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Spring fever The Chinese Students and Scholars Association will have its Spring Festival Show at 7 p.m. Saturday in Rudder Auditorium. Tickets are on sale for $4 at MSC Box Office.

inside

thebattalion ● thursday,

january 26, 2012

Capt. Mark Herman was honored as a ‘Soldier Hero’ during the AllAmerican Bowl.

texas a&m since 1893

● first paper free – additional copies $1 ● © 2012 student media

campus

Loftin fields Senate inquiries A&M president says Kyle Field renovation talks began 3 years ago Robert Carpenter

page | 3 Student, soldier hero

● serving

The Battalion University administration and student government intersected Wednesday evening when A&M President R. Bowen Loftin spoke with the Student Senate about a range of topics including affirmative action and the future of A&M’s rivalry with Texas. But before the conversation turned toward athletics, Loftin addressed the necessity of the maroon and orange forming a “joint agenda” for the next legislative cycle, saying “we speak with one mouth.” “TU and us have a lot in common, whether you like to think that way or not,” Loftin said, responding to student senator Mark Womack’s concern that A&M would be “caught off guard again” by legislative cuts in the 2013 session. “I want to have ongo-

ing conversations with Bill Powers, the president there, and our staffs as well over the next many months to find as many common areas as we can.” Jeff Pickering, student body president, said he has seen the A&M System strategically planning for the 2013 legislative session. “Chancellor [John] Sharp has been very proactive about trying to do our work before the legislature begins,” Pickering said. “[Legislators] can complicate matters, so the more we can accomplish in-house, the better it will be for our students.” Despite the unified legislative front, Loftin said the state’s two flagship universities remain at an impasse regarding the future of the schools’ athletic rivalry. “As far as I can tell, their stance has not changed officially both from their athletic director and president, that they will not consider playing us again for several years,” Loftin said. “Unofficially, I know that a number of members of legislature and [Texas alumni] are

Roger Zhang — THE BATTALION

President Loftin speaks at the Student Senate meeting See Senate on page 7 Wednesday in Koldus.

sports | 4 Tebowmania

Off-campus, online The allure of the Broncos’ famously inconsistent quaterback is investigated.

voices | 6 Mailcall See inside for student opinion about the Wikipedia blackout on Jan. 18. To voice your opinion, send your submission to mailcall@thebatt. com.

trends | 8 Getting fired up

Universities explore distance education markets Trevor Stevens The Battalion Institutions across Texas are reaching out to distant markets of online learners, fishing for the value of distance education. In Austin, the University of Texas System board of regents approved a $50 million investment last August into a new Institute of Transformational Learning, which will focus on options for blended and online learning. The Texas System also recently launched a distance education program — Finish@UT — enabling undergraduate students to earn a bachelors degree entirely off-campus and online. One of the three universities that the system offers an online degree is the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, UTPB, where Roland Spickermann is the chairman of the history department and professor of two online courses this semester. Spickermann said UTPB has received new enrollments almost daily since the program sparked in December. Spickermann said the bachelor of

Ultimately, students will be selling themselves and their

credentials in whatever profession they choose. The ‘value’ of the degree they have will come not in the completion documentation but in their ability to articulate and apply what they have learned.” — Chad Wootton, associate vice president for External Affairs

arts degree in humanities that is offered online is structurally identical to the inperson degree. “A lot of it is the same sort of thing that you would find in an in-person course: committed students, committed instructor, committed syllabus,” Spickermann said. “It’s just as rigorous as the in-person humanities degree, so there is nothing lost there.” Spickermann said the market of students seeking distance education that UTPB has locked onto includes students from Midland and Dallas to Israel in the Middle East. “Students are involved with jobs or families or might not even be close to a See Online Degree on page 7

James Thompson — THE BATTALION

Students use open access computers at the Student Computing Center. Texas A&M University continues to consider distance education options.

Students gear up for Fuel School, as many have high hopes that the prayer movement on campus will heat up.

nation

Wyoming student steals doughnut POWELL, Wyo.— 19-year-old college student, Zach O’dell, was accused of swiping a doughnut and has agreed to pay a $200 fine, $10 in court costs — and 79 cents to cover the cost of the doughnut. O’Dell was accused of eating the treat in Blair’s Market in Powell on Nov. 28 and leaving without paying for it. He was charged with shoplifting.

