SPORTS: Men’s & Women’s Basketball start off hot ~ page 13
A&E: Ramapo fights HIV/AIDS ~ page 8
THE RAMAPO NEWS
Students Rally Against Hate and Violence A publication by the students for the Ramapo College community
THURSDAY, December 3, 2009
By SAMANTHA ULLRICH Staff Writer
More than 60 members of Ramapo College attended a peace rally on Wednesday, November 18 to demonstrate against hate crimes. The rally started in J. Lee’s, circled Ramapo’s campus and ended in the first quad of the Village. The alleged hate crime that occurred on campus during the early hours of Nov. 13 caused members of Ramapo College to rally against future occurrences and affirm that the campus will not tolerate prejudice. “We did this to send a message that Ramapo College is a community that will not stand for intolerance, hatred, or violence,” said Zaneta Rago, Queer Peer Services Coordinator. “This march was for those who have ever been afraid to be who they are. Various members of Ramapo College attended the rally, including members of Kappa Sigma and allies of the queer community. The amount of people who attended the rally spoke volumes of the impact of this event. “We have Kappa Sigma brothers who are gay. We feel strongly on the issue, and gave our best effort to get as many brothers as we could to come out and support the cause,” said Matt Hlavaty, a Kappa Sigma brother. “It was moving to see how many people came
photo courtesy of Jill Grimaldi
Jill Grimaldi, Vicky Blume and Jessica Roffe hold their protest signs in J. Leeʼs, where many students came together to conquer homophobia.
out from so many social groups to show their support,” said Jill Grimaldi, member of the Women’s Center. “It’s so amazing to see how much love we build up to drown out the hate.” Before the rally began, a sheet of paper was
handed out upon entering J. Lee’s listing nine chants that were repeated during the march. Two members of the march used megaphones to initiate the chant, which was repeated by the mass of people marching. Twice during the protest, the group stopped, circled, and
young age of 18. “I’m very happy that almost everyone in this class is around the same age that I was when I went into the army, I feel as though we can relate through ways of thinking.”
Levine was a part of the Ninetieth Division from Utah Beach, Texas and on June 8, 1944, Levine went to Normandy and was a part of the mortar crew. This was where Levine held a position that required to him
XL No. 11
screamed as loudly as possible, a good medium to release anger and to concentrate peoples’ energy. “I hope we plant the seed to show them that this is not okay,” said Ali Melillo, president of Ramapo Pride and volunteer at the Women’s Center. “We need to react and be proactive.” The members of the peace rally chanted and marched for a little over an hour. Some carried signs, but all were there to represent their stand against homophobia. “As President I deplore this hateful homophobic behavior and affirm that it will not be tolerated. No member of the College should have to fear that his or her personal characteristics or attributes will lead to being subject to any kind of abuse,” stated President Mercer in an email addressing all faculty, staff and students. The queer community used this medium to communicate that a safe campus should be available to all students and members of this college. “I feel it was quite the success. One of the most powerful and empowering events in my two years,” said Corey Chichizola, program coordinator of the Women’s Center and Eboard member of Ramapo Pride, “We wanted to communicate that Ramapo has no place for hatred or violence for any group.”
POW Shares Story as German Captor in WWII By AMY FEZZA Staff Writer
Robert Levine, a POW of WWII, was on campus to share his wartime experience. He was able to give an overview of his position as an army man and what he had gone through during his experience in captivity. Not only is Robert Levine a war veteran, but he is also an amputee and the story he delivered was one that captivated the audience. “We are very privileged to have Robert Levine with us today. You will all see that happiness and success can still come even after such a traumatic experience such as this one,” Professor Judith Peck said. The presentation was held in Professor Peck’s class “Art as a Therapy.” Even though the presentation was held during a regular class, walk-ins from other students and staff members were encouraged. “I have to admit, this is the first time I have ever had a full female audience,” Levine said, but that didn’t stop him from telling his story on such a traumatic experience. Levine went into the army at the very
photo by Amy Fezza
Robert Levine speaks to Professor Judith Peckʼs “Art as Therapy” class.
to be in grave danger. Levine was the person who took the shells and put them into the guns. “The weapons I helped with were main factors in fighting over in Normandy, I had a lot of weight on my shoulders and I knew something could happen to me.” Through Levine’s explanation on in-depth details of what went on through the war, he always had a smile on his face. Never once did he get upset, but was proud to be able to share the information with anyone who was willing to listen. “Instantly, I was hooked, I couldn’t wait to hear more from the very beginning because he spoke from his heart,” said Cassandra Spincola, a sophomore. After going through the basics and the key points that led Levine to his capture, he opened up about his experience as a POW. During one of the attacks at Normandy, Levine went on to say, “I had to dive into a foxhole to protect myself, but my left leg was stuck hanging from the top. I was hit by a grenade and was unable to move.” see LEVINE on page 5
As India Grows, So Does Its Share of Greenhouse Gases
Page 2 The Ramapo News
Thursday, December 3, 2009
By SCOTT LAUDATI Staff Writer
Will tax-break incentives be enough to finally get the world’s corporations on a greener path? If younger generations are educated more rapidly and intensely can we accommodate conservation and green house gases into what we perceive to be “the good life?” Siddhartha, director of Fireflies Intercultural Center, certainly hopes so. On Tuesday, Siddhartha led a presentation on “Climate Change and India” for a packed lecture-hall of concerned students and faculty. While the discussion was laced with humor, the undertone of Siddhartha’s words painted a dire picture of a world in danger. India has the world’s second fastest growing economy, just behind China. There are over a billion people that live within its borders, making it the largest democracy on Earth; it has a middle-class of 300 million people. Bangalore, a city in Southern India, has surpassed Silicone Valley for most computer techs. Yet even with all of these factors working in India’s favor, progress is still overshadowed by something no GDP can cure, something of an uncontrollable and often violent nature. While House Republicans will still deny that things like global warming exist, but it may only be because the dark side of climate change hasn’t reached U.S. shores yet. “Americans are well aware that global warming is a serious issue. But until it is affects us directly, we can’t do anything until everyone gets on board,” said Sophomore Erica Buchman. Siddhartha is striving to raise enough awareness to make sure it never does.
Many factors are contributing to the acceleration of climate change. As forests get cut down, the carbon dioxide that was absorbed by the trees now builds in the atmosphere. The world’s population is growing and to feed all of the population, endless energy is needed. Yet what may be the biggest component for greenhouse emissions is the oil and fuel that is burned in our vehicles everyday. India and other countries that share the “Third-World” title are feeling the brunt of what careless consumerism and Capitalistic agendas do to the impoverished regions of the world. In Northern India, apple farmers are facing a crisis. For generations, they made their living by harvesting their apple trees. However, apple trees need a cool climate
photo courtesy of Creative Commons
and with the rising temperatures, their trees have stopped growing. In Mumbai, a city in Western India, there are 130,000 fisherman families. Less than a decade ago, they could catch 15,000 tons of fish a year. Now it’s a mere 2,000 tons. Tourism was once a major money generator in Northern India for those wishing to see the Himalayas. These glaciers are melting faster than any other on earth, and as they dwindle, so does the tourism industry. Regions around the country that were fairly dry are experiencing so much rain that the flood plains can’t handle it. Landslides are also becoming more common as the glacial snows melt and rains intensify. It is greatly feared that with the increase of floods, malaria will run rampant throughout India.
The opposite effect seems to be happening in areas that used to have ideal crop growing conditions. In Chattisgarh, an agriculutral state in central India, farmers find themselves in particular distress. In just a few years, the water level has dropped 200 feet. Many people in India have been lured into farming by money lenders. They are convinced to take loans to start up farms with the promise of return profits in one season. In the areas that have only recently become affected by droughts, crop failure is becoming the norm. Farmers are so heavily indebted that many turn to one bleak solution: suicide. In April of 2009, Chattisgarh farmers felt they had no other options after another failed crop season and many committed suicide. Students curious about how their politicans could be so inept when it comes to solving these problems were informed of an ugly truth: politicans are concerned with getting re-elected, making it impossible for them to see in the “long term.” A common political cliché regarding climate change has been the economy. Shutting down or fining polluting facotries and corporations would only hurt the economy further, they say. The presentation was concluded with a Q&A session. Siddhartha used this time to ask the crowd what their ideas were. Possible tax-incentives for buisnesses is an option that seemed favorable, as well as grass roots actions to raise awareness. The “Climate Change and India” lecture came just five days shy of the Copenhagen Negotiations. The Negotiations will bring the UN and world leaders together for a chance to get the world on a fast track to redemption. It appears that finally, time is actually running out.
