to strive for social equality for all people. There’s not much more for me to say on the broader view of this issue because it seems so clear-cut to me, but I do want to examine the issue more under the lens of the understanding of LGBTQ rights in sports. Sam did a very brave thing by coming out in public when he knows that there is a chance it could affect his future career prospects and even his relationship with his family. Sam’s father was shaken by the text from Sam that told his father he was gay -- which Sam’s father received while dining at Denny’s. “I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks,” said Michael Sam Sr. to the New York Times. “I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment.” While it’s troubling that Sam will face adversity from his own father, that is a very personal matter between the two that will hopefully be hashed out in the near future. Where I drew my anger was a Sports Illustrated article following Sam’s announcement regarding his ‘new’ draft stock in the eyes of some in NFL front offices. In largely reactionary commentary from some NFL executives -- who cowardly decided to remain anonymous -- all had the same general sentiment that Sam’s coming out would only negatively impact his draft stock. Due, in part, to what these anonymous executives view as the current locker room culture and the ‘publicity circus’ that would follow Sam. “I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” said an NFL player personnel assistant to Sports Illustrated. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.” This is a disgusting way to look at acceptance in sports culture, especially in such coded language. This cowardly executive could not bluntly put into words his own fear of acceptance. Where I find greater fault in this ‘logic’ of an openly gay player in the locker room causing an imbalance and being a distraction to the team would be that some NFL locker rooms contain legitimate threats to equality and a better world. Take the Philadelphia Eagles this past season for example. At one point, the starting quarterback was Michael Vick, who was convicted in a much-publicized case for conspiring in a dogfighting ring. He threw passes on a consistent basis to wide receiver, Riley Cooper, who at a concert this past summer was caught on video vowing to, “fight every [n-word].” This isn’t a reflection on the vision of organization building implemented by the Eagles, but compare the ‘distraction’ and ‘imbalance’ to a locker room caused by an openly gay player in Sam with the character and public image of some players already found in an NFL locker room. While the comments by NFL personnel in the Sports Illustrated article represent one sect of the NFL, there were a handful of teams that went on record to support Michael Sam and tell him that he would be welcome with open arms in their respective locker rooms. To their credit, the Eagles joined the New York Giants, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions in publicly supporting Sam. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the Boston Herald that Sam would have a support system were he to come to New England. “We’re about winning,” Kraft said to the Boston Herald. “And anyone who can
come in here and help us win, I personally don’t care what their ethnic background is, their racial background, the gender preference. If they can help us win, and they’re about team first, then I’m happy to have him here.” What the Patriots share with the other seven teams who made public statements in support of Sam is that they have all made the playoffs in the past four years. Four of the teams have made a Super Bowl appearance in those same four years. If these teams with a recent history of success could provide a support system, surely the teams of these anonymous executives could learn to do the same.
Daniel Gregory Managing Editor
Alexa Rogers News Editor
Suhaib Khan Print News Editor
Genevieve Hoeler Lifestyle Editor
Sara Moniuszko Print Lifestyle Editor
Stephen Czarda Sports Editor
Darian Banks Print Sports Editor
John Irwin Photography Editor
HAU CHU EDITOR-IN-CHIEF GMUFOURTHESTATE@GMAIL.COM @HAUCHU
Amy Rose Asst. Photography Editor
Aysha Abdallah Design Editor
Walter Martinez Visual Editor
Rawan Elbaba Copy Chief
Katryna Henderson Illustrator
Kathryn Mangus Director
David Carroll Associate Director
Why FOURTH ESTATE ? Prior to Broadside, the student newspaper was called The Gunston Ledger. It was changed in 1969 to better represent the politically out-spoken student body at the time. A “broadside” was a pamphlet used during the American Revolutionary War to help spread information. While Broadside has become an important part of life at Mason, we believe it no longer represents the overarching goals of student-run news. Though not specifically outlined like the three branches of government, the concept of a fourth estate referred to journalism and the media as an important tenet in upholding justice and liberty through establishing an informed public. These historic roots coincide with the transforming industry of modern journalism.
Fourth Estate operates as a publication of Broadside. Fourth Estate is printed each Monday for George Mason University and its surrounding Fairfax Community. The editors of Fourth Estate have exclusive authority over the content that is published. There are no outside parties that play a role in the newspaper’s content, and should there be a question or complaint regarding this policy, the Editor-in-Chief should be notified at the email provided. Fourth Estate is a free publication, limit one copy per person. Additional copies are 25 cents payable to the Office of Student Media. Mail Fourth Estate George Mason University Mail stop 2C5 4400 University Drive Fairfax, Va. 22030 Phone 703-993-2950
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
Photo of the Week: Homecoming cheer Mason cheerleading urges on the crowd during the homecoming women’s basketball game on Feb.15 which saw Mason lose to Saint Joseph’s, 89-75.
Milan Study Abroad offers six-credit fashion course
ISSUE LLC created to focus on gender issues recently canceled
The provost committee presented their ﬁnal candidate, José Bermúdez on Feb. 14
13 Mason alumnus David Verburg starts “running” his own dream career
ROUTE 123 BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION LIKELY TO CAUSE CONGESTION
(WALTER MARTINEZ/FOURTH ESTATE)
REEM NADEEM BEAT REPORTER
This spring, commuter students may notice condensed traffic around Chain Bridge Road. The City of Fairfax will begin the demolition and replacement of an existing 90-year-old bridge over Accotink Creek in late March or early April. “The existing bridge is about 90 years old and it’s functionally and structurally obsolete, it’s had its useful life but the concrete is starting to weaken and we need to replace it so it can carry the present day vehicle loads,” said Director of Public Works, David Summers. Detours will begin Feb. 17. Kenmore Drive will be restricted to a westbound one-way street between Mason St. and Chain Bridge Rd. to allow for water main relocation. Information and diagrams of the detour can be found on the Fairfax City website. Concerned commuters can also sign up for eMAS, a free system provided by Fairfax city to send traffic alerts and road detours through text and email. Commuters are encouraged to find alternate routes to their destinations or to plan ahead for delays during their commute.
“I’m hoping that people will be patient and understand that we have to replace the bridge,” Summers said. “There will be some congestion due to construction activity and I just hope people remain patient and find alternative routes and bear with us. We hope to have the project completed sometime in August.” Though the replacement of this bridge has not created any large obstacles, the exact date of its demolition and construction are still tentative. “It’s not exactly certain when it’ll start yet because we have to relocate a water line and we’re also building a temporary bridge for use for southbound traffic during construction. These two things, the water line and the temporary bridge, need to be completed before we can actually start the new bridge,” Summers said. Relocation of the water line is anticipated to begin next week. Construction of the temporary bridge is planned to begin in March. However, inclement weather may delay the start of construction. The new bridge, though serving the same purpose as the
old one, will bring new features to the community including a separate bridge for pedestrians to the east and a sidewalk to the west. Summers said there will be pedestrian and bike paths on either side of the bridge once construction is complete. According to Summers, the process to replace the bridge began six years ago after a routine examination of the bridge. The city had to procure funding for the process and discuss different designs with the City Council and the community as well as advertise for construction and relocate power lines. Though the new bridge won’t have any extra lanes, it will be safer for commuters by improving sight distance, according to Summers. The new bridge will be safer for pedestrians as well as add aesthetic to the community. “It’s going to have an arch shape with masonry facing, it’ll have footlights so the walkways will be illuminated at night,” Summers said. “I’m excited for the community because when it’s finished it will be very attractive and I think everybody will like it.”
