FOURTH ESTATE Mar. 31, 2014 | Volume 1 Issue 20 George Mason Universityâ€™s official student news outlet
Up in the Air Popov chooses Mason over pros
p. 17-18 (MAURICE C. JONES/FOURTH ESTATE)
Letter from the editor-in-chief Well, that was an ignominious issue last week. There are a doozy of corrections on the page 16, but I wanted to brieﬂy take full responsibility for the errors in last week’s issue. I care deeply about the final product of this paper and when I let that many errors get through the cracks, it reﬂects poorly on the hard work that all of my staff put into each issue. So throw scorn and shame this way. In a sign of appeasement to my corporate overlords, I wanted to very brieﬂy throw my support behind the ad that appears below my dumb words. Go watch “The Raid 2” this Friday. If I ever see outside the walls of the Office of Student Media this weekend, I will be at the Angelika Mosaic fist-pumping and roundhouse kicking the air in celebration of “The Raid 2,” so come and join me. If you know nothing about why I’m hyping the sequel so much, “The Raid: Redemption” -- the first of the series -- is possibly the best action film of the past decade. Director and writer Gareth Evans fell in love with the Indonesian martial art of ‘pencak silat,’ so he wrote a movie that showcased this martial art to the world. The brief synopsis of the film is an elite Indonesian police force attempts to infiltrate a 15 story apartment building which is owned and run by a ruthless mob boss. Of course, along each ﬂoor the police force faces hordes of criminals who they must battle before getting their shot at the boss. The beauty of “The Raid: Redemption” is how well it understands the action genre. Evans immediately sets the stakes -- and moves along with the exposition -- in the first ten or so minutes of the story. The story economy is incredible in how it creates clearly defined characters in such a perfectly executed pace. The editing and camera-work in the film are brilliant, but most importantly, the action is great. At times, the violence from ‘pencak silat’ -- which involves a lot of blade work -- is entertaining and elicits a lot of ‘whoa’ moments. Other times, the violence is used for devastatingly brutal effect that makes you feel every broken neck and knee to the face. Early buzz around “The Raid 2” has me even more excited than I thought I could be -- as evidenced by all the hyperbole in the previous grafs -- so I want everyone to financially support good things (i.e. things I like) and go watch “The Raid 2” this weekend.
Now that I’ve devoted a brief column to a love letter purported to be anything more than a guy who writes to one form of media, let me brieﬂy speak on another and delivers jokes for 22 minutes a night. To place the role of political ombudsman on his media-related thing that has garnered a lot of attention shoulders seems unfair. in the past couple of days. The real enemy in the macro of the situation is Dan On the March 26th episode of “The Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert, the conservative dummy Snyder, and by starting #CancelColbert, the conversacharacter, satirized Dan Snyder’s -- real life dummy -- tion has been shifted away from the actual thing to be attempt to get in the good graces of Native Americans outraged about. As a Vietnamese-American, I think wanting to by establishing the Washington Redskins Original bring to light the complicit role Asian-Americans play Americans Foundation. Colbert, in character, called back to getting ‘caught’ in exposing the lack of thought diversity today is an on camera making racist jokes about Asians. Colbert interesting conversation to have. Just not in this context than vowed to remedy and atone for his racism with where the only joke being made was at the expense of the establishment of the Ching Chong Ding Dong Dan Snyder and not aimed at any Asian stereotypes. Let’s just not ignore the fact that there’s an actual Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever. The joke works because the in-character dummy billionaire dweeb who is actively trying to cover mimicked the actions of an actual dummy in trying to himself from wanting to continue to call his football buy his way out of public relations hell. The slur of team a derogatory name. ‘Redskins’ is just as antiquated and absurd as ‘orientals,’ that any competent viewer of the program would HAU CHU understand the absurdity inherent in the joke. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF After the show aired, the foundation name proposed GMUFOURTHESTATE@ by the Colbert character was tweeted by the show’s offiGMAIL.COM cial account -- which remains in character and is not @HAUCHU run by Colbert, the human, himself. The always easily rabble-roused Twitter activist cabal immediately jumped into action and started the hashtag ‘#CancelColbert,’ thereby misunderstanding the role and use of satire in comedy. “The Colbert Report” has always been satire and any words written for the character of Stephen Colbert have been with tongue firmly in-cheek. I am a fan and casual viewer of the program and I generally find Colbert to be one of the better comedic personalities of television. Under that conceit, anything Colbert says is meant to be taken as a joke to unravel an actual truth at hand. Critics of Colbert would say that even as the character and in companion with Jon Prior to Broadside, the student newspaper was Stewart, both have an inﬂuential role in the called The Gunston Ledger. It was changed modern political sphere. Absolving themselves of the role by putting the comedy first in 1969 to better represent the politicalwould be irresponsible to Colbert’s critics. ly out-spoken student body at the time. I would say that while Colbert likes to A “broadside” was a pamphlet used during the satirize important topics to try and get at the heart of issues, he has never himself American Revolutionary War to help spread infor-
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Exam duration shortened, reading day canceled due to snow days ELLEN GLICKMAN STAFF WRITER
(WALTER MARTINEZ/FOURTH ESTATE)
On March 17, classes were cancelled due to winter weather for the fifth time this year. The number of missed days has resulted in an elimination of a reading day, and a shortening of each exam’s duration. A reading period is usually the week before finals begin during which no classes are held in order to allow students extra time to study for their final exams. However, at the end of this semester, classes will be held until Thursday, May 8 and final exams will begin the following day. Exam length has also been shortened by approximately one hour as an additional result of the cancelled days. Spring commencement, taking place on May 17, will occur as scheduled. Todd Rose, associate dean of University Life, said the changes have created some challenges for faculty as well as students. According to Rose, in order to adjust to the scheduling changes, professors now need to focus on class objectives and eliminate any extraneous material from their courses. “What I think a faculty member is going to be challenged to do is think of very specifically what [they are] trying to achieve in the class,” Rose said. “How do I best achieve those learning goals based on what I’m trying to get somebody to do?” In addition to his University Life position, Rose teaches a graduate class that meets on Mondays once a week. Three of the five cancelled days have been Mondays, and two of those days occuring before and after spring break resulted in Rose’s class not meeting for almost a month. Rose said that when many consecutive classes are missed, “the learning is very different.” Some commuter students have also had to make additional arrangements due to extra days missed from school. Freshmen Alexis Jenkins missed scheduled school days because conditions near her house were not safe. “I ended up just not coming because I couldn’t even get out of my neighborhood,” Jenkins said. “I was like, I’m not going to
risk anything to come to class - that’s just ridiculous. I came to class the next time and told my professors that I wasn’t able to make it and they understood.” According to the National Weather Service, the Dulles area has received 52.8 inches of snow this season. That number does not directly apply to the amount of snow that fell on campus, but a staff member at the NWS said it can be used as an estimate for Fairfax County. The amount of snow during the winter of 2009-2010, nicknamed “Snowmaggedon,” was 73.2 inches. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 24 inches or three inches you’d still probably close schools,” Rose said. “If you get three inches each day for ten days it’s 30 inches and you’ve closed for ten days as opposed to 30 inches for three days, you’ve closed for three days, so it’s the way it’s spread out [that affects cancellations].” Even though this winter might have seen less snowfall than “Snowmaggedon,” some snowfall records were broken this season. So far this month, the Dulles area has received 19.6 inches of snow. The original March record was 15.5 inches in 1993. Rose thinks
this prolonged winter has made people ready for a change. “I think people are just kind of ready for the spring weather to come in and just signify that it’s spring,” Rose said. “It’s time to move on with our lives.”
