FOURTH ESTATE March 30, 2015 | Volume 2 Issue 19 George Mason University’s official student news outlet gmufourthestate.com | @IVEstate
Festival of Colors Annual spring celebration brings Mason community together | page 9 (CLARE CECIL/FOURTH ESTATE)
INSIDE: NEWS / ART PROFESSOR LET GO / 5 • ATHLETIC FUNDING / 6-7 • LIFESTYLE / BREASTFEEDING / 12
Crime Log March 23 2015-007395 / Dating Violence Complainant (GMU) reported hearing an altercation between two subjects (GMU) who are dating. It is believed that one subject may have grabbed the other subject to prevent them from leaving the area with personal property. Case referred to Office of Housing and Residential Life. (44/Kendall) Whitetop Hall / Referred to OHRL / 10:26p.m.
March 27 2015-007830 / Drug/Narcotic / Drug Equipment Violations Three subjects (GMU) were referred to Office of Student Conduct for using illegal drugs and possessing drug equipment. (32/Jochem) Outside Grayson Hall / Referred to OSC / 4:04a.m. Hau Chu
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(PAMELA PHAN/FOURTH ESTATE)
Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. (AROTC) cadets run their drills during the weekly lab in the RAC.
POPULAR LAST WEEK 1
Mason sexual assault task force releases report The final report from Masonâ€™s Task Force on Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence was released, which included over 15 long-term and short-term recommendations.
Interview with the Candidates: Kleine & Wilson The third video in a series of interviewing student body candidates for President and Vice President.
Interview with the Candidates: Jenkins & Egolum The fourth and final video in a series of interviewing student body candidates for President and Vice President.
Hackers infiltrated seventeen sites over spring break NATALIA KOLENKO | STAFF WRITER
As students were leaving for spring break, hackers infiltrated a slew of Mason websites, causing disruption by defacing websites. Marilyn T. Smith, vice president for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, said a group of hackers targeted some websites on one particular server. She continued that these hackers attacked and defaced seventeen websites which were subsidiary websites or tertiary websites to the gmu.edu website. They didn’t attack the gmu.edu website, but they did attack other and deface other websites that were accessible through it, she said. “It happened on [Friday, March 6, and] we found it right away, and we restored the full website and all the functionality by ten o’clock on Saturday morning. We had people work all night,” Smith said. According to Smith, unlike the cyberattacks that have previously occurred on Mason’s website, this attack was different in that this was purely for disruption of business. “They claimed responsibility for it right on the website, so they were clearly trying to send a message and wanted people to know who they were,” Smith said. Smith said the reason hackers attacked Mason’s website, and university websites in general, is because so many people go into college and university websites. She continued that she didn’t want to speak for the hackers, but that they tend to pick universities that are well-known. “Actually, it’s a compliment to Mason. It’s a pro and a con,” Smith said. “They would want to pick a university because many people go and look at university websites, particularly around this time of the year because of admissions, etc.”
Patriot Web you will see that we have a process in place for phishing attacks,” Smith said. Dictionary.com defines phishing as a cyberattack that hackers use to try to obtain financial or other confidential information from internet users, usually by sending an email with a fake link from a legitimate-looking website. She said that students should be aware that anytime they are asked for any kind of identity or personal information, it may be a phishing attack, so they should verify and validate where the email ID is from. In fact, she said, don’t give any of your personal information over the web or in response to any email. She continued that if there is a phishing attack, a student, faculty or staff member can call the support center for help and they will go right into the email and look for other people that may have been targeted by the same phishing attack. ITS then sends a notice to all of the affected parties saying there was a phishing attack and to please be careful because those affected parties could be targeted. Jean-Pierre Auffret, director of the executive degree programs in the School of Business, said in an email that Mason has been a leader in cybersecurity development for the last 25 years, starting with the establishment of the Center for Secure Information Systems in 1990. He continued that Mason has had an impact from research to practice in bringing new cybersecurity technologies to the marketplace and in cybersecurity education. In recent years, cyber warfare has been considered a serious threat by some U.S. officials. Auffret agreed, but thinks the U.S. still has a long way to go in terms of development and research.
To keep attacks like this from happening again, Smith said the Information Technology Services have been working for a number of months to strengthen Mason’s infrastructure against attacks and to increase security awareness education through the university. Smith said, for example, university employees, including student wage employees, now need two passwords to log in to Patriot Web.
“Protecting networks and systems is an important national security issue given our reliance on networks and information technology, [but] I think the U.S. has a ways to go on developing a good framework for thinking about cybersecurity in the foreign policy context,” Auffret said. “For example, there is the challenge of attribution (identifying who has undertaken an attack) and also calibrating and deciding upon a response in light of the range of bilateral issues we might have with a country.”
“We’re working on a number of different security projects to strengthen our internal environment, and also [if] you go onto the
Auffret said that cyberattacks don’t just happen to companies like Target. but that the average person can be affected.
(SONGJUN DENG/FOURTH ESTATE)
“I think that [cybersecurity] should be a priority for everyone – given the risk of identity theft and fraud on a personal level. [There are also] risks to organizations where someone works or organizations they belong to on an institutional level,” Auffret said. Smith agreed and said that cybersecurity is important to all sorts of groups and people and that it is an ever-changing entity. “Cybersecurity is critical because hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated, and they are out after a number of different things,” Smith said. “It is really important that we strengthen our cybersecurity environment, and we keep up with what’s going on in the world of cybersecurity.”
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Mason weighs in on open web debate MADISON ANTUS | STAFF WRITER
On Feb. 26, the Federal Communications Commission voted in favor of net neutrality, which prohibited Internet Service Providers from charging higher costs for faster high-speed Internet. The FCC defined net neutrality as a commitment to “protect and maintain open, uninhibited access to legal online content without broadband Internet access providers being allowed to block, impair, or establish fast/slow lanes to lawful content.” Net neutrality essentially ensures that so-called ‘telecommunications giants’ such as Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Charter, cannot charge higher prices for faster Internet service and create Internet “fast lanes” for certain content. The American Civil Liberties Union described Internet fast lanes in this way: “Imagine if the phone company could mess with your calls every time you tried to order pizza from Domino’s, because Pizza Hut is paying them to route their calls first.” Although net neutrality has been a topic of discussion in the United States since 1996, the most recent debate began in April 2014, when the FCC announced they were considering allowing Internet service providers to charge higher rates for faster service. In May 2014, the FCC announced that they were considering two options: allowing ISPs to charge customers more for faster Internet service, and the net neutrality option, which would prohibit ISPs from charging more for faster service. In 1996, when Clinton updated the 1934 Communications Act to include the Internet in an attempt to keep the Internet a space where large corporations would be on equal footing with small businesses and entrepreneurs, it was the first time the act had been updated since its creation. The 1934 Communications Act, also referred to as Title II, classified telephone lines as a public utility to end AT&T’s monopoly over its customers. This is what the FCC is trying to prevent with net neutrality. According to the FCC, who refers to net neutrality as ‘open Internet,’ net neutrality means “innovators can develop products and services without asking for permission.” It allows for Internet users to enjoy legal content without worrying that ISPs are slowing down their connection. The ACLU took it further, saying that if the FCC had not ruled in favor of net neutrality, higher paying customers would receive faster Internet service as well as other considerations. In their campaign to keep the Internet unregulated, they told Internet users that telecommunications companies would monitor their private information. “When we send or receive data over the Internet, we expect those companies to transfer that data from one end of the network to the other. Period. We don’t expect them to analyze or manipulate it,” the ACLU stated. Mason students have reacted favorably to the FCC’s decision. Mason junior Leland Powell, a computer science major, is one of them. “The FCC supporting net neutrality is a really positive move for the Internet as a whole, because it allows for small businesses to compete, as well as allowing independent artists to have greater freedom and it limits the amount of power Internet companies have over the populations,” Powell said.