FEMINISM-ORIENTED LIVING COMMUNITY CANCELED CHRISTOPHER MORRISON STAFF WRITER
Rewriting the Script, a Living Learning Community that aimed to focus on gender issues and the feminist theory, was recently canceled due to a low turnout in student applications. Directors and faculty involved with the creation and promotion of the Rewriting the Script LLC were notified via email on January 30th that the program was cancelled. “We did what we could and that was the pilot program and it did not get off the ground,” said Program Coordinator for Women and Gender Studies Latashia Harris. “Rewriting the Script was going to have a learning component to that living component, which is what LLCs are supposed to have, but it was going to give [students] the opportunity to talk about different gender identities, different sexual orientations.” Rewriting the Script came about after students expressed interest in the idea of an LLC that would focus on today’s social issues concerning feminism and gender. In response to student concerns, many different departments made events and programs available to the student body to address and resolve concerns. “Different offices try to come up with something as a solution to student concern,” Harris said. “It’s up to us to make sure that it’s available, that it happens, because it is addressing their concerns.” Throughout the development process of Rewriting the Script, the Mason LGBTQ Resources Office officials supported the launch of the LLC. “We were definitely onboard,” said LGBTQ Program
Coordinator Amena Johnson. “I thought it was a great idea for the entire community because it would have involved important conversations and activities about gender.” Prior to Rewriting the Script, BRIDGES, or the Building Respect for Identities, Diverse Gender Expressions and Sexualities LLC, was the first LLC that focused on the respectful awareness of all sexual orientations and gender identities available at Mason. The LLC lasted from 2009 to 2010, completing two full school years. “I loved the idea,” said Associate Director of LGTBQ Resources Office Ric Chollar. “I thought so much about it would bring some of the best of what we were doing with [BRIDGES] and broaden it so that the broader scope of gender issues, feminism, commitment to learning about intersections. All of that I thought was a terrific idea.” Throughout its two years, BRIDGES required students to participate in a safe zone training model and held events that involved student-faculty cooperation and relationship building. “We had one event which involved a networking session where students, faculty, and staff were invited,” Chollar said. “Those kind of events were interesting because a lot of faculty and staff, even more than the students, got motivated to come.” According to Chollar one of the biggest obstacles for both BRIDGES and Rewriting the Script was the limited amount of time. “The time frame of when something is approved and how do you market it to interested people so that you can get enough people to sign up, that was our downfall,” Chollar said. “Everything happened so fast.”
According to Johnson, after the 2010 school year LLCs were required to fill an entire residence hall floor to exist. Due to the fact that the BRIDGES LLC only included seven to ten students, it did not fulfill this minimum. “I know the interest for BRIDGES remained the same because it ran for two years,” Johnson said. Although flexible housing is offered to students, Harris believes that this LLC would have offered something more for prospective students living on campus. “Flexible housing is a solution to a certain degree but it does not come with a learning component,” Harris said. “And since everybody makes assumptions all the time about so many things I think [Rewriting the Script] definitely would have given us the space to say ‘Alright let’s talk about it’.” According to Harris, the cancellation of the Rewriting the Script LLC for the 2014 to 2015 school year does not mean that it will not be available for future students. “We are going to keep trying to push for it to happen,” Harris said. “We just have to keep trying until the student numbers are there.” According to Chollar the value and significance of these gender focused LLCs such as BRIDGES and Rewriting the Script became apparent to him through a conversation he had with a past BRIDGES student. “We were reminiscing over all the skills he had learned and so many ways he had been a student leader, and the two things he says has helped him the most were his involvement in the safe zone program and his living on [the BRIDGES] floor,” Chollar said. “His story is something that really makes me believe that these are really important.”
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
PROVOST SEARCH CONTINUES
“[I’m] looking at the infrastructure between inside and outside the classroom,” Bermúdez said. In closing, Bermúdez described his leadership style to committee members with hopes that he could get the faculty working together cohesively toward a common goal. “[The biggest challenge] will be trying to get people to think as a college or university,” Bermúdez said. The search committee will meet on Feb. 19 to discuss the candidates’ presentations and make their recommendations to President Cabrera, who will ultimately make the decision.
(PHOTO COURTESY OF TEXAS A&M)
HAU CHU EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
ALEXA ROGERS NEWS EDITOR
The provost committee presented their final candidate, José Bermúdez, at an intimate lunch at the Mason Inn’s Boxwoods restaurant on Feb. 14 after the university’s closure. Bermúdez has served as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University since 2010. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from Kings College at Cambridge University and was previously a professor of philosophy, director of the Center for Programs in Arts and Sciences and director of the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology program at Washington University in St. Louis. Bermúdez began his informal presentation by speaking directly about Mason’s strategic plan. He spoke highly of the initiative and outlined his ideas for expanding the four pillars of innovation, diversity, entrepreneurship, and accessibility. “I think it is really smart to create a set of values and what you want your students to be like and work backwards from there,” Bermúdez said. One of the bigger components of Bermúdez’s presentation was his desire to grow student involvement in Mason’s study abroad programs, while also examining the possibility of making study abroad a requirement for certain majors. If chosen as provost, he would encourage at least 25 percent of students to study abroad.
After speaking briefly on his visions and goals for Mason, the candidate took questions from various committee members and discussed his ideas for issues that are specific to the position. Bermúdez spoke about his goals for research and stated that Mason’s 908 tenure and tenure-track professors were not enough to build a massive research presence. In order to create a larger research initiative, Bermúdez stressed that he would push to allocate increased funding for current professors to do more research. “As a humanist, I do think the end all be all of research is research funding,” Bermúdez said. In tandem with building Mason’s research capacity, Bermúdez also hopes to expand the library’s accessibility. He felt that Mason needed to increase the amount of materials and resources available to students both inside the library and electronically to keep up with an evolving classroom. “The library is a contributor to the full academic enterprise… [it is] actively involved in the changing environment of the classroom,” Bermúdez said. In terms of student services, Bermúdez would want to work with the student government to stay in touch with the issues that are most prevalent to students. He also stressed that he wanted to look into expanding intramural sport activities to keep students active outside of the classroom.
The provost search committee brought Suzanne Austin for her formal public presentation to students and faculty for the provost position on Feb. 11. Austin, currently the vice provost for student and faculty success at the University of AlabamaBirmingham, was the third of four candidates selected as a finalist for the provost position to present their vision, knowledge and credentials to the Mason community. Austin’s academic background is in Latin American history, and she is currently a professor of epidemiology at UAB. She believes her background as a Latin American historian gives her the global perspective that Mason is trying to convey in its vision of trying to be a “university for the world.” “I have always – my whole career – had a very global and international perspective in what I do,” Austin said. “As I’ve read the documents, the strategic plan and thought about this, Mason really has positioned itself to become a global leader in higher education in the United States.” Austin recalled her experience before UAB, when she held many administrative positions at the University of Delaware including associate provost for academic affairs, to speak on Mason’s global plan. “Being part of this Songdo campus in South Korea is very exciting,” Austin said. “I spent most of my career at the University of Delaware, and they actually planned to participate in the Songdo campus. At some point, shortly after I left, they decided not to do that but I think that Mason was very smart to hang in there and in the end I think that the budget model and other pieces have worked out such that this will be an exciting opportunity for this institution.” -Continued on Page 7
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
PROVOST SEARCH -CONTINUED
One of the key points that Austin focused on bringing to Mason was giving students more opportunities in experiential learning on and off-campus, the execution of which she oversaw at UAB. “[At UAB] part of my job is figuring out how we can send more students abroad, how we can get more students into service-learning opportunities, undergraduate research and, of course, graduate research in getting students the opportunities they need,” Austin said. A common thread throughout the presentation was the parallel Austin created between
the growth paths of Mason and UAB. Austin highlighted both universities’ efforts to create a diverse student body, and added that when UAB was looking to improve graduation and retention rates of students, administrators followed the model that Mason had implemented. After Austin’s brief presentation highlighting the four main pillars of Mason’s strategic plan – innovation, diversity, entrepreneurship and accessibility – the majority of time was given to the faculty to ask questions of Austin and engage in a discussion of ideas.