JC Info desk to replace computers with iPads KELSEY BYERLY STAFF WRITER
The information desk at the Johnson Center will soon be getting a facelift. Gail Sutton, the director of Student Centers is leading a project that will replace sixteen computers at the JC info desk with four iPads, as well as change the overall appearance of the desk. Sutton says that the overall goal of this project is not specifically upgrading technology. “The goal of this project is to make the information desk more aesthetically inviting to visitors and students and the technology is secondary to that,” Sutton said. But the iPads are bringing a more modern technological feel to the JC info desk. The current sixteen computers, which were installed in 1995
when the JC was built, had become outdated and were taking up a lot of counter space. “Today, the sixteen computers aren’t necessary,” Sutton said. “So, the project will replace them with four iPads, one on each corner of the desk intended for students to have quick access to key resources through the Internet.” And as for maintaining the iPads, Sutton says that it will be relatively simple. “The iPads will be placed on stand-up work stations in a security cover that will keep them in place. Students will have limited access to them. They will only be able to access the Internet and will not be able to download anything onto the iPad. Plus, they will be charging 24/7, ensuring that maintenance will be minimal.” In addition to the iPads, carpeting and counters around the info desk are also being removed
and replaced. While there is currently a noticeable change at the information desk, this is only temporary. “The benches that are currently situated at the corners of the information desk where the counters used to be are only temporary,” Sutton said. “It made sense to relocate them there since students usually would sit on the counters around the desk anyways.” According to Sutton, Student Centers took the responsibility of the project because the information desk does not belong to a specific department at Mason. “The JC information desk isn’t the responsibility of the IT department or any other specific department,” Sutton said. “So, Student Centers decided to take on the task.” The project is being funded by Auxiliary
Enterprises, a group of departments under the Office of Administration that provides “high level support services to the university” as stated on its website. “The total cost of the project is estimated to be $18,000,” Sutton said. “This also includes the cost of removing the existing carpeting and cabinets.” While Sutton says technology was secondary to the overall goal of making the info desk more inviting, the benefits of the iPads are numerous. “The iPads are not intended to be an incentive for people to use them more frequently, but they do offer Mason students quick access to key resources as well as take up far less desk space than the former computer systems,” Sutton said.
Mason honors faculty members with teaching excellence award REEM NADEEM BEAT REPORTER
Eight recipients of the 2014 Teaching Excellence Awards were announced on March 28. Out of 154 nominees, seventeen made it to the final round of selection. In addiEric Anderson tion, four recipients of the first ever adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award at Mason were announced. Rebecca Forkner Recipients of the Teaching Excellence Awards will receive a $2000 stipend and $1000 to travel, either to present their Gregory Grimsby teaching methods or for professional development. The recipients of the Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award Jill Nelson will receive a $1500 stipend. Those who made it to the finals but did not win were still awarded the title, ‘Teachers of Huzefa Rangwala Distinction.’ “These are people who were finalists in the awards process and submitted portfolios,” said Kimberly Eby, Pallab Sanyal Associate Provost for Faculty Development. “The committee felt their portfolios, while they didn’t make that final cut David Schleicher of the Teaching Excellence Awards, that it’s really important to recognize that what they’re doing in the classroom Michael Summers is also quite significant and certainly some of the best that’s happening around campus.” All finalists will be honored in a ceremony on April 21 in the Center for the Arts at 3:30 p.m. “It’s actually a really lovely event,” Eby said. “We don’t often do, I think personally, enough to recognize faculty for all of the contributions that they make to our students and on behalf of student learning.” Nominations were brief two to three paragraph emails explaining why a professor should win the award, accepted until Oct.15. According to Eby, the nomination process for the Teaching Excellence Award is simple in an effort to allow more students to contribute to the process. 154 professors were nominated and invited to submit materials for review by an interdisciplinary committee of 11 faculty members. On the website for the Center for Teaching & Faculty Excellence, it states that nominees were required to submit a 5-page vita and a 5 page teaching statement. According to Eby, around 80 nominees submitted the materials to move forward. Finalists were then asked to submit a teaching portfolio. The
ACADEMIC UNIT English (CHSS) Environmental Science & Policy (COS) Computer Game Design Program (CVPA) Electrical & Computer Engineering (VSE) Computer Science (VSE)
Information Systems & Operations Management (SOM) School of Law (SOL) School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences (COS)
portfolios went more in-depth about teaching philosophy and provide evidence of student engagement, Eby said. The process for the Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award was slightly different. This allowed adjunct nominees a better chance to be recognized for their work, despite a smaller number of students and classes. “We wanted to make sure that we had a university mechanism or vehicle for awarding them and recognizing the incredible work that they’re doing in the classroom,” Eby said. Any adjunct faculty nominated with the Teaching Excellence Award nominations were moved to the pool of just adjunct faculty members. “We did a lot of recruitment from department chairs and people who really work with scheduling the courses in the academic units to identify who they thought their strongest adjunct faculty members were, to get those nominations,” Eby said. Adjunct faculty finalists were required to do a brief case study of one course, which allowed adjunct faculty who only teach one
course to be on even ground with those who teach more. According to Eby, faculty with more than one course chose one to study. Though this year marks the first separate selection process for adjunct faculty, the results were impressive. “I think we were blown away by the quality of the portfolios that we received,” Eby said. “In fact, we’d originally intended to only give three awards then we made the decision to give four awards because we were so impressed with the work that was happening in the classrooms that were being taught by adjunct faculty members.” The increasingly competitive pool of Teaching Excellence Award finalists led to the creation of the Teachers of Distinction recognition three years ago to discourage “winners versus losers language,” according to Eby. “Because the truth is these 15, 16, 17 people each year are truly extraordinary educators.”
Anti-abortion group sparks debate on campus ANGELA WOOLSEY STAFF WRITER
(KATRYNA HENDERSON/FOURTH ESTATE)
The Genocide Awareness Project, a program that seeks to end abortion, staged a protest from Monday through Wednesday this week on SUB I Plaza. “The two most important facts that we want to present are the humanity of the child from the moment of fertilization and the fact that abortion is an act of violence that ends the life of that unborn child,” said Maggie Egger, the project director for the Mason campus. The protest stood out for its use of graphic images comparing abortion to genocide. Photographs of alleged bloody, aborted fetuses appeared alongside photos of the Holocaust, lynchings and the Rwandan genocide on both large billboards and smaller poster boards held by participants in front of Fenwick Library. “Our organization does focus on using graphic images, because that’s the most effective way to tell people the truth about what abortion is and what the victim of abortion is,” Egger said. She added that the images were professionally taken with the permission of an abortion doctor who let them into his clinic and verified the ages of the embryos and fetuses, which were displayed underneath the pictures. “I’m always encouraged, when we do these graphic images on campus, when I see students respond with open minds,” said Anna Maher, president of GMU Students for Life, the organization that invited the Genocide Awareness Project to campus and helped organize the event. Maher said that she hoped the images and the demonstration would encourage students to look at the realities of abortion and have a conversation about the topic. “It’s critical that we begin developing programs that service outlets in which we can address these tensions that surround abortion, rather than just saying that abortion is so taboo, everyone disagrees on it, so let’s not even talk about it,” Maher said. The Genocide Awareness Project is part of the Center for Bioethical Reform, a non-profit corporation that, according to their website, works to establish prenatal justice and the right to life for the unborn. The Genocide Awareness Project travels around college campuses across the nation and previously visited George Mason in 2003 and 2012.
