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Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt

Issue No. 39 | University College Roosevelt’s Student Newspaper | April 2013





Also inside:


InterUC Tournament Some Reflections On The InterUC Tournament “Perhaps it would be better if the InterUC focusses on what unites us. Not on what makes us different” Could the InterUC tournament serve the purpose of uniting the UC’s?

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Master’s Application Process

And Then It’s 5AM Prague

Another Rape Culture

“Besides, the university you are applying to needs to know the amount of A’s you got in kindergarten, and an officially signed and dated copy of the birth certificate of your grandmother”.

“The day itself was a head trip of its own. Then came the night”.

“The single worst part of the Steubenville case is that it is absolutely ordinary in every respect”.

Find out more about the frivolities and pitfalls of applying to master pro-

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Having taken heads hostage for a week, Prague seems to have joined the ranks of CultureCo’s finest trips.

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How is the Steubenville case exemplary of the interplay between rape and jock culture?

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Editorial & UCR



Daily Board Chair Matthias Maltha Secretary Sabina Weistra Treasurer Charlotte Berends Design Manager Matthijs Geuze

Section Editors Editor in Chief Matthias Maltha Arts & Culture Sabina Weistra Campus Life Mara Braslava Tara Eley Current Affairs Trevor Maloney Entertainment Jochem Gerritsen Opinionated Peter Williamson UCR Sven Kooiman Science Dorothée Grevers Sports Charlotte Berends Middelburg Charlotte Berends

Writers & Contributors Jochem Gerritsen Lisanne Cheizoo Christel Hengeveld Caspar Wieten Lonneke de Klerk Eva Jousset Dorothée Grevers Yemisi Verlinde Bungel van Gilse Bernt Vagant Joanna Hornik Julia Airey Inge Zwart Douwe van den Berg Lisa Rückwardt

Designers Design Manager Matthijs Geuze Designers Sven Kooiman Trevor Maloney Tom-Martijn Seinen Mara Braslava

Contact Info University College Roosevelt Lange Noordstraat 1 4331 CB Middelburg

Disclaimer: Tabula RASA is edited, written, and published entirely by UCR students. It may not reflect or express the official views and opinions of UCR. Any and all mistakes are the responsibility of the Editors. Complaints, comments, and other issues should be e-mailed to the Editorial Team at, including your full name and link to the university college (ex: student, instructor, etc.). All reasonable e-mails will be dealt with and, so far as space allows, printed.


By Matthias Maltha Chair/Editor in Chief

Dear reader, The semester is coming to its end. Everybody is feeling the heat; so little time, so much to do. Before you decide to throw yourself into the nearest manhole, we would like to remind you there is a time for selfchastizing, but more importantly there is alway time to give yourself some peace of mind by reflecting on the world. Even if your GPA tells you not to. If you ever wondered why there are so many German tourists in Middelburg, how Timberlake will reclaim its rightful ‘Justinthrone’, how polyphasic sleep might rack up your potential in your life time, why Prague might be considered a head snatcher, how health and bureaucracy do not rhyme well together, and why the alcohol levels in third year’s blood veins seem to have risen, you might want to take a look at this Tabula RASA issue. Deadlines are lame. Sitting in your room while the sun is out is lame. We’re not. Go outside. Take this TR with you. And do some reflecting. Cheers, Matthias Maltha, editor-inchief

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Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt


recap of the interUC

tournament in Amsterdam By Lisanne Cheizoo Tabula RASA

It is six in the morning on a Saturday. I am standing in front of Eleanor, and wondering why exactly I signed up to do this. Roughly fifty fellow-UCR-students are standing beside me, all looking just as sleepy and disoriented as I do. As the bus opens it doors, we all pick up our bags, are ready to go to Amsterdam, which was this years’ location of the InterUC tournament. As a second semester student, going to the InterUC tournament was a completely new experience for me. First and foremost because it made me realize that there are other UCs apart from UCR. Of course this is common knowledge, but actually visiting the campus of an other UC is like bursting the UCR bubble. Seeing AUC’s campus made a big impression on me, but at the same time made me realize once again how happy I am to be studying in Middelburg. The AUC campus is located in the Amsterdam Science Park and although it is spacious and very modern, I missed the sense of authenticity and prestige, which is something we do have in Middelburg. After a morning full of sports activities, I soon realized that an InterUC is something different than I had expected it to be. The main reason I joined the InterUC team was because I

wanted to meet new people, to talk to other UC students. A nice thought, but in reality a nearly impossible goal. It is not that people from other UCs refuse to talk to you, but most of the UCs are too busy cheering on their own teams and therefor stick together. It basically comes down to this: going to an InterUC does not necessarily improve your relations with other UCs, although it does help you to become closer with your fellow UCR students. Surviving an entire day of sports, chaos and music certainly does make you feel part of the UCR team which was reinforced by the fact,our teams held up UCR’s honor at the sports games, by winning

to know students from other colleges, because we worked so closely together in order to make the scenes work. If we manage to do this in other games as well, the InterUC tournament might just turn into a social event, instead of a tournament. Maybe the main goal of the InterUC tournament should not be about defending the honor of your University College, but about uniting the colleges. Although we live in different parts of the country and study different things, the fact that we all have chosen to study at an University College puts everyone of us more or less on the same page. Perhaps it would be better if the InterUC

Perhaps it would be better if the InterUC focuses on what unites us. hockey and chess. All of this contributed to an amazing feeling of team spirit, but unfortunately not to bonding between the different UCs. In my opinion, this is a shame, because we do not often get the chance to spend so much time with other UCs. Maybe we can find a way to improve the interaction between UCs, by changing the format of the teams. This already happened at improvisation, in which we were forced to work together with other UCs. It is during improvisation that I got

focusses on what unites us. Not on what makes us different. Apart from this, I had an amazing day. Although UCR came in last, I will never forget the amazing feeling when we won “the Battle of the Bands”, nor the general feeling of being part of the InterUC UCR team. Overall, the InterUC-tournament was an amazing event which has great potential to create more unity between the University Colleges in the Netherlands. I am already looking forward to next year!

Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt

UCR, Arts & Culture

The Master’s Application Process

The second stage consists of uttering several profanities, because most likely the master programs you have chosen do not fit your profile. The reasons for this might be because of the fact that you have not done a bachelor’s degree in ‘Transatlantic Public Policy Making‘, you are not a practiced lawyer or you do not have a minimum of ten years of work experience. After having chosen a couple of master’s degrees you are actually eligible for, you are ready for stage three. During this stage, you will write your motivation letter, update your CV with meaningless extracurricular and professional activities (think of ‘recreational canine caretaker’), and wait until the deadline is one week away before asking two teachers you barely know to write you a recommendation letter. After the professors ignore you until you freak out, they consent to write the letters.

that could go wrong during these - often two - days of stress before the application deadline. Firstly, one or all of the teachers whom you asked to write your recommendation letters decide they have ‘something better to do’ than aiding you in building your future. This leaves you with very little time to either spam them to death or find another teacher who will be certainly more reluctant because of the lack of time. A second problem might be the application form. Filling this out will take you a minimum of twenty full hours, which is relatively nothing, considering you have three other application forms you need to hand in the next day. Besides, the university you are applying to needs to know the amount of A’s you got in kindergarten, and an officially signed and dated copy of the birth certificate of your grandmother. Also, the motivation letter you need to upload is not one letter, because your university of interest wants to be ‘unique’ and asks you for a ‘letter of self-evaluation’, a ‘letter of personal development’ and a letter explaining how you found the program to be your deepest desire instead. Nonetheless, with a few hours on the clock, you move on, and you finish those darned applications. Whether you still would want to study at the university you apply to is unclear, but at least it’s done.

