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FOURTH ESTATE April 25, 2016 | Volume 3 Issue 21 George Mason University’s official student news outlet | @IVEstate





Fourth Estate

2 04.25.2016


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Crime Log


Alexa Rogers Editor-In-Chief

Darian Banks Managing Editor

Ellen Glickman

Apr. 15

News Editor

Natalia Kolenko

2016-013038 / Assault and Battery on a

Assistant News Editor

Law Enforcement Officer / Drug/Narcotic

Savannah Norton

Violations / Drug Equipment Violations /

Lifestyle Editor

Tatyana White-Jenkins

Summoning Emergency Services Without

Assistant Lifestyle Editor

Cause / Disorderly Conduct / Intoxication

Sports Editor

in Public / Liquor Law Violations Subject (GMU) was arrested and transported to Fairfax County Adult Detention Center for falsely summoning emergency services, assaulting a police officer, possessing illegal drugs and drug equipment, and being disorderly in public. Whitetop Hall / Cleared by Arrest / 10:32 PM

Apr. 18 2016-013332 / Drunkenness / Medical Assist Complainant (GMU) reported a highly intoxicated subject (Non-GMU) in need of medical attention. Rappahannock River Bus Stop / Closed / 4:46 PM

Courtney Hoffman Ben Cowlishaw Assistant Sports Editor

Amy Rose Photography Editor

Katie Morgan Design Editor

Megan Zendek Visual Editor

Barbara Brophy Copy Chief

Ryan Adams Distribution Manager

Kathryn Mangus Director

David Carroll

Apr. 19 2016-013486 / Destruction / Damage/ Vandalism of Property Complainant (GMU) reported damage to a vehicle (keyed) Lot A / Inactive / 1:46 PM



Students mourn the loss of their much beloved Pilot House after Mason Dining announced that the kitchen would be used for nutrition classes.

Volume 3, Issue 18 We retracted “The smallest organisms, the biggest impact: A study of the BP oil spill”. There were multiple inaccuracies in the original version.

See pages 7 and 10 for more. Volume 3, Issue 20 In the article “Patience and paintball: Mason cadets undergo leadership training at Fort AP Hill,” ROTC cadet Shepket Tohti was incorrectly identified as an MS3. He is an MS4.

Associate Director Fourth Estate is printed each Monday for George Mason University and its surrounding Fairfax community. The editors of Fourth Estate have exclusive authority over the content that is published. There are no outside parties that play a role in the newspaper’s content, and should there be a question or complaint regarding this policy, the Editor-in-Chief should be notified at the email provided. Fourth Estate is a free publication, limit one copy per person. Additional copies are 25 cents payable to the Office of Student Media. Mail Fourth Estate George Mason University Mail stop 2C5 4400 University Drive Fairfax, Va. 22030 Phone 703-993-2950






Mason organization publishes findings of new climate change survey ROSHAN MIRAJKAR | STAFF WRITER

In March, Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication, also known as 4C, published the findings of a newly conducted survey detailing meteorologists’ views on climate change.

change other than the fact I haven’t seen many professors having strong opinions against it. Our [professors’] areas of obligation depend on [our] areas of expertise,” Maibach said.

of over 300 experts from various federal agencies guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee. The report is updated continuously, with the current report available to the public online.

In addition, Maibach explained how he, as an educator in climate

Natalie Burls, assistant professor at the Center for Ocean-LandAtmosphere Studies at Mason, researches how to improve the public’s understanding of the processes that determine Earth’s climate. She discussed her thoughts on the Mason community’s role in addressing climate change.

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) asked 4C to conduct a report surveying AMS members, including 1,038 professionals in the field of broadcast meteorology and 6,644 other professional, non-student AMS members. A total of 3,952 AMS members, including individuals both within the U.S. and abroad, completed the survey. Members were asked about their views on climate change, including their thoughts on its causes and how best to prevent further problems.

“Everyone that is climate-literate has a role to play in educating the community on climate change,” Burls said. Furthermore, Burls proposed a potential way to stop or decrease the exponential rate at which Earth’s climate is currently changing. “We need to work on the technologies that will overcome our dependence on fossil fuels,” Burls said.

The survey’s findings showed that a significant portion of meteorologists believe climate change is happening, but that its root cause is largely debated. According to the survey, 96 percent of meteorologists think climate change is happening and 74 percent of meteorologists believe their local climate has changed within the past 50 years.

Although the 4C study found that most AMS members believe climate change is happening, it also reports that more than half of the members surveyed do not consider themselves experts in climate science. According to the survey, 57 percent of participants considered themselves non-experts in climate science, though 67 percent of participants said they believe humans are largely responsible for climate change.

4C is a research center that conducts unbiased social science research to educate the public on matters related to climate change. The center collaborates with other colleges and organizations at Mason to stabilize the planet’s life-sustaining climate by educating the community and conducting research.

Many students, like sophomore community health major Rezwana Khan, agree with these meteorologists, stating that climate change does exist and is currently happening.

With surprising reports circulating such as NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) statement that 2015 was the hottest year on record since 1880 (when modern record-keeping began), the topic of climate change inevitably pops up in classes at Mason.

“I think climate change is real. We may not see drastic changes right now but over time it will progress,” Khan said, adding that she thought this year’s early cherry blossom peak was an example of this progression.

Edward Maibach, director of 4C, discussed his contribution to the issues as well as Mason’s role in educating students and facilitating action.


The American Meteorological Society (AMS) asked 4C to conduct a report surveying AMS members, including “Science is perfectly clear: humans 1,038 professionals in the field of broadcast meteorology and 6,644 other professional, non-student AMS members. caused climate change. [For] anybody A total of 3,952 AMS members, including individuals both within the U.S. and abroad, completed the survey. who has a diverging opinion, I ask them Members were asked about their views on climate change, including their thoughts on its causes and how best to to consider what the climate change prevent further problems. scientists have to say,” Maibach said. Maibach contributed to an article entitled “Development and Nationwide Scale-Up of Climate Matters, a Localized Climate Change Education Program Delivered by Broadcast Meteorologists,” which was recently accepted into the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. The article discusses the importance of effective communication and climate change curricula in supporting climate change education. “I don’t personally know any professor who is an expert on climate

change communication, works to effectively educate students without over-influencing their opinions. “On day one, my students are perfectly clear about what’s happening. We read the National Climate Assessment, and my students know my views on the topic. It’s a very serious topic and it’s happening here right now,” Maibach said. The National Climate Assessment is a report produced by a team

Additionally, Khan stated that she believes more people are starting to accept that climate change is happening since temperatures seem to be varying more and more each year.