Although the group visits other communities besides college campuses, Egger said that colleges allow them to reach out to people when they are at a very particular time in their lives. “The vast majority of abortions are performed on college-age women, so that’s the ideal time to talk to them about this subject,” Egger said, citing students as important because of how many of them have to deal with abortion-related issues. “Also, the culture of a college campus is such that it really lends itself to this open debate…and being able to come out here and have both sides with very different viewpoints and have a great dialogue about it.” On the other side of this dialogue is Elvira Razzano, a junior at Mason and an intern at the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League Pro-Choice Virginia’s Campus Out Loud program. She organized a counter-protest to the Genocide Awareness Project’s activities through the organization, which she says is designed to get young people involved in pro-choice issues. “I wanted [the Genocide Awareness Project] to see that there were students that were actively against what they were doing,” Razzano said. “I just wanted to create a sort of visibility for pro-choice students and just be like, hey, we’re at George Mason too and we don’t support this by any means.” Though she does not know the exact number of people who turned out for the event, she says that approximately 20 people signed up ahead of time, and many others joined in throughout each of the three days. Protestors held handmade signs with slogans like “My Constitutional Rights Are NOT Up for Debate” and “Sick of Scare Tactics? Talk to Us!” The demonstrations also opened the door for significant discussions about freedom of speech, particularly regarding the Genocide Awareness Project’s use of images some say they find disturbing. After the group left campus, Honors College Living Learning Community Coordinator Kevin Stoy sent honors students an email announcing that his door was open to anyone who was disturbed by the images and needed to talk. He also directed students to related on-campus support facilities like Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education, the Office of Compliance,
Equity and Diversity and the Women and Gender Studies Center. He said the email was prompted by both a sense of responsibility as an LLC coordinator and an alert sent to University Life administrators by Dr. Dennis Webster, one of the leaders of Mason’s Campus Climate Committee. The committee provides a Bias Incident Report Form for students to report acts of bias, intolerance and discrimination. “Living Learning Coordinators like me are here to support Mason students, especially when the sense of community we’ve worked so hard to foster and maintain here on campus is disrupted or threatened by groups like the Genocide Awareness Project,” Stoy said. According to John Davis, assistant professor of communication who teaches a course on free speech and ethics, the question of whether the Genocide Awareness Project’s use of graphic images disrupts the campus environment is key to determining how the university should treat it. “It doesn’t have to be volume that constitutes disruption,” Davis said. The possibility that the pictures might distract students from their work is a potential reason for the college to challenge the presence of
the Genocide Awareness Project. “When it affects a student walking to their classroom, maybe they had an abortion or maybe they’ve gone through something deep like that… they’re not going to get what they paid for as to why they’re on a college campus,” Davis said. He notes that there have been laws set up to regulate the display of images like these. For instance, Planned Parenthood clinics have tried to move anti-abortion protests at least ta block away from the clinic itself to put some distance between them and the women visiting the clinics. Still, Davis hesitates to suggest that Mason should place limits on any form of expression solely because it might prompt uncomfortable emotional reactions. “More speech is better than less speech,” Davis said, “I don’t think it’s for a university or a society to start regulating the content of what people do. All they can regulate is how, the time, the place or the manner of how that protest or expression is done.” The students protesting the Genocide Awareness Project said they were not looking to intrude on the group’s right to free speech. “They do have their First Amendment rights to assemble and
things like that, and I know there’s no way I could get them off campus, although I hate the message that they send,” Razzano said, adding that interactions between the two sides of the demonstration had maintained an overall civil, respectful tone. However, she recalled that a group of students had signed a petition when the Genocide Awareness Project visited before in spring 2012, hoping to stop their use of the graphic images. “They weren’t really protesting their presence, just saying that these images are triggering and that they’re harmful,” Razzano said. Both pro-life and pro-choice student leaders agreed that their primary aims in holding the protests were to foster an on-campus conversation about abortion and to encourage greater student involvement in related issues and programs. To further this goal and give students a forum to discuss their thoughts on the Genocide Awareness Project and abortion, they arranged for a dialogue to take place Monday, March 31 at 5:30 p.m. in SUB I, meeting room 3A. “We see each other as partners in a solution, in terms of the fact that we both want to help women, just in completely different ways,” Maher said.
(PHOTO COURTESTY OF CENTER OF GLOBAL EDUCATION)
Mason joins national initiative to boost study abroad participation
JULIANNE WOODSON STAFF WRITER
Mason has joined a national initiative aimed at doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad. The initiative, called Generation Study Abroad, is a program by the Institute of International Education, a Washington D.C. based non-profit. Mason’s goal as a part of the initiative is to quadruple the number of Mason students studying abroad. During the 20112012 academic year, 908 students participated in study abroad programs at Mason. According to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange, less than 10 percent of U.S. college students study abroad before graduating. The overall goal is to increase this percentage by having 600,000 U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. Anne Schiller, Vice President for Global Strategies at Mason, sees the partnership with Generation Study Abroad as providing valuable resources that will help Mason to meet its own goal and thus contribute to the overall goal of 600,000 students. “Partnering with IIE will open the way to explore best practices with colleagues across the country, as we contribute our experiences and learn from those of others, to help us reach ambitious goals,” Schiller said. “By virtue of its selection in the Generation Study Abroad Initiative, Mason is also eligible to compete for new
funds from IIE that will help us expand our capabilities in international education.” As a part of Generation Study Abroad, Mason will be connected to more than 150 higher education institutions also participating in the initiative. “This partnership will allow us to network with other institutions to see what they are doing about the barriers [to studying abroad] and to do an analysis of what our own students’ barriers are,” said Marie alice Arnold, General Manager of the Center for Global Education. Currently, the CGE offers more than 90 programs in 50 different countries. Staff from both Schiller’s office, the Office of Global and International Strategies, and from the CGE will work together to meet the challenges involved in increasing the number of students taking advantage of these programs. “We’re very good on the access points. We have opportunities at every different financial level. We allow students to go on programs, as long as they are academically sound, that fit their needs so we don’t have any limitations on that,” Arnold said. “But are there other institutional barriers that are preventing students from studying abroad?” According to Arnold, it’s vital that students know about study abroad options early in their careers at Mason so there is adequate time to do academic and financial planning. She sees the conversation that will strike up around Generation Study Abroad as key to getting students informed.
“This partnership allows us to continue the conversation about what place study abroad has at George Mason University and have people really talking about what the benefits are,” Arnold said. “It draws attention to study abroad as an important piece of the academic component at Mason.” Recommendations that are likely to spring from this initiative include growing existing relationships with international partner universities and increasing opportunities for international internships. In addition, the administration hopes to make studying abroad a requirement for certain undergraduate degree programs. The partnership, along with the opening of the new campus in Songdo, Korea earlier this month, marks Mason’s continuing commitment to global education and international relations. Developing the Korea campus is seen as key to reaching the Mason’s goal of quadrupling study abroad participation. “East Asia is a dynamic world region, so that prospect [developing Mason’s Korea campus] is especially exciting and very timely,” Schiller said. The new strategic plan emphasizes development of an international worldview. According to Schiller, studying abroad is key to students cultivating this globalized way of thinking. “Increasing the number of students who enjoy opportunities to study abroad and to participate in many kinds meaningful global experiences support the development of a global mindset,” Schiller said.