After having made all these choices and finished the document, you expect the easy part to start. Unfortunately, this is not true. This is the moment you will get to stage four, which at times is also called the ‘Stage of Suffering’. It is the moment you start with the actual application. There are several things

Until… you arrive at the fifth stage. This part of the process is not in your hands, but the university receiving your application initiates this stage. At the admissions office, certain individuals suddenly decide that they are unsure whether you are actually studying for a bachelor’s degree. Or, they believe


The album (deluxe edition) consists of twelve tracks, of which seven long surpass the seven-minute mark. Despite of this fact, these lengthy songs do not bore you one moment. On the contrary, Timberlake manages to perfectly time these tracks so that they feel finished and nicely composed. There is not a single song in ‘The 20/20 Experience’ that feels rushed. Especially the album’s second

HATE TO SAY I TOLD YOU SO By Jochem Gerritsen Tabula RASA

During last Fall semester, I started to plan my life after UCR. Some consider this late, and others consider this early. In any case, after talking to some of my peers I found out that any self-respecting student finishes his master applications a few days before the deadline passes. Indeed, our time at UCR provided us with the experience to finish papers, applications or presentations just minutes before the deadline. Nevertheless, while applying for a master programme, some events pop up which even the good old 3000-words-in-

of this piece the day after you have read it. The single reason I have chosen to write this article regardless, is that in one year from now, you will find yourself applying to several masters, and thinking…“if only I had read that article in the Tabula Rasa more thoroughly”. With this being out of the way, let’s begin. While writing your master application you will notice that it consists of five very important stages. The first stage can be summed up as finding a proper master. The problem lies in the sheer amount of masters. If your preferred place of studying is “wherever, as long as it is in Europe”, you will find out Europe has quite some more universities (and programs) than you expected.

Whether you still want to study at the university you apply to is unclear, but at least it is done.” one-night-paper cannot prepare you for. I will set these out for you in this article. Before I start off, there is one thing I want to make clear: advice is completely pointless in this matter. As a first or secondyear student, you are likely to do everything last-minute and you will probably forget the content

Another problem is that the difference between a master in ‘International Global Foreign Relations in Transatlantic Public Policy Making’ and a master in ‘Public Management of Bilateral US-EU-Relations in The PostWestphalian era’, is not that big. Of course, you only found out about this after you went over their websites ten times.

has the classic Justin Timberlake vibe to it (polished hiphop beats, smoothly integrated with contemporary pop and R&Binfluences), it is incomparable to ‘Future Sex/LoveSounds’. It is different, but in a good way. And this makes sense. In 2006, Justin Timberlake was in the middle of a stormy re-

By Lisanne Cheizoo Tabula RASA

Cry Me A River. What Goes Around/Comes Around. And SexyBack. Who has not heard of these songs? All of them number one hits, all of them written and sung by Justin Timberlake, often in cooperation with producer Timbaland. Although it has been a while since his last album came out (‘Future Sex/LoveSounds’ was released in 2006), Justin Timberlake has proved once again that you do not need to release an album every year in order to stay in the music business and become a number one selling artist. His latest album, called ‘The 20/20 Experience’ was released in March, 2013, and

However, you still need to make a choice. Months (hours in the case you only have one day until the deadline) of considering and re-considering later, you move on to the second stage.

has been widely acclaimed by music critics all over the world ever since. Many of you will probably remember Justin’s previous album ‘Future Sex/LoveSounds‘. If you expected his latest album to be a continuation of ‘Future Sex/LoveSounds’, I have to disappoint you. ‘The 20/20 Experience’ is different, completely different. Even though it still

...and you will hear how much Justin Timberlake has grown.”

lationship with Cameron Diaz and notoriously known for his many flirts. Nowadays, almost seven years down the road he is married to Jessica Biel and is a respectable name in the music business. This new lifestyle echoes through in his album ‘The 20/20 Experience’.

single ‘Mirrors’ is eight minutes of pure enchantment. Compare this song to ‘Cry Me A River’ and you will hear how much Justin Timberlake has grown. Moreover, the album manages to combine smooth, upbeat hiphop songs (like ‘Pusher Love Girl’, the album’s

that anyone who has not taught you one-on-one for a cumulative of one hundred hours is not worthy of writing your recommendation letter. Or perhaps they ‘accidentally’ shred your application after which you have to send in all documents again, for which the deadline was yesterday. In case you still have motivation, try to sit through all of these hiccups and satisfy all their needs. If you managed to survive up until this point, it means that you are finally done with your application! However, this still does not mean you can stop worrying. Among other things, you have to make a choice between your offers. You will have to find acceptable but overly priced housing. You will have to apply for a study-visa which may or may not take more than six months. And last but not least, you have to decide whether you actually really, really, really want to do this master. When you think about it, is this the master program you really want to do? Obviously, your master’s applications process will not necessarily be this bad. Although they took me several months and a considerable number of emotional outbursts, your experience might be totally different. You might actually enjoy filling in your motivation letter and be able to ask your favorite professors for a recommendation. In any case, despite its futility, I would like to convey a last message to those who decide to completely disregard this entire article and possibly end up writing a similar article for the Tabula RASA around this time next year: I hate to say I told you so.

opening track) perfectly with slower, more artistic songs (like ‘Blue Ocean Floor’), which makes ‘The 20/20 Experience’ a nice, easy listen. Inspired by many music genres, this album has a timeless feel to it and it is this sense of timelessness that is putting it above the mainstream, repetitive hits that top the charts nowadays. Some may say that ‘The 20/20 Experience’ is overrated or too lengthy. However, all I know is that in fifteen years I will still remember this album and will probably not even recall Justin Bieber’s first hit. Lengthy or not, ‘The 20/20 Experience’ is well composed and deserves its spot on top the charts. Time to move over, Bieber. Justin is back!

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Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt


HRISTO, THE ACCORDIONIST You can often hear music in the streets of Middelburg. On Thursday and Saturday, you will be able to find the street organ player playing, while during the week you can hear street musicians from various countries. Among them, there is a particularly skillful accordion player from Bulgaria. For this issue of the Tabula RASA, I asked him about his life and his art, with Krissy Zlatanova as my interpreter.

sician. He studied to become a tailor, but because of the discrimination of the Roma minority, he found it really hard to get a job and so he has never worked in his profession. The social benefits he received were low to the extent there would be days when he did not even have fifty cents for a coffee. When it became possible to move to other countries, he left Bulgaria to see how other people live their lives. Hristo has been in the Netherlands for twelve years now, performing in most of the cities in The Netherlands. He owns a cheap house in Zeeland and plays music in Middelburg and Vlissingen.