Sophomore Shadman Hossain said he believes that Mason professors play a major role in developing students’ opinions on climate change. “Professors and faculty play a huge role as many of the student not only look up to them but form many of their ideas and thoughts based on what they are taught,” Hossain said. He added that individuals that disagree with scientists all around the world should “open their eyes,” because the first step in solving a problem is recognizing that there is one.






One if by land, two if by internet: How Mason researchers are leading the charge in preventing digital attacks LUKE WALTERMIRE | STAFF WRITER

Two weeks ago on Friday, April 15, a team of Mason researchers and students were awarded a grant by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for their work in creating a new technique for fighting distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Daniel Fleck, Ph.D., is a research associate professor at the Center for Assurance Research and Engineering (CARE) within the Volgenau School of Engineering and one of the three co-authors of the research that led to the DARPA grant. According to Fleck, DDoS attacks are designed “to take [an online computer] system offline to make it unavailable for other people to use,” which can bring down vital internet services. These attacks are incredibly common and can be targeted at “the IT industry, cloud services, media companies, entertainment companies, the financial sector, the public sector or anybody,”

Fleck explained. DDoS attacks are difficult to defend against, and they are only increasing in frequency, which makes stopping them a priority for both the private and public sectors. In “On the Move: Evading Distributed Denial-of-Service Attacks,” Fleck, along with fellow CARE Center researchers Angelos Stavrou, Ph.D., and Constantinos Kolias, Ph.D., proposed a different approach to fighting DDoS attacks. Rather than attempting to win a war of attrition through sheer scale, Stavrou, Fleck and Kolias proposed using MOTAG, an approach that employs a system they call the “shuffle” or “moving target” defense. A lot of complicated computer science work goes into planning DDoS attacks, but they are remarkably simple in concept: the goal is to overload the servers of any given service or computer system, causing the service to crash. While cybersecurity engineers scramble to bring the service back online, hackers are able to steal

valuable information such as credit card numbers, email addresses, personal information or corporate data. According to Fleck, hacker groups, terrorist groups or foreign governments perform DDoS attacks “by taking over lots of other people’s computers … and then [using] those computers to launch an attack that takes another server offline. Essentially, how it works is to send lots and lots and lots of traffic and data to the server, and the server just can’t handle all of it.” By hijacking other computers and networking them into “botnets,” hackers are able to input more data into the server than it can handle, causing it to shut down. Typically, cybersecurity operations defend against DDoS attacks by trying to beat the hackers with sheer force. If the cybersecurity group has more servers (grouped into clusters called “server farms”) than the hackers can overwhelm with their data and traffic, the attack will be unsuccessful. However, along with being costly, this method can fail against larger hacking operations or groups, whose massive botnets can overwhelm even the largest server farms. Stavrou, Fleck and Kolias’s MOTAG approach has two primary methods for addressing these attacks. First, as the attack begins to hit the targeted servers, the system will begin to “shuffle” the servers to different locations on the internet every few seconds. In and of itself, this technique can be effective, since it can be difficult for hackers to track and follow the servers as they move, forcing the hacker to lose their target and, consequently, to stop attacking the servers. As these servers are shuffled throughout the internet, the system divides all of the users on each server among new, additional servers. The system then looks at these newly-divided servers and checks which ones are being attacked. If nobody is attacking one of these new servers, it is safe, and every user on that server can be labeled “not an attacker.” The system repeatedly shuffles and divides the servers, while narrowing down the list of possible attackers and identify the correct ones, which the system can then block out. This innovative approach got the attention of DARPA, a governmental agency that, according to Fleck, focuses on “high-risk, high-reward” research projects. DARPA has already provided this Mason research team with one grant of over $1 million, though two more grants are expected in the coming weeks. The researchers were informed of this grant in a notice sent from DARPA two weeks ago, said an email from Mary Crowson, the program operations specialist for the CARE Center. However, this money is not for Mason alone. Stavrou, Fleck and Kolias, along with a research team that includes Mason graduate students, are forming a team of researchers from Columbia University, Pennsylvania State University and BAE systems, a cybersecurity company. Mason’s researchers will be leading the team. Crowson noted that by 2019, DARPA is expected to invest $4 million in this team “with the goal of designing a solution for denial-of-service attacks.”


This grant, coming on the heels of Mason’s designation as an R1 research institute, will help cement Mason’s status as the largest public research university in Virginia. Mason is becoming a research juggernaut, and Stavrou, Fleck and Kolias and their team are among those leading the charge.






Mason announces plans for new Title IX policies and procedures MADISON ANTUS | STAFF WRITER

Mason will soon update its Title IX policy to fit the recommendations of the Task Force on Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence (SAIV), which were published in March 2015. A Title IX policy review team has been examining the current policy and making recommendations for change since December 2015, according to an email sent to the Mason community on April 11, which was signed by Julian Williams, vice president of Compliance, Diversity & Ethics, and Rose Pascarell, vice president of University Life. The team was created in response to SAIV’s recommendation to review all policies relating to University Policy 1202: Sexual Harassment and Misconduct, which encompasses all Title IX violations. The team plans to implement certain changes in time for the fall 2016 semester. Compliance, Diversity & Ethics has also hired a new Title IX coordinator, Jennifer Hammat, who replaced Interim Coordinator Herbertia Gilmore. The recommended changes to Mason’s Title IX policy are designed to ease the requirement for students to present their own evidence at hearings, according to Eric Fowler, Mason’s Clery compliance coordinator and a member of the Title IX policy review team. Fowler said the new process will require a university investigator to compile all evidence before a Title IX violation hearing and present this evidence, along with his or her opinion on the accused’s innocence, to board members before the hearing. Fowler said this will take away a lot of the “heavy lifting” from board members and students. The review team is comprised of six members: Fowler; Elizabeth Woodley, university policy manager and FOIA compliance officer; Brent Ericson, assistant dean and director of the Office of Student Conduct; Erick Mitchell, associate director and chief investigator for the Office of Compliance, Diversity and Ethics; David Drummey, associate university counsel; and Christopher Arakaky, a legal fellow in the Office of University Counsel. One of the review team’s recommendations is that the university hire the aforementioned investigator to independently collect information regarding each Title IX complaint. According to Williams, the team still needs to create a job description and will search for candidates over the summer in hopes of filling the position before the fall semester. Williams describes the ideal candidate as “someone who understands the context on a college campus, that understands what a victim-centered approach looks like, that understands how to respect the due process rights of a person or persons accused of a


Title IX violation, and that can still gather good factual information and ask good questions.” “[The investigator] will be responsible for essentially gathering the factual information around a specific case,” Williams said. “So let’s say there’s a complaint that comes in. The investigator will be charged with meeting with the reporting student or students, meeting with the responding student or students, meeting with witnesses, gathering factual information, and then putting all of that together for the adjudication process.” The current process requires students to collect and present all evidence at a hearing to a three-member board that has no prior knowledge of the evidence. According to Fowler, the new process will bring the accused student and the reporting student before one person who will review all of the evidence the investigator provides before the students present their arguments. The investigator is expected to meet with both parties multiple times throughout the adjudication process, as well as consult with the Title IX coordinator and the police, according to Fowler and Williams.