The main overarching concern of the faculty on hand was how Austin intended to help the university reach its research funding goal – Mason wishes to double the $100 million already raised in the next ten years -- as outlined in the strategic plan. “The strategy to get to the doubling of research funding is going to be around making strategic decisions, or building on strengths,” Austin said. Austin highlighted the university’s initiative to build various institutes to generate research funding, specifically a simulation modeling
and gaming institute that Mason has made a priority and lauded the idea of focusing on building an institute for public health given the proximity to Washington D.C. While Austin mentioned the benefits of branching out funding and extending Mason’s reach into many fields, the need to focus funding was a point that Austin stressed as important. “The days of trying to do everything and be all things to all people probably are gone,” Austin said.
FREE TICKETS FOR MASON STUDENTS! MASON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND FRIENDS February 24 at 8 p.m. $10 adu., $5 stu./sen. CA 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. NOW
MASON WIND SYMPHONY February 27 at 8 p.m. $10 adu., $5 stu./sen. CA 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. NOW
THE PEKING ACROBATS February 26 at 7:30 p.m. $48, $40, $32 HC 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. NOW
VISUAL VOICES SPEAKER SERIES Lygia Clark: From Object to Subject Monica Amor, speaker February 27 at 7:30 p.m. FREE HT
HEDDA GABLER February 26 at 8 p.m. February 27- March 1 at 8 p.m. $15 adu., $10 stu./fac. TS 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. NOW
THE ACTING COMPANY Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead March 1 at 8 p.m. $44, $36, $22 CA 2 Free Tickets per ID avail. NOW
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703-993-8888 or cfa.gmu.edu/students
Center for the Arts
THE ACTING COMPANY Hamlet March 2 at 4 p.m. $44, $36, $28 HC 2 Free Tickets per ID avail. NOW MAX RAABE & PALAST ORCHESTER The Golden Age March 2 at 4 p.m. $46, $38, $23 CA 2 Free Tickets per ID avail. NOW FACULTY ARTIST SERIES Kathy Mulcahy, clarinet March 3 at 12:30 p.m. FREE HT
HC HYLTON CENTER
FIXED, MEASURED, AND LEVELED EXHIBITION Richard Franklin, Harold Linton,Peter Winant March 3 – 28 FREE FG MASON JAZZ ENSEMBLE March 5 at 8 p.m. $10 adults, $5 students/seniors CA 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. Feb. 25
HT HARRIS THEATRE
7 0 3 - 9 9 3 - 7 7 5 9 o r h y l t o n c e n t e r. o r g / s t u d e n t s
Hylton Performing Arts Center PRINCE WILLIAM
MASON STUDENT GOVERNMENT DEVELOPS DECLARATION OF STUDENT RIGHTS
KATRYNA HENDERSON/FOURTH ESTATE)
DAVID MAGILL BEAT REPORTER
This past semester, the Declaration of Student Rights bill has been the leading project under construction by Mason’s Student Government. With the recent progress from the bill’s main supervisor, Student Government’s Attorney General, Rachel Grimesey, the bill is set to be completed by the end of April. Grimesey has been in charge of the declaration’s overall progress since it was created last fall. “Most of the work on the bill has been done just this past semester, and in many ways I had to start from scratch,” Grimesey said. “You’d be surprised by how many schools don’t actually have a formal declaration of student rights”. According to Grimesey, the bill was originally created out of concern from students for drug and alcohol rules. From there, it was expanded over this past semester to a broader document that also addresses disability rights and sexual assault policies. “The document is not just seeking to create new policies, it’s also consolidating ones that already exist,” Grimesey said. “It is an important way for students to understand their rights along with the resources available to them.” In addition, she described it as “a way for students to constructively bring their concerns to the student government.” “The bill is intended to be a contract of sorts between faculty
administration and students. It creates a mutual understanding between the administration and students,” Grimesey said. One example of a specific policy in the bill includes the widely discussed “Good Samaritan” law, which serves as an amnesty policy for illegally intoxicated students that seek medical attention for a peer that is under the influence. Grimesey also believes that one of the most essential aspects of the bill will be the insight it provides into the appeal process for students in Student Conduct hearings. “If someone is expelled from the university, that affects their entire future, specifically their careers. We need to make sure it’s a fair process, because if it is not that reflects badly on the university,” Grimesey said. In order for the Declaration of Student Rights to become active within the Mason community, it has to be passed by a number of groups on campus. “The process consists of first having the document passed through the Senate, then taken to the administration and then, if deemed feasible by the administration, it is voted on by the student body. We hope to have it passed through the senate by Feb. 27,” Grimesey said. While Grimesey hopes that the bill will be completed and passed by the end of the semester, she addressed the unpredictability that is often associated with the passing of any bill through the administration. “We don’t want people to get too excited about its
completion,” Grimesey said. “At this point our intended date of completion is still just speculative.” However, while Grimesey works on developing the bill, her peers in the student government are generating much excitement over its possible outcome. Speaker of the Student Senate, Phil Abbruscato, expressed his excitement for the declaration. “I feel that [the bill] will greatly benefit the students of George Mason University, as it will help clarify existing Student Conduct policies, create a contract between administrators and students in order to ensure fairness in treatment of all students and provide transparency for the university disciplinary process,” Abbruscato said. Dilan Wickrema, chairman of the Governmental and Academic Affairs committee for the student senate, remarked that most of the senate seemed to be excited overall on the progress of the bill. “We want to make sure everyone is on board, [the declaration] goes back to one of the senate’s main goals, which is to get more interaction between students and the administration,” Wickrema said. However, Wickrema also wanted to express a realistic outlook on the bill. “We still will have work to do on the document concerning its finalization and moderation, even if it does pass,” Wickrema said.