Hristo is from the Roma minority in Bulgaria. He was born “in a poor family, in a poor country”. His father taught him how to play accordion and together they often performed at weddings. However, he never intended to become a street mu-

He likes the Netherlands and according to him, it lives up to ‘American standards’. He likes the houses, the roads, and the fact that there is no corruption (or less corruption). He lives in the cheapest place he could find, but it is better than living on the

By Douwe van den Berg & Kristin Zlatanova Writer & Translator

streets. His wife and children are still in Bulgaria. He would love to have them with him and it would make it much better if they could live and eat together, but he does not earn enough money to support them here. He makes around 200-300 euros in two to three months and then sends it home to pay his bills there. In the beginning, he had to go home every three months, but he has been able to stay longer since Bulgaria became part of the European Union. He likes Zeeland as well as the rest of the Netherlands. There is only one thing though here which he has a problem with. He has to pay sixteen euros a day to get permission to perform in the streets. In other Dutch cities, street musicians do not have to pay or pay ten euros a year for their permit, but in Middelburg it is sixteen euros a day. He got fined 180 euros for playing with-

out permit, which he cannot afford to pay. After the interview, he would (like to) have a meeting with the mayor to discuss this. According to him, this rule is just made because they do not want street musicians. During the interview Hristo corrected many prejudices revolving around street musicians. He told us that journalists often write that street musicians earn around fifty to hundred euros a day, but that this is not true. If this was true, he told us, they could come and take his job and he would like to become a journalist instead. It is not the best job, sitting in the streets all day and especially now with the crisis, he earns less, as “the crisis let everyone down”. He can at least make a living as an artist, not as a beggar. People used to play in the streets for thousands of years and he is following that tradition. He is a professional musician and boasts a

repertoire of four hours of solely European music. He also proposed that the municipality asks people who come for a permit to show their skills and if they can actually play give them the permit. In this way, the real musicians can play and the people that only know half a song or cannot even play their instrument have to find other work. Although he clearly sees himself as an artist, he is not planning to be one for the rest of his life. As from the first of January next year, Bulgaria will become part of the Schengen Area, which will make it easier for him to find a job. Being a street musician is enough to make a living, but not really more than that. He has a lot of friends in Zeeland and he is already actively looking for a new job. He told me not to be angry if he can get a job here. He will not be angry with me either when I will find a job in Bulgaria. Lastly, I asked him if he had any wisdom or advice that he could share with the students. He replied that we should study and work hard. Not party, but study. Later, he said, we would see that he is right.


Some people do it for the money, others do it for the fame. Well, I do it for the great contacts and free concerts. Since September last year I have been working at De Spot as a volunteer. De Spot is the concert venue in Middelburg where occasionally a pre-election night, graduation auction or TheatRA performance is held. During these events, the place is usually full of students, while on a normal Friday or Saturday various inhabitants of Middelburg are present. It is possible to work in communication, learn about the sound and lights or stand behind the bar there. Volunteers at the communications department hang up posters and distribute flyers. One of them is also in charge of the social media activities of De Spot. Normally, an employee of De Spot does the sound during a concert, but very often he needs help, especially with the lights. So, volunteers are working on that as well. The guys who are currently in charge of it were not experienced at all in the beginning, but it was possible for them to be trained as a technician at De Spot. Many volunteers work


behind the bar, such as myself. We are expected to work in De Spot twice a month, so it is not very demanding. Also, no previous experience is necessary. The work is quite easy and the relaxed atmosphere makes it a pleasant place to work at. The group of volunteers is diverse. For instance, I have worked with a classmate, a married man, a girl in high school, a science teacher in high school and a pensioner. All of them have great stories to tell and make every evening different from the next. We meet

also makes working in De Spot a great way to get in touch with people in Middelburg outside of UCR. Another great bonus of working in De Spot is the great music. Whilst working behind the bar, it is possible to enjoy the great tunes of local, national or international artists. As a volunteer, you can go for free to the other concerts when you do not have to work. This has allowed me to attend concerts by Moke, Shearwater, Bettie Serveert, Mister and Mississippi and many others, during the past half year.

Some people do it for the money, others do it for the fame. Well, I do it for the great contacts and free concerts.”

monthly to discuss issues or the upcoming events, always ending with a drink at the bar. This helps to get to know the others and maintain a healthy relationship with them. As I mentioned before, not just the volunteers are a diverse group of people; the audience is as well. Luckily, they are always very friendly and up for a conversation. This

So, for those of you who are interested in music and getting to know people from Middelburg, I can highly recommend you to volunteer at De Spot. It is a great opportunity to get out of the bubble sometimes, while drinking or serving a nice beer.

Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt

M’burg & Opinionated


During my psychology class the other day, the teacher needed an example and asked us: “What is the most boring place for a kid to go on holidays?” The answer came without much thinking: “Zeeland!” However, it actually made me wonder whether Zeeland really is that boring. And, if Zeeland has nothing to offer, why are there so many tourists? Each year, when winter is finally over, tourists swarm towards the peninsulas of Zeeland. Especially one language becomes very dominant in the streets of Middelburg: German. After talking to some Dutch students, I learned that these German tourists have become very important for a lot of businesses, mostly cafés, restaurants and hotels, where you will easily find employees with German lan-

guage skills. Some people from Middelburg told me the German tourists can be a bit frustrating sometimes, since they tend to assume that everyone speaks German in the Netherlands. Having a somewhat clear picture of the Middelburg inhabitants’ opinions on German tourists, I was curious to find out more about what the tourists think about Middelburg and Zeeland as their holiday destination. I decided to ask them on the Market Square. Many people were surprised to be addressed in German and they were even more baffled when they found out that there is a university in Middelburg. All of them were very friendly and gladly answered my questions. What I found out was that Zeeland apparently is quite addictive. The typical answer to the question how they got to know about Zeeland was through recommendations. Af-

ter coming here once, a trip had to be planned every year. Many people have holiday houses in this region, and some have had these already for a long time. Most probably a record, one couple told me that they have been taking regular trips to Middelburg for more than forty years. Another man told me he bought a house in Breskens twenty years ago. He loves the architecture and the cobble-

a walk!” Biking was also mentioned a couple of times. “You cannot find so many nice routes anywhere else”, one woman told me enthusiastically. Her husband pointed out that he enjoyed the nature very much, the dunes and the many fields. The father of two children said that everything in Zeeland is very child-friendly. There are many attractions for children while parents can enjoy a relaxing time.

After coming here once, a trip had to be planned every year.”

stones, which “you do not have in Germany anymore like this”. What else makes Zeeland attractive? “The beach of course! My dogs love the wide and long beaches; it is very nice for taking

Besides the region’s attractiveness, statistics (retrieved from show that short trips to the Netherlands are very popular, since it is close by car for people living in Western Ger-

many, whereas destinations like Spain, Italy, Turkey, and Austria are more popular when it comes to longer trips. Everyone I talked to confirmed the same. They came from parts in Germany close to the Dutch border and they stay only for a few days. However, they do like to go somewhere else for holidays as well, in order “to catch some sun”. So, whenever someone will ask you why are there are so many German tourists visiting Middelburg, you will be able to tell them that they simply love the city for its architecture and region for its nature. And it’s close!

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In the Netherlands, the government has established a law (Wtcg) specificially targeted at chronically ill people. Their reason for this, is that “chronically ill people spend a lot of money on extra amenities and facilities for their conditions and this law creates a form of compensation” for this group of people in society. At the end of every year, each patients’ pharmacy and doctors automatically send their records to the government, after which it is decided whether or not you are eligible for compensation. In November and December, you receive an amount that is usually between 300 - 600 euros. Some of the requirement include: daily usage of prescribed medication for your condition, long term hospitalization or institutionalization and long term physiotherapy. Some examples of illnesses that instigated the foundation of this law include scoliosis, cancer, arthritis, whiplash, multiple scleroses, acute asthma, epilepsy, diabetes and many more. Although no amount of money given to a chronically ill patient can cure them, the gesture and idea remain an extremely considerate one.