The appeal process will also change. If the accused student is found guilty and wishes to appeal the decision, the case will go to a three-person board that will review all of the evidence and each student’s account of the events. Fowler said this new process is an improvement because, should an appeal be successful, a three-person board will overturn a one-person ruling instead of the other way around, which is how the process currently works. Fowler said the Title IX policy review team is considering having appeals be investigated externally of the university but has yet to make a decision. “That would eliminate any perceived conflict of interest, to have someone outside the university handle any appeals, but it’s not set in stone,” Fowler said. “If that’s not feasible, we’re going to have a board of three people [within the university] who will be deciding.” Williams believes Mason’s goal to implement these new policies in time for the fall semester is viable and will be completed. “I think every school is going through what I call a Title IX evolution, and in my sense, we should be — we at Mason and essentially every institution — should be evolving in its process, policies [and] procedures,” he said. “There’s no perfect way to do this, so what we’re trying to find out is what’s going to work well for us, how can we improve on what we have, and that’s what the team has been looking at.” More information on Mason’s current Title IX policy is available on the university policy website. An overview of the hearing process can about found on the Office of Student Conduct website.






Mason’s Makerspace lets students imagine, create


Nestled on the third floor of Innovation Hall, the MIX is a collaborative environment where students and faculty can go to gain access to resources and equipment to help design, build and create, according to first-year master’s student Mana Momen, the MIX’s operations manager. NATALIA KOLENKO | ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR

Almost a full academic year since the formation of Mason’s Makerspace, the Mason Innovation eXchange (MIX) has had a busy year full of inventing and getting creative ranging from 3D-printed prototypes to environmentally friendly cigarette butt receptacles. Nestled on the third floor of Innovation Hall, the MIX is a collaborative environment where students and faculty can go to gain access to resources and equipment to help design, build and create, according to first-year master’s student Mana Momen, the MIX’s operations manager. “Our purpose is to provide an open interdisciplinary environment that helps foster creativity and innovation among university students. Students can come join our workshops to learn how to operate our 3D printers, sew, design 3D models, program microcontrollers, or even make chainmail,” Momen said via email. According to the Open Education Database, Makerspaces “are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn.” Momen said the MIX is currently open to any student, regardless of their department. “Students may operate the equipment on their own once they have been trained and certified via the appropriate workshops. Our equipment include 3D printers, 3D scanners, a sewing machine, an electronics bench with various tools and supplies, a large interactive touch screen monitor, and a separate meeting space area called our ‘Think Tank,’” Momen said. Mason’s Makerspace came into existence last October. According to Momen, the idea was proposed by Jade Garrett, Ethan Ellert, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Labs David J. Miller, Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering Colin Reagle, as well as Kim Eby and Laura Manno from the Learning Environments Group (LEG). Miller, who is also a professor in the School of Business, said he

has seen a large number of students use the MIX since it opened in the fall. “The number of students using it [the MIX] has grown dramatically this semester,” Miller said. “October through January was kind of a real chaotic start up period, and then around mid-January [to] February really started getting under control.” Momen added that many of the students who have come to the MIX have been using the 3D printers to print prototypes for their product designs or for projects in their engineering classes. They have also had students stop in to learn how to sew. Miller said that the MIX is mostly student-run. He said there are about eight to ten students in charge who teach workshops, work on operations or perform marketing and communication tasks. Some of the workshops taught are basic 3D printing workshops, electronics workshops and sewing workshops, to name a few. One such student who works at the MIX is sophomore biology major Brian Davies. “I started a Makerspace back where I’m from, down in Richmond, and I did robotics back in high school, so I wanted to come here and work with 3D printers just to do the same thing and learn more about it,” Davies said. Davies also teaches a chainmail workshop that reviews the history and production of chainmail, along with how it is used in modern times. He added that any student who wants to work of projects and use the 3D printers, or just embrace their creative side, should come and take advantage of the MIX. Projects created at the MIX range from prototypes sold on the internet to projects for students’ engineering classes. Miller said one student made an automatic dishwasher brush that helps people with one arm, like veterans, wash dishes. He added that another set of students designed a small receptacle for storing cigarette butts until they can be disposed of properly. Miller said that students who are part of the Honey Bee Initiative on campus have used the MIX to create a beehive sensor that monitors the health of beehives. Students have also made jewelry and clothing with the

tools from the MIX, Miller added. Miller said that there are many plans for the future of the Makerspace on campus, but first and foremost is getting more students involved as both participants and staff. “We want more and more people to have this experience … to know that if they come up with an idea, there’s a place to come and start working on it. What we sometimes like to call, we’re trying to create a ‘prototyping mindset’ in our students,” Miller said. He added that what he means by this is when someone, say, a student, sees a problem, they might start thinking through solutions but not be able to put them into practice. With Makerspace, students will not have to sit around thinking about their ideas, but they can actually come in and start working on a solution right away. Momen said that the people at Mix are currently working on air ventilation systems so that they can provide soldering stations and access to a laser cutter. Miller added that another goal for the MIX is expansion. He said that a part of Fenwick, Fenwick A, might become a Makerspace in the future. He continued that with the approval of a rebuilding of Robinson Hall, they hope to add a Makerspace in there as well. While the Innovation Hall Makerspace is roughly 1,400 square feet, the Makerspace that would go in Fenwick would be around 14,000 square feet, and the Makerspace in the new Robinson Hall would be around 25,000 square feet, according to Miller. He added that with larger spaces like these, there would be more than just printers and technology. There might also be room for a dance or performance area, as well as display areas. Miller said that a large part of the Makerspace idea is to get students from different fields of study to join up in collaborating on these hands on projects. “Nobody cares if you’re from business or engineering or CHSS -you’re in this space,” Miller said, “and that’s what’s great and that’s a big thing that this [the Makerspace] is going to do and already is doing, is breaking down the walls between disciplines.”