Although Powell supports net neutrality, he is still willing to admit that there are problems with the telecommunications companies that a vote could not fix. “There are still issues with Internet companies and the power they have, such as monopolies in certain areas, such as certain areas can only get service from Cox or Time Warner,” Powell said. “Due to a lack of competition, prices skyrocket without free market to keep it in check. Many movements have started to pick away at the monopolies in certain areas, such as Google Fiber and various groups campaigning against it.” Groups such as Google Fiber are working to provide Internet as a public utility, like water or electricity. The town of Chattanooga, Tenn. has been providing Internet service to its citizens since 2013. “It makes sense to give everyone Internet because it’s turning into a necessity, people are turning to technology. Which is really sad, that it’s out there with water, and other stuff like that,” said Kristen Osteen, a health, fitness and recreation research major. “I want Google Fiber here,” stated Mason sophomore Nate Zeller. “I’ve never used it, but it was posted in a science journal I usually read, and they were talking about how fast Google Fiber was compared to the Internet speeds we usually get out here.” Zeller, a psychology major, also agrees with the FCC vote. He also has met people on the other side of the debate. “There’s usually that disparity,” Zeller stated, “I know that people my age by default are for that decision, but anyone who has a well-paying job will probably be against it.” Internet streaming companies, like Amazon Prime, YouTube and Netflix are pleased with the outcome. They have had to pay telecommunications companies for the amount of content they deliver to subscribers. According to the annual Global Internet Phenomena Report, Netflix accounts for 39.1 percent of Internet traffic in North America in the evening hours. The outcome of the FCC vote may allow streaming companies to cease paying telecommunications giants for the amount of Internet traffic they occupy. Some of the more notable opposition of net neutrality are the major cable companies, and Republicans in Congress have also been particularly vocal. Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, was featured in a TIME Magazine article saying that he was against net neutrality, and that the idea of regulating the Internet using principles from 1934 is “crazy.” Brent Skorup is a research fellow in the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at Mason. He was interviewed by CNBC Asia on Feb. 26, and discussed the FCC’s vote. When asked about ISPs providing faster service to customers using Internet sites that they had made a deal with or had an existing contract with, Skorup described this as a “worst case scenario,” and also said that the Internet has never been truly neutral.
He also stated that net neutrality does not create competition between ISPs, which many financial analysts and economists say is the answer to speeding up Internet service in the United States, whose internet is already slower and more expensive than the rest of the developed world’s, according to an article in TIME Magazine. The article picked apart the new regulations, saying that while the new regulations prohibit ISPs from blocking sites and enforcing paid prioritization, the article stated that there have been no instances of any ISP doing this in the first place, according to financial analyst Dan Rayburn. Mason student John O’Reilly, an economics major, is another person who is not so sure about the outcome in the future, especially since he believes that the issue hasn’t been explained clearly enough to the general public. “Most reporters can’t get their questions answered clearly enough to inform readers correctly, so I can’t blame people for not knowing about it when it’s convoluted enough so that it’s difficult to become informed,” O’Reilly said. O’Reilly added that he thinks net neutrality will negatively affect the telecommunications industry, and that while he believes that government deregulation is a good thing, he is unsure exactly about who is regulating the industry, and what their plan to do this will be. Those who oppose net neutrality say that the fight did not end with the FCC’s vote, but that it is only beginning.
Art professor let go against objections from colleagues and students REEM NADEEM | PRINT NEWS EDITOR
Faculty from the School of Art have rallied around Dr. Thomas Stanley, whose contract will not be renewed due to budget cuts, by writing a letter to the administration on his behalf. According to the letter, which was signed by 16 out of 19 full-time faculty, Stanley has been recommended for contract renewal yearly by the School of Art’s Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee since he began working for Mason. The letter was addressed to Mason President Ángel Cabrera, Provost David Wu, Dean of College of Visual and Performing Arts, William Reeder and Director of the School of Art, Peter Winant. The letter was sent on Feb. 1, 2015, and the faculty members have not yet heard a response. Winant and Sue Wrbican, associate director of the School of Art, could not be reached for comment before publication. As term instructional faculty, Stanley’s contract was renewed on a year-by-year basis. Though contract renewal is up to the administration, the letter states “the School of Art has always placed the reappointment and promotion of term faculty in the hands of our RPT Committee, and it is discouraging to learn that one of our most highly valued professors, and the School of Art’s only African-American faculty member, is being let go.” Though faculty members acknowledged that the administration is in charge of contracts, Stanley’s colleagues expressed frustration at the lack of consultation and communication about the decision making process. “This is not a decision that’s really made by the faculty, it’s made by the administration of CVPA but the faculty nonetheless was extremely upset. And that’s why the letter was written because it was our opportunity to voice our support for Thomas as a colleague and educator and to make plain his importance to our students and our program,” said Lynne Scott Constantine, assistant professor at the School of Art. While School of Art faculty members were disappointed in the lack of communication about the process through which employee contracts are renewed, Stanley said he understood the administration’s decision and was not involved with the letter written on his behalf. “I’ve never seen that letter and I just know that I’ve made some good friends here with my colleagues, and they were trying to look out for me. I don’t think it will accomplish much, I don’t think that I’m in a position to assess the needs of CVPA. There are other people whose job it is to figure out what kind of faculty to teach what kind of courses, so that’s not my place,” Stanley said. “I know that there are things that I do here that are valuable that no one else can do. And I hope that as I leave that they’ll figure it out, I hope that there’ll be continuity with the sound art program.” Stanley’s Ph.D in ethnomusicology added a unique quality to the School of Art faculty’s collective expertise. “I really believe in Thomas and what he’s brought to the school, and I think it’s an atrocity what’s happening. He brings so much to the program in terms of his ethnomusicology background as well as the fact that he’s a sound artist and we don’t have anything like that in our school. And he’s an amazing theoretician, the students have a lot of respect for him and enjoy working with him,” said Peggy Feerick, associate professor in the School of Art. Some faculty members also believe Stanley’s importance to the School of Art extends beyond expertise as well.