THIS WEEK AT GMU
Fifteen minutes of fame
brings acoustic show to CFA GENEVIEVE HOELER LIFESTYLE EDITOR
Famous singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson— who crooned many Mason students through their adolescence and early college years with his hit song “Come on Get Higher”—will be appearing at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall on April 3, 2014. This concert will be Nathanson’s debut at Mason, although he has often plays at the internationally recognized Wolf Trap in Vienna. This performance will be one of the ﬁnal shows before the singer headlines a summer tour with Gavin DeGraw, which will return him to Northern Virginia when he and DeGraw will perform at Wolf Trap. Known for his high-quality live shows, Nathanson has been touring with noted success since he gained fame with his album “Some Mad Hope” in 2007. “The best part about touring is being able to feel the music bounce off of the people who come to the shows,” Nathanson said. “When you get to share your music with somebody else, there’s a transcendent energy that you can’t get by yourself or when you’re just playing with the band. There’s a cycle of energy that happens, and it’s incredible.” While studying in college, Nathanson performed and helped organize other bands to play at his school. Now, having played at many different kinds of venues besides colleges and universities, Nathanson said he found that playing at a university is like playing at somebody’s house. “College shows have a great energy. Everyone’s a lot less guarded and ready to let go,” Nathanson said. This show promises a unique element due to
the acoustic nature of the planned concert. Nathanson said, “For me, [acoustic shows] are more fun. There’s a lot more stories to tell and songs feel more potent in that environment.” He will be playing most of his songs from his latest album “Last of the Great Pretenders,” which came out in July 2013, and reached number 16 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart. Of his songs from the new album, Nathanson said one song he is particularly excited to play acoustically is “Earthquake Weather.” “It’s the ﬁrst song on the new record. We were in Europe touring the UK last week and I played it for the ﬁrst time [acoustically] on that run and it was pretty fun; kind of moving and heavy. That’s my favorite lately,” Nathanson said. Nathanson will be performing with Youtube sensation Noah Guthrie, who is best known for his acoustic, bluesy cover of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It,” and has appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Although he never worked with the rising Youtube star, Nathanson said that working with new and different artists is one of the exciting parts of performing at colleges. It is not something that artists commonly get the chance to do on a typical tour. “When we do regular tours, we always bring our own support, but it’s always fun to ﬁnd new folks,” Nathanson said. “It’s fun to hear someone you’ve never heard before and in an environment where they’re just playing the guitar and singing, and you can hear the songs stripped down.” To purchase tickets, visit the Center for the Arts box ofﬁce. Nathanson and Guthrie will be performing on April 3, 2014 at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $10-$20 with a Mason student ID. General tickets and specially priced tickets for Mason faculty and staff are also available.
HAU CHU EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
The clock struck midnight on March 27 as some Mason students were winding down for the night, and others were settling into their night festivities. For some groups of students from Mason’s Greek life community, the turning of the day signaled just the halfway mark in their daily preparation for the Greek Sing competition. Greek Sing is the culmination of Mason’s Greek Week, an annual competition among fraternity and sorority life at Mason. It is an event that allots Greek organizations 15 minutes to put on a singing, dancing and theatrical-intensive variety show. Greek Sing is worth the most points in Greek Week competition, and as a result, Greek organizations devote the most time and energy into perfecting their routines. Practices have been known to go from 10 p.m. to varying times of early morning on business days for weeks on end depending on the will and dedication of a given Greek chapter. In the past, the only Greek organizations involved in Greek Week competitions were interfraternity council chapters and panhellenic council chapters. This year is the third year that has included multicultural and national-panhellenic chapters. There are ﬁve teams of ﬁve organizations and two teams of six organizations competing in Greek Week this year. The theme for this year’s Greek Week was ‘America (Cities).’ Even with the inclusion of the multicultural and national-panhellenic organizations, most of the creative direction of Greek Sing lies with the traditional frats and sororities. The working process of each team varies from organization to organization. Pi Beta Phi (full disclosure: two members of Fourth Estate’s editor staff are also sisters of Pi
Beta Phi), Phi Kappa Sigma -- more commonly known as ‘Skulls’ --, Delta Chi, Lambda Pi Chi and Alpha Kappa Alpha represented Honolulu for Greek Week. This year was the inaugural year of existence for Pi Phi at Mason, and the collaborative creative process was partially focused on acclimating the chapter into the typical workﬂow for Greek Sing. “They have been surprisingly helpful, and they are very eager to come in and contribute and they’ve all had a lot of great ideas,” said Drew Henderson, social chair of Delta Chi. Delta Chi itself is a recently chartered chapter at Mason, starting in 2009. Mark Vannoorbeeck, Greek Week chair for Skulls saw the difference working with Team Honolulu from last year’s Greek Week which paired Skulls with Alpha Phi, who he said had a much more time and effort-intensive practice schedule for Greek Sing. Henderson said the process for putting together the team’s performance went on over a couple of weeks, starting in earnest the week after spring break. While some organizations began well before that, Team Honolulu believed they had enough time to craft their performance within their own parameters. “Our practices were never more than four hours, because after four hours, nothing gets done,” Henderson said. For more information on the preparations for Team New Orleans, Team Las Vegas and results from Sunday’s Greek Sing competition, visit gmufourthestate.com for the full story.
School of Music Faculty honored by GRAMMYS LIFESTYLE EDITOR
are a very buttoned up process, so we needed to put a process behind it and to get trustees to support it,” Goldman said.
On March 28, Glen McCarthy—part of Mason’s School of Music faculty and a teacher at Grassﬁeld High School—was honored as a ﬁnalist of the Music Educator Award.
The evaluation committee—which included GRAMMY Foundation board members, music educators and musicians— asked for videos of the teachers working in the classroom and for written essays by the applicants.
“None of us that are in music education are really doing it to make a lot of money. We love this. It’s our passion,” McCarthy said.
One of those ﬁnalists is chosen to receive a $10,000 honorarium and are ﬂown to Los Angeles for the Special Merit Awards Ceremony and Nominees Reception.
After working with Robinson High School for 30 years, McCarthy came to Mason to teach guitar and to teach students how to become educators themselves.
McCarthy was one of the other nine ﬁnalists who received a $1,000 honorarium. Mason received a matching grant.
Layendecker said, “[McCarthy] is one of the reasons we can brag about our wonderful faculty at Mason.”
He continues to inspire throughout the Fairfax area. “Glen is not only one of the ﬁnest teachers, we all know that,” said Dr. Dennis M. Layendecker, director of the School of Music, “but he’s also one of the humblest gentlemen I have known.” This award was given on behalf of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation by Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation, Scott Goldman. The Recording Academy, who are the parent company of the GRAMMY Foundation and internationally known for their GRAMMY awards, was established in 1957, dedicated to improving, according to their press release, “the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers.” This was the ﬁrst year of the Music Educator Award. After the award was announced, people all over the nation were invited to nominate an educator. The applications closed on April 15, 2013, with 32,000 nominations. “The award is open to any music teacher, kindergarten through
The grants were made possible by the ﬁnancial assistance of multiple companies, including the Ford Motor Company Fund.
college,” Goldman said. “Glen is the only college level [recipient] in our 10 ﬁnalists.” Out of the 10 ﬁnalists, three are from the state of Virginia, including a high school teacher from George Mason High School. After the ﬁrst cut, based solely on the quantitative nature of the application, the criteria narrows down to the quality of technique, educational philosophy and impact on students
“We’ve been working with the Grammy Foundation for seven years,” said Elizabeth McAdam, a representative of the Ford Motor Company Fund, “and [they] do such a great job of inspiring students and showing them all of the opportunities that are available in the arts and music beyond being a performer on the stage.” In addition to the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Music Education Awards’ honorariums and grants were made possible by the support Box Tops For Education, Converse, Disney Performing Arts, Journeys, Microsoft Surface and Universal Music Group.
“The Academy is very process oriented, the GRAMMY Awards
Study at Mason Korea FALL 2014
Applications for scholarships and international peer advisor positions available
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CONNECT2 BROADSIDE VOLUME 1 ISSUE 20.5 APRIL 1ST-ISH
WHO LET THE DOG IN? MASON POLICE WOOF WOOF | PAGE 13
Letters from the office of the tire fire that was Fourth Estate WELP.
The Fourth Estate experiment turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. We really tried our best to become a competent news outlet, but in the eight months that have passed, it’s time to pack it up and go home. You can’t say this hasn’t been an eventful time, whether it’s been the truther conspiracy we fell prey to -- I still say look at the chemtrails and the melting point of steel -- or the incident where you tried to use hired goons to HAU CHU GARBAGE MAN-INCHIEF
smash my writing fingers in your coup for my job. Readers, don’t try to find Fourth Estate offices on campus anymore as we have mysteriously taken a large insurance claim on the rubble that used to be our office. Peace and love from yr boy.