THE RAMAPO NEWS: STAFF, CONTACT & POLICY A publication by the students for the Ramapo College community
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Staff: Lianna Albrizio, Megan Anderle, Michelle Angelino, Natasha Arena, Morgan Balog, Francesca Baratta, Erica Buchman, Kristen Burnell, Alyssa Connors, Kelly Craig, Deanna Dunsmuir, Jake Edinger, Amy Fezza, Keri Ann Flaccomio, Melanie Framo, Rachel Frank, John Fraze, Andrew Gould, Louis Guerrero, Lauren Haag, Ashley Hastings, Bryan Kaminsky, Jeremy Kelly, Nick Kolani, Scott Laudati, Jon Lindenauer, Ryan Mallory, Stefanie Mauro, Nicole Mazewski, Kaitlin McGuinness, Jenna Moonjian, Dave Ragazzo, Lindsay Sanchez, Diana Stanczak, Keith Stratton, Brittany Temple, Samantha Ullrich, Rachel Wintermute.
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AROU N D THE
Cross-Dressers Explain Struggle With Dual Lives
By BRITTANY TEMPLE Staff Writer
As students gathered at J. Lee’s on Nov. 16 for the monthly “night OUT” meeting, three women sat side-by-side prepared to lead the discussion. However, on second glance it was questionable whether those women were women at all. In honor of National Remembrance day on Nov. 17, Queer Peer Services invited three cross-dressers to give Ramapo students, both straight and gay alike, a deep and candid look into their world. The term cross-dresser was coined about thirty years ago as they feared being lost within the category of homosexuals, as many cross dressers are in fact straight. The three cross-dressers who visited Ramapo that evening hoped to communicate to students that cross-dressing does not necessarily equal homosexuality, which is what a great number of people mistakenly believe today. “We’ve been accused of riding the coattails of the gay and lesbian movement, which is true because we don’t have the numbers that they do,” said Cynthia, one of the crossdressing men leading the panel discussion along with fellow cross-dressers Kathy and
photo by Brittany Temple
Cynthia, Kathy and Laura pose for a photo after their talk in J. Leeʼs, where they said cross-dressing is not synonymous with homosexuality.
Laura. “We don’t have a big presence. By nature we tend to be in the closet.” “In the closet” has a different meaning to Cynthia, Kathy and Laura than the homosexual community. A closeted life for a
Vice Provost Search Begins in Mississippi
By RACHEL WINTERMUTE Staff Writer
The Ramapo College administration will soon grow by one. Currently, the search is on to fill the vacant position of Vice Provost. On Wednesday, December 2, the first of two candidates made their presentations for the job. Eric Daffron of the Mississippi University for Women convened a meeting in SC-137 to present his straightforward PowerPoint of his proposal for Vice Provost proficiency. Primarily, the Vice Provost for Curriculum andAssessment has a myriad of departments to oversee and report back to the Provost, Beth Barnett. Also, Vice Provost will have the responsibility of performing the duties of the Provost in the event of her absence. Daffron began his presentation by addressing the first issue of the curriculum. He initially concentrated on the challenges facing the curriculum and how to create the most successful program. Challenges include the generational difference in learning and the variations in enrollment expectations. Next, he proposed positive opportunities, such as innovative teaching and learning strategies. Daffron stressed the important role of academic advising and even mentioned an “Early Alert” system used by his institution in Mississippi that identifies “at risk” students and strives to put them back on the right track.
Next, Daffron mentioned the challenges and opportunities for assessment. He dwelled on the difference of external challenges, like regional accrediting bodies and the federal government and other internal challenges such as faculty buy-in and unmanageable processes. Daffron seemed passionate about the opportunities in assessment and mentioned the increasing demand for data about how students are learning. The formal session ended with a brief question and answer period, allowing members of the audience to ask Daffron about his credentials and visions for the Vice Provost position. He took this opportunity to share his professional experiences. Daffron began his career as an English professor and worked his way through small administration roles to the position of Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs. His resume includes experience as MUW interim Provost and traveling to China as chair of a task force for internationalizing the MUW campus. Overall, Daffron touched upon his growing passion for working in administration across an entire campus. His PowerPoint presentation was obviously well-planned and thoroughly developed. The prestigious position of Ramapo’s Vice Provost remains open, with Eric Daffron at the forefront of the race.
cross-dresser means keeping their crossdressing habits hidden away from their everyday life including job, friends and family. “We pass under the radar. One out of ten males [are] cross-dressers. They could be
Thursday, December 3, 2009
wearing it under their street clothes,” Cynthia said. A similarity that Cynthia, Laura and Kathy all share is their heterosexuality. Although Kathy finds herself “riding the fence” at times, Cynthia and Laura are both married to women and live much of their lives as men. Their spouses are aware of their cross-dressing, but that is the extent of who from their private life knows about their second ego. While the three vary in the amount of exposure their cross-dressing gets, they all admitted to the difficulties they faced in accepting that portion of their lives and opening it up to others. “I started at the age of four, by accident actually, but it just felt natural to me. Only everyone else thought it was weird. But I still wanted to find someone like me,” Laura said. This is how the three found another commonality: Tri Ess. Tri Ess is a support group for heterosexual cross-dressers and their families that educates them about cross-dressing and creates a safe environment for socializing and discussion. It’s an empowering place where cross-dressers can see LEVINE on page 5
Good luck with finals! Enjoy the holidays and weʼll see you in the spring (when you come in to write for us)
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Thursday, December 3, 2009
“If you werenʼt an editor of the Ramapo News, what would you be doing?” Question and Photographs by Erica Buchman
“Getting a haircut”
-Dan Rist Senior
“Danʼs girlfriend” -Cortney Collins Senior
-Kimberly Ciocon Senior
“Drugs and alcohol” -Charlie LaPlaca Senior
“Cuddling with Tom Ng” -Joey Lewandowski Senior
Always Greener: Copenhagen Conference to Begin By BRYAN KAMINS KY Staff Writer
The UN COP15, or Copenhagen Conference, will begin on Dec. 7 and is scheduled to end on Dec 18. Previous attempts of Conference of Parties (COP) have happened beginning in 1995 in Berlin. These conferences take place to try to limit climate change. In 1997 the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, but since then new developments in the world show that a new negotiation is needed. This conference is important because it is the last chance for legislation to be passed on an international level while there is still time to do something about climate change. There have been noticeable changes in the world climate - as the documentary “Age of Stupid” shows the public through stories which have deeply affected people. The filmmakers hoped to rally up enough supporters to show their governments that they want someone to fight for their country at the Copenhagen Conference. The film is based on scientific evidence and is backed up by prestigious scientists. One story follows French mountain guide Fernand Pareau. He has been a mountain guide for decades and the audience sees him
photo courtesy of Wiki Commons
guide a family to a glacier to walk on it. He speaks about how, when he was a kid, the glacier was huge and people could walk right onto it. Now to get to the glacier people have to go down a series of ladders on the side of a cliff. This story raises awareness about climate change and the damage done by the planet’s temperature rising. A second story follows Layefa Malemi, who wants to become a doctor. She lives in
a region of Nigeria which is most profitable for oil. Shell Oil Company made a deal with the village that they would build a health center if they could drill for oil. Shell never finished the center and all that is left are crumbling walls. Since Shell came to the village there is more oil pollution on the fish and land, a lot less fish for the villagers to catch and poorer conditions. This is a story about people who were living on less than a dollar a day, and who wanted to make their town better but are now left with contaminated water and more problems than they started with. This story also shows how harmful using oil can be for the people living near where it is drilled from. In the UK, wind farm developer Pier Guy wants to put up wind turbines to power his house, but faces controversy from other town members claiming that it will obstruct their view. All he wants to do is reduce his carbon footprint and help the planet, but he cannot achieve his full potential because people are worried about the aesthetics. This is a story which shows someone trying to make a positive difference to reduce his negative impact on the planet, but cannot due to other people restricting his use of
an alternative source of energy. These are just some of the stories of people who have been affected by climate change and of people who are trying to make a difference to slow down climate change but are facing difficulty doing so. One powerful quote from “Age of Stupid” is, “We wouldn’t be the first life form to make itself extinct. But what would be unique about us is that we did it knowingly. What does that say about us?” This quote really puts ideas into perspective in regards to peoples’ lives impacting climate change and how society now operates on global, corporate and social levels. If things go well at the conference in the upcoming weeks, countries around the world will work together to move forward without letting internal disagreements get in the way of trying to preserve the planet and reduce the rate at which climate change is occurring. More information about the UN COP15, Copenhagen Conference can be found at: http://en.cop15.dk/frontpage and http://www.copenhagenclimatecouncil.com. Green Fact of the Week: 9 gallons of oil is saved for every ton of glass recycled