“We all love him as a colleague, he’s a great person and it’s very important to us too that it be recognized that he is our only AfricanAmerican faculty member. There’s something just fundamentally wrong about, you know, leaving a person who not only brings this great body of knowledge and skill with teaching but who represents an important part of culture that’s not represented anywhere else in our program,” Constantine said. Since the start of his career as an adjunct in 2003, Stanley worked his way to becoming a full-time professor. During his employment at Mason, Stanley has built the sound art program in the School of Art. His contributions to the college include teaching several courses as well as organizing Noise Awareness Day, an international celebration of hearing. “That’s the celebration of hearing and listening that we do a part of the sound art program that I’ve built here at George Mason, there was not a sound art program here until I built one. And we bring in musicians from all over the [D.C., Metro, Virginia] area who play the most radical, funky, experimental, mind blowing, trippy music you’ve ever heard in your life. That’s what we do,” Stanley said. Stanley’s contemporary approach to sound distinguished his approach to teaching sound art to students. “My thing is that I don’t like to see sound as an adjunct to other things, so there’s sound involving gaming, there’s sound involving animation, there’s sound involved in film and all aspects of new media, but I walk in the room trying to get my students to understand that sound itself is a sculptural medium. You can approach it with the same freedom and inventiveness and curiosity that a young person might approach a ball of Play-Doh with,” Stanley said. In addition to sound art, Stanley has also taught several core courses within the School of Art. Senior visual arts major Jennifer Sweeney met Stanley through Writing for Artists. “But it was more than just that for me, I feel like I improved my writing so much more than ever before,” Sweeney said. “He’s very - he has this great attention to detail, like every sentence he would look at and he would really care about what you were saying, how you were saying it and if you were being factual or if you were just trying to make assumptions and all these sorts of things, and he made every student, I believe, look and analyze what they were saying in their work more than what we’ve been doing previously
(PHOTO COURTESY OF BYRON HAWK)
in other classes, even other English classes.” Though students and faculty alike are distraught by Stanley’s situation, he remains positive and thankful for his experiences at Mason. “I’m really not surprised that it’s time for me to leave because my relationship with any institution is always tentative. You can’t let institutions own you. You have to be your own person and you have to do what you think is right in every possible circumstance and that’s what I’ve tried to do here,” Stanley said. “I think I’ve had a really positive impact in some young people’s lives, at a really crucial time in their lives, I know I have helped students not just intellectually but personally in their development and when I’m doing something, I like to do it 130%, you know. I like to do it full tilt, I like to do it without reservation and without looking over my shoulder, and that’s what I’ve done, so I’m pretty okay with what I’ve contributed here.”
IV news Faculty senate questions athletic department funding
According to the 2014-2015 Budget Executive Summary released by the Office of Budget and Planning, intercollegiate athletics, which is listed as an auxiliary enterprise along with housing and residential life, campus access and transportation and other services, gets $14.5 million from student fees. Including $4.4 million from user fees, intercollegiate athletics has a total revenue of $18.9 million.
The executive summary also cites a $294,000 increase in student fees for student athletic programs in 2015. Student fees will increase this fiscal year by $5 million overall to cover support for financial aid, healthcare and pension increases, and increased debt on student fee-supported facilities, among several other listed areas. (LAURA BAKER/FOURTH ESTATE)
ANGELA WOOLSEY | STAFF WRITER
Mason’s faculty senate requested information about the funding given to the athletics department in a polarizing resolution passed Feb. 4, a move that reflects ongoing concerns about the university’s tightening budget. Introduced by the senate’s executive committee, the resolution asked for information about the costs incurred and revenue generated by varsity sports, attendance at athletic events, how overall costs have changed over time and the amount of student subsidies used by the athletics department. The gathered information would then become the “basis for a constructive dialogue between the central administration and the faculty senate regarding spending priorities of varsity sports and instructional activities at the university,” according to a version of the resolution published online as part of the agenda for the senate’s Feb. 4 meeting. At the heart of the resolution lies uncertainty over how student fees are used by the athletics department, raising questions about the importance of athletics to the general student population and the role that sports play at Mason. “Students are walking out of here with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt,” Dr. James Bennett, an economics professor and the executive committee member who wrote the resolution, said. “We have this relatively small group, relative to 35,000 total students, who are being subsidized heavily by students...The athletic events don’t even begin to pay any of the expenses.” Rather than getting state revenue, Mason’s athletics department is funded by a combination of self-generated revenue — which includes ticket sales, sponsorships and money raised through donors — and student fees allocated by the university that cover food and housing for student athletes as well as salaries for coaches, administrators and the department’s support staff. Student fees make up around 70 to 74 percent of the department’s overall budget, according to Ron Shayka, the senior associate athletic director for finance and operations.
The athletics department only includes intercollegiate or varsity athletics, so costs and revenue numbers for Mason’s club and intramural sports programs, which are funded through university life, are not included. Bennett says his interest in the financial status of the athletics department was piqued by a Jan. 23 story in The Washington Post titled ‘What Happened to George Mason Basketball?’ In examining the men’s basketball team’s struggles in finding success following its 2006 Final Four run, the article touches on declining attendance at games, which averaged 3,513 through this season’s first eight home games, a figure that does not take into account the many games that have taken place since then. According to Maureen Nasser, the associate athletic director for communications, men’s basketball games averaged 4,916 people during the 2013-14 season. “If there was a huge, huge turnout at every athletic event, that would be different,” Bennett said, “but why are students paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars every year, when very few people [attend the events]?” The Washington Post article also mentions a number of potential changes designed to improve the athletic program, including major renovations to the Patriot Center or even the construction of a new on-campus arena, an increase in charter flights, improvements to team facilities and support systems and selling the Patriot Center naming rights. “We recognize that athletics, principally basketball for us, is a marketing opportunity for the institution,” Athletic Director Brad Edwards said in the Washington Post article, estimating that Mason, which joined the Atlantic 10 in 2013, is eighth or ninth in spending among the 14 teams in its conference. According to a 2014 report compiled by USA Today based on revenue and expense data for the 2012-13 school year, the Mason athletic department’s total revenue was $22.3 million, putting it at no. 110 out of the 230 NCAA Division I public schools that released data. It came in at no. 109 in terms of total expenses with $22.1 million. In both cases, Mason was lower than
Virginia Commonwealth University, which was ranked at no. 95, but higher than the no. 113-ranked College of William and Mary.