In November 2012, thousands of people in the Netherlands who normally received this compensation did not receive anything from the government without any warning or official notice. Since the rise of health insurance policies alongside additional medication and costs used by chronically ill patients such as myself, the Wtcg became a very important form of income especially regarding health insurance. Why? For those who do not know this, in the Netherlands, every health insurance company has an “eigen risico” which is a fixed amount of money that people receiving medical care must first pay before receiving full coverage from their insurance company. As you can imagine, if you are rarely in need of medical assistance, you may hardly need to pay this fee whereas if you are in constant need of care, you are obliged to. In my case, within the first three weeks of January, I received a bill from the insurance company stating that I had exhausted my “eigen risico” and need to pay the full amount in order to get full coverage afterwards. Now, that Wtcg compensation which I normally received every November allowed me to easily pay the “eigen risico” fee. Last year this “eigen risico” increased to 350 euros per person. This is a significant increase as it dou-

bled within two years. Reasons for this include the government budget cuts that have been taking place in various sectors including the health sector. The Wtcg compensation is therefore more welcome than it has ever been. I was one of the unlucky few that did not receive any compensation in November. After speaking to one of the helpdesk members of the CAK (the institution responsible for the regulation of these laws), I was advised to fill in the application and send it to their office. After waiting for nine weeks, I received a letter stating that I was no longer eligible because my conditions no longer fit the bill. This was the most outrageous and bizarre form of bureaucratic excuse that had ever been forwarded towards me in, possibly, my whole life. After speaking to a very numb and seemingly automated bureaucratic agent on the telephone, the explanation I got was that “my chronic illnesses were no longer chronic enough?” Of course I hold bias in this case, but does that make sense to you? This goes not only goes against the original reasons for establishing this law, but also against ethics. That response contradicts itself on a whole other level. How is a chronic illness no longer chronic enough? Let me try to explain to you what was explained to

me, since these budget cuts, categories have been made within chronic illnesses such as mild, average/moderate, heavy/severe in order to determine who is eligible for the Wtcg. I have two distinct chronic illnesses that unfortunately reinforce each other which could easily result in death. After hearing about these categories and being told that I fall under the “average” category, I asked him if he was not aware that these two illnesses reinforce each other and have fatal consequences. In response, I was told that the new regulations do not take combinations of illnesses into

an illusion of compassion and understanding of what people like me go through every day in our lives, but the minute budget cuts have to be made, our conditions are treated like food groups. Two other resounding bells in my ears when I think back to that conversation include that I am not “terminal at the moment” and that “maybe next year, new regulations will be implemented”. Instead of creating a law aimed at helping us with all our additional costs and claiming to understand our daily lives and then categorizing our conditions like proteins and carbohydrates, I person-

This was the most outrageous and bizarre form of bureaucratic excuse [...] in, possibly, my whole life.

accounts and that each condition was viewed and categorized independently. At this point, the original appreciation I had for this law was gone as well as all respect I had for the founders of the law. It is not about the amount of money, no matter how useful it may be but about the principles. This law was founded with

ally would be better off if there were no such laws or at least a consistent law as these sorts of actions not only add salt upon injury but have a great impact on self esteem and strength in the daily struggle to keep on living and being as normal as possible. Luckily, political parties have put this issue on their list of topics to debate which still gives us a voice.



Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt

TABULA RASA SEXIST? By Dorothée Grevers Tabula RASA

“Look! Three men on the cover of TR!” *gasp* “Discrimination!” “Male domination!” “Patriarchy is taking over Tabula RASA!” “Are those gavels really gavels or should they actually be interpreted as phallic symbols?” “Where are the women?!” After the release of the previous issue, Tabula RASA received comments saying that Tabula RASA, or rather, the previous issue, was rather sexist and that the front cover articles always seemed to be written by men. Tabula RASA takes accusations like this seriously and within days, the daily board posted the question “Does TR reinforce gender stereotypes?” on their Facebook page and the various Facebook groups for their Editors and Writers. The issue was also brought up in the following editorial meeting. Many of Tabula RASA’s staff members were surprised at the comments because although the previous issue had the HAC, RASA, and AAC Chairs on the cover (who all happen to be men) and the article on the upcoming elections was written by a male student, almost all of the other articles in the issue were written by women. The previews on the cover were also of articles written by female students. Most of Tabula RASA’s active writers are female and over the past years, at least half of the section editors have also been female.

The only discrepancy in the data is that the articles featured as the main article on the cover page do tend to be written by men. However, again, the difference is only small as since September 2010, 9 of the main articles have been written by men and 8 have been written by women. However, as would be expected from the number of articles written by females, 17 of the previews of articles have

the article nevertheless. However, the cover articles, both main and previews, are never selected based on the gender of the writer(s). And this is exactly the way it should be. Without even having wondered whether we had just about as many female writers and male ones featured on the cover, it seems that we have managed to have a fairly good balance. The only difference is in the number of articles written by each gender. Tabula RASA aims for quality and to appeal to students. We hope to represent the views and interests of the student body and therefore the Tabula RASA team allows everyone who wants to get involved to become a part of the team. All students are allowed to write articles and Tabula RASA frequently encourages students to participate by being active on Facebook, pro-

the cover! Want a more equal representation of men in the daily board and are you a guy? Run for a board position in the upcoming elections! You do not really care to join but do think that Tabula RASA is sexist? Send us e-mail, write on our Facebook wall, or approach us in person to tell us why and show us how we are sexist. We love hearing your opinions and feedback. It is discussions like these that help us remain critical of our content and how the newspaper is run. We cannot

fix it if we do not know what is wrong and we cannot do everything on our own without your help. To those who were upset that we thought the elections were significant enough to put the images of all three (male) Chairs on our cover and that therefore we are sexist, we are sorry to say that the for the next elections issue the mistake will be repeated and you will find an equally sexist cover with three women on it.

Look! Three men on the cover of TR!” *gasp* “Discrimination!”

been written by male students and 22 of articles written by females. These numbers indicated that, especially recently, women have been more involved in the newspaper than men so therefore the idea that Tabula RASA is more likely to, consciously or unconsciously, feature articles written by men on the cover in a disproportionate manner simply does not hold.

moting on campus, and always having members around when an issue is released. This semester, a proportionately high number of female students have been writing for Tabula RASA and in general, the daily board has included more women than men. Taking all the above data into account, it is fair to say that it would be unjust to call Tabula RASA sexist towards women. If anything, Tabula RASA is sexist

Chair/Editor in Chief



Agness Sabitova (1 year) Dorothée Grevers (1.5 years) Klaas-Henk Binnendijk (0.5 year) Matthias Maltha (0.5 year)

Leonie van Breeschoten (1 year) Dewi Zloch (1.5 years) Sabina Weistra (1 year)

Pim van den Oetelaar (1 year) Wouter Dijkstra (1.5 years) Charlotte Berends (1 year)

I have been involved in Tabula RASA ever since my first semester at UCR. For three semesters I was Editor in Chief and I have always been a section editor, a regular writer, and occasional designer. Before I became Editor in Chief, another female, Agness Sabitova held the position. Last year, Klaas-Henk Binnendijk was elected Editor in Chief and this semester Matthias Maltha runs the newspaper. That means that out of the last three and a half years, a female has been Chair of Tabula RASA for two and a half years. A similar female majority can be seen for the other daily board positions.


As seen in the table, the malefemale balance is not equal and in all cases, the two thirds of the daily boards have been female. Content-wise, women are also more dominant. Since September 2010, there have been 21 female editors and designers and 20 male editors and designers. Of all the articles written since September 2011, 125 were written by females and 107 were written by males.

When an issue gets designed and the Editor in Chief decides which articles will be featured on the cover and in what order the sections of the newspaper will be, the emphasis is on the general student interest, importance, and relevance of the article(s). The main feature article on the cover is in most cases what the Editor in Chief thinks best meets the criteria mentioned above. For the cover previews, the novelty and allure of the articles is taken into account. Sometimes it will be decided to promote an article that may not necessarily be a reader’s first choice but that will hopefully tempt them to read

towards men as there have been more women than men involved in the newspaper and more content generated by women than by men. (Nevertheless, seeing as there are slightly more women at UCR than men, it is doubtful how statistically significant this is.) However, this is up to the student body to change if they think Tabula RASA is sexist. Still disagree that there are too few women featured in the newspaper or on the cover? Are you a girl? Write an article! Become a section editor and join the editorial board to get more articles written by women on

de Drvkkery Markt 51 | Middelburg

Roosevelt Academy’s official academic bookstore We offer books and all sorts of other material you need for your courses. But also nice food and drinks in our Brasserie. In addition, de Drvkkery is involved in a wide range of academic/ RA events.


Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt


It’s the hype du jour even though it has been around for centuries. Dozens of employees who work at home are doing it. Many who are self-employed are doing it. Da Vinci, Fuller, and Jefferson are all rumoured to have done it. So what would you have been doing when they were becoming an infamous polymath, feverishly writing up the Declaration of Independence, or designing the geodesic dome? Exactly: you would have been sleeping. People often complain that life is short, that you should make the best of it, and that there is never enough time to do everything you want. What if you could reduce the amount you sleep to a mere two hours a day? When asked how much sleep some-

People’s sleep patterns change throughout their lives. Children require more sleep than adults and often take naps in addition to a night’s rest. Adults often find that their energy levels decrease in the course of the afternoon and may take a nap in order to reboot their energy. Some situations, such as being a soldier, working night shifts, or being an astronaut may require multiple naps in order to adapt to the working environment and erratic schedules. UCR students may find that their teachers set them inappropriate and unrealistic amounts of homework and therefore must take numerous naps to cope with the stress but still require more time to do said work (your lack of timemanagement skills and planning are of course not to blame). There are several possible models to adopt. The recommended model of sleep is a monophasic style where one sleeps for an

fifteen-minute naps every three hours. Considering how much time you would have left in your day, this sounds ideal. However, there are several drawbacks to living a polyphasic lifestyle and it has been criticised by numerous people. The are quite a few practical problems that can arise if your environment refuses to comply with your lifestyle. All activities cannot exceed the number of hours between each nap. That means that if you would take a fifteenminute nap every three hours,

Suppose that you sleep the recommended eight hours a day. That means that you will spend one third of your life in some kind of vegetative state, lying unconscious in your bed. So not only are you wasting a colossal amount of time, Napoleon would also render you a fool. (However, Napoleon was also a misogynist who claimed that “Women are nothing but machines for producing children” so his advice might not be entirely sound.) What is the answer to reducing your time sleep that you could spend doing far more interesting things? Polyphasic sleep.

eight hour stretch. Then there is the biphasic where the individual divides, equally or not, the time they sleep into two separate blocks. After biphasic sleep, the total amount slept divides into more and more segments, i.e. the polyphasic sleep style. By taking naps at various times throughout a twenty-four hour period, you decide how much time you spend sleeping each time but in general, the more sleep segmentation and number of naps, the less the number of hours one sleeps. The minimum number of hours that you would require to function and survive is two hours a day. People who practice this tend to fall in one of three categories: those who take four thirty-minute napes every six hours, those who take six twenty-minute naps every four hours, and those who take eight

After going without sleep for several days, symptoms such as hallucinations, disturbed mood, paranoia, and concentration and memory defects occur. The brain’s mechanism to counteract the effects is to induce microsleeps that can last from a

The art of eliminating the enemy of productivity and claiming that one third of your life you waste being comatose.”

you would, for example, have to go to the movie cinema and have dinner within three hours in order to get back home in time for your compulsory nap. Skipping naps is highly discouraged and if a nap has been skipped, it is not allowed to extend the next nap. Taking classes would be difficult as your schedule would have to accommodate your naps.

one needed, Napoleon, who is rumoured to have been able to sleep on command and survive on a mere four hours a day, replied with “Six hours sleep for a man, seven for a woman, and eight for a fool.”

ous physiological processes of sleep. In response to a dark environment, the release of the hormone melatonin by the pineal gland is stimulated. Stress increases the level of cortisol in the body that inhibits sleep which can lead to insomnia.

Very limited research has been conducted on the physiological consequences of polyphasic sleep but most scientists are skeptical of those who claim it does not affect your health. This is mainly because there is overwhelming evidence for the importance of adequate and quality sleep. Sleep is vital to survival and going on for more than ten days to two weeks can ultimately result in death. Even though the exact importance and role of sleep is still not fully understood or known, sleep is essential for concentration, memory, and attention. Sleep patterns are controlled by both environmental, psychological, and biological variables. The main organ involved in the regulation of sleep is the brain, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in particular. Gene transcription regulates the SCN activity throughout its circadian rhythm, controlling the SCN’s affect on other nuclei of the hypothalamus and hormone glands that reside over the vari-

single second up to half a minute and can occur without the person noticing themselves. In fact, they can be so subtle that subjects report having been awake, although perhaps occasionally absent-minded, the entire time. This lack of awareness of one’s own alertness is dangerous in situations such as driving a car or operating potentially hazardous equipment. I personally tried out polyphasic sleep during my first winter break at UCR and although my sleeping patterns are usually erratic, I found it incredibly difficult and gave up after three weeks. I tried sleeping fifteen minutes every three hours and although this was easy for the first few days, I soon overslept and lost track of my schedule. Afterwards I decided that I would see what kind of sleep pattern my body would prefer naturally and by the time the semester was about to start, I found that I preferred a biphasic sleeping schedule. I would sleep from 5:00 to 8:00 or 9:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00 or 20:00, cumulating in six to eight hours a day on average. Several studies have in fact shown that humans tend to naturally be biphasic. In an ideal situation I would stick to this schedule as I enjoyed the peace and increased hours of productivity during the evenings and nighttime devoid

of distraction while also having about six hours a day of interacting with the “real world” to see friends and do grocery shopping. However, during the semester it is almost impossible to stick to this schedule as I almost always have a 16:00-18:00 class slot during the week and meetings in the evening. I also had to keep note of things I had to do and people I had to see or contact during the time I was awake during the day as it would be unreasonable to expect replies to my emails at three am or call someone. Keeping up with the news and skyping with friends on the other side of the world did, however, become a whole lot easier! While the consequences and effects of polyphasic sleep are poorly understood, it remains an interesting concept and appeals to many who aim to become more productive with their time. If you would adopt a polyphasic sleep pattern in your early twenties, you could claim over a decade of your life back that would otherwise be spent sleeping! This sounds like an attractive option, especially considering how much you could achieve in that extra decade. When discussing China, Napoleon said, “Let her sleep...for when she wakes, she will move mountains.” Although this quote does not apply to the context of reduced sleep (it actually refers to China’s immense power and that disrupting it could have disastrous consequences), it does show that nothing much was ever achieved while asleep. On the other hand, those who practice polyphasic sleep in order to sleep a very limited number of hours a day live in a torpid state and show reduced levels of productivity and creativity so whether the mountains will move several kilometers or even at all remains questionable. There is much more to polyphasic sleep and sleep in general than could possibly be explained in a simple article, but the following website page provides interesting and accessible information as well as some examples of people who have tried polyphasic sleep: Polyphasic Sleep: Facts and Myths Dr. Piotr Wozniak (2005)



Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt


The Netherlands is currently in quite the uproar regarding the future king’s lack of facial hair. A petition on the Facebook page Zonder Baard, Geen Koning (No Beard? No King!) has already racked up 72.000 likes. According to said petition you cannot be a real king without a beard. And indeed, more and more people agree daily. Willem III was the last male to reign over the Netherlands from 1918 to 1980, and a quick Google search shows that he sported a rather eye catching moustache-and-

beard combo. His predecessors would have also pleased the crowds with their creative facial hair, or at least with their impressive sideburns. Babyfaced Alexander will take to the throne on the 30th of April but we have yet to see any signs of the awaited beard. However, his lack of itchy awesomeness is not without reason. He has not grown a beard to strategically hide something he sees as a much bigger problem. He’s ginger. However, contrary to public opinion being a ginger is not a bad thing. An orange beard not only stands for awesomeness, but it also is the very embodi-

ment of the House of Orange! A true heir! Until now, prince Willem-Alexander has done a satisfactory job of deferring the attention away from his hair colour by opting out of facial hair and conjuring up three beautiful, blonde children. Although it is not likely he would decide to abide to the public demand for facial hair, it would strengthen the position of the monarchy for years to come. The poor prince fails to comprehend this . He should go ahead and grow the demanded beard, but perhaps he will simply continue with his ‘I’m merely strawberry blonde’ façade. Suppose that prince Willem-Al-

exander decides to come clean with regards to his hair colour. This would entail a long list of benefits for the royal family and the nation with potentially long lasting results. At the top of the list, we encounter a new tradition to be instated. The House of Orange is more known for its name than for its looks, but with the advent of an orange-haired King, no one will look down upon our country anymore. Who could resist a command from such a fiery red leader? Secondly, Russian folklore tells us that orange or red hair is a sign that a person cares for the people around him and the world at large, which is a defining trait of a true king.