NEW STUDENT GROUP AIMS TO SIMPLIFY ECONOMICS
(PHOTO COURTESY OF GENERATION FKD)
ELLEN GLICKMAN STAFF WRITER
n Feb. 19, David Roth, president of the Economics Society, received approval from the Office of Student Involvement to start a new student organization. The student organization is an on-campus chapter of a nationwide non-profit that seeks to make economics knowledge accessible and easy to understand for college-age students. The non-partisan and non-profit group is Generation F.K.D. or Generation for Financial Knowledge Development. It is also a thinly veiled reference to a word that describes a state where every option appears to promise little probability for success. According to the website, the target audience for the organization is Generation Y, or millennials, who they feel relate most to this feeling as they contemplate job prospects in a struggling economy. “We want what you want,” the homepage says. “To find a good job, not be broke, and have a chance to win at life.” Kennedy Patterson, an executive board member of the Economics Society and treasurer of the campus chapter, said the organization is skilled in explaining complex information. “Gen. FKD explains things in terms we can understand and it makes it interesting for us to understand and stay informed,” Patterson said. “That way, we can make actual informed decisions and hopefully better our own economic situation in life.” Aspects of the site, such as colloquial language and analogies that employ the use of Simpson’s characters, are ways the non-profit tries to make their information extremely relatable. “It’s written by a bunch of college students who can’t get jobs, so it’s very easily understandable to a bunch of college students who can’t get jobs,” Patterson said. Roth was contacted by Jesse Jacobs, co-founder and executive director of the non-profit, to discuss starting a campus chapter. “They were searching for campuses in Virginia and Florida to be the basis, like a springboard, to launch their organization,” Roth said. “It’s a very new organization.” Jacobs also offered Roth a paid position as a Campus Coordinator, a job Generation F.K.D. has for student leaders at
college. “I’m a student and a lot of my time is dedicated to classes and of course, the Economics Society which I have to put my heart and soul into almost every day,” Roth said. “So even though I may have been interested in it, I don’t know if I would have just organically done it…There’s so much work and stress involved in actually managing an organization. I can do a few, but a financial incentive certainly helps to take on another one.” As Campus Coordinator for Generation F.K.D., Roth’s responsibilities include increasing awareness of and involvement in the non-profit, so Roth decided initiating a chapter was the best way to fulfill those duties. “It follows from being [Campus Coordinator] that I would want to establish a chapter on campus because that’s going to be the best way to spread the word that we’re an organization and spread all the knowledge and resources we have,” Roth said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to help educate people.” The majority of members of the Economics Society are known to have a certain political slant, but Roth says this will have no effect on the new Generation F.K.D. chapter. “The society itself isn’t political, but unfortunately a lot of our members are, but that’s unavoidable in any organization,” Roth said. “We do take a leaning towards the Mason school of economics…a majority of our members are libertarian.” Roth, who does not identify with a political party, said he has not found any political preference during his interactions with Generation F.K.D. “In reading the articles that they put up and just interacting with them I haven’t really been able to detect firm biases in any direction,” Roth said. “They work incredibly hard to keep it un-political, and I appreciate that because I don’t particularly like politics.” Patterson said the study of economics is not meant to be a political enterprise. “It is supposed to be a science, a social science, but once applied in defense of an argument or political party it very quickly becomes partisan,” Patterson said. Patterson said Generation F.K.D. accepts varying entries to display the complexity of certain concepts.
“A lot of things economically, they do have multiple definitions,” Patterson said. “[Economic writing] is very diplomatic. You have to include every angle - there’s a lot of different ways to perceive many things.” The website displays most information as either a news reel with links to articles from other publications or a blog with posts by the staff and various contributors. According to Patterson, the founders have explained that the blogs serve to spark discussion and may contain some biased material. “They want to encourage a conversation, so some blog posts may come across partisan,” Patterson said. “They want us to be passionate about it one way or the other…so some of their information isn’t perfectly neutral, but it doesn’t reflect their [purpose as] simply serving as a forum for people to have these dialogues.” Patterson said blog submissions still post valuable information. “The articles are very factual…it’s not like their opinion is generating fake numbers,” Patterson said. “People have blog posts to have those dialogues, but they’re simply stating facts and making arguments about them.” Roth said he regards Generation F.K.D. as independent of the Economics Society. “I’m going to keep it completely separate because they’re two completely different mission statements,” Roth said. “The Economics Society’s gearing toward people who want professional development in the field of economics…this is catered towards a more general audience so as a result of that I want to keep them as separate as possible.” According to Patterson, Generation F.K.D. thinks a lack of knowledge about economics contributes to the employment struggle and said her knowledge of economics has been helpful in understanding the world around her. “They think people are unemployed because they don’t have these financial skills and don’t really understand what’s going on,” Patterson said. Understanding what’s going on and having a good understanding of it, whatever way you decided to do that, is very important…That’s why I think Gen. FKD is so important because it makes that easier.”
FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID CUT FOR
(KATRYNA HENDERSON/FOURTH ESTATE)
ALEXA ROGERS NEWS EDITOR
t the beginning of the fall semester, the Office of Financial Aid informed the Center for Global Education that federal financial aid would no longer be applied to non-Mason study abroad programs. Changes to federal financial aid regulations have changed
the financial aid office’s interpretation of how aid can be applied to these study abroad programs, which are not directly affiliated with the university. Erin Mateu, the associate general manager for the Center for Global Education, said the financial aid office’s new interpretation made a very abrupt change to the non-Mason programs. “The non-Mason programs, all the sudden, not only are they not they affiliated with Mason specifically, but also they’re now
transfer credit programs. Those two elements combined read such in the law that [students cannot receive aid],” Mateu said. The non-Mason programming is an option for students whose needs are not met by Mason’s programs. “For the student that is looking for something so specific that one of our programs doesn’t offer what they need, we refer our students to the non-Mason category,” Mateu said. Wayne Sigler, vice president of Enrollment Management,
NON-MASON STUDY ABROAD
described the interpretations in more technical terms. She explained that when students choose to study abroad at another university through a program that is not affiliated with Mason, that student no longer pays to attend Mason and therefore cannot receive any federal financial aid. “In order to give a student at Mason federal financial aid, in an accounting sense, there has to be a Mason bill for [financial aid] to apply that against,” Sigler said. “Otherwise, [they] would
be putting money on an account that has no charges.” The Office of Financial Aid announced these new regulations a year and a half ago, however, they only became affective this past fall. This allowed students that had already planned their trips for the spring and summer semesters last year to go on their trips with their financial aid. Students that had already planned a non-Mason trip for this past fall, however, were not able to take their federal financial aid with them. Marie Alice Arnold, general manager for the Center for Global Education, stressed that financial aid is an ever-changing game. “Financial aid is not a fixed type of thing and the regulations are constantly being rewritten and interpreted…it’s always different with the interpretations to get a clear determination,” Arnold said. While non-Mason programs are not a popular choice amongst students that choose to study abroad, there are approximately 20-30 students per semester, according to Arnold, that choose this option. The Center for Global Education (CGE) has three types of program options for students that want to study abroad. Students can study through faculty-led programs that carry direct Mason credit, exchange programs through other universities that have an agreement with Mason or non-Mason programs, which are run through third party institutions. Students that pursue the first two options, according to Arnold, are able to use federal financial aid for their programs, as they are still considered as Mason-affiliated. The third, non-Mason tier is considered a non-affiliate and therefore students that choose this option are not eligible for federal financial aid. Heidi Granger, the director for the Office of Financial Aid, believes that Mason’s three-tier system of study abroad programs may be to blame for the difficulty in procuring federal financial aid for students that choose non-Mason programs. Before these new regulations, according to Arnold, federal financial aid was available to students that studied abroad with a non-Mason program. Students would still be registered at Mason and have to hold a consortium agreement between the university at which they were studying and Mason. This agreement would serve as a contract between the “home” campus, their primary university, to the “host” campus, where they were studying abroad to allow the student to continue to
receive financial aid. However, as the regulations began to change, concerns on whether students that were studying abroad in non-Mason programs were truly still enrolled at Mason forced discussion about financial aid. According to Arnold, the CGE even went so far as to create an online class that would keep students at Mason while abroad. However, the program was not enough to keep students within the regulations. “It was a bit of a nerve-wracking moment because most of our programs are transfer credit programs, even our Mason programs but [those] are officially Mason programs, they all fall into the realm of receiving financial aid,” Mateu said. Alec Constantine, a senior studying Russian at Moscow State University, is currently enrolled in a non-Mason program and did not personally qualify for federal financial aid. However, he believes that the new regulations should not prevent students from the study abroad experience. “I think Mason should [encourage] students to go abroad, even if it’s not through Mason…hopefully they’ll reconsider,” Constantine said. Constantine also added that he felt it was very important that Mason be represented abroad. However, despite the wide variety of programs Mason has to offer, students that specifically need a non-Mason program may be put under immense financial strain to pursue their education abroad. “I think there’s a huge complication because sometimes the students that are looking for such specific programming, if we don’t offer it, they might have support cost of the program,” Mateu said. The new regulations, however, have not been a concern at other Virginia universities. Financial aid representatives from UVa, JMU and a study abroad representative from VCU, stated that students from their respective universities could use their federal financial aid toward programs that are not directly affiliated with their university. According to Shari Arehart, operations analyst at JMU’s Office of Financial Aid, students at JMU specifically have to complete a request form through the registrar’s office, have 12 credit hours to transfer back to the university and be studying through a program that is approved by the Department of Education. Their financial aid office uses all of these combined components as a signed contract, which approves the use of the student’s financial aid package for their study abroad program. Arnold said that the CGE would have to do more research with the Office of Financial Aid into different types of agreements that would fit within the regulations. She said that the CGE would most likely look for a way for students to enter individual agreements with the university. The financial aid office’s interpretation of the new regulations has put stress on the CGE, as the office now must try push students towards Mason programs so they can receive federal funding. “We really are trying to ensure that we have Mason programs for students so that they don’t have to go into the external program realm. But if they do have to, we will help guide them as best we can,” Mateu said. Sigler stressed that the Office of Financial Aid is not trying to hamper students’ opportunities to go abroad. “Our goal is to help students take advantage of many opportunities and we’re looking for ways to let them do that,” Sigler said. “One of our missions and our strengths, being close to the nation’s capitol, is to help our students be acquainted and comfortable with and thrive and compete in a global society. [Study abroad programs] fit very well with our mission as a university.”