Mason Dining announces year-long closure of Pilot House


Pilot House is a late-night dining hall that serves students on the Anytime Dining Meal Plan. Currently open from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, it may close for the next year and become a classroom for nutrition students. BECCA PETTINE | STAFF WRITER

Mason Dining has announced that Pilot House will likely be closing next year. The Nutrition Department is in need of a new kitchen classroom for cooking classes after Mason was unable to renew the lease for next at their current space in Old Town Fairfax. Mark Kraner, executive director of Campus Retail Operations said he believes this change will be beneficial for students. Kraner said a classroom complete with cooking facilities is being constructed in Academic VII but is not set to be finished until the fall of 2017. When this facility is completed, Mason Dining plans to reopen Pilot House at its original time as a dining hall. Next year, Southside will be open until 2 a.m. for seven days a week, increasing its current operating hours by 28 hours a week. It will serve all the Pilot House favorites at late hours. Ike’s will also undergo schedule changes and will convert to a 24-hour dining facility. In a 2014 Mason Cable Network interview, Kraner revealed that Mason’s on-campus residents have exponentially grown every year, making dining availability and space a top priority and issue. This year, Kraner shared that close to 6,600 students are living on campus, as opposed to six years ago when only 2,000 students lived on campus. Mason currently has the authority to build a new dining hall, but only on the condition that housing be built along with it, in order to have a dining hall for each neighborhood. However, housing plans are in the early stages of development. Some freshmen are upset at the Pilot House change and believe it will result in an insufficient number of dining venues open for student use after hours. Other freshmen agree that Mason Dining should offer more latenight options to students.

“All I have to say is I’m glad I won’t be on the Anytime [Dining] meal plan next year,” freshman Nick Dagrossa said. “College students have totally dysfunctional eating schedules. We eat when we can and when we’re available, and that usually means late at night. I personally find myself really dependent on Pilot House. I don’t even bother walking to Ike’s when I’m hungry because Pilot always has more options.” Some students have also expressed their disapproval of the decision simply because they enjoy going to Pilot House over Mason’s other dining options. “I feel like Pilot House is the favorite dining hall by far,” freshman Nate Treleven said. “It’s a place where you always see people you know, and you can hangout with friends late at night. For some reason, The Globe, Southside and Ike’s doesn’t have that same welcoming effect when you walk in. Pilot feels like a hangout spot, and when you’re there you almost forget it’s a campus dining facility. People almost refer to it as a burger joint for teenagers.” Mason Dining is making an effort to work alongside students in order to gather feedback on all residential dining decisions. The Student Food Service Committee, formed through Mason Student Government, has created several focus groups and surveys in order to get student opinion on dining and to represent effectively. The Student Food Service Committee has previously assisted in the design of Ike’s, and has been alerted and involved in all decisions made by Mason in reference to dining next year, including the possibility of closing Pilot House. Both

Mark Kraner and the committee have travelled to other universities and colleges over the last few years to explore dining facility efficiency and meal plan effectiveness.






Seniors benefit from graduation regalia donations MIA WISE | STAFF WRITER

There is a quick fix for one of the biggest headaches of graduation season: purchasing a cap and gown. Now, students can buy reduced-price graduation regalia donated by Mason alumni. Gowns for Grads is a program that lends donated caps and gowns from Mason alumni to current graduates unable to pay for graduation wear. The program’s Facebook page states, “Gowns for Grads, Mason’s no-cost cap and gown lending program, helps students in need make their dream of walking at graduation come true.” Gowns for Grads was up and running by the first week of February this year and more than 100 students have applied for the program since applications closed on April 1. Amanda Myers, an academic advisor for the criminology, law ands society department, started the program after a personal experience with one of her students.

our university’s Pop-Up Pantry, meal voucher program, financial aid or live in low-income housing. The students seem very grateful for getting to save some money and put it towards their living expenses.” Bachelor’s regalia cost $59.98, not including tax, according to Gowns for Grads’ Facebook page. “Think of this as cost as two trips to the grocery store, a new interview outfit, or three tanks of gas! Some students simply can’t afford to walk across the stage,” the page reads. Although this semester is the program’s first, Myers expects that it will continue as long as donations keep rolling in. She hopes that Mason will try to be more accommodating of low-income and first-generation students. “My ultimate hope is that the university will rent or sell gowns to low-income and first-generation students at a very reduced cost so

the program can cease, but as long as the donations continue and students need help getting regalia to walk across the stage, it will continue,” Myers said. After being returned by the graduates, donated caps and gowns will continue to be passed on to future graduates. “Should the program continue, we will have to assess the condition of the gowns each semester,” Myers said. “If they are not in great condition, then we will retire them and continue to collect new gowns. Out with the old gowns and in with the newly-donated gowns!” The program even welcomes donated regalia from non-Mason alumni and accepts monetary donations. Mason students, faculty and staff looking to assist with the program are welcome to purchase caps and gowns from the bookstore, then donate them, Myers explained.

“One of my undergraduate students had fallen on hard times financially, and when I explained she had to buy her graduation regalia, she broke down crying,” Myers said. “When she left my office, I broke down crying too, because I realized there must be other students in her situation, and I truly believe that every student that has worked so hard at Mason deserves to walk across the stage at graduation and not have to choose between buying graduation regalia or paying an electric bill or something.” The experience was so moving that Myers decided to start a program for students in need. “I believe when students come this far, Mason should help our first generation and low-income students get across the stage,” Myers said. Myers started the program from scratch, but with the help of students, alumni and family, she was able to get the word out. Comments all over the group’s Facebook page are from people trying to help by donating their graduation regalia. Myers also received help from Mason’s Pop-Up Pantry as well as from University Life. The Pop-Up Pantry at Mason provides food to students in need and aims to end food insecurity and hunger. University Life supports students here at Mason by providing numerous kinds of services, comprising 29 different offices to ensure student success. “It took a little while, but friends who graduated from Mason and my family were the biggest champions for the program,” Myers said. “They shared the page on Facebook and donated their gowns to get the ball rolling. Word of mouth went a long way!” Myers describes the students who are receiving the caps and gowns as appreciative. According to the News at Mason webpage, “Staffers from Mason’s University Life later told Myers some students had come to the Pop-Up Food Pantry, asking for caps and gowns.” The program asked students who were feeling stressed about the prices of graduation regalia to fill out an application to receive a donated cap and gown. “During the application process [on a Google form], I ask students to tell me how graduation will change their lives and community services they utilize,” Myers said. “Many students actively use ( COURTSY OF GOWNS FOR GRADS)