The presence of a football program has a significant impact on a university’s revenue and expenses, according to Shayka. While football schools spend much more, they also receive more money through media rights agreements and TV contracts. For example, the University of Maryland ranks no. 47 in revenue with $63.7 million and no. 48 in expenses with $63.3 million. Recent NCAA autonomy rule changes have allowed schools in the elite Big 5 conferences, which includes Maryland’s Big 10 conference, to offer scholarships covering a student athlete’s full cost of attendance, making those schools more attractive to potential recruits. According to a Jan. 18 NCAA article explaining the rule changes, the full cost of attendance scholarships would cover expenses like transportation and academic supplies, in addition to tuition, fees, room and board and books, which are covered in the standard full scholarships offered by schools like Mason. “You’re really seeing a separation at the top of those schools in their ability financially to separate from the rest of us,” Shayka said. “It’s not like we don’t have the ability to try and keep up with all or some of it, but without the television revenue, it will be nearly impossible.” Bennett says that he is concerned about these proposals because they come after Mason has experienced a series of budget cuts by the state, making it more difficult to pay faculty salaries and stalling needed upgrades to buildings and classrooms. “It just seems to me that we need to ask ourselves, what is our mission as a university?” Bennett said. “Is it to support a small group of varsity athletes who jet all over the country and have tutors
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and scholarships and so on, or is to educate the Mason students? What are our priorities?” However, some faculty senate members say that the athletic department has been unfairly singled out by this resolution. An email sent to senate members from the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism faculty says that “the executive committee’s resolution is unnecessarily mean-spirited and accusatory. The language used is akin to a ‘witch hunt,’” referring primarily to a clause in the resolution that concluded that “non-varsity students are ‘taxed’ to provide special benefits to a relatively small and elite group of varsity athletes.” That clause was eventually eliminated before the senate passed the final resolution. “Everybody has a right to ask for information, so I was more opposed to how it was done,” Dr. Dominique Banville, the director of the division of health and human performance, said. “We all felt that the whereas’s were unnecessary, were biased negatively toward athletics and we didn’t feel that it was a productive way of operating.” Banville and Pierre Rodgers, who is the academic program co-coordinator for sport and recreation studies, wrote the email sent to the senate on behalf of their colleagues. Though the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism operates independently from the athletics department, they sometimes collaborate through the athletic training and sports management programs, and many students and employees are involved in both departments. Banville and Rodgers said that focusing solely on the financial aspects of the athletics department and painting it as a program that supports a few athletes at the expense of the general student population ignores the ways that sports can benefit a university as a whole. They mentioned the potential a good athletics program has to raise an institution’s national profile and create a sense of community not just for on-campus students, but also between Mason and the surrounding Fairfax area. “You can’t deny that there are students, student athletes who, because of knowing about a school’s athletic prowess, they now have recognition about that university,” Rodgers said. The men’s basketball team’s appearance in the Final Four showed how a successful athletics program can help raise a university’s profile. “Something that galvanizes the institution in the way that I saw the athletic program do in 2006 is pretty special,” said Linda Miller, the faculty senate’s athletic representative and chair of the athletic council. “I had high school friends who I had been telling I taught at George Mason for 30 years, who had never been to Virginia, and they see that Cinderella run and they go, ‘Now we know where George Mason is!’” The men’s basketball team has not reached that same level of success since then, however, a central factor for declining attendance. Banville cautions that it is also important to remember that the men’s basketball team is not Mason’s only varsity sports team, even if it is the most
high profile. Shayka says that the potential changes mentioned in the Washington Post article are all being considered as ways to improve attendance and recruitment, though ultimately, winning teams are a bigger draw than a renovated stadium, for example, could ever be. “There’s kind of a cycle of success that we use in trying to determine how all of these things tie together,” Shayka said. “You start saying, ‘Well, how do you recruit better people? How do you improve that product?’ Sometimes you have to look at the infrastructure of the program.” For instance, he said that while chartered flights may be more expensive than commercial ones, they would cut down on travel time and, as a result, missed class time for athletes. Less demanding travel time, not to mention an improved environment and amenities, could, in turn, make Mason a more attractive option to potential recruits. “It’s kind of a cart before the horse as far as do you invest that money now to get more revenue later or are you hoping to get more revenue in the short term so you can pay for improvements later?” Shayka said. In addition to student fees and revenue from ticket sales, the athletics department generates money through the Patriot Club, a non-profit booster club that raises outside funds primarily for student-athlete scholarships, and by attracting corporate sponsors that contribute money in exchange for various kinds of advertising, from placement in a game program to lit signage in the Patriot Center. Decreasing state funds means that the university has to rely more on other methods of acquiring funds, like raising tuition and student fees. It also places more pressure on the fundraising abilities of programs like the athletics department. “Fiscal accountability is important,” Shayka said, adding that the faculty senate’s concerns about how programs like varsity sports are financed do not surprise him. “I think everybody is taking a look at how university dollars are spent.” Miller said that Mason does not have as much flexibility in being able to determine how it wants to allocate state funds as some faculty members may think. Because she also serves as the senior associate dean for academic affairs and student advancement, Miller participates in budget meetings that have given her an understanding of how the university operates on a financial level. “There are certain funds that come from the state that have to be applied into a certain pot, certain revenues to certain accounts,” Miller said. In other words, funding for the athletics department and other auxiliary programs, which do not receive any state revenue, does not always directly affect funding for academic expenses like faculty salaries and classroom building maintenance, which comes out of the education and general budget. “It’s actually a very complicated budget picture,” Miller said. “We aren’t getting the money from the state that we used to get, end of story.”
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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
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Mason ranks on U.S. News best schools for veterans HAMNA AHMAD | STAFF WRITER
U.S. News recently ranked Mason the 38th best college for veterans out of 311 schools across the country. The list only includes schools that ranked on the 2015 list of U.S. News Best Colleges, on which George Mason ranks 138th best national university. For the veterans list, those colleges must also meet three specific criteria: be a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium, be certified for the GI Bill and participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. The SOC Consortium is a partnership between the Department of Defense and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities that helps coordinate college education opportunities for service members. The GI Bill, originally enacted in 1944, now covers the bulk of college education costs for veterans, while the Yellow Ribbon Program offers additional funds for veteran students who need them. Georgetown University, ranked number 1 best school for veterans, earned that title because it was the highest-ranking school on the Best Colleges list that also met all three criteria. Compared to schools in the region, Mason falls in the middle—Catholic University of America in Washington, DC ranked 28, but Virginia Commonwealth University tied for no. 47. On collegefactual. com, a for-profit webpage that offer statistics on schools across the county, Mason is ranked the second best school for veterans in the state after Old Dominion University. “I’m very proud of the fact that we are the highest ranking public school in the state of Virginia and that we are able to generate the support for our community both on campus and in the northern Virginia community to really bring together that programming for our student veterans that rivals that of private institutions,” said Jennifer Connors, director of Military Services at Mason. Julian Ausan, a Government and International Politics major who served in the U.S. Army for 11 years before coming to Mason, believes that, although Mason “is a great academic school,” more needs to be done to help veterans determine their eligibility and receive their benefits on time.
(AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE)
That is where the Mason Office of Military Services steps in. Through the OMS, the university offers many programs to help over 3,000 veterans become successful students and to help them transition into the workforce. Battle Buddies is one such initiative that is set up to serve both the academic and professional needs of veterans in transition by matching new students up with upper-level students in similar majors.
their aid packages and lifestyles. On March 26, the office invited Accenture, a management and technology consulting company, to help students with resume building.
According to Jonah Hewett, an assistant transition coordinator at OMS and vice President of the Mason Veterans Society, the best support system for Mason’s students may come from the physical office space itself.
To further aid the veteran community, the OMS operates a Student Veteran Housing project committed to assisting student veterans find affordable housing near Mason with fellow veterans.
“I came here [to Mason] as a veteran, and the first stop along the way was the Office of Military Services,” Hewett said. “It was kind of a way to get away from the standard student population.”
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This reprieve can be especially welcoming for veterans because they tend to be a little older than the general population—the majority of veterans at Mason are between 26-30 years old and often have families. The OMS provides a comfortable space for veterans to spend any down time they have in between classes with students that share a common bond and similar experiences with them. The OMS also offers tutoring and mentorship, as veterans typically have very rigorous course loads to fit the requirements of
“Military veterans are adult learners—they don’t have the time or luxury to idle through school,” Connors said. “They have to get the education they need and they have to get into the employable workforce.
“We try and see if there are other veterans in the community that may have rooms available or are maybe looking for rooms,” Hewett said, as it can sometimes be challenging for veterans to live with civilians or people who do not have experience with the military. “It’s a difficult transition because they don’t speak the same lingo.” Mason also boasts the Military Alliance Program, a program unique to the school in which staff and faculty members undergo special training to learn how to be accommodating and encouraging to military students at Mason, both active duty and veteran. Only 70 Mason staff and faculty members from a wide variety of departments participate in this program, but Connors said the office is looking to expand MAP and plans to hold more trainings for this semester. Connors says she is optimistic as the OMS grows and looks towards new ways it can help and support veterans. “There is something about the military and veteran community that really makes us a family, and there is a special bond that crosses any type of bridge that you can imagine among our student population,” Connors said.
Holi Moli, it’s spring SAVANNAH NORTON| PRINT LIFESTYLE EDITOR
The Indian Student Association hosted Holi Moli to celebrate the arrival spring onto the Mason campus. “[Holi] celebrates spring, but it’s also a way for the community to come together and celebrate. That’s why I wanted to bring it to Mason. In India, when you play you are covered in color. So you don’t know who’s young, who’s old, who’s rich, who’s poor, it’s just everyone is the same and everyone is having a really great time,” senior Nupur Khullar, government and international politics major and the President of Mason’s ISA said. This year the Hindu festival of colors celebrates the triumph of good over evil was held on the field near Lot H with free pizza, colored powder and music. “This year was great, they had plenty of color packets and it’s always just fun,” said senior Shelby Giese. (CLAIRE CECIL /FOURTH ESTATE)
Urban Design And Real Estate Markets GW’s Sustainable Urban Planning Program’s
Excellent opportunity for school teachers and college students!!
2015 RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM This year’s symposium features leading researchers from the allied fields of: ■
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Friday, April 17, 2015 3:30-6:00pm
FEATURED SPEAKERS: Dr. Tridib Banerjee James Irvine Chair in Urban and Regional Planning, University of Southern California Dr. Derek Hyra Department of Public Administration and Policy, American University Dr. Daniel McMillen Department of Economics, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois Dr. Keith Ihlanfeldt College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, Florida State University
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A reception will follow the presentation
For more information and to RSVP, please visit http://cps.gwu.edu/sustainable-urban-planning.
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Breast milk is the best milk Public breastfeeding legalized in Virginia public breastfeeding in the United States according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, it is no surprise the lack of protection was something unaware to many women.
also recently on ABC7 news discussing her experience of being told to stop breastfeeding while at the Chinquapin Park Recreation Center & Aquatics Facility in Alexandria.
Garcia was shocked when she first heard about the law being passed in the news.
Although many people, like Blackmon, agree that the law to allow women to breastfeed in public was long overdue in Virginia, it raised an interesting question of whether a law would actually change the way people viewed breastfeeding in pubic.
“I thought, ‘this is 2015, and this is still an issue?’” Garcia said. “I was pleasantly surprised,” said Heather Aleknavage, founder and leader of Mason’s Working Moms’ Support Group. “I think women over the years have done their best concealing nursing babies in public, but I also think it’s gross to have to nurse in public restrooms!” What is no surprise are some of the health benefits that come along with breastfeeding. According to the National Council for State Legislatures, both mothers and children benefit from breast milk due to the antibodies it contains that protects infants from viruses and bacteria. The NCSL states, “Breastfed children have fewer ear, respiratory and urinary tract infections and have diarrhea less often. Infants who are exclusively breastfed tend to need fewer health care visits, prescriptions and hospitalizations resulting in a lower total medical care cost compared to never-breastfed infants. Breastfeeding also provides long-term preventative effects for the mother, including an earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight and a reduced risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer and osteoporosis.” (LAURA BAKER/FOURTH ESTATE)
SARA MONIUSZKO | LIFESTYLE EDITOR
Working mom Beth Garcia, Traffic and Scheduling Coordinator for Creative Services, remembers being bombarded with stares from both men and women when she had to breast feed her daughter on a bench at the mall. “It’s funny to see how women and men, they see the action of what you’re doing, even if your shirt’s not up or anything, and just - staring,” Garcia said. What Garcia did not know at the time was that Virginia law, although exempt them from public indecency laws, only allowed women to breastfeed on property owned, leased, or controlled by the Commonwealth. Thanks to a recently signed bill, however, women in Virginia will now be lawfully protected to breastfeed anywhere in public. In an article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Northern Virginia attorney and co-leader of the grass-roots Virginia Alliance for Breastfeeding Laws, Rebecca Geller specified that this law covers private businesses as well such as stores, restaurants and malls. “Under current law, a woman has a right to breast-feed a child in any government-owned property,” Geller said. “So if I was sitting in the Capitol in Richmond, I could breast-feed my child there, but if I were to go to a restaurant a block away I could not have that legally protected right.” Since Virginia was only part of four other states to still not allow
Although Meahan DeCelle, Human Resources and Payroll benefit specialist at Mason, had never been asked to leave anywhere while breastfeeding her child, she has received “looks of distain” as she put it. “Unfortunately, a law allowing me to nurse in public will not change the culture that views the breast as a sexual object rather than natural and healthy nourishment for our children,” DeCelle said. Garcia echoed this idea by saying, “Breastfeeding in public will always bring about stares because of the media’s portrayal of what breasts should represent. It’s associated with sexual connotations. Therefore, there will be stares for curiosity with that intent... it’s not as socially acceptable or common, so there will be stares because it’s a rare sight.” Even if the stares are here to stay for now, Garcia thinks the law
“I think women over the years have done their best concealing nursing babies in public, but I also think it’s gross to have to nurse in public restrooms!”