Student artists share Italian experience in Mason Hall exhibit
ARRIELLE BROOKS ONLINE LIFESTYLE EDITOR
COOKS AND CRAFTS
Jersey Shore No Bake Cake
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
n Feb. 20, the School of Art welcomed students, professors and guests alike to its “Seeing and Responding to Italy” art gallery reception in the Mason Hall Atrium Gallery. This past summer, 12 art students were sent to Seravezza, a small hill-town in Tuscany, Italy. There, they were challenged to explore and respond to their new surroundings through whatever medium they were most comfortable. Over the course of three weeks, the artists visited neighboring sites such as Florence, Pisa, Rome and the famed Venice Biennale, a major international art exhibition that takes place once every three years. Through their exploration, the artists drew inspiration for their final projects. Select pieces were selected from each artists collection, in which both the rural and urban side of Italy were showcased. Some artists captured calming scenes of ponds and forests paths, while others provided portraits of human actions such as putting on makeup. Most notable was Joe Heim’s “Human Nature” series including several photos of various manmade landscapes with a sculpted outline of a person set somewhere each picture. Each sculpted person was created out of materials found in nature, such as hay or leaves, as a way to reconnect humanity with the earth. “Everything that creates the universe has created life,” said Heim. “Yet, at the same time, we’re very distant from the earth. So with this project, I created the human form back into nature where man has manipulated it.” He expressed how working with materials from the earth was the most important part of his artistic process, and that his time in Italy only strengthened his bond with his medium and the rich surroundings. “Once I finally got to Seravezza and was able to see the endless possibilities for where this work could go, I knew I had to incorporate the landscape,” Heim said. An array of paintings also added variety to the exhibit. Several paintings displayed café scenes from different Italian cities. One series focused on abstract depictions of musical instruments typically associated with Italy. Morgan Barber, a printmaker, also offered her own simple yet powerful representation of her time in Italy by documenting changes and constants in her life. Barber worked with press plates and woodblocks to create colored prints of squares and rectangles arranged
on Japanese paper. She chose yellows and blues that are reminiscent of the different things she saw during the trip. For example, in one print displaying small, dark yellow squares arranged into larger squares, the color symbolizes mosaics she saw while in a Florentine cathedral. Yet she chose to use squares to represent the sense of familiarity she still felt while in a foreign country. “So what was really changing in my life was going to Italy,” Barber said. “What was remaining constant was that I was still reading scripture in the Bible every day. My worship did not change whether I was in the United States or Italy.” She also mentioned that the slow-paced and welcoming atmosphere in Seravezza played a large role in her experience. Baker liked having the option to explore and take time to reflect on the similarities and differences between Italy and the U.S. For Mary Del Popolo, the School of Art Education program director, allowing the department’s students a chance to work abroad and feature the results at Mason has been a long-standing goal. She worked closely with Peggy Feerick, a colleague and photography professor at Mason, to make the program available for degree credit. “This was my whole vision,” Del Popolo said. “Luckily, Peggy had an affinity with Italy as well. We wanted to combine two faculty of different media. I have a painting and drawing background, and she has [a] photography [background].” Both Del Popolo and Feerick explained that they met with their students beforehand to discuss potential projects for their weeks in Italy. “We gave them some readings, we gave them some videos to watch,” Feerick said. “So they were prepared. But then again, when you get to a place that’s so foreign, everything changes.” The artists proved through their expressive works that, in spite of the challenge presented to them, they can still find new instances of beauty to connect to in a different country. The “Seeing and Responding to Italy” exhibit will be open to visitors, free of charge, until March 7.
To continue with the Italian theme that permeates this issue’s Lifestyle section, I thought I should share a recipe as an homage to one of the most Italian places in the U.S.—New Jersey. As a Jersey native, I could go on about the culinary joys that only the Garden State has to offer. From boardwalk pizza to massive bagels, New Jersey—excuse the pun—takes the cake. However,
New Jersey not only masters the art of grease and lard, but it also has some of the best tasting fruits and vegetables including corn, tomatoes and blueberries. With the latter being New Jersey’s state fruit, I decided to use it in this no-bake Italian cake that any person with a pan and a fridge can make. I also added strawberries because they are delicious.
Ingredients: 1 box of vanilla wafers 1 can crushed pineapples with juice ¼ cup lemon juice 1 can sweetened condensed milk 1 package of coconut shavings 1 (8oz) container of Cool Whip 10 strawberries cut in halves (20 strawberries in total) A handful of blueberries
Instructions: 1. In a mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice and condensed milk. Once mixed, add the pineapples and mix all ingredients together. 2. Line the bottom of pan or dish with vanilla wafers. 3. Take the lemon-milk-pineapple mixture and pour over the vanilla wafers layer. 4. Add second layer of wafers over mixture. Top with cool whip, coconut, strawberries and blueberries. 5. Refrigerate overnight.