Mason alumna moves from student-run newspaper to community publication different from a Kenyan coffee which is completely different from a coffee grown in Colombia. Then you can take it one step further and look at the direct trade interactions between the farmers and the roasters. It is an industry where it seems, for the most part, ethics is becoming of vital importance.” At the Fairfax Times, Menchhoff helps shape the coverage, editing and outlook of the Arts and Entertainment section. This job is similar to her work at Fourth Estate, but on a larger scale. “I love enhancing a vision, if that makes sense,” Menchhoff said. “I love helping both the writers and the publication bring this grand idea they have to life. Seeing those pieces of a story come together, for me as a writer ( COURTSY OF BONNIE STEPHENS/ FAIRFAX COUNTY TIMES) and as an editor, is just this really beautiful thing. It is especially SAVANNAH NORTON | LIFESTYLE EDITOR worthwhile when it was a struggle to see where those pieces fit, but Topping lattes off with caramel syrup during the weekends and then you have this idea, and it just falls into place.” editing articles on weekdays, recent Mason graduate Hannah Menchhoff ’s job at the Fairfax Times has solidified her desire to Menchhoff is on her way to achieving her dream of editing inter- edit for a bigger publication down the line. national journalism. “The Fairfax Times is great for Menchhoff currently works as the editor for the Arts and my ability to practice my writing Entertainment section of Fairfax County Times, while also making and I have a lot of freedom to time for her other passion, coffee, as a barista at Commonwealth write about what I want to write Joe Coffee Roasters in Arlington, Va. about because Fairfax County Menchhoff said it is difficult to pinpoint the moment she became is so big,” she said. “It does passionate about journalism, though she does remember her first make me realize I love being an editor instead of strictly a magazine subscription, which she says might have started it all. writer, because there is a bit “I have always loved magazines, I always begged my mom to buy more diversity in the day-to-day them at the grocery store and Entertainment Weekly was my first tasks. However, I also realize subscription that was out of the kids magazine realm,” Menchhoff size is important to me as well. said. “So in my head, I was always like, ‘Wow, I want to work for I can’t wait to one day be on the those guys.’” national or even international Menchhoff said her interest continued to grow when she discov- scale of journalism.” ered the stellar writing in magazines like Vanity Fair and Esquire. Menchhoff ’s days at the “That was probably in high school, and I started reading the office consist of planning and newspaper more as well. But ultimately, it wasn’t until I became an controlling the content that gets editor at Fourth Estate when I was like, ‘Wow, this is something I put into her section. “Most really could do with my life.’” of my days are taken up with Mention graduated from Mason in 2015 with a degree in communication and a minor in theater. As a Mason student, she was actively involved with journalism as Fourth Estate’s online lifestyle editor. During Menchhoff ’s senior year, she also reviewed plays for Fourth Estate. “I started reviewing plays my senior year at Mason, thanks to one of my acting teachers,” she said. “Those [reviews] literally gave me the job I have now. Fairfax was looking for a new editor, and I guess I had the background needed.” Menchhoff also has another passion: coffee. “I am pretty obsessed with the specialty coffee industry right now,” she said. “The taste of coffee is obviously awesome, but what I am mostly intrigued by is the sourcing of the coffee. Like a coffee from Ethiopia is so

me editing freelance writing, putting together weekly calendars, doing a lot of phone interviews and writing,” Menchhoff said. “Also, a lot of my job requires working with our advertising director to balance ads and editorial, which is a completely new experience for me. Really, my job is just a lot of planning. Planning for the week, like what article should go on what page, planning a calendar for the coming weeks

and just planning my day once I walk through the door.” She has worked on a variety of exciting stories for the Fairfax Times, including interviewing “See You Again” singer, Charlie Puth, but her favorite story was about craft beer. “I am doing an in-depth look at the craft beer market in Virginia, with an obvious focus on Northern Virginia,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun because I have actually been able to go to the breweries when they aren’t busy and get a real look around. And I have had the opportunity to talk to some really smart people, like a former Mason professor who used to teach a class on beer and wine and the president of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild. There is just so much going on in the industry, and it has been great to learn about.” Her dream job would be to run her own magazine in New York. “I don’t want to say what the magazine is about because I really don’t want someone to try to snatch my brilliant idea, but that would be a dream,” she said. “But if I don’t start my own magazine, I would settle with the New Yorker or something like that, not that that would be settling at all because obviously the New Yorker is amazing and is the epitome of storytelling in my mind.” Menchhoff advises Mason students to go with their gut when making career decisions. “I have realized in the last year-and-ahalf everyone wants to give you their opinion on how they think you should proceed,” she said. “I, of course, really appreciate some of the advice I have received. That is not to say of course some of it is also annoying because it conflicts with other advice. So at a certain point, you just have to decide for yourself [and ask,] ‘What is the best thing I can do for myself right this second, and what just feels right?’.”






Fourth Estate remembers Pilot House



The news that Pilot House will soon be closing has greatly impacted the Fourth Estate staff, inspiring us to reminisce on our wonderful, grease-filled memories of the after-hours dining hub. Alexa Rogers, Editor-In-Chief Any time there was a brawl that involved throwing mozzarella moons and the police, you knew it was GDFR. Also, thank you, mac ‘n cheese wedges, for contributing to half of my freshman 20. I’ll miss you! Darian Banks, Managing Editor I will always remember Wednesday nights when “American Horror Story” would air. The entire floor would go to Pilot House before and spend all of their unused weekly meal swipes. With piles of food around us and a great group of friends that I am still close with, we would laugh and cringe at AHS. Pilot House was a key part of my freshman year and creating bonds with lifelong friends. Thank you for mozzarella moons, mac ‘n cheese wedges, amazing French fries, and entire pizzas! *mouth currently watering thinking of the foods I’ll never eat again* Ellen Glickman, News Editor Thank you Pilot House for being the best place to waste extra meal swipes on Thursday nights. Thank you for the delicious mac ’n cheese wedges, mozzarella moons, pizza, sandwiches and all your other fried treats. Thank you for the late nights and friendships formed over the greasy feast. You will be missed.

Natalia Kolenko, Assistant News Editor

Ben Cowlishaw, Assistant Sports Editor

My roommates and I were always really busy, and so we didn’t get a chance to just hang out a lot. So every now and again, when we actually had some free time, we would go to Pilot House and get all the mac ’n cheese wedges and chocolate cake we could get. Those were some of my best memories from my time here at Mason.

Robert at Pilot House was one of the friendliest staff members I met at Mason - actually, one of the friendliest people I’ve met anywhere. The 10 PM Mass on Sundays sandwich, I’ll never forget you.

Savannah Norton, Lifestyle Editor

Mac ‘n cheese wedges during late night study breaks made finals so much better each semester. Nothing is better than breaking open one of these glorious wedges, watching the steam pour out, and tasting each bite of cheesy goodness.

After a long night out with friends, I always looked forward to some good greasy food from Pilot House. It was a great place to hang out and catch up with friends. I love how it wasn’t “poppin” until late hours, it was pretty lit. I will miss the mac ‘n cheese wedges most! Tatyana White-Jenkins, Assistant Lifestyle Editor Pilot House was such an important aspect of my freshman year experience. Living in Eastern Shore, I was always just a quick walk away from some hot and delicious mac ‘n cheese wedges! I always enjoyed going to Pilot House due to the diverse group of people who would come together to bond over gaining the freshman 15. It was also great being greeted by Pilot House’s greatest treasure, Robert. Oh, Pilot House. You will truly be missed.