A recent report from CNN highlighting a new study done on children who were breast fed also found that breastfeeding might be linked to intelligence.
“Not only does breastfeeding have clear short-term benefits, such as protection from infectious diseases and a reduction in mortality, it’s also been shown to be associated with an increase in intelligence… Prior studies have shown an increase of up to 7.5 IQ points in elementary age children who were breastfed, as well as an increase in verbal, performance and comprehensive IQ in adults,” CNN reported. “Subjects who had been breastfed for 12 months or longer had a higher IQ (about 3.7 points), more years of education and earned roughly 20% more than the average income level.” This legislation is not only long overdue in the minds of many, but significant to life on campus and within the Fairfax community. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 25% of college students in the United States had dependent children in 2013. Although this number may not be representative to only those who breastfeed, it is safe to say that Mason is a college who is home to student parents in addition to faculty and staff parents.
will bring positive effects to future moms. “I think the new law brings awareness,” Garcia said. “I see a lot of people talking about the new law on Facebook. Really, it’s the mom’s own comfort that will be affected, so if any mom does get challenged they will have a source of protection to claim.” DeCelle hopes the new law will encourage moms to breast feed in public by allowing them to feel comfortable to do so wherever they are. “I hope that over time the attitude toward nursing in public will change,” DeCelle said. “It will not happen right away just because a law was passed protecting a woman’s right to feed her child on state property, but if more moms do it now that they are legally protected, perhaps the public opinion of nursing will evolve.” As with most new legislation, the effect public breastfeeding protection will have on new moms both on and off campus is something only “time will tell” as Aleknavage puts it.
leknavage agreed, stating, “I think it’s important for young people [and] college students, [both] men and women, to know this law exists and to be aware.”
“I think it will be interesting to watch and see if there are more moms feeling liberated to breastfeed in public, especially on campus. We do a good job here at Mason of providing private spaces, too,” Aleknavage said. “I think this is especially important for new moms just getting used to nursing babies. It seems like it would be a natural thing, but it can be difficult for some women and feeling self-conscious only makes it more challenging.”
Mason Ph. D. student and mother of five, Olivia Blackmon, was
The new law goes into effect July 1.
Not only will this law affect new moms on campus, but other students and faculty as they may see an increase in public breastfeeding and should be aware of the laws in place.
An alternative to a normal spring break and have even stayed in a church during these trips. Scholarships are also an option. The goal of SAIL is to create long term partnerships with the communities where they go so they can continue to send students there each year. Next year, a new trip will be coming to the program. Students will visit Selma, Alabama to focus on Youth and Civil Rights. All experiences on the trip are student led. While faculty is aboard for support and as a resource, the student leaders of the trip run pre-trip meetings and work closely with local community partners. Another student, Ahmed Cherakoui, went through a class and not the Alternative Spring Break program. Ahmed spent time in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico over break. The main goal of the trip and the partnership with another school Tec de Monterrey, was to take an unsuccessful startup company in Mexico and change the business model to improve the company. With Cherakoui ’s interest in International Business, the alternative spring break trip was a no-brainer. Cherakoui was “able to see the global economy from a new lens and take on a more analytical approach to resolving the conflicts that an entrepreneur faces.” (COURTESY OF DONOVAN HALL)
(COURTESY OF MICHAEL GALFETTI)
Alternative spring break students who went to El Salvador pose for a funny picture. TAYLOR WICHTENDAHL | STAFF WRITER
While many Mason students went on vacation, spent time with family, or worked over break, some students used the week to volunteer in the United States and abroad. Students traveled through Mason alternative spring break, offered through New Century College and Social Action and Integrative Learning. Patty Mathison, the associate director of SAIL, emphasized that the goal of these trips was to work together and for students to understand social issues. “We do this through a community asset based approach where we are not going in to ‘help’ a community, but rather to work together towards positive social change,” Mathison said. “It is an opportunity for students to see firsthand what organizations and people are doing to address these various social issues.” The students who went on these trips earlier this month speak to this aspect through their experiences. “It was so amazing to connect with people my age in El Salvador who were leading the charge on issues we were both passionate about,” Michael Galfetti, who is studying government and international politics, said. Galfetti went to San Salvador, El Salvador, where the group focused on human rights issues, specifically women’s rights. The students worked with “Las 17,” a group that is attempting to free 17 El Salvadorian women imprisoned for having a miscarriage. They also met with a small community in Nahuizalco to talk about the massacre of their people that first occurred in 1932, El
Salvadorian high school students who were working on teaching others about discrimination, and sex workers demanding their rights. Galfetti also had the chance to meet with young leaders throughout El Salvador. He described them as social rights activists and dreamers saying, “…they were as young as me standing up and making change and being an example for others. It gave me a lot of hope for the country.”
The trip provided him with experience on an academic and practical level, while simultaneously providing him with exposure to a new culture. These two thread into each other, as Cherakoui puts it because, “In order to be successful in a global environment one must understand and value the culture of those they are working with.” Cherakoui felt the trip taught some lasting lessons, particularly that the differences and similarities between Mexican culture and our culture are what unite us. The students who have been on these trips encouraged other Mason students to take advantage of the program. “It is an eye-opening experience that really changes you and deepens your understanding and appreciation for people,” Galfetti said. According to Mathison, many of their trip leaders have continued their community engagement careers through Teach for America, Americorps, and the Peace Corps. She said many students return for another trip, as it is, “truly a transformational experience focused on community through an asset based approach.”
Matthew Moore, who went through Alternative Spring Break studied in Washington DC. The focus of his trip was on HIV/ AIDS and the homeless population. The students visited Women’s Collective, an organization that helps women that have AIDS/HIV or are at risk, in the DC Metro area. They also worked with Food and Friends, an organization that provides food to those who have illness and are home bound. Moore was drawn to Alternative Spring Break because of the opportunity to serve others without a large expense. He feels the experience really humbled him through speaking with at risk individuals. “Sometimes just having a conversation with these people is something positive they can hold on to when they are surrounded by so much hardship,” Moore said. There are opportunities for students to attend alternative spring break next year. Mathison explained that student cost is kept low so that students are not held back from participating. Cost ranges, not including flights, from $200 for a local D.C. trip to $600 for the El Salvador trip. Students have stayed with host families, camped out,
(COURTESY OF AHMED CHERKAOUI)
Cherkaoui spends time in Pachuca. Hidalgo, Mexico.