Like the transition from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution, or the creation of the EU - strong unions never last. Essentially what was intended to be an innovative approach to journalism has just turned into unmitigated disaster. For one, these “print people” have this completely unnecessary expectation for us to read their stories without any connection to the outside world. Repeatedly I have tried to highlight, Tweet and Facebook bodies of text from the newspaper and absolutely nothing has happened. So. Aggrevating. I hope the newspaper lives a long and happy life while Fourth Estate Online looks into purchasing The Washington Post in the next couple years. Cheers. GOLFWANG. FrankBank123 firstname.lastname@example.org
Surprise Mason Players Production promises to be a shear pleasure GENEVIEVE HOELER PET PSYCHIC
Although the Mason Players 2013-2014 season is nearly at its end, the organization best known for performing theatrical works at George Mason has surprised the public with one final, one-night-only main stage production. “We felt this theatrical season needed one final hoorah before the year ended,” Mason Players President Clarkson Codfish, said. This surprise performance comes with another twist: a guest star, Meryl Streep. David Richardson, long time theater professor and director at Mason, said, “While our students are remarkable actors, we felt this would be a great opportunity for students to work with an actress that has been actively involved in the theater and film world.” Meryl Streep has been renowned for her charm, on camera and off, as well as her incredible acting ability. By 2014, she earned 18 Oscar nominations—three of which were wins—and a plethora of other awards for her work including MTV Movie Award nomination for her performance in “The Devil Wears Prada.” The piece chosen for this one-night-only performance is one beloved by many. “John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ has always struck a chord deep in my soul,” Richardson said. “We decided, however, to change the gender of the main characters so that they were both female, and ultimately change the title of the piece to be ‘Of Mice and Meryl.’” Streep will be playing the role of Lennie, or Lenora for this particular show, which may be her most challenging role yet. Alongside her is Mason student Samantha Taylor, junior Astronomy major. “I was very surprised when I was told that I would be performing with Meryl Streep,” Taylor said, “However,
I was a little more surprised when Meryl Streep turned into an alpaca halfway through the first read.” Streep has apparently been struggling with this anamorphic ability through most of her adult life. “That was how we met,” Richardson explained. “I used to be an alpaca farmer in Wisconsin. One day, I was shearing the alpacas for the upcoming spring and one of my best dams.” Richardson laughed and said, “We’ve been friends ever since.” “Of Mice and Meryl” incorporates a large cast, and many students have been given the opportunity to act alongside the famous actress. “Meryl makes the whole experience fun,” Taylor
Collins, senior Film Studies major, said. “Sometimes, it is easy to forget that theater is about playing. Also, when she turns into an alpaca, sometimes she lets us ride on her back.” As part of the fundraising for the Mason Players, the organization will be selling Ruanas, Sweaters and Ponchos made from Meryl’s alpaca hair. Streep was not available for any further comments, as she was very busy chewing on the furniture of the Theater Lounge. But she seemed happy. More information about the Mason Player’s upcoming production of “Of Mice and Meryl,” will be offered closer to the show’s opening.
Air Lucy: Bark Ranger VERNON MILES UNEMPLOYED
There was upheaval in the Mason Police Department this past week when, in response to the recent bomb threats, President Cabrera has reportedly selected a new interim Chief of Police with a specialty in explosive ordinance. In an email sent out to the Mason community on Saturday, Mar. 29, Mason Police Chief Eric Heath stepped down and said a few words about his legacy. “We’ve made great progress here this year,” Heath said. “I think the current situation will be… interesting.” Heath’s replacement is Lucy, an English Springer Spaniel and a recent graduate of
the explosive ordinance detection school. “Woof,” Lucy said in response to her appointment, “Woof woof woof.” Though new to the position, Lucy has already taken steps to change how Mason’s police force operates. Doggy doors have been installed at the police headquarters and plans are in the works for additional accessibility to the police cars, a plan one Williams described as “a travesty”. “Woof woof,” Lucy said, “Woof.” Some of Lucy’s new policies include a mandatory “windows down” car patrols. Lucy also hopes to bring potential advancement from Mason Cadets to Police with a new “belly-rub program”, though Lucy wasn’t able to say more on the subject at the time. For now though, focus for Mason
Police has been shifted into investigating the bomb threats. “Our focus needs to be directed towards stopping these bomb threats. All other investigations, said a recent internal memo, “have been put on… paws.” “It’s tough getting used to a new boss with a new way of doing things. It’s important for the old Chief to help facilitate that process. We don’t want too many people around here barking orders,” Heath said. “We’re all trying to get adjusted here. This has been a pretty ruff week for all of us.” Lucy’s handler, Master Police Officer John Arnold, could not be reached for contact. However, a former contact from
explosive ordinance detection school said he found the decision “disappointing”. “Woof woof, woof woof woof,” said a former classmate, an Australian Shepard who preferred to remain anonymous, “Woof.” “I haven’t been here very long, but I already feel like the student body is my liter. Our commitment is chieﬂy to the students, and we’ll do whatever is necessary to keep them safe and make sure college is an enjoyable experience for everyone. That policy will never change.” Lucy paused for a moment to take a call, then responded, “We’ll have to continue this dialogue with the Mason community another time, a student’s just fallen down a well.”
Great hair could replace great hair DANIEL GREGORY MANAGING ASSHOLE
As the Mason community remembers Tom O’Connor fondly as he prepares to retire, it has not taken the administration long to begin the search for his replacement. The athletic department has already started contacting potential candidates. “The search to replace Tom O’Connor is going to be a long and arduous process,” said Jay Marsh, Senior Associate AD of Facilities, Events, and Championships. “We are going to make sure we take our time, but we’ve already talked to some candidates, and we’re very excited about the prospects.” A source within the administration claims so far the top candidate appears to be Emilio Estevez. “We’re constantly looking for better ways to gain our university notoriety and respect,” the source said. “What better way to help get more recruits and nation spotlight than hiring a once famous actor?” Estevez, the 51 year-old actor famous for such great films as “Young Gunz II” and “Men at Work,” would serve as a tremendous asset to the Mason community by providing a beautiful mug to become the face of the Mason Athletic Department.
President Angel Cabrera refused to comment on the matter, but Marsh smiled coyly when asked asked about Estevez as a potential candidate. “I wouldn’t say anyone is a top candidate right now, but there’s something you gotta love about that idea,” Marsh said. “I mean it isn’t like he doesn’t have the athletics acumen. He coached the Mighty Ducks to a Minnesota Pee-Wee Championship and Team USA to a Junior Goodwill Games victory.” While no one rushed to tell Marsh these achievements were purely fictitious, they apparently hold major value to both Cabrera and Marsh. “The people heading up the search committee were truly impressed by the decisions Estevez made as Gordon Bombay,” the source inside the athletic department said. “Both of them rave about his decision to pull the hot goalie Goldberg in favor of Julie the Cat Gaffney all because she had the better glove.” Sure enough Estevez was right and Gunner Stahl went glove because he is fancy, but this happened in a work of pure fiction. That does not seem to bother the search committee. “We understand that as an actor, he has limited experience in athletics, but his characters he has played have
more than enough experience to account for his actual inexperience,” the source said. Our source makes good points considering in “The Breakfast Club” Estevez played an elite high school wrestler who showed strong leadership characteristics by embracing a nerdy Anthony Michael Hall. Furthermore, he proceeded to excel at the law while coaching the Ducks. He even gained experience in academic law fighting Eden Hall forcing them to honor his team’s scholarships. All of these would be phenomenal resume builders if he did them in real life. Tom O’Connor declined to comment about potentially being replaced by an actor. After slamming the door to his office a loud ruckus could be heard outside the door. While Estevez top the list, other potential candidates include a reanimated Paul Newman, Oklahoma St. angry coach Mike Gundy, Bob Knight’s son Pat Knight, and in a surprise move Wolf the Dentist Stanson. Marsh refused to put a timetable on the search especially considering O’Connor remains in his position through the end of the semester.