A Bad Case of Senioritis By Bernt Vagant Writer

The alarm goes off, it is 7:45 in the morning. After mindless snoozing for 15 minutes, I realise I have class in less than an hour. Is it an interesting class? – Nope, not really. It is just one of the few requirements I have postponed for five semesters, long live broad education! Any other interesting classes this week? Let’s see: One of my other classes is my language requirement. Because English is sufficient as a global language, learning a language I will never use is not quite as exciting. My third class is in a department which only produces students who will live on welfare for the rest of their life – no offense, art history, literature and gender studies majors – clearly, this is not the most useful thing to do. And finally, there is this ‘theinstructors-do-not-even-knowwhat-they-are-doing’ course I’m taking – damn you, pilot courses – which is not the most motivating activity either. So the answer to my previous question would be: nope, not really. After spending another ten minutes deliberating whether I really have to get out of bed and start wasting my time, I decide I will just have to go with it. I open my eyes and see a row of champagne bottles on a shelf counting down the weeks of graduation. Five weeks to go… Great, I am making progress. Why these champagne bottles? Well, after five semesters all courses are the same and not as


thrilling as they once were: you write a paper, do a presentation, do some frustrating group work, study for your exams, and that is about it. Because this has lost most of its appeal in your final semester, you start looking for other hobbies and something to look forward to during the week. In my case this is something I titled ‘Champagne Countdown Friday’. Honestly, with my master’s already arranged, there is not much that is important to do besides simply graduating. In other words, receiving my shoe lacing diploma in five different academic fields from the university that has a different name than the one I applied to. Therefore, you go to parties more often, get annoyed by explaining first year students how the drinking game works over and over again – while thinking “I’m too old for this sh*t” –, and you enjoy the little life you have, outside academics. Still, there were things to look forward to – yes really, there were – such as the biggest booze bash of the year, also known as the election GA. Numerous of our finest, most socially engaged and broadly educated, critical thinking world-citizens demonstrated that their livers are much less advanced than their brains after drinking to words like transparent, representative, accountable, communicative and hard-working (there will be a rematch at the End of Term Party). Studying for nearly three years in Middelburg also makes you

look back, and it was not that bad at all. Will I get sentimental now? – No, if you read this piece you get that three years at UCR have made me rather cynical, and this cynicism does not go hand in hand with nostalgic emotions (I really should not have picked a course built around this theme). Nevertheless, in all fairness I can say that I had a good time during my

three-year stay in Middelburg. I do not regret a thing that I have done, and I can sincerely mention clichés like “UCR developed me as a person” and “UCR helped me find my future”. Third-years always stood out to me because they had so little motivation left, wore track pants, never showed up to classes and seemed to have fully

And lastly, leaders around the world will pay tribute to this man, if only because his orangecoloured beard matches so well with his surname. Up until this day, we can be sure of one thing: on the 30th of April prince Willem Alexander will step up to the throne. Will he come clean or will he deny his heritage? Having to fight against Southpark-incited prejudices, such as gingers “not having a soul”, it cannot be easy to come clean, even more so when being the King of the Netherlands. However, if there would be any good reason to keep subsidizing the annual skitrips of the Dutch royal family, it would be the ‘Beard of Orange’. So instead of singing the ‘Koningslied’ (Song for the King) on April 30th, let us all join and encourage him to GROW. THAT. BEARD! embraced the YOLO-dogma. But I get it now, it is about time I leave this place, go to another country, live in an actual city and see the real world. Thank you UCR, but three years have been enough. Another Friday has arrived, which means the moment I have been looking forward to all week is there. I count the weeks still left before I leave this bubble and I get my own bubbles from the fridge. Yes, it’s true, I have a bad case of senioritis… Only 4 weeks to go! *pop*


Campus Life

Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt

The First Annual Campus Olympics By Christel Hengeveld & Caspar Wieten Writers

A great Olympics party in Schuttershof was the kick-off of the first annual Campus Olympics. The party people in Schuttershof surely looked ready for a battle! Some were wearing matching sports shirt while others walked around with headbands and black stripes on their faces. With Roggeveen winning the dress-up competition, the battle for the title of the best campus location had begun. On Wednesday morning, only the brave Koestraat contestants were up for an exciting game of Trivial Pursuit. Despite the after-effects of any good Tues-

day party, the contestants were sharp and answering the questions was almost a piece of cake. Speaking of which, the participants of the baking competition were also dropping by to pick up their ingredients. Provided with 1 egg, sugar, flower and butter, they had 5 hours to create something delicious. In the afternoon, it was time for some real sports. Soccer, dodgeball and basketball were up next and the players were ready to kick some ass. True competitiveness was in the air at the Kruitmolen and Rotterdamse Kaai where the games were played. Eventually Bagijnhof could call itself the sportiest campus location since they won all the sports, not leaving a chance to their opponents.

Shortly afterwards the bakers were finishing up their work to meet the deadline at 6 o’clock. The jury was very excited to start judging the beautiful creations that the six teams brought to Eleanor. The ‘piggies in mud’ pie was beautiful and the cake with white chocolate ganache covered in rose petals tasted exquisitely. The applecrumble cupcakes were wonderfully refreshing, not to mention the creamy and delicious strawberry meringue and the to-die-for Rolo-chocolate pie and pastries. However, only one could be the winner. A simple brownie with an amazing crème anglaise blew away the judges and was announced the winner of this year’s baking competition.

In the room next to the pies, a heated Mario Kart competition was taking place. Sadly, only one team showed up for the FIFA competition, so Roggeveen automatically won. The Mario Kart competition was much more popular, as six teams strived to become the best UCR Mario Kart players. After some very intense races, although everyone seemed to deserve it, the first place obviously had to be awarded to only one team. At this year’s Campus Olympics, the Mario Kart winner was Koestraat. They won all races before going to the final event of the day: PIZZA! Plenty of Domino’s pizzas were brought to Eleanor, which was stuffed with hungry students. A nice ending to a day filled with campuses battling each other.

Of course, the winner still needed to be announced. Congratulations Koestraat for winning the first campus olympics! On behalf of the Campus Olympics Team, we want to thank all the participants for joining and doing their best to strive to victory and eternal honor for their campus. HAC and SportsCo, thanks for letting us organize the event. Thanks to DJ Maurits for the great music as well as PartyCo and GamesCo for helping us with organizing the party. Lastly, another thanks to GamesCo for helping us with the board and video games. Let’s hope next year’s edition will be just as fun!