(WALTER MARTINEZ/FOURTH ESTATE)
lifestyle Greener pastures: A look at Mason nightlife
CONNOR SMITH | STAFF WRITER
The time spent during one’s undergraduate years is rife with uncertainty. Opinions, habits, ideologies, preferences, all changing in the blink of an eye, this way station between adolescence and adulthood solidifies the personality someone takes with them into that brave new world. That being said, remember what it felt like holding a college acceptance letter, the initial sign of relief quickly gave way to apprehension and anxiety. However long ago that moment was, the world seemed open, devoid of limitations. College seemed a forgone conclusion, but how the time spent between lecture and lab still seemed abstract. But what daydreams did those long months of anticipation before move in day breed, and what expectations did they bear? These are the stories of three Mason seniors elected to share, their wild anticipation in their first days at Mason, to their last days of lowered inhibitions before the end of an era. As wide eyed and busy tailed as they may have been, Mason is not known for its school sanctioned drinking and avid nightlife like our neighbors S.E.C. So how did these three seniors cope with a college culture wholly different from general perception of college parties? This is a question best answered by the subjects of this piece. Leo is a senior Government and International Politics major graduating this spring. When asked about his expectations coming into college and his prospective social life he said that he “would be in Alexandria and D.C. all he time,” that “there would be lots of frat parties,” and “drinking would be a non-issue.” Joking about both a metaphorical and physical “free pass” to party. Unfortunately for Leo, his raucous, National Lampoon like expectations were never met. He did however join a fraternity, finding his niche, and the people he counts among his dearest friends. He did however caution that, “The Animal House like frat parties only really happen in the S.E.C.” In the end, Leo looked fondly on his time spent at Mason this far, and the friends he made, regardless of the size of the parties he attended saying, “If I had gone to a Bama (Alabama) or LSU, I may have died.” The second subject of this particular article is a fellow senior.
Communications major Ace’s story differs greatly from that of Leo’s, but it is not an uncommon one at Mason. For Ace, “imagines of beers, late nights and poppin’ bottles” indoctrinated his thoughts. The only issue being, that college was not Mason. Ace began his college career in the cozy town of Harrisonburg, Virginia as a Theater major at James Madison University. The nightlife reality at JMU far exceeded his expectations saying, “I wasn’t entirely totally ready for the sheer number of parties. There was (AMY ROSE/FOURTH ESTATE) never necessarily a bad night, but I thought drinking would only be a facet of my social life, but it was party, party, party.” After two years, and having turned 21, Ace transferred to Mason. This brought new friends, tastes, and expectations for his social life. “It was a relief being around people a little more mature and professionally oriented,” Ace said. “As you grow, you change, as do your tastes, or at least they should.” The third and final subject is a senior named Walker. Sharing a similar story to that of Ace, Walker did not begin his foray into higher learning at Mason. His first year in college he attended IUPUI (a small college in Indiana) as a pre-med major. “I remember visiting my cousin at Ohio State, and being able to walk from house party to house party, they were everywhere,” Walker said. His decision to switch majors brought him back to northern Virginia, but the Ohio State culture he yearned to relive still eluded him. After his first year at Mason, Walker moved into a house with two friends and was determined to recreate the experience he had as a visiting high school student with his cousin at his home. An open invitation to all, the Van Wilder of Van Court, but not everything came out as expected. Walker spoke to the fact that he grew overwhelmed
by the sheer size of the parties being thrown, and the frequency at which they were happening. “I still see the people from those days every once and a while, but for the most part they don’t even remember my name,” Walker said. “I’ve been called Seth Rogan because of a Halloween costume I had one year.” He had built the hedonistic network he had long strode for, but in the end, “when it came to fruition it wasn’t fulfilling.” This past year however, Walker has switched gears. He now prefers smaller gatherings with close friends, than the blaring lights and masses of bodies packed together like sardines at the house parties he once orchestrated. These are just three examples in the mosaic that makes up the student body at Mason. They may have taken different paths, or surrounded themselves with different social circles, but the starting point and destination amongst them all was roughly the same. They all entered college with the same blind anticipation, and are leaving having grown a support system around themselves as the dust has settled. Mason is not an Auburn, LSU or Alabama, but for these three seniors that is absolutely fine. There may have been a small part of Leo, Walker, and Ace that searched for their very own “Delta House”, but in the end it was the friendships they had made that mattered far more than any ice luge or ABC party. Mason’s lack of school sanctioned drinking and nightlife isn’t the crutch it’s made out to be. These three seniors learned the hard way that relationships of substance are what really matter, you won’t find that at a CEO’s and business hoe’s party, and for that Mason, we thank you.
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Get a date with Fourth Estate Connor & Saranya
HANNAH MENCHHOFF | ONLINE LIFESTYLE EDITOR
Name: Saranya Jagadish Major: Integrative studies Hometown: Midlothian, VA Where did you go/what did you do on your date? I think it was called Bellissimo, the restaurant on Main Street. It was really fancy. We ate dinner, we were there for about three hours and after that we went to Auld’s for some drinks and we were there for, gosh, five hours. Well okay wait, since we left around one, so that’s three hours. What was your first impression? He was very put together, he seemed a bit nervous. It was a good first impression. How did you guys break the ice? I actually talking about you [Hannah]. I was like, ‘what made you want to sign up for this thing?’ And he told me and I told him that you were my inspiration for signing up for this thing because I saw it on Facebook. And I said ‘yeah let’s do it!’ What did you two have in common? Many things. We had our favorite musicals, or just musical theater in general, movies, tv shows, and wine. Also things we liked like politics, our large families were in common, talking about experiences we had, for example work experiences we had. I’ve worked on campaigns, he worked on campaigns, travelling, wine, I think I already said that. Yeah I think mainly, we spent a lot of time talking about our families, and how we both have large families. When you have a large family it’s typical to consider your cousins like your brothers and sisters. In our cultures, I’m Indian and he’s Irish, everyone is kind of just like your aunt or uncle or like your cousin. So we had a lot of that in common. Shared experiences, like “oh I’ve been through that” too. What was the funniest thing that happened? The funniest, he did a lot of accents. So he would get really nervous and start talking a random accent. He would talk like Matthew McConaughey or speak in a Russian accent, or I don’t know. I thought his Russian accent sounded like the guy from “Despicable Me,” Steve Carrell’s character. So I just kept laughing at the accents he would do. What was something you learned about them that stuck out to you? I think the fact that both of our moms passed away, it was already ironic that we had so much in common and then that was kind of wow, really? Of all the things we could have in common, that happened to both of us? And how we both reacted to them in similar ways I guess. Like the jokes and everything. We both have step moms. So it’s similar family background. Okay so, how did it go? Overall impression of the date? Really well, compared to other dates, definitely a lot
better. It would probably be up there. It was stimulating. Intellectually stimulating, emotionally stimulating, it was just good. Really good. Name: Connor Smith Major: Communications Hometown: Manassas, VA Where did you go/what did you do on your date? We had dinner at Bellissimo, which went strikingly well. We had great conversation. We very quickly realized after about an hour or two of awesome dinner and conversation that we were the last people in the restaurant. The entire staff was looking at us and we thought that we should probably get out of there. So we left and went to The Auld Shebeen, just because it was one of the few places that was open. What was your first impression? [She was] Strikingly beautiful, intimidatingly so. I thought I was completely out of my league. I didn’t know how to start the conversation without putting my foot in my mouth, which was terrifying and is not an uncommon occurrence for me. I thought, ‘oh dear god, what have I gotten myself into, I’m going to look like a totally fool in front of this women.’ How did you guys break the ice? Immediately after she sat down she asked how my day was. And I just didn’t know how to answer that question. I was like, I’m not sure how much of this should I divulge. I literally had just met this person for the first time. Then we quickly started talking about
college, future plans, and political leanings. Which was terrifying at first because she was the first to say she had done campaign work, I had done campaign work too. I asked her who she worked for and I felt my heart pounding, like okay, conversation has been great so far. But if she says someone like Gillespie, I might have just stood up and left the restaurant right there. As soon as she said she had worked on President Obama’s 2012 campaign, problem decompressed. Then we talked about politics, musical theater, music and education. What was the funniest thing that happened? She is so bubbly and fun, that I’d say things that I’d thought would be funny and she’d laugh. Then I wasn’t entirely sure that I was being funny. She laughs a lot, which is a beautiful trait and beautiful quality in any human being. What was something you learned about them that stuck out to you? She told me that she was working on a movie script. That stuck out quite a bit. Also her internship in London and being able to work at an awesome theater house as a head intern. Okay so, how did it go? Overall impression of the date? I thought it went fantastically. I thought she was absolutely lovely. I want to take her out again, like so many times. I want to take her to brunch! I’m just terrified that it’s completely one sided and that I was a total tool or fool, or any other double o-l ending word that means buffoon in some way, shape, or form. IF YOU WANT TO TRY OUT #GETADATEWITHFOURTHESTATE FILL OUT OUR SURVEY HERE: BIT.LY/FOURTHDATE
(COURTESY OF SARANYA JAGADISH)
Storm of controversy Years back when I was a member of Student Government, diversity was found on multiple levels among our ranks. One example was ideology.