IN MEMORIAM* To our staff members and loved ones who have perished over these eight months. R.I.P.D.
*Note: To be read only to the tune of Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You,” Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind or Riskay’s ”Smell Yo Dick”
Oderus Urungus Phillip Seymour Hoffman
The television program “Smash”
Chief Inspector Lee
Fat cajun man in Detective True Detective James Carter who was biblically intimate with his sister Alexa Rodgers
Mason feminists are prochoice at the expense of women Of the many services the world renowned Mayo Clinic provides, one of them is an online week-by-week description of the development of a human embryo. At 18 weeks, a baby can hear sounds. At 21 weeks, a baby has the ability to swallow. By week 25 a baby can respond to a mother’s voice and by 28 weeks a healthy baby can have a 90 percent chance of surviving outside the womb. None of these or other major fetal developments matter in the eyes of the late term abortion providers lionized at a recent event held at the Johnson Center. Sponsored by the Feminist Student Organization, the Women and Gender Studies Department, and the Film and Media Studies Department, the event was a viewing of the controversial documentary “After Tiller.” “After Tiller” centers around the lives of the few remaining late term abortion providers in the United States after the murder of Kansas late term abortion provider George Tiller. While showcasing both sides, the documentary is ultimately more sympathetic towards those who regularly terminate the lives of those who could likely survive outside the womb if given a chance. While according to its Facebook page Mason’s official pro-choice organization is inactive due to lack of officers, our Women and Gender Studies Department has taken up their banner. This included helping to stage a counter-protest to a recent campus visit from a pro-life organization. A moment of cynical amusement came when looking at the counter-protest signs, which included one that read “Sick of scare tactics? Talk to us.” That sign comes from a movement that in recent years has tried with varying success to scare females into supporting their cause by saying any regulation of the abortion industry is part of the “War on Women.” Aside from that contemplation, this wholesale support of the pro-choice cause by the Women and Gender Studies Department and the Feminist Student Organization is fairly baffling. It is not as though all women or even a supermajority of women believe abortion should be legally accessible from conception to nine months gestation. Indeed, not even the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade believes that. Since the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision, Norma McCorvey has had a change of
heart and no longer supports the industry that so benefitted from her legal challenge. “I was the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, but Jane Roe has been laid to rest,” stated McCorvey, who has since referred to the abortion industry as “greedy” and perpetuating a “holocaust.” Besides remarks of the former Roe, Mason’s feminist ideological groups’ full commitment to the pro-choice cause looks really weird next to many of their other endeavors. Think of the many things that Mason’s FSO and the Women and Gender Studies entities do to advance the value of women. They observe “Take Back the Night” to spotlight the need to combat sexual violence; they observe “Breastival” to spread the need for women to be vigilant about checking for breast cancer. Then let us return to the issue of the womb. Even though the sex of the baby may not become apparent until 14 weeks, experts agree the sex of the baby is determined at conception. Mason’s feminist community appears poised and determined to defend and promote and advocate for women…unless they remain in the womb. They see value in the life of every female… unless she is under the knife of any of those interviewed for the After Tiller documentary. The most vulnerable of women, those who cannot speak for themselves, those who do not have legal protections, they are the ones first abandoned by those who claim to be for women. It’s this indifference to the vulnerable female life that so contradicts an agenda otherwise geared towards passionate support of woman power. It’s indifference by the whole hearted if not blind acceptance that FSO and the Women and Gender Studies Department have for abortion, right down to the pro-choice signs hanging prominently in the Department’s Johnson Center office. What would Susan B. Anthony, who considered abortion “child murder”, or Alice Paul, who called abortion “the ultimate exploitation of women”, think of the things their ideological descendants cling to?
MICHAEL GRYBOSKI COLUMNIST
In the article, “Mason requests funds from state for Robinson construction”: The quote attributed to Assistant Dean of the Doctoral Division and Research Development, Kathy Richards should have been attributed to Cathy Wolfe, Director of Campus Planning. The quote from Ms. Wolfe written as ‘Differed maintenance mean’ should have been ‘deferred maintenance mean.’
In the article, “Student senate passes bill to promote local, healthy food”: Philip Abbruscato’s name was misspelled. Stacy Flemming is the Chairwoman for University Services not student government’s senator for university services, diversity and multicultural affairs.
In the article, “Documentary erases the line between light and dark”: The author of the article was Meghann Patterson and was misattributed as ‘Meghan Patterson.’
In the advertisement placed by the Center for the Arts: An older, outdated ad was run rather than an up-to-date listing of events at George Mason’s Center for the Arts. We apologize for our errors and hope to avoid any future ones.
By: Leilani Romero
FREE TICKETS FOR MASON STUDENTS! MASON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Open Rehearsal with Virginia Chamber Orchestra March 31 at 7:30pm FREE CA MASON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA with Virginia Chamber Orchestra An Evening of Mozart and Mendelssohn April 2 at 8 p.m. $15 adults, $10 students/seniors HC 1 Free Ticket per ID available NOW
CA CENTER FOR THE ARTS
MOSCOW FESTIVAL BALLET Swan Lake April 4 at 8 p.m. $56, $48, $40 HC Romeo and Juliet & Chopiniana April 5 at 8 p.m. $56, $48, $28 CA Ballet Favorites April 6 at 4 p.m. $56, $48, $28 CA 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. NOW
THE VISION SERIES Nanotechnology in Biomedicine Allesandra Luchini, speaker April 7 at 7:30 p.m. FREE HC VIRGINIA OPERA - Carmen April 11 at 8 p.m. $86, $72, $44 April 13 at 2 p.m. $98, $80, $48 CA 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. Apr. 1
MASON OPERA The Marriage of Figaro April 12 at 8 p.m., April 13 at 4 p.m. $20 adu., $15 stu./sen. HT 1 Free Ticket per ID avail. Apr. 1
2ND ANNUAL MFA EXHIBITION AND OPEN STUDIOS April 7-11 FREE FG
TAO - Phoenix Rising April 12 at 8 p.m. April 13 at 4 p.m $46, $38, $30 HC 2 Free Tickets per ID avail. Apr. 1
MFA THESIS EXHIBITION: MAHOGANY MURRAY April 14 – 18 FREE FG
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BRANFORD MARSALIS April 12 at 8 p.m. $48, $40, $24 CA 2 Free Tickets per ID avail. Apr. 1
HC HYLTON CENTER
THE VISION SERIES Educating for Social Justice and Peace Elavie Ndura, speaker April 21 at 7 p.m. FREE CA MFA THESIS EXHIBITION: RAHSHIA SAWYER April 21 -25 FREE FG I AM YOU – WORLD PEACE PROJECT Ahni Sallaway, painting April 21 – May 23 FREE MG
MG MASON HALL GALLERY
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Bulgaria to Mason, volleyball is key to future
(MAURICE C. JONES/FOURTH ESTATE)
TEODOR HANDAROV STAFF WRITER