GENEVIEVE HOELER LIFESTYLE EDITOR
Milan study abroad program offers new fashion component
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
SARA MONIUSZKO PRINT LIFESTYLE EDITOR
he Mason study abroad program to Milan, Italy is a six-credit program that focuses on media, film and society. This summer, Dr. Catherine Wright, the academic director for the Milan study abroad program, is expanding the program to include a six-credit Italian Fashion component. Now, students who participate in this month long summer program will have the choice of the current courses available as well as the new fashion related courses. Though this is a communication-oriented program, it is open to all majors. Brianna Perry, a senior who studies media production and criticism at Mason, studied abroad in Milan last year for a few reasons. “I’d always dreamed of going abroad, [but] I wasn’t sure where… but this one applied to my major very specifically… It’s actually one of the cheapest programs that the Center for Global Education offers so I said ‘why not, I’m going to take a chance,” Perry said. One aspect of the program that students liked was the way the learning was structured. Perry explained that, though students had lectures to go to, she was able to spend a lot of time exploring Europe. “That was one thing I really, really appreciated about her program,” Perry said. “I got to experience things… we were out and about, not stuck in a classroom.” Wright explained that the program was designed for the students to be involved with what they’re learning while in Italy by taking excursions to visit different cities and do different cultural activities. During these activities, Wright clarified,
“they’re not in the classroom, but they’re learning.” Caroline Reich, another Mason student who went on this study abroad program last year, is a Business major whose communication minor prompted her to choose this program so that she could graduate on time. Reich felt the program was well-structured and liked the fact that weekends were open because it allowed students time to explore on their own. “I can’t say enough good things about it. I want to go again,” Reich said. One factor that past participants worried about while applying for this program was the language barrier they would encounter. Students recounted, however, that many participants did not have any experience speaking Italian and it did not have a detrimental effect on their trip. “It’s really not as intimidating as it seems at first,” Reich said. “I was completely surprised by how much I actually understood by the time I left in four weeks.” Reich did, however, say that if she were to do the trip over she might have taken an Italian class. Reich noted, “I don’t think it’s necessary, but it would be helpful.” Though past participants of the Milan study abroad program did not know specifics of the new Italian fashion component being added to the program this summer, they had opinions based off their personal experiences with the program. “I would have loved that, just because it’s such a big part of Milan. I like the part where you get into more of the culture and the people who actually live there which has a lot to do with fashion and with art,” Reich said. While Reich expressed interest in the new component, Perry expressed a different opinion.
“I wouldn’t be interested at all, it just wasn’t my thing. It’s not something that I care to study,” Perry said. Andrew Pyle, the associate director of the Milan study abroad program last year feels the fashion aspect will add a new dimension to the experience. “I think it’s brilliant. Milan is one of the great fashion hubs of the world, so providing students with the opportunity to explore fashion in the heart of Milan is something we definitely should not pass up,” Pyle said. From his experience with the program, Pyle also believes the new expansion will help attract students. “The fashion lecture has been a long-time favorite among students anyway, so I think this makes sense as an area of expansion,” Pyle said. A large part of the reasoning behind adding this component, Wright said, was due to the huge role fashion plays in Italian culture and society. She also noted that fashion is much more than just clothing in the Italian culture. “It’s not only how you dress, but its how you act and how you represent your family. It’s also about the confidence you have wearing something,” Wright said. According to Wright, this new component to the program would work well for students who are studying business, public relations or those who just have an interest in fashion. She wanted to give the opportunity of a more in-depth look at Italian fashion to those who are interested. “I wish every student had the opportunity to do this program, or at the least one like it. There is no learning experience that matches or compares to studying in a different culture,” Pyle said.
by Valeria Sierralta After my parent’s divorce, my mother decided it was time to move to the United States in search of a better life. As a young immigrant, I struggled to ﬁnd myself in a foreign country but eventually found the inspiration to become a ﬁrst generation college student and represent my family in the land of opportunity. With a heavy heart my father asks, Honey, tell me how you really feel Has our separation been too hard to deal? I never wanted you to leave. Our family had always lived a luxurious life Then mom lost her job and stopped being dad’s wife My father was heartbroken when he heard about the move But mother was stubborn and had a reputation to prove I was not sure of what was happening then A child I was, had not reached the age of ten We packed our bags and silently wept But the memory of my family I have always kept A young immigrant, I became In a place where I felt I no longer had a name It’s hard to explain how it felt to me I remember it wasn’t the place I wanted to be As if not being able to speak was my personal choice My inability to speak didn’t have a voice After living a few years in the States, I remembered the hopeful faces I left behind at the airport gates They knew all along that it was for the best That I represent my Peruvian family throughout my educational quest Because I have the opportunity they never had To excel in school and be the ﬁrst college grad After many years of living and studying here I can answer my father’s question, being sincere, Our separation has been difﬁcult, but I can ﬁnally see That George Mason University was the right choice for me I will always remember how we cried when I made the team Of the people who are living the “American Dream.”
Are you a freshman? Are you looking for a way to get involved? Join Freshman Focus, a print magazine and online publication. Staff writers and photographers needed.
THIS WEEK AT GMU
A Distorted View of Equality
ebruary is not only the shortest month of the western calendar; it’s also the time when the United States observes Black History Month. Called “Black Heritage Month” by some, February brings together millions to remember the struggles of the African American community. During this time, many events and ceremonies mark the movement to end discrimination on the basis of pigmentation in this country. There is still a need to address inequalities that plague the black community to this day. One of the commemorating events took place on the first Sunday of the month at George Mason’s Fairfax campus. Students and faculty performed a procession of sorts around campus known as the “Mason March.” Its Facebook group online describes the occasion as “an opportunity for the Mason community, representing various organizations, cultures and backgrounds, to march for equality for all.” “There will also be a small reception with student and faculty speakers and light refreshments. We will march around Patriot Circle and end at the George Mason statue,” continued the description. A prominent feature of the March was the rainbow flag banner, which was carried by two people. One of the flag carriers was Ric Chollar, associate director of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Resources at Mason. It was a reminder that the term “equality” is used frequently used by gay rights activists as they link themselves with the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-twentieth century. This linkage is contrary to the historical record, however. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is on record stating that homosexuality was wrong. In an advice column for Ebony Magazine, King informed an anonymous inquirer that the unnamed person’s
homosexual orientation was “a problem” that he “culturally acquired.” “You are already on the right road toward a solution, since you honestly recognize the problem and have a desire to solve it,” wrote King, who would likely be appalled by his name being associated with gay rights. Some will argue Dr. King may have “evolved” if he had lived long enough, but that is mere speculation. King never supported the causes that have attempted to hijack the movement he mainstreamed. Looking at the rainbow flag, the cause behind it and the notion of the word “equality” makes for a curiosity on what exactly they mean. When Washington D.C.’s Council passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage, many critics sought to put the new law to referendum. In the name of equality, the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics denied a mostly black electorate the right to determine what their legal definition of marriage will look like. In April 2008, the African-American vice president of human resources at the University of Toledo wrote a perspective piece arguing that gay rights were not the same as civil rights. In the name of equality, Toledo fired her for expressing an opinion they said was incompatible with the university’s mission. Even as the Mason March showcased multiple races along with the multihued flag, there is no certainty as to how long this cooperation will endure. Groups like the LGBTQ Resources Office have long championed the implementation of gender neutral entities, be it specialized bathrooms or the “Mason Majesty” award, replacing the gender specific king and queen titles.
Yet the black fraternities at Mason still adhere to a gender specific identity and have titles based on the so-called “gender binary.” How long will it be until Mason’s LGBT activist machine concludes that these must be removed in the name of equality? If or when such conclusions are drawn, how will they go about changing what they abhor? Maybe they will take the more rights-friendly approach and gradually convince members to make the desired changes. Or maybe they will just use the power of administrative coercion, which they have used in the past to achieve their goals. Neither scenario looks particularly friendly towards equality. The push will inevitably alienate certain parties and lead to the marginalization of the celebrations of institutions that tolerated or even advanced LGBT causes under the false assumption that it would never affect them. As February comes with civil rights consciousness the rainbow flag flies at Mason. The standard waves under winds that blow with the misuse of Dr. King’s words and a distorted view of equality shall hurt more people as time passes.