Levine Keeps His Head Up
‘In the Closest’ Takes a New Meaning
After that incident, Levine was captured by the enemy. “All of you here need to understand what a POW means – you’re not alone before you’re captured, you have a family that you go out with on that battlefield. It isn’t until you are facing the enemy unable to move, that is when you’re alone,” Levine said. Once Levine had been captured, his left leg that had been hurt by the grenade had to be amputated. Levine explained how he was very thankful for the doctor who had done the surgery because if it weren’t for him, he would not be alive to tell his story. “The German doctor who took care of me saw on my dog tag that I had an “H” initialed on it. He questioned me what it meant, but before I could answer he knew. I thought at that moment I wouldn’t make it to my next birthday,” Levine said. “Being Hebrew and being in Germany, that wasn’t a good place for me to be at that time.” Therefore, his doctor took his dog tag so that the Nazi soldiers would not kill him. Levine said he never forgot about
meet and share stories of struggle, self discovery, or simply where they like to buy heels. Tri Ess also teaches its members how to think of cross-dressing as a normal, eccentric and fulfilling portion of their lives as opposed to a hidden sector. Although some cross-dressers like Kathy have opened up that part of their life, Laura has reasons to keep it more on the private side. “It’s an area of my life I have learned to respect through Tri Ess, but I can’t bring it into my mainstream right now. I have a wife, a baby on the way, and I could probably lose my job.” Aside from their personal challenges, the public can also be harsh critics. Tri Ess provides a medium to discuss coping with attacks, harassment, and the occasional curious passer by. “I’ve been cursed and I’ve been questioned. If they curse, I walk away. If they question, then let’s talk. I once had an entertaining conversation with a school group from Ohio. I always try to do outreach. I’ll talk to anyone with an open
Page 5 The Ramapo News
Continued from page 1
the German doctor that did not treat him like a prisoner, but looked at him as a human and saved his life. Not long after Levine was sent to Rennes POW Hospital, where the 8th U.S. Infantry Division liberated the city and brought back the prisoners. “My whole life has been an ‘Up’ because of that gesture that doctor did for me,” said Levine. Throughout Levine’s entire presentation he could not help but smile. “Always look up and don’t look down. I have learned to live and accept life the way that it is.” Levine was thankful for his enemy to be by his side and to save him from death. “I was able to survive, life is great.” Levine gave his perspective on life and said to always try and see a positive. “I thought it was a wonderful story. It really helped me to appreciate life and I think it is amazing to have heard a story such as this from someone who looked at his experience as a positive,” Spincola said.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Continued from page 3
mind,” Cynthia said. And open minds is exactly what they encountered here at Ramapo as students sat circled around the speakers and actively engaged in the conversation. Students asked questions such as how did they discover they enjoyed cross-dressing, would they expose more of their cross-dressing if there wasn’t discrimination, and whether it stresses them out to lead two lives as one person. Cynthia, Kathy and Laura all participated in answering and gave seemingly honest answers. Following the discussion, students assembled outside of the Student Center and prepared to march around campus on a peace rally. With signs, banners, microphones and a lot of loudly chanting participants, the march was a success. Starting at the Laurel court the pack traveled through buildings while passing the message of peace and anti-discrimination. The evening was a tribute to diversity and a reminder to students to show sensitivity and compassion to differences between one another instead of hate or ignorance.
Got a Free Tuesday? Get Some ‘Good Love’ By BRITTANY TEMPLE Staff Writer
Students spend Tuesday nights at Ramapo kicking back, relaxing and having a good time. Although Ramapo is often labeled as a place where not much goes on, those guilty of such labeling simply don’t know where to look. A place that may have passed under their radar this semester is Rivara’s. In the heart of Glen Rock sits Rivara’s, a bar and restaurant that has been doubling as a Tuesday night hang out for Ramapo students and locals alike. This semester, an array of young talent has showcased their original music along with an occasional cover, and all the while their friends and family have been able to enjoy the show with no more than a five dollar cover charge.
photo courtesy of Adam Harris
Ramapo graduate Adam Harris is starting up his own entertainment company.
Those who have taken the opportunity to kick back and enjoy live music give thanks to the behind-the-scenes man Adam Harris. A 2009 graduate of Ramapo College, Harris discovered his passion to promote music and sought to fulfill it. “I play music myself, but I had a revelation one day and I felt like I was more needed, for lack of a better word, in doing behind the scene work instead of actually performing. I still perform but my main gig right now is helping other people perform,” Harris said. After feeling as though he had hit the ceiling at a summer internship, Harris sought a new adventure. “I was unhappy with my internship and felt like I was done growing and learning there. I started talking to Ben Neill about how I wanted to put on shows, have a festival and just do a lot of stuff. He motivated me and had confidence in me that I was ready to do it on my own instead of working for other people. I said, Are you sure? He said, Yeah. And I said again, Are you sure? And he said, Yes,” Harris said. That conversation with Ramapo professor Ben Neill planted a seed that blossomed into Harris’s company: Good Love Entertainment. “It’s not a legal company yet, but it’s in the beginning stages. We’re a company that appreciates live music and realizes it’s an important part of our culture. So I’m trying to restore it and put on live shows for people at affordable prices. But we also offer ala carte services such as artist management, promotion, booking, photography design, and all sorts of stuff a band might need,” Harris said. Although it’s in premature stages, he’s mak-
ing progress by putting on live shows at affordable prices at smart locations. Rivara’s was a prime choice with its three dollar American light drafts and spacious dancing area. With more than a handful of shows under their belt along with Hansel’s in Oakland, Blue Ribbon Tavern in Spring Valley, New York, The Meat Locker in Montclair, and a possible show at Pub 17, both Harris’ company and the showcase bands are getting solid exposure. However, the shows are just one piece of the pie. The whole pie is the Sweet Spot Music Festival taking place in Harmony, New Jersey this summer. “We’re putting together the festival with both local and national acts. It’s going to be a two day festival in Harmony. The whole point of it is to raise awareness and hopefully money for local environmental organizations and also raise the awareness of arts and music in the area,” Harris said. The Sweet Spot Music Festival got its title from its greatest sponsor, TheSweetSpot.me. The company’s owner is a personal friend of Harris’ and has become a main contributor to the shows and festival. They also provide Harris with products to raffle off at the shows, and the giveaways are far from fruit baskets. “They sell body lotions, candles and sex toys. We gave away a bondage chair a couple weeks ago,” Harris said. Aside from the live music and enticing raffle items, you can be sure that your cover charge will be put to good use. “We have a five dollar cover. How we do it is we get a little money from the bar, but since
we’re charging a cover we only ask for about 40 or 50 dollars. That goes to the bands. Depending on how many bands we have we might have to give another 25 to 50 out of what we make at the door. We usually make a nice chunk of change and the money that’s left over goes to the festival. But right now we’ve only made enough to cover insurance, hopefully,” Harris said. While there is still progress to be made, Harris can be sure he’s doing something right with a constant turn out at his events. He also has a solid list of performers that he can count on to generate a crowd of dancing friends, family and fans. The growing list of featured bands include the Jared Kahn Trio, Sunchild and the Moonlight Flux, DDDGGG, Dewey Decimal and the System, Big Wilson River, Fikus, Emma McLaughlin, Tom Nichols, Allie Potosnak, Los Huevos and Duffy DB and Moshe, just to name a few. Good Love Entertainment has a show planned for Tuesday, Dec. 15 at Rivara’s showcasing Los Huevos and the Jared Kahn Trio which will be featuring Adam Harris himself for the evening. Aside from adding to the festival’s piggy bank and giving his friends great venues to play at, Harris hopes to get his company’s name out there and create a reliable foundation. “When you come to a Good Love show you know what to expect. You’re going to have a good time, you’re going to dance, there’s always going to be good music and there’s always going to be good people.”
Page 6 The Ramapo News
Thank you for your support! Enjoy winter break.
See you in Spring 2010.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Our Nation’s Hope Lies in Dope
Transfers, Take Action
Campus views are the sole opinion of their respective authors, submitted to The Ramapo News and in no way reflect the views of either The Ramapo News or Ramapo College of New Jersey.