International student-athlete and Criminology major, Radoslav Popov, has made a positive impact on George Mason University’s men’s volleyball team and tries to do the same with his actions outside of the gym as he builds a new life in a world different from his own. Popov, a freshman from Razlog, Bulgaria, came to Mason with a rich volleyball resume, which includes participation in world and European championships with Bulgaria’s youth national team. He won trophies and three Most Valuable Player awards during high school. Popov, the Patriots’ leading scorer, has earned the recognition Offensive Player of the Week in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association twice this season after dismantling the defense of conference arch-rival Pennsylvania State University and Sacred Heart University with more than 20 kills in each match. Gergana Popova, the outside hitter’s mother and most die-hard fan, said that her son’s achievements in Mason’s colors do not surprise her. She also said that her son’s physical attributes are not his only strengths. “When in 2011the team left for the World Cup in Argentina, Radi had a minor injury,” said Popova, who is the only parent in the star player’s life. “The medic kept frequent communication with me and told me that my son is a very calm and caring teammate.” “After one of the must-win matches, the doctor congratulated me that Radi played a key role for the comeback win,” Gergana Popova said. “He said that with his calmness and mental stability Radi helped his teammates believe in the win.” Popov’s coach at Mason, Frederick Chao, said that although opposing coaches and players may see him as a scoring machine that seems to spring up over the net with ease, he shows his other side
with the team: a charismatic young man who can be the heart of every company. “He’s actually a funny guy,” said Chao, who is in his fourteenth season with the Patriots. “He has a good sense of humor and appreciates a good joke.” “There are a lot of characters on the team and he relates with them a little bit differently,” Chao said. “There are guys who are very serious, and he can be very serious; and then there are guys who are really silly, but Radi doesn’t reciprocate to the silliness, he just laughs at them.” “I learned throughout the year how much the guys enjoy being around him,” Chao said. Popov, who misses family the most, said that he does not want to be remembered just with his actions on the court. “I have been successful with the national team and I have come all the way to America to study and play,” Popov said. “I consider these huge accomplishments, but when it comes to my closest people, I want to remain a humble boy from Razlog who loves his family and friends and does not change regardless of what I achieve in life.” Nowadays, seven months after Popov came to Mason, his goodness, which his kindergarten teachers from back home attribute to his name (from radost, Bulgarian for “happiness”), has spread outside of the locker room. After every match, regardless of whether he just put the opposition out of misery with another kill by his venomous right hand or has been kept quiet by a resilient defense, people jump over the cardboard advertisements surrounding the court and stop by to tell the young-looking talent “good game” or just give him a pat on the back of his darkgreen uniform. Although he gives everyone a proper “thank you,” Mason’s No.3 admits that he does not recognize many of them. Some of the regulars there are the Greshams, the family of Popov’s teammate, Graham. They
know the freshman as well as anybody else in his new world could, since he spent some of his Christmas break with them at their Richmond home. Graham’s younger sister, Briezy Gresham, got to know Popov while teaching him how to play “Call of Duty” and when they watched “Supernatural,” a TV show they both enjoy. “I think Radi is a fantastic, awesome person,” Gresham, 18, said. “He’s fun to be around, a funny guy, really nice and a really sweet guy.” Her mother, Shari Gresham, likes to refer to herself as “Radi’s American mama” and said that she did not have any reservations toward the Bulgarian before welcoming him at her home in December. “I know Fred, the coach, and I think Fred picks good guys,” Shari Gresham said, “so I didn’t have any reservations as far as, ‘Oh, who is this strange person that is going to stay at our home?’” “I wanted to make sure Radi felt comfortable and that he was happy,” Gresham said, “and he was very easy going, he just blended right in.” To help him feel at home, Gresham went through the hassle to make traditional Bulgarian bread on Christmas Eve, an act that he appreciated. He later tried to thank his hosts by making them his favorite meat-and-ketchup sandwiches. Shari Gresham said that the episode will be remembered by the noble act, but not so much with the quality of the sandwiches. Although he now looks like the happiest and most loved person on the world, life in America wasn’t always happy-go-lucky for Popov. Despite holding one of the several full scholarships in the volleyball program, at first he faced financial hardships, on top of the expected culture shock and nostalgia, which he fought with the help of his team. “My teammates, with whom I quickly became friends, helped me out a lot,” Popov said. “In the beginning I would spend most of my time with
them. Also, the coach has made it clear multiple times that I can count on him.” Even though Popov admitted the initial weeks were tough, he is proud of taking the risk to come to the U.S. “At first I had no intention to incorporate volleyball and school,” he said in a serious tone. “I was considering a professional career in volleyball, but later realized that without education there is no future.” “If I had gone into professional volleyball, I would still be home with my family and friends, and little would change,” he said. “I decided to take a risk and come to a new world, to study and to begin a new life.” Coach Chao said that language proficiency is always the biggest risk when one goes into international recruiting – for the student-athlete and the program alike – because academic setbacks can lead to overwhelming stress for the student and endanger his playing eligibility. “When we started communicating, we would chat back and forth on the computer,” Chao said, “and he was typing as fast as I was typing, in English.” Between school and volleyball, Popov’s daily schedule often keeps him out of his dorm for all but the sleeping hours. Despite everything, he has a 3.8 GPA in the ACCESS program, which helps first-year international students develop their English language skills and incorporates supportive classes with these from their major’s course load. Even on nights after a match, as he struggles to stay awake over his homework, he says that he hopes these early academic results to be the beginning of a successful and memorable college experience. “As a student, Radi is a really good guy and I think he is very smart,” said Mahmud Akhundov, -Continued on Page 18
-BULGARIA, Continued an international student from Azerbaijan who is in five of Popov’s classes. “On most of the writing assignments in our English class and our PROV 106 classes, he gets some of the higher grades in the class.” “He’s an honest guy, and he’s very friendly,” Akhundov said. “Whenever I need the help, he always tries to help me.” After graduation, Mason’s star player will not hurry to end his American adventure. “My preference after graduation is to find a job related to my major in the U.S.,” Popov said with a dreamy expression, “but if things don’t exactly work out the way I want them to, I may have to look for a job back home.” For Popov, a professional volleyball career is still an option for the future, but he looks on it as a backup plan. “I never close the doors behind me,” the 20-year-old said, “after four years I may go back to Europe and play professionally if I am good enough. However, my priority is to find a lucrative job rather than having fun through volleyball.” “Right now, he is at the right place,” his mother said. “He is doing well at school and with the sport, thanks to all wonderful people around him.” Whether Popov stays in the U.S., returns to Bulgaria or is swerved into a completely different direction, he is determined to follow his own path and says that he will try to be the change he wants to see in the world, a phrase he remembers from his childhood. He will always have his mother, with whom he has shared every hardship and who has shown him that one does not need a fatherly figure to grow strong and become successful. “Ever since Radi’s birth, I have been the happiest and proudest mother in the world,” Popova said, “and I believe that this will not change in the future.”