Amy Rose, Photography Editor

Megan Zendek, Visual Editor Mac ‘n cheese wedges and mozzarella moons. That pretty much defines Pilot House. They weren’t the healthiest of choices, so it was always a treat to have them on late nights! Katie Morgan, Design Editor One of the best parts of my freshman year was going to Pilot House for the breakfast foods they used to have. It was a great way for me to take a break from late night studying and go get a snack at 11pm.

Courtney Hoffman, Sports Editor

Barbara Brophy, Copy Chief

I remember heading to Pilot House my freshman year with hallmates to enjoy the 10 p.m. Mass. Gone, but not forgotten, the 10 p.m. Mass was a delicious chicken parmesan sub loaded with mozzarella moons.

I only went there once, and I’m not sure I got anything. Still, the golden glow of Pilot House’s lights did manage to cheer my midnight walks from Fenwick to my dorm.


lifestyle Moving from Protection to Integration




Conference focuses on African refugee and immigrant issues Immigrants: Moving from Protection to Integration,” will explore how refugees and immigrants adapt to new lifestyles. The conference is a part of ECDC’s public education outreach to garner support to refugee and immigrant concerns. Dr. Tsehaye Teferra, ECDC’s president, believes attendees will benefit from the conference’s timeliness, as the United States plans to accept up to 100,000 refugees this year, according to the Atlantic.



The refugee crisis is one of today’s most widely known, and sometimes ignored, issues. Many people are aware of the treacherous journeys and harsh conditions refugees endure to reach safety, but what is the process of resettling into a new home really like for refugees? This year’s Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) conference hopes to answer that question. Held Tues., April 26, through Fri., April 29, at the Holiday Inn in Arlington, Va., the conference promises to be an enriching and informative experience and a way for attendees to connect to the global community. ECDC is a non-profit, community-based organization in Northern Virginia that aims to empower refugees and immigrants by helping them resettle and raising awareness for the struggles they encounter. The organization’s annual conferences focus on immigration issues in the United States with a distinct focus on African newcomers. This year’s conference, titled, “Beyond Shelter for Refugees and

“As we prepare for 100,000 refugee arrivals in the next fiscal year, the ECDC conference is an excellent opportunity for service providers, policy makers, community members, refugee resettlement agencies and academics to exchange ideas and share best practices to support refugees in their resettlement and integration in

the U.S.,” Teferra said. The conference will host numerous speakers who will provide updates on issues of resettlement, including how best to protect and integrate refugees. National leaders, policy makers and refugees themselves will be speaking at the conference. ECDC facilitates such networking to strengthen resettlement programs and to provide opportunities for renewal among agencies and advocates of refugee concerns. Junior Jasmin Humadi said she believes the recent refugee crisis is a pressing issue that needs a different kind of attention, especially as our country prepares to welcome refugees. “I think that when people hear news they tend to turn a blind eye to it because it doesn’t really affect them,” Humadi said. “But I think this does affect America and the world because so many immigrants and refugees have moved to countries all over the world. Instead of being hostile and not understanding them, we should

try to understand their struggles.” On Tuesday and Friday, ECDC will host day-long networking events for ECDC affiliates that are not open to the general public. However, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s events are open to non-ECDC affiliates. On Wednesday, the conference will run from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants should arrive around 8 a.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Participants do not have to stay for the entire duration of the event and are encouraged to attend whichever presentations interest them most. Wednesday’s keynote speakers will include Dr. Tsehaye Teferra, president of ECDC; Simon Henshaw, deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Population of Refugees and Migration at the U.S. Department of State; Mary Margaret Stone, deputy chief of refugee affairs for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service; Kenneth Tota, deputy director for the Office of Refugee Resettlement; and Shelly Pitterman, regional representative for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Wednesday’s presentations will cover a wide variety of topics, from refugee employment rights and legal protection, to hepatitis screening, gender dynamics and youth resettlement, among other topics. On Thursday, the conference will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Speakers will include Anastasia Brown, director for the Division of Refugee Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Dr. Curi Kim, director for the Division of Refugee Health at HHS; Carl Rubenstein, director of the Division of Refugee Assistance at HHS; Monica Fuentes, director for the D.C. Office for Welcoming America; and Nouf Bazaz, program director for the International Cultural Center (ICC) Crossroads. These speakers will discuss everything from building welcoming communities for Eritrean refugees, to addressing forced marriages and domestic violence among immigrant communities. Those who wish to attend the conference must register in advance at Directions to the hotel, located on North Fairfax Drive in Arlington, can be found on Holiday Inn’s website.





MONDAY 4/25 On campus:

Off campus: Smart (Farmers) Markets Oakton

Student Union 1 Quad

Unity of Fairfax Church

12 p.m. - 1 p.m.

10 a.m. - 1 p.m.:ew

@Savvygirrl Savannah Norton

TUESDAY 4/26 Off campus:

On campus:

American Authors

SG Destress Event

“Yes Mason, great idea to test alarms in the middle of the day when everyone’s in class #gmuprobs

@yfm30 Natalia Kolenko



Ice Cream Social

“#SeniorYearin5Words I still don’t know anything.”


Southside Plaza

Rock and Roll Hotel

10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

7:00 p.m.

WEDNESDAY 4/27 On campus:

Off campus:

Open Improv Jam

Pegboard Nerds

Johnson Center Georges


6 p.m. - 10 p.m.

7:00 p.m.

“I’m convinced professors are out here trying to ruin lives.”

@court_cashmere C.T.M.

THURSDAY 4/28 Off campus:

On campus:

Lewis Black

Yoga for Well-Being

Warner Theatre

Johnson Center G34, Dance Studio

8 p.m.

12 p.m. - 1 p.m.

“*applies coconut oil to my life because lawd. help me*”

@aaliyahxj_ Jada

FRIDAY 4/29 On campus: “New York- New York” Broadway Showcase Harris Theatre 8 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Off campus: Justin Bieber Verizon Center 7:00 p.m.






Donor expectations: more than a name change? Last fall, when I first arrived at George Mason, I decided to major in economics. Halfway through the semester, I learned about the large amount of money GMU has accepted from Charles Koch and the power such money has given the Charles Koch Foundation at other universities. Due to this revelation, and since discovering that GMU is unwilling to prove that Charles Koch does not have undue influence here, I decided to switch out of our economics program. Despite my interest in economics, I refuse to pay an incredible amount of money to receive a degree that has, when considering the precedent set at other universities, likely been shaped by our school’s highest bidder.

summit in June 2015. “Now, these programs also act as a talent pipeline. Professors refer the most passionate students from these programs and graduate programs, so they’re training the next generation of the freedom movement.”