By CORTNEY COLLINS Editor-in-Chief
It’s Dec. 3 and to the rest of the world that might signal holidays, shopping, gift giving and snow, but to those of us in college it means one thing: finals. With less than three weeks left in the semester, we’re functioning at maximum capacity, trying to finish final projects, write multiple 20 page papers and study for exams that will unfortunately make or break our grade. Time to break out the Adderall. Sure, it’s a drug that can only be obtained with a prescription. And sure, it can be habit forming. But it’s a staple in any college dorm – along with various other drugs. Recreational drug use is part of college life. Actually, it’s part of life in general. A home video surfaced this week of screen legend Marilyn Monroe smoking weed. President Obama admitted to using marijuana and cocaine in his memoir “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.” Nearly 10 percent of U.S. citizens ages 50 – 59 smoke weed, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported in August. In comparison, the American College Health Association reports that only 12.7 percent of college kids use marijuana regularly. Marijuana usage numbers are essentially equal across all age demographics showing that – at the risk of sounding like the bad guy from D.A.R.E. – everybody’s doing it. To be clear, I’m not encouraging drug use.
However I’m not discouraging it either. If you don’t want to use drugs, that’s your prerogative. But if someone else does want to use drugs – that’s theirs. Drug use is a personal choice, much like food preferences are a personal choice. The government doesn’t tell me what I can and can’t eat, so they certainly should not be telling me what I can and can’t smoke. Except that they are. And not only are they telling me what substances I’m allowed to put in my body, but they’re putting those who choose to do drugs in prison. The War on Drugs started in 1969, just five years after the War on Poverty. However, it managed in the last 30 years to diminish the efforts of the latter war and create even more poverty. Harvard economist Jeffery Biron estimates that federal, state and local governments spend a combined $44 billion to enforce drug laws. That’s a lot of money that could be used for other, more important things – maybe universal healthcare, or hey, maybe higher education. Not only is the amount of money spent fighting (and losing to) drug use absurd, but the amount that could be made from taxing drug sales annually is more than $30 billion. It makes sense – the government lets me consume alcohol and tobacco, both of which are known to be harmful, but taxes their sale. Doing the same thing with drug sales would easily help alleviate some of the budget pressure felt by government at all levels. Currently there are more than 39 million people in our nation living below the poverty level. It seems as if the War on Poverty is failing as well. Consider how the approximately $77 billion, the combined total spent on the War on Drugs and made taxing drug sales, could benefit the roughly 13 percent of Americans who can’t make enough money to survive. The holidays are a time for generosity. Maybe instead of donating money, we can rework our nation’s laws to benefit not only the most people possible, but those who need it the most.
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By TOM NG SGA President
How can the college better meet the needs of Ramapo’s transfer population? This has been one of the major questions buzzing at Ramapo College throughout 2009. In an attempt to better serve transfers, discussions on this issue have occurred throughout the campus from the administrative level to the student level for the past year. While Ramapo has taken numerous steps in the right direction, it is time transfer students themselves become more involved in the decision making process. There are a variety of ways freshman students are oriented to campus that transfers students have not had the opportunity to take part in. These include extended orientations, an “orientation to college” seminar course (FYS), and a Welcome Week. Students and the Center for Academic Advising and the First-Year Experience (CAAFYE) have recognized these deficiencies and taken steps to correct this problem. At the beginning of the year Transfers Unite (a student organization of transfer students looking to help other transfers) began a welcome week of their
own. Student Government has been directly involved in the discussion every step of the way under the leadership of Secretary of Academic Affairs Marlene Botros, who has worked with CAAFYE to change the way we are orienting first semester transfers and raise awareness about the resources they do have. There have even been discussions throughout the year regarding possibly developing a transfer orientation course. This dialogue is of great importance in correcting the lack of attention given to transfers at Ramapo. SGA’s efforts, however, can only go so far. We have been in close contact with individual transfer students to try to make these changes, but real change can only occur with wider support from the transfer community. There are a variety of ways transfer students can get involved. Most simply, transfers are welcome at all SGA meetings (Thursdays at 1 p.m. in the Alumni Lounges) and SGA Academic Affairs meetings (every other Wednesday at 10am in the SGA office) to take part in this discussion. In addition, transfers are encouraged to help welcome new transfers by assisting at transfer orientations, which will be held on Dec. 10 and Jan. 12. To volunteer at orientations, just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Any other recommendations transfers have on ways to improve the adjustment resources Ramapo provides can be emailed to email@example.com. The transfer voice is necessary for any major changes regarding college policy to be effective. As we conclude 2009, I am proud to say the college has made major changes to improve transfer representation and support services. For us to continue this progress into 2010, Ramapo needs its transfer students to take the lead.
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Ramapo Beats Backs HIV/AIDS Through Music
Thursday, December 3, 2009
BY F RANCES CA BARATTA Staff Writer
On Dec. 1 as World AIDS Day, the Women’s Center and Ramashows co-sponsored a benefit concert in Sharpe Theater at the Berrie Center that included award-winning jazz singer Thos Shipley. All proceeds from this event were given to “Braking the Cycle,” a 300 mile bike-a-thon from Boston to New York that raises funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS, a diesease that affects 1 million Americans and 33 million people worldwide. Last year, this organization delivered $1.2 million to fund the HIV/AIDS services of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual Community Center. Ramashows provided the two students that performed as opening acts: Ashley Wood and Steve Carter. Before these acts began, the Women’s Center showed a recruiting video from “Braking the Cycle.” This 10-minute clip showed the bikers riding for three days in the pouring rain but still having the time of their lives. During short interviews, the riders talked about their reasons for participating. Some were HIV positive, others had friends who had died of this disease and some were raising money in their memory. Freshman Ashley Wood played five songs on her acoustic guitar. Four of these songs were originals, including “71 down 17,” “Walk,” and “College Life” a song about life at Ramapo. However, one song was a unique cover of “Inside of You” from the
movie, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Wood had quite the fan base in the front row, which cheered and held up signs for her. After the show she said, “This was my first show and was a lot of fun, especially because of my cheering squad.” Steve Carter played songs like “Car Crash” about his love dying in a highway accident and “Heart Defeats the Home,” about dating a married woman. During his set, he thanked the small group that gathered often saying, “It is a good day to be at Ramapo and this is a great cause.” After a few minutes of instrumental music performed by bassist Cameron Brown, drummer Kim Plainfield and piano player Adam Klipple, Thos Shipley made his entrance. Shipley is a famous jazz singer who has photo by Megan Mulharin lived with HIV for 30 years. Last year, he Freshman Ashley Wood was one of two students who performed as openwas one of the keynote speakers at Ramapo ing acts for the award winning Thos Shipley. on World AIDS Day and he has also participated in “Braking the Cycle” multiple You Look Tonight” and Billy Joel’s “New safe. This is for them.” York State of Mind.” He was afraid that There were two other events planned for times. since he was “in ‘New Joisey,’ playing this World AIDS Day including a play, “A Boy, “People talk about this disease like it is song would be sacrilege.” His covers, A Girl, A Virus,” about a married couple someone else’s problem, but it’s everyone’s including that one, received a good amount who has to deal with one member being problem. Each and every one of us is one of of applause from the audience. HIV positive. those people. People need to get their heads Wood later said, “even though jazz isn’t my For more information about “Braking the out of the sand and talk about this problem favorite type of music, I enjoyed many of Cycle” or about the LGBT Community until it is solved,” said Shipley. the covers. Plus, they looked like they were Center, go to brakingthecycle.com or gayShipley mostly sang (and scatted) very having so much fun up on stage.” In keepcenter.org, respectively. unique jazz renditions of popular songs including the Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me ing with the season, Shipley sang “I’ll be Love,” “My Favorite Things” from the Home for Christmas” which he thought was Sound of Music, Frank Sinatra’s “The Way “appropriate because of all the service men and women overseas keeping our country
Clooney’s Mr. Fox Never Ceases to be Fantastic By JON LINDENAUER Staff Writer
There have only been a handful of American stop-motion animated films released in the past decade. In comparison, there have been approximately 100 computer animated films release in the same time frame. Despite the many technical advantages and improvements computer animation has over its less digitally inclined counterpart, one major advantage stop-motion films have had to their credit has been quality. In a long line of masterfully crafted animated features, the latest entry, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” director Wes Anderson’s loose envisioning of the Ronald Dahl book of the same name is superb. The central focus of Dahl’s story and Anderson’s recreation is essentially the same. The plot revolves around a fox who outsmarts powerful local farmers to steal chickens and cider amongst other things. A primary theme in Anderson’s film - not present in the Dahl original - is the notion of a person (or fox in this case) trying to give up his or her passion in favor of being a respon-
sible adult. While the theme is often employed in coming-of-age films with teenagers or young adults wrestling with the liabilities of maturity, “Mr. Fox” is far more engaging and action oriented than it may seem and is hilarious but with a clear heartfelt intent, as is often the case with Anderson’s films. For those who are fans of director Wes Anderson’s live-action filmmaking, his first animated feature is sure to maintain that admiration. With a tale full of peculiar side characters, villains given a quirky montage expounding upon their backgrounds and increment use of the book’s chapter titles, Anderson’s newest work is certainly not lacking in his signature style. Adding extra credence to the stop-motion imagery is veteran Henry Selick, who worked on the previous Dahl adaptation “James and the Giant Peach” as well as “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” George Clooney, inhabits the role of Mr. Fox well, despite relatively little experience in the field of animation vocal work. Clooney – whose demeanor is a perfect fit for the darkly comedic roles he often gravi-
tates toward – plays the role with an appropriate blend of sophistication, confidence, charisma and an animalistic attitude that brings an extra dimension to the character. Another notable individual lending their voice is Anderson regular Jason Schwartzman, who plays Mr. Fox’s misfit son with spectacular deadpan delivery. As for the film’s flaws, as is typical with Wes Anderson, one can expect an abundance of dry humor, which is obviously a matter of preference but may turn off a great deal of those who are fans of more traditional animation. “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” – by its very nature – is not a traditional animated film. The movie’s visuals, its story, its characters and the sensibilities of its director distinguish it from the plethora of other entries into the animated medium. “Mr. Fox” is deeply humorous, thrilling, sincere and worthy of many other positive descriptors. Thus, in an animation niche that provides precious few entries per year and even per decade, “Mr. Fox” does not fail a fantastic legacy.