STEADY NEW SOUNDS By Lonneke de Klerk Writer

As RASA’s annual Cultureweek of 2013 is coming to its end, one of the most exciting events is still coming up: the Charity Concert. This Friday, booming bass tones and danceable rhythms will be coming from several pubs in the inner city, allowing the audience to dance, drink and donate the night away! One of the bands giving this charity concert is Steady New Sounds. These four rockaholics started their band two years ago in a little side room of the singer’s house in Middelburg. Since then, the four boys have found themselves on a roller-coaster of success. With their indie/rock they have conquered the music scene in Zeeland and other parts of the country. Their first single Would You Be Mine caught the attention of the popular Dutch radio station 3FM, where they have played twice since. Having been booked for Altersonic Noorderslag, Paradiso and (upcoming) Concert at Sea, their growing CV is pretty impressive for a two-year-old band with an average age of 20. It does not come as a surprise then that they have recently signed a contract with international music record label Spirit Music Group, who will help them spread their music all over the world. Faith-

fully dressed in white shirts and black ties, they look like the young Beatles, but their music is influenced by so many classic as well as contemporary bands, which has resulted in their own sound that is original, steady and new. Would you really want to miss out on an opportunity to attend a free concert by one of the most promising bands of this generation?

but this is not the case for everyone. By donating to these charities we are giving these children the same opportunities that we enjoyed as children. With the help of the Jeugd Cultuur Fonds, Jeugd Sport Fonds and ultimately, you, these children may be able to develop their talents and might just have the success that Steady New Sounds is having at the moment.

Would you really want to miss out on an opportunity to attend a free concert by one of the most promising bands of this generation?”

During last year’s charity concert Steady New Sounds played at Seventy Seven where, as some of you will know, they rocked the stage and raised a lot of money. This year, they will play in café De Geere to raise money for Jeugd Cultuur Fonds and Jeugd Sport Fonds. These two organizations are dedicated to give children from families which financially less well-off the chance to join sports clubs or take music lessons. Take a moment to consider just how fortunate we are and have been. Something such as music lessons may have been taken for granted during our childhoods

In other words, come to the charity concert, listen to great music and dance your feet off while also making your contribution to fostering of future talents. Dancing and drinking for charity: what more could we wish for? Make sure to be there, as the boys have a special surprise prepared for the Charity Concert!

Write for Tabula RASA! Or run for a board/editor position! Email us at




Campus Life

Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt



It has been the fourth Culture Co trip since my time here at UCR and just like snowflakes, no two are the same. Whether it’s roaming the streets of Paris, dancing out your demons in a club next to the railroad in Berlin or taking in the psychedelic vibes of London’s Camden Town Market, every time is a new experience. Then there was Prague. Talk about a game changer. This city fiddles with your heart and soul and I am here to tell you the tale, based on the flashbacks I’ve been having all week. We left Friday night. After a long bus ride filled with breaks in shady German truck stops and other oddities, we arrived in the city at around 9 on Saturday morning. After a brief ATM hunt, the walk towards the center commenced. The magic of the city begins to hit when you


see the vestiges of communism staring you down from the top of Soviet brick buildings and the long bridges that cross the Vltava lined with posters from underground clubs or the Museum of Communism (placed above a McDonald’s, the irony). Once in the center, we were faced with a massive mall, with over two hundred shops and all too much consumerism to handle. We ignored this and decided to carry on taking in the urban magic. Although in a completely unknown city, I felt so relaxed, no urgency whatsoever. As we made our way to the Charles Bridge, I could not help but be enthralled by the architecture, especially that of the churches. Gold, gold everywhere! Charles Bridge is a magnificent piece of architecture. The bridge is already amazing in the daylight but you have not lived until you have seen it by sunrise or in the dead of night. Charles Bridge is of the places that carry many spirits: they come alive at night and entwine you in the silky webs of the gothic

arches. Across the bridge, there are more pieces of architecture, and strange little interjections of contemporary art to be seen, such as gigantic faceless bronze babies in a park, and a chalkboard on a wall. The day itself was a head trip of its own. Then came the night. There was the pub crawl. In anticipation of the pub crawl, my friends and I had gone out for some quality eats before commencing our journey into the world of absinthe and other boozes. The lady in charge of the pub crawl told us: “Now, absinthe is 70% alcohol, so take it easy”. Of course, I thought, but I was not ready to play nice. The night began as the usual alcohol harvest amongst friends and became somewhat of a Dionysian hallucination after we hit the third club. That night, we tapped into something different. We came to Prague and Prague gave us the night. After watching the sunrise on Charles Bridge, de-

taching a musical note from an installation on the Old Town Square, redirecting two strangers in search of a bar to a church, waiting for the tram in the snow at 8:30 on Sunday morning and getting fined by the ticket check man (who swore profusely in Czech under his breath because we were out of money), we returned to the hostel to find that everyone and more had passed out in all the wrong beds. An hour and a half later, we were packing our things in a hazy state and journeying back into the city for a comatose brunch in one of the nearby bagel cafés. That evening, we were all back in the bus, not yet quite feeling the backlash of Saturday night’s endeavors. The ball dropped for me on Monday, when upon returning in Middelburg at around 8:10, getting on my bike (which had developed a flat tire over the weekend) I raced home and went to my 8:45 class. I was physically there, but my head was not. It was lagging behind in the streets of Prague whilst I was staring blankly

at the board trying to explain why Courbet chose to depict a funeral scene. Knowing smiles and shrugs of compassion were shared amongst us travelers as our friends who had stayed behind asked us if we had survived the weekend. I made it back, but Prague still had my head for a week.

Current Affairs

Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt


RAPE CULTURE By Julia Airey Writer

It is like something out of a bad American teenage movie: the jocks of a school run the world around them and in anyone in it. Yet, it is all too real to be funny anymore. In a world troubled by complex problems that demand carefully nuanced solutions, it is perhaps most troubling to know that American society still cannot seem to solve the most clear-cut, right or wrong issues of the day, such as rape culture and its interplay with jock culture. Such a culture is epitomized in the recent rape case in the small Midwestern town of Steubenville, Ohio, which perfectly showcases something sinister in those idealized American schools. Steubenville Case A sixteen-year-old girl from the small town of Steubenville, Ohio attended a series of house party last August. Reports of the amount of alcohol she consumed vary, but it is clear that she drank beer and vodka until she was visibly intoxicated and, eventually, unconscious. The girl woke up the following day in an unfamiliar place without her clothes, her phone, or memories of the previous night. After details from what went on that night surfaced on social media, an investigation was launched to figure out what exactly happened and who were the perpetrators. The story reconstructed from text messages, videos, tweets, Facebook statuses and messages, and Instagram photos revealed that the girl was exposed and digitally raped in cars by two star high school football players after she threw up and passed out. She was subsequently carried to several other parties where she was sexually assaulted and ended up in one basement house party where she was orally and digitally raped several times. From the text messages of the two perpetrators (Mays and Richmond) as well as 15 other witnesses, she was unconscious

and unaware of what was going on. Although initially covered up by the football players and the girls’ friends, the court case began after images on Facebook were made public of Richmond and Mays carrying the unconscious victim by her wrists and ankles. There were also nude photos of her taken in various states which surfaced later. Additionally, a twelve-minute video was found of Richmond, Mays, and several of their friends boasting about how they “conquered” the

get-out-of-jail-free card when they commit indiscretions – on account of “boys will be boys”. This idea that athletes are somehow “above the law” has been a point of fixation during the Steubenville case because the outcome of similar rape cases are shown to be influenced by whether or the not the perpetrator was a star athlete or not. The examples showcasing this are numerous and they span all levels of athletics in the US from members of high school teams

Rape culture is fed by many means – one being the varying definitions of who can be a victim and what rape is from state to state, and another being the hideous habit of blaming the victim for the crime. But above all, it is the ideology of jock culture that affords athletes the privilege to be above the law, which encourages a perpetuation of rape culture. There are hundreds, thousands even, cases exactly like Steubenville in the U.S. It seems that