MICHAEL GRYBOSKI COLUMNIST
Letter to the editor: HB 1123
ear Editor: Thank you for the invitation to provide an opinion on HB 1123, a bill that has been proposed in the Virginia legislature. The proposed bill would allow attorneys to actively participate in student conduct hearings at public institutions by representing students who are involved in cases that could result in suspension or expulsion from the institution. As a professional educator, I am concerned about HB1123 for several reasons. First, Conduct Officers at George Mason University (and across the country) approach our work with students as educators, and not from the position as lawyers, judges, law enforcement or probation officers. Mason is an educational institution, and our interventions, while not always popular with our students, are designed to facilitate student learning and to help our students make healthy and appropriate decisions. HB1123 will diminish our educational conversations with students if they are represented by legal counsel because students will not have the opportunity to speak about their behavior and decision-making if someone speaks on their behalf. In addition, we always strive to understand a student holistically and outside
of the alleged violation—there is much value in an open and genuine dialogue with a student in our process. We simply may not ‘get to know’ a student who has legal representation actively participating. Students are currently afforded the opportunity to have an advisor present at all hearings and to review any information used at a conduct hearing. The advisor can be an attorney who may speak to a student throughout the student conduct process to advise them on any and all matters. The only difference between our current process and the process proposed in HB1123 is that the attorney does not actively represent the voice of the student. Additionally, the proposed bill may have a chilling effect on victim reporting. Students who have been victimized often request for the university to address an incident as opposed to going through the legal system fear of facing an attorney in a campus process may discourage reporting. It is important to note that the proposed bill will have real financial costs on our institutions. It will cause a strain on our General Counsel staff as they will need to manage more cases in our offices and possible Circuit Court appeals. Conduct offices
across Virginia may need to hire additional staff to accommodate the provisions in HB1123. In a recent article in Potomac Local, the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia was cited of estimating that the implementation of this bill would cost public institutions nearly $500,000, which would likely result in student tuition increases at our public college and universities. Our institutions are currently bound by federal mandates to have fair and equitable student disciplinary procedures (i.e. Title IX regulations). We are bound to due process rights and have an obligation to inform students of their rights and behavioral expectations in our respective Codes of Conduct. Before every conduct hearing at Mason, a student is given the opportunity to review how conduct procedures work, and the assurances we offer them to ensure fairness. In addition, we provide each student with an opportunity to appeal a conduct decision if they believe the process was unfair, or if a conduct officer deviated from the stated practices and procedures. The notion that we are “out to get students” or that we merely punish wrongdoing is simply not the case. Annual assessment with our students indicates that there is real educational value to our interventions. I have worked in higher education for 17
IV estate years and have dedicated my career toward bettering improving the education of students. I believe that HB1123 would interfere with our best intentions of educating our students and improving our communities as a whole. I am also concerned about the social justice implications of HB1123. Simply stated, if a student brings a charge against another student (i.e. case of assault, violence, etc.) and one student has the financial means to hire an attorney at several hundred dollars per hour, and one does not, this clearly places one student at a disadvantage because of socioeconomic differences. As I mentioned briefly above, each year the Office of Student Conduct asks students who have been involved in the conduct process at Mason to assess our effectiveness, fairness and treatment of students alleged to have violated our code. Last year, students who participated in the survey showed agreement with questions regarding the fairness of the process, that they were treated with respect, that they were provided information regarding their rights prior to the hearing and that they reflected on their experience and learned from our process as well. Assessment on our process occurs every year, and these data are used to inform our practice and to carefully consider the perspective of students. I encourage students who are interested in this issue to review the Code of Student Conduct (studentconduct.gmu. edu), and to express any questions, concerns or discussion items to our office directly. Respectfully Submitted,
Brent E. Ericson, Ph.D Assistant Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct
Care to share your opinions? email us at gmufourthestate@ gmail.com
by Katryna Henderson and Leilani Romero
Alumnus runs professionally around the world
(FOURTH ESTATE ARCHIVE)
DARIAN BANKS PRINT SPORTS EDITOR
A Mason alumnus, a recent December graduate, is working his dream job as a professional 200-meter, 400-meter and four by four relay runner at the age of 22. He improved measurably during his junior and senior track season setting the university records for all three events. David Verburg set his career on the path toward becoming a professional runner and was rewarded for his accomplishments with the key to his dream job. “My job is running. To show up at track meets and perform well,” Verburg said. “That actually, believe it or not, is my job and for being 22, it’s a pretty sweet job.” Mason supported Verburg throughout his pursuit of running with athletic and academic support. “Track and field is a lifestyle sport,” said Mason coach Abigi Id-Deen. “Every athlete in the NCAA has to balance school and sport(s). The trick is not allowing other things outside of those to affect your performance on classwork or in their sport.” Verburg listened to Id-Deen’s advice throughout his Mason career, which encouraged him to better focus on what was important to him. “I really took care of myself throughout my college career, listened to my college coach, Abigi Id-Deen, and made sure that I took the extra steps outside of track put me in the position to do what I love,” Verburg said. “I owe a lot of my progression to Coach Id-Deen.” Id-Deen watched Verburg progress throughout his career from early on during the recruitment process. “I was able to see potential in Verburg while he was in high school. We watched him run and he was tough,” Id-Deen said. “He was able to run 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter races almost every weekend. During his freshman year of college he showed determination from day one.” Verburg signed with an agent from Stellar Athletics as a first semester senior in May 2013 when his NCAA eligibility expired. “I ran fast my junior and senior year of college. I was dropping times that were top in the United States,” Verburg said. “My agent talked to companies on my behalf and I ended up signing with Adidas over the summer.” Verburg runs for Adidas when it comes to professional events and Team USA for any national or world event. “Adidas is my sponsor for clothing, medical, salary, coaching staff, etc. Everything is paid for by Adidas,” said Verburg. “I
have a yearly salary and bonuses for performing well.” His Mason track career skyrocketed after missing the cut at the US Track and Field Olympic Trials in Oregon his sophomore year. “I was just stunned when they told me that I did not meet the qualifying standard,” Verburg said. “It was like sitting at recess watching everyone else play and you’re on the bench not being able to do anything.” From that point on, Verburg buckled down to make sure that situation would never repeat itself. “I told myself never again will I be in the stands watching other people compete in the 400-meter,” Verburg said. “I hated losing, so I took that into training and the weight room to make sure I just kept getting better.” Verburg’s strong work ethic was noticeable to those around him who pushed him along with his past experience to be greater in his career. “Verburg’s work ethic is good. However, the main thing about him is that he hates to lose and I have always found that’s the difference in a lot of athletes,” Id-Deen said. “Everyone likes to win but you have to hate to lose.” Accomplishing many of his goals and setting records that he still holds set Verburg apart from his fellow athletes, but did not compromise his time at Mason. “It’s always good seeing athletes achieve goals. We have meetings about their goals three times a year and Verburg was able to achieve some of his,” Id-Deen said. “However, as athletes, they always strive for more, as they should. Verburg was able to sign a professional contract, which was a dream come true for him.” Verburg not only met his professional goals, but also his goal of striking a balance between getting a college experience and devoting time to track. “I don’t believe that I had to sacrifice my college experience. Too much of something can be a bad thing so I just made sure that I had a good balance and was good at time management,” Verburg said. Verburg is thankful for the support system Mason provided him in reaching his goals. “Mason track with my teammates and the supporting staff that worked in general is very supportive. I always had people telling me to go get it and encouraging me. Mason as a whole was really supportive in my career,” Verburg said. His running career has changed drastically from being
reliant on a coach and support from teammates, to living on his own in Florida and being flown around the world to run professionally. “At the collegiate level, your coach tells you, you’re racing here and here and this is where you warm up, and you travel with your team,” Verburg said. “Now, they give me a plane ticket to Europe and tell me to run fast.” Verburg travels from May to September for both Adidas and the United States track team. “I travel all over Europe to places like London, Paris, Moscow and Dubai in the summer,” Verburg said. “Anywhere and everywhere honestly.” Verburg initially worried about his own nerves in turning professional. “I was nervous at first, because I didn’t want to start my professional career running slow and have people say maybe he shouldn’t have done it,” Verburg said. Verburg’s pressure to perform well is only intensified by his medal finish at the US World Championships in 2013. “I was chosen to be the lead leg in the four by four relay for team USA that won the gold medal at the world championships,” Verburg said. “Now, the ultimate goal is Rio 2016 and in-between going to the next world championship in 2015.” Last fall, Verburg began to give motivational talks to high school and middle school-aged young adults to impart some of his own experiences of balancing achieving professional and personal goals. “I never had someone that had been through college and in the professional life come and talk to me about choices and how to get better to try and give back to the community,” Verburg said. “Not having someone there made me learn things the hard way; Trial and error.” Verburg is currently in his off-season where he may travel periodically for Team USA events. “As he moves forward, I believe the sky is the limit as he continues to grow in the sport of track and field,” Id-Deen said. Verburg is in a unique position where he can share his path to a successful career with others around him. “Running is something I love and I’m in the position where I get paid to do it, so I get to travel the world and do what I love,” Verburg said. “I figured while I’m still young, why not continue the dream and do the office job later on?”