OVERALL RATING: 9 OUT OF 10
Viggo Mortenson Follows the Road to Greatness Page 9 The Ramapo News
By MORGAN BALOG Staff Writer
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Having read the book, “The Road” and managing to have fallen in love with it, I can say that I was honestly a bit skeptical on how well the movie would be done when I heard that it was being made. That is an honest and unexpected reaction for a book that happened to win Cormac McCarthy the Pulitzer Prize in 2007. But do not fear! John Hillcoat’s directing and Viggo Mortensen’s performance hold some serious ground. The story follows the journey of a father and son in a post apocalyptic wasteland, or Earth. The explanation for the devastation is not given, but that is not the main focus. The focus of the story is the journey of this father and son; and it is quite a horrific one at that. The barren wasteland is filled with gruesome and macabre portraits of humanity. While this father and son (who remain unnamed throughout the novel), scavenge for food and shelter on their quest to the coast and warmer weather, they are constantly dodging the now savage remains of civilized people. It is a story of the love that a father and son can share, and a man searching for beauty and love in a world with literally none of that. In essence, this story is the complete opposite of Cormac McCarthy’s other famous work, maybe you know it: “No Country for Old Men.”
I was skeptic and a bit nervous going into this film. It was a limited release and it was directed by a smaller and less notorious director, John Hillcoat. That certainly does not mean that it could not deliver. While I may enjoy a variety of actors and actresses, there is one actor that I think I can honestly say that everyone loves. Viggo Mortensen has had his fair share of roles. From playing the heroic Aragorn to a “bad-ass” Russian Mafioso, it is clear that Mortensen knows what he is doing. And unsurprisingly, Mortensen failed to disappoint. His loving and protective nature seemed to be so natural in this film and everything he does on the camera is truly stunning. At no time whatsoever during the film, did I have a single problem with any of the performances. I enjoyed the back and forth banter between the father and son, the simple discussions that held great meaning. I really enjoyed the small cameos made by the larger actors in the movie (Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce). These appearances really brought the book to life for me. The scenery is exactly how it was supposed to be in the novel; everything is grey and dead or dying. This may sound minor but I found this to be an important part of the novel; there needed to be more dead people lying around! On almost every page the father and son are seeing corpses and half eaten bodies everywhere.
What are you Eating?
By KELLY CRAIG Staff Writer
“Food, Inc.” is a documentary by Award-winning director R obert Kenner discussing the disaster we call our food industry in America. It takes an in-depth look at the government’s regulatory agencies, the USDA and FDA, and the discrepancies that they try to keep out of the public eye. Kenner takes the viewer on a journey to see how the power of our nation’s food supply has been ripped from the American farmers and given
to corporations who risk the safety of workers, our environment and our health all in one fell swoop. The movie expands on the negative consequences created through this change of power. New strains of E. coli have developed because people want to produce “bigger-breasted c h i c k e n . ” Since chemicals have become a part of the production of foods, the national obesity rate has skyrocketed and there has been an epidemic of diabetes. To counteract this movement, “Food, Inc.” offers “10 simple things you can do to change our food system.” They urge the public to search for organic, locally grown foods and to educate others on ways to eat healthy. “Food, Inc. ” works with Hungry For Change to help accomplish the ultimate goal of revolting against our industrialized food and moving towards environmentally conscience consumption of food, by returning the power back to the farmers of America. For more information on how you can get involved visit ht t p: / / www. foodi ncm ovi e. com / get involved. php and attend Ramapo’s viewing of the movie Food, Inc. coming this spring semester.
This element brings the ugliness even further into light. While everything is grey and wet and the sun never shines, the constant barrage of the gruesome fate of mankind brings the real themes into focus. Now you may ask: “Why is Morgan complaining about this stupid little detail?” and the answer sadly is just that I loved this book so much and I expected this to be a major part of the film. Other than this, I would have liked to see more encounters of the savage remaining tribes or “blood cults,” as they are called in the book. These gruesome and often terrifying encounters left me in suspense throughout the entire book. Without them constantly being around in the movie, like they were in the novel, the film lost a sense of urgency and desperation that was a major part of the adventure for the father and son. If you like to read and you enjoy good stories, read the book first. It will help you understand the movie so much more. The novel truly paints a vivid picture of what the writer, Cormac McCarthy, truly wanted to achieve with this award-winning novel. After reading the book, go and see the movie (it’s a very fast and easy read…not a lot of big words to scare you away). It is a good and solemn adaptation of a book. It is not very disappointing and it is almost equally as powerful. While “No Country for Old Men” might be the best film adaptation
of a Cormac McCarthy novel, I will not even come close to saying that “The Road” is a bad one.
OVERALL RATING: 8.5 OUT OF 10
Bob Dylan Succeeds with Holiday Cheer Page 10 The Ramapo News
Thursday, December 3, 2009
By JOHN FRAZE Staff Writer
In “Christmas in the Heart” Bob Dylan’s voice has matured in the way only cigarettes and old age can facilitate. Where normally one would pine for the days of less rasp, there could be no other way for Dylan to sing that would make this listening experience any more perfect. It’s almost as if Santa is singing all of our favorite Christmas songs. Not only does it sound like Santa, but “Christmas in the Heart” also gives you that warm fuzzy feeling because Dylan is donating all his royalties from the album to charities that deal with feeding those who cannot feed themselves. In regards to the charity project, he had this to say: “It’s a tragedy that more than 35 million people in this country alone — 12 million of those children – often go to bed hungry and wake up each morning unsure of where their next meal is coming from. I join the good people of Feeding America in the hope that our efforts can bring some food security to people in need during this holiday season.” This sure is a noble idea that adds a whole other dimension to the Christmas cheer on the new album. “Here Comes Santa Claus,” a popular favorite originally written by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman, is given new life on this album, with all sorts of beautiful instrumentals and of course the man himself, Bob Dylan. As if Dylan himself weren’t enough, a choir of harmonies accompanies him in this and many other songs on the album. With a chorus of young sharp voices, Dylan belts out this jolly classic with warmth and enthusiasm. “Do You Hear What I Hear” is another holiday favorite, but it always seemed to be missing something in its usual format. On “Christmas in the Heart,” the song is taken to the
next level by Dylan; it no longer has that haunting uneasy feeling. It’s been traded for a more upbeat, hopeful tune. “Winter Wonderland” starts off with some soothing harmonies that keep it up in the background, and really shine through in the chorus. The piece is full of rich slide guitar, a nice violin accompaniment and strumming on acoustic guitar to keep the pace. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” really enters into the realm of the ‘love or hate’ relationship many have with Dylan’s vocals. Dylan has definitely made this song his own with his nasally vocals, but still has a rating of ‘love’ from this end. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” slows it down a lot and takes it primarily to the piano. The tune is beautiful and sounds a bit like a Tom Waits tune. “Little Drummer Boy” is a pret-
ty bear bones cover of the original tune, but it’s fun nonetheless. Slide guitar and a nice electric guitar strumming in the background add a lot of flavor to this oldie. “The Christmas Blues” is a sure thing for Dylan. He plays the blues as good as anyone could. This song is very instrumentally rich, with piano, acoustic guitar, upright bass, electric and electric slide guitar; the harmonies are absent in this song and that adds all the more emphasis to Dylan’s interpretation of the song. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is one of the real gems of this album. A classic as always, the reworked version is just magic. Dylan’s arrangement and inclusion of different instruments with new sounds is a real pleasure. “Christmas in the Heart” has a lot more to offer. This is a must listen for any Bob Dylan fan, any Christmas song enthusiast and anyone who enjoy classic rock. Dylan’s reworking of the classic Christmas songs is untouchable. Even if you dislike Dylan, Christmas and classic rock, you could still get your kicks from buying this because of the deal Dylan has set up to send royalties from the album to those in need this holiday season.