Florida State University, the second largest recipient of Koch donations, was expected to give the Foundation influence over new hires, curriculum, and the publishing of research.

Put in simpler terms, the minds of the youth are being sold to the Koch’s to shape and mold however they please to further their political agenda.

Just last week, GMU announced its acceptance of a $30 million donation, $10 million of which was from Charles Koch, to rename our law school after Antonin Scalia. Outrage ensued, and certainly brought much more attention to GMU’s relationship with its private donors.

If there ever was a beacon in that talent pipeline, it would be GMU’s own Institute of Humane Studies. Mayer notes in her book, “The aim of the IHS was to cultivate and subsidize a farm team of the next generation’s libertarian scholars. Anxious at one point that the war of ideas was proceeding too slowly, Charles reportedly demanded better metrics with which to monitor students’ political views… Students were tested at the beginning and the end of each week for ideological improvement.”

For context, between 2005-2014, Charles Koch has donated $109.7 million to 361 universities across the country. Of that, $77 million was given to George Mason University alone. Jane Mayer, prominent journalist with the New Yorker, points out in her new book Dark Money that Koch’s campus funding is far from philanthropic. Mayer’s New York Times best-selling book highlights that Charles’ chief strategist, Richard Fink, developed a three-pronged strategy that guides the Koch donor network’s political agenda, called the Structure of Social Change. The foundation of this political strategy depends on academics to produce free-market friendly research that offers an appearance of credibility to their public policy pursuits.

Not only is it clear that Koch is using GMU to advance their political agenda, but we’ve seen how the cost of accepting Koch money outweighs the benefits on other campuses. In 2009 at West Virginia University, the third largest recipient of Koch money, a deal was reached that required all hires to be run by the Charles G. Koch Foundation before offering the candidate the job. The College of Charleston required the school to give the Koch Foundation private contact information for their students, such as emails and phone numbers, in order for the school to receive the money.

In addition to advancing Koch’s political agenda through research, Koch Foundation executive Ryan Stowers spoke to the importance of funding academic efforts at Koch’s bi-annual political donor

These are clear violations of academic freedom.

I think it is incredibly important that students, faculty, and staff at GMU, as well as the Virginia Delegates who have raised concerns,, question whether or not donor expectations go much deeper than a name change. If Koch is clearly breaching academic freedom at the other campuses they are funding, is it not appropriate for us to assume that the same violations have happened on the campus that has received more than TWICE as much funding as the other 360 Koch-funded schools combined? It is time that our university leadership become more accountable to their students than their donors. Until George Mason University proves that we do not merely exist to support Koch’s private interests by disclosing all previous donor agreements with the Koch Foundation, we can continue to assume that our university is being guided by the invisible hand of Charles Koch. MARK HAMMOND | CONTRIBUTOR

In my time at Mason... A List compiled by graduating senior Jesse Robinson. For the purpose of further validating that Mason is the best school around, with opportunities endless:

13. Discovered my love for: Stella Artois, Tippy’s Taco House, Sleep, Naps, Sleeping In, and Sleep. 14. Ran the GMU Twitter, and was asked to lunch by Angel Cabrera for my birthday (never happened, homie.)

28. Was an undergraduate TA for three COMM classes. 29. Saw Hall & Oates play at Wolf Trap. I was the youngest person there and it rocked. 30. Perfected a Halloween sinister cider recipe

1. Became a member, and eventually the president of The Mason Improv Association.

15. Acted in nearly 20 GMU film projects.

31. Fled from busted parties.

16. Got a close up on House of Cards. (S3 E5)

32. Waited 12 hours to see Obama in 2012.

2. Hosted “Improv4Mason” & “The Sports Hour” on WGMU.

17. Sang too many Irish drinking songs.

33. Was the only living person in the JC for 4 hours on a snow day.

3. Celebrated 4 years with my amazing girlfriend.

18. Got hired at a local radio station before I graduated.

34. Got worse at poker. Ask Erik and Alex…

4. Acted in a GMU Main Stage Show: The Crucible.

19. Saw two Redskins home playoff games.

35. Saw Kendrick and Wale perform.

5. Smoked a cigar on the roof of the HUB.

20. Saw my radio predecessor get married.

6. Interviewed the Governor of VA, Ludacris, Kathy Griffin, David Koechner and several Redskins on WGMU.

21. Gave radio tours to dozens of cub scouts.

36. Led an amazing staff as Program Director and General Manager of WGMU Radio.

22. WGMU Announcer (’13), Broadcaster (’14) Of The Year Awards.

37. Taught children how to create a character voice in acting classes. Red Shirt forever.

23. Traveled the east coast covering GMU Women’s Basketball for WGMU and Mason Athletics.

38. Wrote this published “article” for the 4th Estate.

24. Covered a Wizards game as media.

40. Did just about everything and anything.

25. Had an excruciating horror movie marathon on Harrison 2nd floor (it lasted for months).

I went to Mason.

7. Provided play by play commentary for a ninth-inning rally of Mason Baseball for Mason Cable broadcast. 8. Performed improv sets in DC, MD and NYC. 9. Watched GMU beat VCU this season after beers with my dad at Oh George. 10. Did an impressions routine with Robin Williams. 11. Was graded for doing an impression of a professor. 12. Threw up on the Southside stones while my friend watched. In my defense it was Late Night Southside.

26. Dressed up like George Mason and roused a crowd in North Plaza. 27. Performed a staged reading at the Kennedy Center.

39. Met some of my closest friends.







As fans flock to Nationals Park and baseball season gets under way, a question arises about the sport. Should people be allowed in the baseball hall of fame if they used steriods? Some fans believe that the steriod use does dimish the skill and effort it took the players to make it to the hall of fame. While others are skeptics. They think the steriod usage gave them an unfair advantage and they were only able to break records due to the drugs. Our assistant sports editor, Ben Cowlishaw, and staff writer, Ben Criswell, take on both sides of the issue. Who will you side with?