Men’s Baseball: A-10 conference predictions
n Saturday, Mason men’s baseball entered a new era in their history. Always a consistent contender for the Colonial Athletic Association regular season and conference titles, the Patriots face an entirely new set of competition in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Selected to finish fifth in the 12-team conference, Mason will open up play at the University
of South Carolina Upstate, the first of seven games in the Palmetto State before their first home game of the season against Hartford on Feb. 28. To get yourself acquainted with the stars, schedules, strengths and weakness of every A-10 team and when they play Mason, here is Fourth Estate Sports Editor Stephen Czarda’s baseball preview in order of predicted finish:
(41-21; 17-7 A-10 in 2013)
(28-26; 12-12 A-10 in 2013)
(35-24; 17-7 A-10 in 2013)
(31-24; 13-11 A-10 in 2013)
While they’ve lost two of their top players, the Bilikens are still favored to take home A-10 honors in May.
After one season away from each other, the Rams and Patriots are once again conference counterparts.
KEY PLAYERs: Mike Vigliarolo, the pitching trio of Clay Smith, Nick Bates and Matt Eckelmann may be the best in the conference.
KEY PLAYERs: Pitchers Heath Dwyer, Seth Greene and Logan Karijik, Infielders Joey Cujas and Alex Granshack
The Rams will open up the 2014 campaign in the Sunshine State versus Florida Gulf Coast, before they host St. Louis in the conference opener.
While the Spiders and Patriots will not take the field together in the regular season, the two schools were conference foes at once point before Richmond left the CAA in 2001.
KEY PLAYERs: Pitchers Steve Moyers and Milan Mantle
GAMES VS. MASON: Apr. 25-27 @ Mason
GAMES VS. MASON: Mar. 28-30 @ Mason
KEY PLAYERs: Outfielder Tanner Stanley, pitchers Andrew Blum and Zak Sterling.
(18-35; 7-20 CAA in 2013) Tucker Tobin is returning for his senior season, and the multifaceted catcher will once again be the center piece of the Patriot offense. The pitching staff will be led by Anthony Montefusco, who recorded team-highs in wins (five), ERA (4.14) and strikeouts (80) in 78.1 innings last season.
(22-33; 8-16 A-10 in 2013) Right off the bat, Mason will be tested by a duo of talented sophomore infielders. KEY PLAYERs: Shortstop Joseph Runco and infielder Ian Edmiston GAMES VS. MASON: Mar. 21-23 at Mason
(26-26; 12-12 A-10 in 2013) The Hawks start 2014 against short-lived conference rival Butler before hosting George Washington KEY PLAYERs: Catcher Brian O’Keefe, outfielder Chris Hueth and pitcher Kyle Mullen GAMES VS MASON: May 9-11 @ Mason
GAMES VS. MASON: Apr. 18-20 @ Rhode Island
(26-32; 15-9 A-10 in 2013) The Colonials head south this weekend to take on the UNC Greensboro in their season opener. KEY PLAYERs: Pitchers Aaron Weisenberg, Craig LeJune, Luke Staub, Mike Kaplow and Bobby LeWarne. GAMES VS. MASON: Apr. 4-6 @ George Washington
Does not play Mason in the regular season.
(24-29; 15-9 A-10 in 2013) Despite struggling in nonconference play last season, the Explorers were one of the surprises in the A-10 KEY PLAYERs: Outfielder/pitcher Justin Korenblatt and lefty pitcher Shawn O’Neil. Does not play Mason in the regular season.
(11-39; 3-21 A-10 in 2013)
(14-31; 7-17 A-10 in 2013)
(20-28; 9-15 A-10 in 2013)
What a difference one year has made for the Flyers, as they went from A-10 tournament champs in 2012 to having one of their worst seasons ever.
The Minutemen start 2014 with a three-game series against Army before traveling to College Park to take on UMD for a four-game series.
Rounding out the preseason projections are the St. Bonaventure Bonnies who start the season vs. Iowa in the Snowbird Classic.
KEY PLAYERs: Second baseman Rob McLam, outfielder Adam Picard and pitcher Andrew Grant.
KEY PLAYER: Designated hitter/ pitcher Joel Rosencrance
KEY PLAYERs: Infielder Robby Sunderman and pitcher Nick Buettgen. GAMES VS. MASON: May 15-17 at Mason
GAMES VS. MASON: May 2-4 at UMass
GAMES VS. MASON: Apr. 11-13 at Mason
Workout of the week
revolutionary rivalry update
(AMY ROSE/ FOURTH ESTATE)
ANDREA FINFROCK COLUMNIST
(COURTESY OF MASON ATHLETICS
The workout for this week is going to be debunking a workout machine at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. In my time as a personal trainer and observing the gym atmosphere over the years, this machine causes the most confusion among people. It is called the Standing Cable Leg Curl. This is a great machine if anyone has a knee problem and finds that the standing leg curl kills their knees. To perform this workout you will do one leg at a time. First, slide your foot into the strap. (The strap should be under your arch and behind your heel.) Second, make sure your standing leg is on the edge of the platform, and the leg you are about to curl is hanging off. Keep both knees together throughout the whole exercise. Curl your leg back. You should feel it working your hamstring. Then, lower it back down in a controlled manner, keeping the knee aligned with the other one. Repeat this 8-10 times before switching legs. If you would like a challenge, then what you can also do with this machine is glute kickbacks in between leg curls. Here is how you would do that: Once you have completed a leg curl, go back to the starting position. You now can kick your leg back as high as you can. (When coming back make sure you are keeping it controlled and don’t whip it back to starting position because you could lose the contraction.) Then you would do another leg curl from here. Do 10 glut kickbacks and 10 leg curls before switching legs. Do 3 sets of whichever version of this exercise you like.
D AT E
Oct. 20, 2013
Oct. 25, 2013
Oct. 27, 2013
R I VA L R Y SCORE GMU
Nov. 2, 2013
Men’s Cross Country
Nov. 2, 2013
Women’s Cross Country
Nov. 3, 2013
Jan. 2, 2014
Jan. 18, 2014
Jan. 25, 2014