OVERALL RATING: 9 OUT OF 10
Harvard’s Debut Album Joins the Ivy League By JENNA MOONJIAN Staff Writer
For most people, Harvard evokes thoughts of the Ivy League, exceptional grades, prestige, incredible intelligence and money. For others, maybe it’s thoughts of Legally Blonde. Perhaps that’s normal that most people correlate Harvard with the prestigious and nearly impossible to get into Ivy League University. That Harvard certainly isn’t the only one though. Although slightly less prestigious, North Carolina quintet, Harvard, has plenty to teach with their debut album, “The Inevitable and I.” Unlike the university that shares the same name, the lessons this Harvard teaches don’t require perfect grades and scores (or just money) and won’t cost a fortune. The first track on “The Inevitable and I” is “On With Disease” and it starts it off with a bang. Just a few guitar riffs and a quick drumbeat take the listener right in and paints a picture of how the rest of the album will be. It starts off upbeat, but migrates to a slower, piano-driven center and then brings it right back again. “French Girls” is perfectly melodic and features elements not typical of an average rock band. This track also shifts between slower and more upbeat tempos. The next track, “Deliverance,” is highly reminiscent of bands Circa Survive and Chiodos – in a positive way. “Memory Police,” “An End Weight” and “Ghost” continue the beautiful vibe of the record. All three tracks are almost flawless and captivating. The different elements of the songs piece together so well and send sparks to the senses. This continues throughout the tracks until the next, “Tenebroso,” an instrumental intermission of sorts. The flawlessness progresses afterwards with “Hand To Hesitate.” While much of modern and mainstream rock focuses more dominantly on the vocals and lyrics, this song
proves it should be otherwise. While the vocals and lyrics are excellent, it takes the time to break it down and gives the instruments that highlight it a chance to shine through as well. The biggest change of all would be on the closing track, and title track, “Inevitable and I.” With poetic lyrics that sound like they came right from “Where The Wild Things Are:” soft and sweet vocals and accompanied by simple and gentle instrumentals unlike the rest of the tracks, this is the final piece of the record and it rounds everything out perfectly. For a debut album, Harvard did an exceedingly impressive in setting the bar high with “Inevitable and I.” To start, the lyrics are catchy and have hooks, just like their popular radio counterparts. They managed to avoid the clichéd storylines used by other “rock” bands. They’re well written and undeniably poetic, but still have a dark and mysterious edge to them. They
aren’t easily revealed and leave some imagination for the listener to determine their meanings for themselves. The vocals are not overbearing in any way and are almost unheard of in the genre. Harvard’s vocals seem to be more typical of a singer-songwriter than of a rock band, where lyrics are more usually screamed or spoken instead of heartfelt singing. What might be the most impressive part of Harvard and “The Inevitable and I” is the music itself. The talent and knowledge the band members have of their instruments is obvious. Unlike some genre brethren, they can actually play more than a few chords and it shows. Each song takes the opportunity to highlight the instruments – putting more focus on the musical aspects in a world preoccupied with vocals. Not only that, but they even seem to incorporate atypical instruments for an average rock band. When all of these elements are pulled together everything seems to work flawlessly. “Inevitable and I” is like an intricate pattern – it all forms from the pieces, with time, and that’s when it becomes beautiful. This is an album that doesn’t fit into the “rock” genre so many bands and artists are tossed into. Instead, it transcends genres – everything from pop to hardcore and everything in between.
OVERALL RATING: 9 OUT OF 10
Old Dogs Receives Mixed Reactions Despite New Tricks Page 11 The Ramapo News
By KERI ANN FLACCOMIO Staff Writer
The latest comedy starring Robin Williams and John Travolta pleases young viewers and their parents, while leaving others wondering if the celebrated actors have become a couple of “old dogs.” Directed by Walt Becker (“Wild Hogs”), “Old Dogs” focuses on characters Dan and Charlie—lifelong friends and partners in sports marketing. At the beginning of the film, the pair is working to close the careermaking deal they have been waiting for over the past 30 years. Williams plays Dan, a sad middle-aged man who is “allergic to anything under 4 feet tall,” and still haunted by events that occurred seven years earlier in his life. Travolta takes on the role of Charlie, the uplifting friend and business partner who
Thursday, December 3, 2009
saves Dan from his despair time and again. It is through Charlie’s efforts to win over potential clients with “funny” stories about his partner that the audience learns what happened in Dan’s past. Everything goes haywire when his ex-wife Vicki comes back into the picture and asks Dan if they can meet over lunch. Vicki tells Dan that she has fraternal twins, that he’s the father…oh, and that she needs him to baby-sit for two weeks while she goes to jail for being a political activist. Quite the lunch to swallow. From here the story quickly becomes a tale of two guys who have no experience in child-rearing. While some of the mistakes made by Dan and “Uncle Charlie” make for a few good laughs, others are a little beyond the point of common sense, as when Dan shakes his daughter’s hand after tucking her in for the night.
Although Ella Bleu Travolta (as Emily) shines on the big screen alongside her dad, she and Connor Rayburn (as Zach) get less time on camera than their clueless caretakers. But, to be fair, the film is more about Dan’s and Charlie’s capability to relate to the children rather than about the children themselves. Fortunately, the film drops gold coins throughout its 88-minute runtime by coloring a cliché situation with a few new jokes. Instead of cutting holes in dad’s shirt or messing with his hair dye, the kids make more practical mistakes like mixing up Dan’s and Charlie’s medication. Seth Green’s character, Ralph, seems to have little purpose in the film—except to complicate the big business deal…and fall victim to forced cuddling with a gorilla. Appearances by Lori Loughlin, Rita Wilson, Matt Dillon, Amy Sedaris, Justin Long and the late Bernie Mac earn the film a few brownie points. Unsurprisingly, “Old Dogs” concludes with the all the loose ends tied up—Dan becomes the superhero dad his kids want him to be, Charlie ends up with a wife and kid of his own, and the partners in sports marketing miraculously close their deal despite the mishaps. And it all happens with sentimental music playing in the background. But hey, when does a Disney movie not have a happy ending and the perfect music to accompany it? Despite the excessive poop jokes, a bad spray tan and the repeated mistaking of the men for senior citizens, Williams and Travolta pull off their acts. “Old Dogs” is a good film if you’re looking to spend time with the family during the
Dark Runner by Ryan Mallory
holiday season—there are just enough jokes for the kids and the rest, while it may go over their heads, is enough to keep the remainder of the family at least pleasantly engaged. One thing is for certain: While some think Williams and Travolta are “old dogs” who have reached their peaks, it would be foolish to assume that the two—both recovering from hardships—have no new tricks left up their sleeves.
OVERALL RATING: 6 OUT OF 10
Page 12 The Ramapo News
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Menʼs Basketball Jumps Out to Undefeated Start
By ANDREW GOULD Staff Writer
As New Jersey’s professional basketball team is still searching for its first win 18 games into the season, the Ramapo Roadrunners men’s basketball team has a zero on the other side of their record. Ramapo has soared to a fast start, winning their first four games of the season. Ramapo began the season with a 95-83 victory at The City College of New York. The team’s offensive attack was led by senior Isaiah Lynch and freshman Travis Conyers, each scoring 16 points for the Roadrunners.