If not amended, baseball history should not be denied BEN COWLISHAW| ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

If you’re a baseball fan, or spend any significant amount of time around one, you know that baseball is a numbers game. Hits, home runs, RBIs, walks, strikeouts, on-base plus slugging, earned run average, on-base percentage. From basic stats to advanced metrics, numbers allow us to analyze every part of a player’s game to a team’s season. Numbers can’t tell the whole story, however. Record for most home runs in a single season -- 73. Record for most career home runs -- 762. Both are held by one of the most infamous players of the modern era, Barry Bonds. Both come with an asterisk, as Bonds was a central figure in baseball’s 2000s steroid scandal, and even faced charges for perjury and obstruction of justice, which were dropped and overturned respectfully. In 2015, his stemming from the federal government’s investigation. Based on his field performance alone, it’s not at all unreasonable to place Bonds in the top hitters of all time - his career WAR (wins above replacement, an advanced metric that determines the value of a player compared to a league-average replacement) is only second to that of Babe Ruth. Yet through his first four years of eligibility, Bonds has not been elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. I don’t disagree with my counterpart across the fold on this issue entirely. I cannot defend steroid use in professional sports; I’m quite adamantly against it. I think steroids tarnish the integrity of the game and the legacy of some of the game’s best hitters. There are countless ‘what-ifs,’ especially around guys like Alex Rodriguez, one of the most disliked professional athletes in

America. Rodriguez had more natural talent than any player of his generation, but his record has been tainted by an ugly cycle of steroid use accusations and public denials and lying. Some questioned if, after sitting out all of 2014, Rodriguez would ever play another game. He hit 33 HR for the Yankees in 151 games last year, and sits fourth on the career home run record list at 687, tucked between Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. It’s impossible to know what some of the league’s greatest steroid users would have accomplished had they played cleanly. I could take steroids for a year, but my home run total would never leave the ground, and I probably couldn’t top 76 on my fastball. Bonds, Rodriguez, Sosa, McGwire, Pudge; the game’s most notorious juicers had immense talent in the game, and faced equally “amped-up” pitching time and again. So why do the league’s best(*) deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame? Simple. The records stand. Officially, there are no asterisks on Bonds’ home run records. The World Series rings were not revoked, the batting titles still stand and no box scores have been amended. Ryan Braun and Rodriguez still play, and the home runs they hit tomorrow will be added to their totals from yesterday, even if there was some extra juice flowing through their veins when they happened. What does a league look like that wants to amend history? Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) stripped Lance Armstrong of all seven of his Tour de France titles and banned him for life. He’s not in the official record books, and as far as anyone is concerned, he did not legitimately win seven Tour de France races.


but if they are to deny a part of the game’s history, they ought to at least properly amend it. If the wins and stats and records are truly illegitimate, then make it so. Otherwise, Bonds, the Bash Brothers, and other baseball greats who were caught up in the steroid craze deserve a spot to be remembered and honored by the baseball fans of the future, even if fans know their numbers come with an invisible asterisk.

I don’t advocate that baseball do this for a multitude of reasons,

No place for cheaters in the Hall of Fame BEN CRISWELL| STAFF WRITER

The year was 1998. For 37 years, the single season home run mark had remained in the possession of Roger Maris. A seemingly unbreakable record had stood fast for almost four decades, resistant to attempts made by some of the game’s greatest. Many

believed this record would live on forever. Enter, Mark McGwire. McGwire had been one of the game’s best power hitters for his entire career, making hay as the less-deranged member of baseball’s coolest pairing, the Bash Brothers of the Oakland Athletics. At 34, McGwire was still turning fastballs into

souvenirs, a rarity for power hitters, who normally begin to lose speed in their early 30s. As a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, McGwire played the leading man in the most exciting and memorable season in baseball history. The previous year saw McGwire and Ken Griffey, Jr.,



come within three and five home runs of the record, respectively. Anticipation that one of the two men would break Maris’s record mounted as the 1998 season began. The race for 61 started out as a three-man affair as McGwire, Griffey and Sammy Sosa tore up the Major League’s best pitching. However, by September, that race had turned into a McGwireSosa showdown. The two titans met for a two-game series beginning September 7, 1998. McGwire sat at 60 home runs, just one shy of tying the record. September 7, 1998. In the bottom of the first inning, at roughly 3:20 in the afternoon, McGwire sends a 1-1 fastball from Mike Morgan 480 feet down the left field line and into the upper deck for home run number 61. The St. Louis crowd erupts as McGwire rounds the bases, fist-pumping and high-fiving his way toward home plate. He has tied the record. September 8, 1998. McGwire steps to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning, trailing the Cubs 2-0. The crowd, packing a sold-out stadium, rises to its feet in anticipation of what would inevitably be a momentous event. McGwire digs in and waves his bat a couple times as he awaits the 0-0 pitch. As the ball leaves the bat, the stadium explodes in pandemonium, willing the ball over the left field wall. McGwire, as he watches the ball leave the playing field, almost forgets to touch first, prompting announcer Joe Buck to exclaim, “Touch first, Mark, you are the single-season home run king.”

sports As he rounds the bases, McGwire hugs and high-fives members of the Chicago infield like he did the day before. Rounding third, McGwire salutes the euphoric crowd. Members of Cardinals leap over the dugout railing to greet the hero at home plate. Within the crowd is McGwire’s son, whom McGwire picks up in a fatherly embrace, celebrating the historic feat. Sammy Sosa darts in from right field to congratulate his competitor on breaking the record the two had spent the year chasing. I don’t remember where I was on Tuesday, September 8, 1998, at 8 p.m. (I was 3), but I remember watching. Just like I remember watching Sammy Sosa jumping into the air just a couple of days later as he broke the record himself. I will never forget these moments. I will never forget the lie these players told me. We all know what happened next. Allegations and finally admissions of steroid use surfaced, sullying these memories and blackening the records these men held. McGwire, Sosa, Barry Bonds -- they all cheated. They committed the cardinal sin of any 10-yearold playing in the back yard. Worst of all, they did it on baseball’s grandest stage and in front of millions of people. Roger Maris’s family was at that game on September 8, celebrating the same lie we all were. Roger Maris did not take steroids, nor did Hank Aaron, yet their records -- honest as they were -- were trumped by deceit.



no place for those who cheat. There are too many other genuine moments of baseball history to place Mark McGwire side-by-side with Ken Griffey, Jr. What McGwire did was a lie. We saw the home runs, we saw the high fives, and we saw the celebration, but it wasn’t authentic. What we didn’t see was the process. We didn’t see the needles, the pills or the drugs; we didn’t see the whole story. Blinded by these players’ triumphant feats, we accepted their performances as facts, instead of what they really were: fiction. I do not fault Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa for what they did, nor do I castigate any other player who has taken performance-enhancing drugs. But to place Barry Bonds next Hank Aaron would contradict the quintessential honesty for which baseball has always stood. Despite what you may believe, there is a right way to play the game. Mark McGwire didn’t play the right way, and he should never be elevated to the level of those who did. We saw what they did. It was real, but it wasn’t true. It is the greatest lie anyone has ever told, and it is a lie I will never forget. I do not need the Hall of Fame to remind me of what I saw for myself. I do not need the Hall of Fame to give credence to the falsehood these players presented. It was fiction, a fabrication more exciting than any veracity, and an unforgettable one at that. But it was, and always will be, a lie.

These men cheated. Plain and simple, and the Hall of Fame is

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4.25.2016- Fourth Estate  
4.25.2016- Fourth Estate