America, dear: you have a long way to go.”

girl and how “dead” she was. Richmond and Mays have been found guilty and given juvenile sentences. However, the case is far from over. Right now a grand jury has been convened to further rule whether or not any other party is responsible for this (e.g. parents and the witnesses). Jock Culture and Rape Culture These facts are easy enough to grasp – even intermittent as they are with heresy. However, it might not be so easy to understand how such a crime could be covered not only by authorities, but by the victim as well. After all, when it came time for the victim to testify in court she explained why she did not start a case earlier by saying, “I didn’t want to get myself into drama because I knew everyone would just blame me” (taken from Raw Story’s Arturo Garcia’s coverage on the trial). What also is unclear as an outsider, however, might be the larger context, which this case is a part of. One must have an understanding of American jock culture in order to fully understand all of these complicated pieces. Sport players’ privilege in their communities is also made clear by the way that the players’ celebrity status grants them a

like Steubenville to members of professional teams like LA Lakers with the Kobe Bryant case from 2003. Universities, however, seem to report the highest numbers of rapes by their sportsmen – a finding which is consistent from the lower tier universities such as Arizona State University which their 850,000 settlement to a rape victim in 2008, all the way to top tier universities like Boston University, which recently dealt with the Nicastro case in 2012. The fame of the team also does not seem to imply a cleaner reputation. Rape cases from unheard of college teams like The Temple Owls are just as common as those from nation-wide superstars like Notre Dame’s Football team or Duke University’s Lacrosse team. Official statistics on this phenomenon paint an increasingly bleak portrait for victims like the Steubenville teen as well. According to the Bendedict/ Crosset study, normal rape conviction rates are 80 to 90 per cent, however rape conviction rates hover around 30 per cent when the perpetrators are star athletes. And so, the interplay between rape culture and jock culture begin to emerge.

no measure taken has any effect on the rates, either. Blue-light emergency systems on college campuses have also done nothing to stop rape occurring at parties, or in rooms between people who know each other, or stop the victim-shaming that occurs when a victim makes a claim against a star athlete. The long history of vibrant protests from the old school gorillas girls and their satiric “What to do when Raped” posters to modern day hacker group Anonymous who have released hidden media during pre-trials processes have raised awareness but haven’t changed laws or attitudes. Personal stories released to make a change, have affected individual schools, but there remains institutions that ignore or cover the claims against members of their sports teams. In the end this is why the Steubenville case caused such a stir. After all, it is not the idea itself of high school football heroes abusing their social influence which disappoints us most, although it is disappointing. It is not the “she asked for it because she was drunk” accusations which makes us most angry, although it does make us angry. It is not the tender age of Richmond, Mays, and their Jane

Doe which is most disturbing, although that is disturbing. In the end it is not even the multiple rapes themselves which sickens us most, although they do sicken us. The single worst part of the Steubenville case is that it is absolutely ordinary in every respect. It contains the victim shaming, the cover-ups, the flimsy court sentences, and the classic boast of jock privilege that characterizes so many of the rapes that occur in the U.S. In its normalcy, it has become the point-blank indicator of that rape culture that was once said to be elusive. After all, the fact that any case can contain all of these elements, and more, yet does not garner substantial media coverage because it is “normal” show just how far away from “normal” parts of American society have become. This case has been hailed as rape culture’s “Abu Ghraib moment”, and has even been compared to To Kill a Mockingbird. There are organizations like United Women who have grown 70,000 strong in protest of this incident, but I remain skeptical that they will accomplish anything soon that their predecessors could not. For if the trivial sentences issued to Trent and Mays, like those given to many athletes found guilty of rape, are anything to go by, I am not hopeful that this message about Steubenville is significant among the din of all the other cases just like it. Frankly I am not hopeful about America’s efforts to counter rape-culture at all – not after seeing the stubbornness of the rape statistics, the legislative mess, and all those grassroots protests go nowhere. Steubenville has become the event which showcases rape culture. But I am still waiting for the event that showcases culture overcoming rape. America, dear: you have a long way to go.


Current Affairs

Tabula RASA April 2013 University College Roosevelt


FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION? By Joanna Hornik Writers

Cyprus has been described as “the Mediterranean island at the crossroads of three continents, where there is always a new world to discover”.Yet when this well-known vacation destination made it into the news a few of weeks ago, it was not for its breathtaking landscapes or sandy beaches, but for another matter altogether. One with extremely dire circumstances. Last month, the Cypriot parliament rejected a €10 billion deal proposed by the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The controversy around this bailout proposal was the fact that it required not only complex restructuring of Cyprus’ banks, but also payment from consumers’ deposits. This stirred up many in the country and provoked many protests in the capital city of Nicosia. There are a number of factors that have contributed to the current bank crisis in Cyprus.

The first of which is the country’s close economic links with Greece. In 2010, Greece had to ask the Eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout because of unsustainable government debt levels. The uncertainty about the credibility of the Greek financial sector affected the outlook of investors on other Eurozone members, including Cyprus. Subsequently, other disastrous

Thus it is not surprising that in an effort to find an alternative to the proposed EU bailout, the Cypriot finance minister went to Russia to woo the government to continue their support of Cyprus. However, this attempt failed, and the government of Cyprus faced the seemingly impossible choice of leaving the Eurozone altogether or accepting the EU bailout with all of its conditions.

... it appears inevitable that it will have both short and long-term consequences...”

events followed. The Cypriot public debt was downgraded to junk status, meaning that any investment in the Cypriot economy would carry a significantly higher amount of risk. This increasing uncertainty about the stability of the Cypriot financial system raised serious concerns among not only policymaker, but also many wealthy Russian businessmen who, at the time, held about 50% of the country’s bank deposits.

After further negotiations, some conditions of the deal were adjusted. The new proposal would protect all insured deposits below €100,000 and as such, was accepted by the Cypriot authorities. For many, the acceptance of the deal was certainly a relief. However, it appears inevitable that it will have both short and longterm consequences not only for

Cypriots, but also for other Eurozone member states. Some immediate effects of the bailout will seem rather inconvenient. For example, the Cypriot banks had to introduce limits on credit card transactions, cash withdrawals, overseas transfers of money, and the cashing of checks. Even simply going to a bank is not so easy anymore since the opening hours have been significantly shortened in order to avoid a bank run – a very dangerous situation when many customers decide to withdraw their deposits at the same time because they do not trust their bank anymore. Such an event inflicts huge losses on banks and could possibly lead to bankruptcy.

been undermined once again, as it happened already after the large Greek debt crisis of 2010, but the restrictions of the bailout agreement will make other banks in the common currency zone suffer should their customers become worried about their own deposits. W e should not overlook the fact that international community’s insistence on the Cypriot depositors paying for a part of the deal themselves appears to be a development in the EU’s approach to bailouts. It seems that both economists and politicians in the Eurozone have realized that the group cannot endlessly bear all the costs of the financial misconduct of its member states.

Moreover, experts expect Cyprus to be hit by a serious recession, which might cause the country’s GDP to drop by as much as 10%, according to Charlemagne from The Economist.

Hopefully this brings newfound urgency to current negotiations for a European Banking Union, which would introduce regulations that could prevent similar crises in the future. As for now, the hope is that tourists and investors will not entirely abandon the marvels of the Cyprus island and that with the efforts of its government and the international bodies, this country’s crisis will be a lesson in survival instead of failure.

Except for these apparent domestic consequences, it is likely that the whole European banking system will suffer from the troubles in Cyprus. Not only has the credibility of the Eurozone

Issue 39  

April 2013

Issue 39  

April 2013