“To be honest, I don’t care how we win them, as long as we win.” -Chuck McBreen, coach
After the opener, the rest of Ramapo’s victories were obtained in low scoring defensive battles. In the first home game of the season, Ramapo defeated Yeshiva University 74-63, outrebounding Yeshiva 40-27 and picking up 19 points from the free throw line. The following day, Ramapo topped Wentworth Institute of Technology in a 75-53 victory, outscoring WIT by 20 points in the second half. Sophomore LaQuan Peterkin led the way with 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Peterkin was just as impressive against York College, manufacturing 16 points and 12 rebounds to pave the way to a 62-54 victory. Coach Chuck McBreen, coming into his 12th season leading the men’s basketball squad, does not seem to be concerned with the score of the game as long as it ends in a vic-
tory. While Ramapo has been involved in low scoring affairs, they have outscored their opponents by a margin of 13.3 points per game. Ramapo has soared to a promising start despite a roster loaded with underclassmen. With a starting lineup featuring four sophomores and a bench led by freshmen, McBreen stressed consistency, stating that most of his young players have been anything but that so far. “With freshmen, you get the up-and-down roller coaster rides,” McBreen said. “We’re trying to find an identity since we’re so young and lack leadership.” McBreen knows that despite the positive start, there is still a long season ahead. In addition to becoming more consistent and cohesive, the team still has room for improvement on offense. “We need to shoot the ball better from the floor and the free throw line,” McBreen said. Ramapo shoots free throws at a 62.6 percentage, with its opponents collectively shooting at 69 percent. While their 49.4 field goal percentage is high, they have yet to find their rhythm while shooting three pointers, landing only 15 long distance shots during the season. Although it is hard to be displeased with an undefeated start, McBreen feels the team has merely done “enough” in each of their games to beat their respective opponent, but they will have to step up against tougher competition. McBreen said that he will have “a better indication on where the program is heading” after the team’s next four games. The Roadrunners will face two conference rivals, William Patterson and Montclair State, which will show where they stand in their conference. They will also travel to Salisbury, Md., to participate in a two-game tournament.
Womenʼs Basketball Fueled by Energy, Experience By NATASHA ARENA Staff Writer
The Ramapo College women’s basketball has improved their record to 3-1. The Manhattanville women’s basketball team almost had a comeback but came up short, as they lost to the Roadrunners, 67-63. Though the Valiants led 28-22 at halftime, the Roadrunners came out in the second half and took the lead at 34-30. It was a back and forth game where the Valiants ultimately came up short. “We have been covering a lot of ground and are playing like a different team. From a coaching perspective we tend to improve every day,” said head coach Mike Eineker. Sophomore forward Lindsey Gripenburg, who scored 17 points including 7-8 from the free throw line in the win over Manhattanville, said, “We played a great second half. I think at one point we were down by 15, and were able to come back and win by four. Still, we need to really work on boxing out and communication.” Gripenburg is happy with the results thus far, but notes that there is always room for improvement. She recog-
nizes in order to win games together the team also has to take better shot selections, work on helping out defensively and take care of the basketball. “Already we have improved since the first game, so it will be interesting to see just how far we are able to go this season,” she added. The Roadrunners are inching closer to their main goal in making the NJAC tournament. “To accomplish this we need to continue to work hard and compete with and beat the tough teams in our conference such as William Paterson and Montclair State,” said Gripenburg. With a mix of veteran athletes bringing knowledge of the game and knowing what is expected of them through the coaches, things have been meshing well for the team. “We [the upperclassmen] know how our Coach wants us to play,” Gripenburg said. “We also know how our opponents want to play us. The rookies, though, bring their athleticism. Meghan Reilly, Faith Flannery and Alexa Ryan are three very talented players, and the better they play, the better they make everyone else want to play too.” Eineker appreciates the recruiting
class. “Usually for rookies, there is a huge gap between college and high school ball,” he said. “But the freshmen came in with great quality play and have contributed a lot to the team. Our returning players have done a great job leading our team, especially captain Brittany Hoffman.” Gripenburg notes a distinct difference from last year’s squad to this year’s, particularly in terms of how they stack up against other teams. “Last year when we played CSI and Manhattanville, we lost both games by 20 points,” she said. “This year, we were able to beat them both instead. Instead of going up against tough teams and thinking that we can't compete with them they are too good, we are going out and trying as hard as possible to win.” Eineker also noted that difference in his team this year. “Our outlook if good and we have gotten off to a pretty good start. We still want to continue to improve in conference play. I am anxious to see how we do against William Patterson.”
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Ramapoʼs Swim Teams Tread Wintry Water
By JEREMY KELLY Staff Writer
Some may find it ironic that the time of the year in which people who live in suburban New Jersey wouldn’t consider stepping into a swimming pool is when the Ramapo men and women’s swimming teams begin their seasons. As autumn and winter approach, the players from each Roadrunners squad meet to compete in the pool. Both teams are guided by second-year head coach Gary Orr. Last season marked Ramapo’s first season of varsity competition. Currently, the women’s team, picked before the season to finish fifth in a NJAC poll, has a record of 1-3, while the men are 2-2. The sole day that both teams shared a measure of success came against Drew University on Nov. 7, when each team dominated their opponents with winning scores of 146-26 for the women, and 16932 for the men. Neither roster features a senior. However, the young talent that they do have is sure to lead to a promising future. The men’s team has an impressive player in sophomore Stephen Fox. In a meet against Rowan University on Nov. 21, Fox took first place in the men’s 100 yard backstroke, 200 yard backstroke and 200 yard individual medley. Fox was also instrumental in the Roadrunners’ victory in the 200 yard medley relay at a time of 1:39.50. On the day overall, the Ramapo men’s team scored some impressive numbers. The Roadrunners scored well in breaststroke events and also won the final event of the afternoon: the men’s 400 yard freestyle relay. Led by the efforts of freshman Geoff Richter, sophomore Mike Waterhouse, sophomore Peter Pulgar and freshman Frank Patierno, they took first place with a time of 3:18.78. However, the men’s team was defeated by Rowan. For the women, freshman Brenda Slazyk won first place in the women’s 100 yard backstroke. She also took second place for the women’s 50 yard freestyle and 100 yard freestyle. The day for the women’s team featured impressive relay and freestyle performances. Out of the 14 women’s events on the day, nine featured Ramapo players that took up two of the top three positions for each event. However, the Lady Roadrunners fell to Rowan by the score of 155-93. Both squads are currently on a short break from competitive action, but they’ll both be ready to go for their next meets on Dec. 12 against the College of Staten Island at 2 p.m. They’ll then take a longer break before returning in the spring semester, where the climate will still be cold, but the intensity will surely be heating up.
Page 14 The Ramapo News
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Rough Year for New York Fans Peyton is the ‘Man’ For MVP
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By JAKE EDINGER Staff Writer
This NFL season has proved unfortunate to New York as it seems that the Giants and Jets will be joining their fans in watching the NFL postseason. After starting the season 5-0, the Giants lost five of their next six games, making their record 6-5. Throughout the year, the Giants have hit many speed bumps and realized they are vulnerable to slumps, just like the rest of the NFL. The Giants now sit in third place in the NFC East. Eli Manning, usually consistent, has thrown passes carelessly and his lack of protection has caused him to be rushed in the pocket. Manning has 2,684 yards (12th in the NFL) and has 18 touchdown passes to go along with 10 interceptions. Brandon Jacobs has only scored three touchdowns this season after scoring 15 a year ago. The defensive line has also seen its troubles; Osi Umenyiora leads the team with only five sacks. A lone bright spot for the Giants has been their group of wide receivers, which many believed wouldn’t be nearly as good without Plaxico Burress. Steve Smith leads the team with 72 receptions, 869 yards and five touchdowns. He is fourth in receptions, sixth in yards and tied for fifth in touchdowns among receivers. The Giants will have to win out in order to have a shot at the NFC East title or even the Wild Card. I predict the Giants to finish the season 8-8 as they are beat by the Cowboys, Eagles and Vikings.
The Jets have a 5-6 record and rank third in the AFC East. Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez has shown much promise, but has thrown for only 1,945 yards, which is 23rd in the NFL, and has a mere ten touchdowns along with 17 interceptions. Thomas Jones has been effective, rushing for 959 yards and scoring nine touchdowns. He has shown once again why he should be considered one of the elite running backs in the NFL. Rex Ryan took the Jets coaching job in part to help a depleted defense. He has greatly improved the defense by turning the Jets into a blitzing team. This shows by the play of linebacker David Harris, who has 94 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Darrelle Revis, who has four interceptions, has come into his own as the NFL’s best shutdown cornerback, having dominated both Andre Johnson and Randy Moss. The Jets can only hope to make the Wild Card if they win all of the remaining games on their schedule, but I predict them to finish 8-8, losing to the Colts and Bengals. Donovan McNabb has played strong and so has the Eagles’ offensive line. DeSean Jackson has become an elite NFL wide receiver, as his 769 yards is good for 16th among wideouts and his six touchdowns tie him for fourth among wide receivers. Defensively, the Eagles are playing great. Defensive end Trent Cole has 9.5 sacks and corner Asante Samuel has seven picks. The Eagles are currently second in the NFC East with a 7-4 record. I predict the Eagles will finish 10-6 and will beat out the Cowboys for the division crown.