A season in perspective STEPHEN CZARDA SPORTS EDITOR
Last July, Mason officially entered the Atlantic 10 after being the centerpiece of the CAA for decades. With students, alumni and the community alike raving about the move, the team prepared to form new rivalries with the likes of local rival George Washington, 2013 Sweet Sixteen darling La Salle, a Top 25 St. Louis squad and rekindling past hatred with VCU and Richmond. In the preseason, pundits predicted the A-10 could have as many NCAA Tournament berths as the ACC and Big 10. Fans looked to the dates of March 12-16 in Brooklyn as the moment Mason would re-enter the national spotlight with four experienced seniors and two highly touted freshmen leading the way. At the beginning of the season, however, few thought Mason would be the first team eliminated from the A-10 Championship by a team that won only nine games all season. Furthermore, Fordham was reeling entering the Big Apple, having lost eight straight games. But in the play-in game of the A-10 Championship, the Patriots were bounced by the worst team in the conference 70-67 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. As sophomore guard Patrick Holloway’s possible game-tying three pointer bounced off the rim with the clock striking zero, the school that carried its glass slipper through a memorable 2006 Final Four run ended a trying season in familiar fashion. Mason led only once in the contest and that was in the opening minute. The Rams would lead by 11 points seven different times, and despite the Patriots second-half efforts, they could not counter Fordham’s inside presence on both ends. The season started out promising as Mason won their first four games including a season opening victory over eventual Patriot
(MAURICE C. JONES/FOURTH ESTATE)
League champions American University. But starting with a road loss to Iona where the Gales led by as many as 29 points in the
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IV ESTATE first half, Mason’s win-loss record tilted drastically towards the loss column. In December and January, Mason went a combined 2-11 including a low point loss to the University of Massachusetts where the Patriots blew a five-point lead with 41 seconds left. The loss was emblematic of Mason’s struggle to acclimate to a conference that had six teams in this year’s NCAA tournament. Head coach Paul Hewitt faced the media after the meltdown vs. UMass with a response that would become tradition during the rest of the Patriots’ 13 conference losses. “It’s obviously a shame that we didn’t take advantage of how well we played tonight, but it’ll be a double shame if we don’t come back and play well against Rhode Island,” Hewitt said. “We’ve been a team that’s been a little inconsistent. I come to practice every day upbeat and really happy to coach these guys because I know what they’ve got in them and obviously I haven’t done a good job getting them to close the deal on a lot of close games, so that’s where it starts.” When the Patriots’ losing streak hit six in a row after squandering a 10-point second half lead at Fordham, it marked the longest losing streak in 636 games dating back to former head coach Jim Larranaga’s first season in Fairfax. One close loss after another, Mason continued to struggle in the conference despite multiple opportunities to climb out of the cellar. Entering the last game of the regular season against a Duquesne squad Mason defeated just one month earlier, the Patriots were afforded the chance to avoid the A-10 play-in game. Falling behind at halftime after allowing the Dukes to shoot over 60 percent from the field, Mason’s shooters outside of senior guard Sherrod Wright struggled to keep pace. In the end, Mason fell by 12 points in the penultimate game of their 2013-2014 season. The four wins in conference play was the lowest total since the 1996-1997 season when Paul Westhead’s team went 3-11 in their last 14 CAA games after starting 1-1. Mason bids farewell to three seniors: Wright, guard Byron Allen and forward Johnny Williams. Together the trio supplied quality veteran leadership, but at times their performance on the court did not portray their experience. During a freshman season where he was tapped with the duty of spelling Cam Long off the bench, Wright provided a glimpse of his offensive prowess when he dropped 24 points in just 29 minutes against VMI. That stood as his career-high until this season where he bettered that mark six times to include a career night against nationally ranked St. Louis where he scored 34 points. For his career, Wright scored 1,593 points—sixth most in school history. Allen, who struggled with his touch early in his career, made more three pointers this season (45) than his first three seasons in Fairfax combined. He became the 33rd player in school history to surpass the career 1,000-point plateau with a 14-point effort vs. George Washington in early March. Despite the 11-20 record and the loss of the team’s two leading scorers, there is a glimmer of hope that Mason will turn things around with Jalen Jenkins in the fold. The freshman showed A-10 competition that he will be a force for years to come right out of the gate. Against VCU’s Havoc defense, a St. Joseph’s team that would ultimately win the A-10 Championship and a ranked Minutemen team, Jenkins combined for 46 points, 28 rebounds and three blocks en route to being named the conference’s Rookie of the Week three times. The native New Yorker also became the first player in program history to receive season honors from the conference as he made the All-Rookie Team. For the season, Jenkins averaged 7.4 points and a team-high 6.1 rebounds per game.
Excerpt: Tom O’Connor interview
KRISTI ANABLE ONLINE SPORTS EDITOR
On March 25th longtime George Mason Athletic Director Tom O’Connor announced that he would retire effective June 30th of this year but remain in a fundraising role until January 2015. Fourth Estate Online Sports Editor Kristi Anable sat down with O’Connor to reﬂect on his 20 years at Mason and 40-year career in NCAA Division I athletics. For the full interview, visit gmufourthestate.com KA: Reﬂecting back to your first year, what were some of the goals you had for the athletic department when you first arrived? TOC: “If I remember, we had the press conference in the hospitality room at the Patriot Center and someone asked me that question and I believe what I said was something to the effect of that we want to be a quality, balanced program and to make sure that we’re always doing the right thing for our student athletes, first and foremost.” KA: Were there any goals that weren’t met? TOC: “Goals and objectives are interesting, but you know the one thing that I really would’ve liked to have done and maybe we can still do it is build a new baseball stadium. I think it’s going to be done, but other than that, I think that we obtained the goal of making sure that the health and safety of the athletes and their well-being was always taken care of. So that was the goal that I wanted to achieve and I think we achieved that.” KA: How has the announcement and decision been on you emotionally? TOC: “I’m very calm about it. It’s tough to say goodbye but I’m still going to be part of Mason for awhile and I’m always going to have a special part of me that will always be here at Mason whether it be my heart and my mind, even though I’m not here physically, because it is a great place and there’s great people. So, sure, there’s emotion when you stop and think about it.” KA: What do you see as some of the ramifications down the line for the school’s move to the Atlantic 10 and what impact have you seen so far from the move? TOC: “One of the highlights of my career in 40 years was seeing one of our athletes win the cross country championship as the first person in Mason history to win a championship and it was actually the first person in the Atlantic 10 this year, and to see that, that was just a highlight for me – that almost ranks up there with the Final Four. It was so great. They’re all good things that are going to happen with the Atlantic 10. It gives great visibility
for the university and it gives a chance for our student-athletes to compete at a higher level and get more recognition. So, I only see good things – there’s not a down side to being in the Atlantic 10.” KA: What do you see of George Mason Athletics five or ten years down the line? TOC: “I see a lot of good things. We have facility improvements, the Field House is going to be renovated and the West Campus project is going to help with all of the facilities here. I know that there’s going to be success in the Atlantic 10. We have everything in place to be successful, and whoever the new athletic director is, I’m simply going to say two words: improve it. It’s as simple as that – improve it, get better. Dr. Cabrera is absolutely phenomenal and he understands that quality and that balance that I talked about and he understands competitiveness and what good it does for the student body as a whole and for the community. So that commitment’s there.” KA: Are you confident with President Cabrera being here and a new athletic director coming in that their vision will be similar to what yours was? TOC: “I would think so. Again, Dr. Cabrera understands quality. He’s a forward thinker and when he makes a decision on the new athletic director I’m sure he’s going to take his time to find somebody like that. There are people out there that that will happen. I’m positive about the past, I’m positive about today and I’m positive about what’s going to happen here in the future.” KA: What can you take away from your 20-year career and your overall experience at Mason as Athletic Director? TOC: “That we had a quality balanced program–quality athletes, quality coaches, quality academic support–and I always tell our people here that we’re here for our student-athletes and they come first no matter what. Any decision you make has to be about that student-athlete. So hopefully through the years we’ve done that, and that maybe in some way I’ve been an inﬂuence in some of the decisions that were made that helped them and made a difference in their life here and hopefully afterwards. So, that would mean a lot to me that our student-athletes that went through here now have a good life and somewhere along the line whether we gave somebody better uniforms or we did something on the field or they came into the office and we took care of them in some way–that we impacted them a little bit. That’s the biggest thing–all of the other things, they’re neat, but you have to focus on the student-athletes.”
decline bench TWISTS Only seven more weeks of spring, which means you have enough time to get your abs ready for your new summer swimsuit. But with great abs comes a great responsibility on your part. I will show you an exercise this week that can strengthen your abs but it’s your responsibility to eat healthier. Everyone has great abs; they are just hiding, and with better eating habits they can be uncovered. The exercise for this week is a new exercise that I came across a couple of weeks ago from a friend. It is called the decline bench twist. This exercise targets your obliques. All the gyms on campus have a decline bench. First you will sit down on the ab bench and hook your feet into the leg supports. You will keep your arms out in from of you; this is the starting position. You will bring your torso to about 40 to 45 degrees. Then you will take your right arm and twist to the right and touch the ground beside you, while keeping your left arm straight up in front of you. Next you will come back to starting position, and with your left arm you will now twist to the left side and touch the ground, keeping your right arm this time straight up. Then bring yourself back to starting position and touch your back to the bench. Repeat the exercise. You can workout your abs every other day. This is one area of the body that you can work often, because we use our core everyday. It is what holds us up straight. Also improving your core will strengthen your back; your core and back work together. The challenge this week and until the end of the semester, is to perform this exercise AT LEAST twice a week, two sets of 25 on each side.
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