that is the AP.
We had liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. We had members of Senate and the Executive who not only held certain beliefs, but acted upon them via public remarks, involvement in student groups, opinion pieces, and statements on social media.
“You’re allowed to say whatever you want, but like others have learned, there can be consequences if you start to become an embarrassment to the party/organization,” read one comment on Facebook about the Paglia dismissal.
We conveyed our ideological endeavors with impunity, apparently idiotic enough to assume that it was our right to do so without fear of repercussion. That free market of ideas assumption was shattered in February with the sudden dismissal of Storm Paglia from the position of undersecretary for university services for dining. On his non-SG Twitter account, Paglia had posted a couple statements critical of efforts to give benefits to illegal immigrants. “The fact that the @VASenate and @VaHouse allow these ILLEGALS in state tuition with an easier process than if I were to apply is DISGUSTING,” posted Paglia. In an official statement, SG claimed they respected free speech yet then proceeded to rationalize removing Paglia from their organization over his free speech usage. “After multiple conversations regarding the issue, the member was removed from the organization,” stated SG. “Student Government has always, and will continue to, embrace the diversity of thought and opinion within our organization and at our university.” The contention was over the phrase “illegals” being used in the Twitter posts to describe those who entered the country illegally. Yet is this really an offense worthy of termination? Up until 2013, the Associated Press considered “illegal immigrant” to be a valid descriptor of those who had unlawfully entered the United States.
Some said Paglia had the right to post what he tweeted, but then added the old argument about free speech having consequences.
People never believe that free speech must have consequences when a punishment falls on someone they agree with. Consider the case of Steven Salaita, who had a job offer with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign rescinded because of a series of anti-Israel posts on Twitter. Many at Mason including our Students Against Israeli Apartheid chapter decried the treatment that Salaita received. They were joined by others, including the nonpartisan campus speech watchdog group the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. None of Salaita’s supporters wrote off his troubles as being the product of free speech having consequences, even though his posts were unquestionably inflammatory. It appears that, while likely far away from each other politically, Salaita and Paglia are both victims of a system of excessively intense protection from critique. Author and lawyer Wendy Kaminer described this system in a Washington Post column last month, wherein she denounced the censorship many campuses performed in the name of protecting people from verbal abuse. “Multiculturalists sought to protect historically disadvantaged students from speech considered racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise discriminatory. Like abuse, oppression was defined broadly,” wrote Kaminer. “This reliance on subjectivity, in the interest of equality, is a recipe for arbitrary, discriminatory enforcement practices, with far-reaching effects on individual liberty.”
Indeed, even after the AP opted to declare the term “illegal immigrant” invalid they maintained that the politically correct term “undocumented immigrant” was also invalid.
Mason should be a free market of ideas. It should not punish its students on the basis of ideological disagreement or petty politically correct sensitivities.
Paul Colford, spokesman for AP wrote in 2013 that the problem with the phrase “undocumented” was that “it is not precise. A person may have plenty of documents, just not the ones required for legal residence.”
Until some great social change sweeps the region and everyone at Mason thinks the exact same way, we have to live together. We have to cooperate, we have to share space.
SG punished Paglia for using terminology that up until very recently was considered an acceptable phrase by an entity long considered liberally biased. Furthermore, Paglia is being denounced by individuals who use a phrase that is equally rejected by the authoritative source on news phraseology
Student Government removing one of their own over him expressing his political views in a non-SG venue goes contrary to all that makes for a good healthy exchange of opinions. MICHAEL GRYBOSKI / COLUMNIST
2015 YOUNG ATHEIST CONVENTION brought to you by GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY'S SECULAR STUDENT ALLIANCE
The Secular Student Alliance at George Mason University would like to welcome secular student groups, organizations, and the general public to the first ever Young Atheist Convention for an entertaining and informative gathering to empower the secular movement.
The event will feature speakers, panels, and entertainment that will shed light on topics such as humanism, activism, policy, science, technology, and the overall secular movement. The convention will also offer a platform for secular organizations and secular student groups to promote their mission and connect with the attendees. Light refreshments and lunch will be provided!
FEATURING ORGANIZATIONS Foundation Beyond Belief Center for Inquiry Freedom From Religion Foundation NOVA Atheists Hispanic American Freethinkers Humanists of UUCF Urban Atheists Sunday Assembly DC Washington Ethical Society Black Nonbelievers of DC Secular Coalition for America
For more information, you can contact: ALEX KRUPP SSA President email@example.com DIANA MILEA SSA PR Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
DATE AND TIME
Sunday, April 5 12 pm - 6 pm
Johnson Center Dewberry Hall
Master’s Degrees That Matter Accelerated Master’s programs for George Mason undergraduates:
• Master of Public Administration • Master of Public Policy • International Commerce and Policy • Political Science • Biodefense
Mason’s School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs also offers Master’s degrees in:
• International Security • Peace Operations • Organization Development and Knowledge Management • Transportation Policy, Operations, and Logistics • Health and Medical Policy