By JOEY LEWANDOWSKI Staff Writer
Even though the NFL season has another five weeks to go, it’s the last issue of the Ramapo News. What better time to name my MVP than now? There are currently three frontrunners for the award: Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. These three quarterbacks lead teams with a combined 32-1 record and have made each offense a juggernaut. Brees leads the NFL with 27 touchdown passes and ranks fifth with 3117 yards. Brees most recently showed his firepower in Monday night’s 38-17 blowout win over the Patriots, as he threw for five scores and 371 yards and only saw five of his 23 passes fall incomplete. Brees’ numbers are gaudy, to say the very least. However, because of the tremendous talent surrounding him (on both sides of the ball), his accomplishments are less impressive in my eyes. Favre, on the other hand, went into Minnesota to find a motley crew of receivers. Bernard Berrian had only one good season heading into this year, and yet he was arguably the best receiver the team had. Favre had Adrian Peterson, though, and a formidable defense, so he wasn’t needed to win games with his arm. However, that’s exactly what’s happened. Favre’s 24 touchdowns tie him for second in the league, and to think he has a leaguelow three interceptions is just absurd. He turned Sidney Rice into a constant threat and has made rookie Percy Harvin one of
the most exciting receivers to watch. With all Favre has done, however, the Vikings’ defense and running game has been nearly as good. Without Favre, the Vikings would be nowhere near where they are now. But don’t forget that they made the playoffs last season without No. 4, so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to think that they could have done it again this season. That leaves No. 18 alone at the top. Peyton Manning, one of only two players to ever win three MVP awards (along with Favre) is, in my eyes, the frontrunner for this year’s Most Valuable Player. I think it can be argued that Manning could and should win the award every year. Year in and year out, the Colts find themselves in the playoffs (often with a first round bye), despite changes to their roster. This year, Manning lost his favorite target of the past decade (Marvin Harrison), and his team’s running game has been virtually nonexistent. Unlike teams who play the Vikings or Saints, the Colts’ opponents know that Indy wins games pretty exclusively through the air. Despite this obvious gameplanning advantage, Manning has led his Colts to an 11-0 record. Every time I watch a Colts game, there’s a moment where I realize, “There’s no way Peyton’s going to lose this game.” That’s not a statement that usually applies to the extremely team-oriented nature of the NFL. That’s a statement I find myself making about players in the NBA or MLB. That’s a statement I find defines an MVP.
NFL WEEK 13 STAFF PICKS
Week 13 Matchups
DAL @ NYG
NYJ @ BUF
Overall (47-33) Last Issue (7-1)
Overall (45-35) Last Issue (7-1)
Overall (40-40) Last Issue (5-3)
Overall (43-37) Last Issue (7-1)
Overall (44-36) Last Issue (7-1)
Overall (44-36) Last Issue (8-0)
PHI @ ATL
TEN @ IND
HOU @ JAX
SF @ SEA
BAL @ GB
MIN @ ARI
Eye On the Tiger: Woods Controversy Draws Public Attention
Page 15 The Ramapo News
By ANDREW GOULD Staff Writer
The one star athlete we thought we could depend on finally has a black mark on his record. The latest media frenzy has swarmed around Tiger Woods, who hit a fire hydrant with his SUV outside his home last Friday morning. Woods was left with some bruises, and the back window of his car was shattered. According to Woods, his wife used a golf club to break a car window to get him out of the vehicle. Woods has been cited for careless driving, but does not face any criminal charges. If anything, he faces a $164 fine (which is nothing for him) and four points against his driver’s license. Sounds simple enough, but it is never that simple with a famous person involved. No celebrity can take a breath these days without being scrutinized by the media. Rather than leaving this issue to police and Woods’ family, everyone is taking their guess at what happened. The main speculation going around is that Woods was trying to get away from his wife, who was angry upon finding out that he was having an affair. Rumors of an affair with Rachel Uchitel, a manager of a nightclub in New York City, were previously reported in last week’s National Enquirer (which can
Thursday, December 3, 2009
hardly be considered to be a credible source). Evidence continued to pie up against Woods
when US Weekly claimed that Woods also had an affair with Jaimee Grubbs, a Los Angeles cocktail waitress. A voicemail was also released with Woods nervously asking Grubbs to change her outgoing message since he expects his wife to call her phone in the
near future. Woods posted a formal statement on his web
photo courtesy of Keith Allison
site, apologizing for his “transgressions.” He also criticized the media for invading his private life, saying the situation will be handled “behind closed doors with [his] family.” With questions floating around regarding the incident, a public relations disaster has been
created for Woods, who has always been the golden boy athlete. Not only has he dominated golf over the years, but he makes more money in endorsements than any other athlete, all while being a quiet family man. Woods’ impeccable reputation is in severe jeopardy. The consensus seems to be that Woods should come forward with the full truth. While it would have initially been better for Woods to remain silent, the released voicemail made it virtually impossible for him to do so. Although he never said on his Web site that he has had an affair, he basically admitted to it. Now he risks losing his universal popularity and could become the A-Rod of golf. The fact that he was rushing out after 2 a.m. seems suspicious, and the timing of the accident right after the tabloid reports seems a bit more than coincidental. If Tiger Woods can’t be viewed as a role model, what athlete can? With no legal ramifications left, Woods should have no obligation to disclose his private life to the public. The only person Woods has to answer to is his wife. He has every right to his privacy, but he has no chance of getting it. A celebrity who makes millions by staying in the spotlight will not be able to escape when something goes wrong. The sporting community needs Tiger Woods, which makes it painful to see that we lost him to the tabloids.
Cutting Down the ʻNetsʼ: New Jersey Off to Worst Start Ever By DAVE RAGAZZO Staff Writer
When we think of NBA records, we think of players like Wilt Chamberlain, who was the only player to score 100 points in one game, or the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who posted a league record 72 wins in a single season. Records are normally associated with winning, but not all records are good. Just ask the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets. The Nets suffered their 18th straight loss of the season on Wednesday when they lost to the Dallas Mavericks, 117101. The loss dropped the Nets to 0-18, which set a record for the worst start in league history. The 1988-89 Heat and the 1999-2000 Clippers both started out 0-17 before finally winning a game. Before Sunday’s game against the Lakers, the Nets fired coach Lawrence Frank, who was the longest tenured coach in the Eastern Conference coming into the season. He joined the Nets in the 2003-04 season as an interim head coach and brought the Nets to the playoffs four straight years from 2004-2007. During the last two years, though, the Nets have not made the playoffs and Frank’s record over that time was a subpar 68-96. After the 0-16 start, Brett Ratner and company decided it was time to move on and named Tom Barrise interim head coach before Sunday’s game. Tuesday it was announced that general manager Kiki Vandeweghe would take over for the rest of the season.
The firing of Frank although seems right also seems unfair at the same time. It seems that with the team that he was handed, even coaching greats such as Phil Jackson or Pat Riley would have a
the Nets and their fans are still unsure of their team’s future home. Because of this, Ratner also decided it was time to cut payroll, and get younger. Two seasons ago, he traded star and fan
photo courtesy of Keith Allison
Chris Douglas-Robertsʼ (17, on the ground) pose adequately reflects the state of the New Jersey Nets 2009-10 team.
tough time getting wins. It has been an obvious rebuilding year for the team, and Frank was not dealt an ideal hand coming into this season. When Ratner, a real estate developer, bought the team from YankeesNets in 2004, his main priority has been to relocate the team to the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. However, legal issues have stalled the move and
favorite Jason Kidd to the Dallas Mavericks. This off season, All-Star Vince Carter was traded to the Orlando Magic in a deal that also shipped out Ryan Anderson, who was averaging 11.3 points per game entering their game Wednesday against the Knicks. In return, the Nets got two back-up players in Rafer Alston and Tony Battie, as well as guard Courtney Lee (who has missed
half the season due to injury). On top of all this, the ownership is currently up in the air. In September, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov agreed to a deal that would make him principal owner of the team and key investor to the team’s move to Brooklyn. The deal is still waiting for Ratner to get financing and control of the land needed to build a new arena. The deal also needs to be approved by the NBA by the end of the year, or else the entire deal will fall through. Even if the team was having early success, it would be hard for the team to build or maintain a fan base with all the questions surrounding them. But all is not bad in New Jersey, as the team does have a few bright young stars that will get valuable playing time this year. Second year players Brook Lopez and Chris Douglas-Roberts have showed flashes of greatness and may be building blocks for the team’s future. Also, point guard Devin Harris, who was the key component in the Kidd trade, has the ability to be an elite point guard in the league. Building around these three players may be what the team has to do to compete in the near future, as they will have about $25 million for the LeBron James sweepstakes this summer. The Nets look to end their skid and pick up their first win as they take on the Bobcats on Friday. If they are unable to beat Charlotte, they will travel to New York to try to take down the currently 415 Knicks.
RAMAPO IN REVIEW
SCENES FROM ACROSS CAMPUS: FALL 2009