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Jorge Montalvo — THE BATTALION

bryan-college station

Leaders discuss future prospects for economy Justin Mathers The Battalion At an economic outlook conference Wednesday, business leaders from the Bryan-College Station area gathered to discuss the future prospects of the economy in 2012 and beyond. President R. Bowen Loftin made a surprise appearance to discuss the future of Texas A&M and Kyle Field. Conference attendees were treated to a variety of prominent guest speakers, including Ben Downs, recipient of the 2010 Texas Broadcaster of the Year award, and James Gaines, research economist at the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. The goal of the wealth of expertise on display was to help prime the B-CS region’s private sector for success.

Ronnie Volkening, CEO of Texas Retailers Association, kicked off the conference by discussing his overall prediction for 2012 retail sales. “My feeling is that the BryanCollege Station area will do quite well,” Volkening said. “And my colleague Mark Datzour and I agree that Texas will again outpace the nation.” Retail in Texas, which includes restaurants, directly and indirectly supports one-fourth of all jobs. Sixteen percent of Texas GDP comes from retail and 17 percent of all labor income derives from the retail industry. Volkening also noted that Texas leads the nation in new retail jobs created since 2006. The downside to this, however, is the fact that only one in six states have had new retail job growth since

that period. Bryan-College Station, and Texas in general, have not been hit as hard by the recession as other states. Sales tax revenues across the state increased 9.5 percent from December 2010 to December 2011 despite poor national consumer confidence ratings. In addition, B-CS has regained all 400,000 jobs lost during the lowest point of the recession. Despite B-CS not being well known as a hot spot for tourism, tourists spent $388 million in the region in 2010. This number has been steadily increasing since 2000. In Texas at large, the tourism industry’s 2010 total travel spending figure was valued at $57.5 billion. Penny Reeh, founder and president of Indigo Research

Group, explained that with a few small modifications, B-CS could expand its tourist industry even farther. “Whenever we ask people what there is to see in BryanCollege Station, normally we get the same response – nothing,” Reeh said. “But when we start coaxing them further they realize there is a ton of stuff to do.” Reeh suggested that B-CS create an easy system to guide tourists around, making it easier to find all the things the region has to offer. Reeh also noted that the cities are sitting on a sizeable equity reserve: everyone who rents a room in the area pays a 13 percent tax, which the local government keeps a fraction of, normally 7 percent. This money

B-CS statistics ◗ Seven to eight percent of state and local tax revenue come from out of state visitors.

◗ $471 million was spent by students last year.

See Economy on page 7

1/26/12 12:54 AM


news

page 3 thursday 1.26.2012

thebattalion

‘Soldier Hero’ honored at game Barrett House The Battalion Honoring heroes is nothing new for Texas A&M. During the winter break that tradition was continued at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as Capt. Mark Herman, a business administration graduate student, was recognized as a “Soldier Hero.” The All-American Bowl is an annual football game featuring the best high school athletes in the country, pitting East against West. Seventy-seven soldiers were honored as “Soldier Heroes.” They had to qualify to apply or be nominated. The qualifications included an award for valor — a Medal of Honor, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, etc. — or a Purple Heart. Herman, a Bronze Star recipient, said he applied after he was qualified to do so. “The distinction for valor has to be earned in combat, for certain combat actions,” Herman said. “I have a Bronze Star Medal and an Army Commendation Medal for Valor, it’s a lower award but they added the ‘for valor’ for a mission I flew in Iraq.” Herman served in Iraq and Afghanistan, but has been a student at A&M since 2011. As a “Soldier Hero,” Herman had the opportunity to act as a mentor to Erik Magnuson, an offensive tackle from Carlsbad, Calif. Herman said his experience talking with a young athlete of potential gave them both the opportunity to learn from each other. “I didn’t know how intense the high school football-recruiting world was. He met with every major coach on the west coast and had offers from every school,” Herman said. “His questions were more ‘what was it like to be in Iraq and Afghanistan, what’s it like to fly a helicopter’, I told him cool stories, so it went both ways.” As a mentor, Herman spent time with Magnuson each day leading up to the game. They did different things together like an eating competition, a formal awards dinner and even a riverboat cruise on the San Antonio River Walk.

Pg. 3-01.26.12.indd 1

Herman had a successful career during his active duty, including flying Black Hawk helicopters, and his last post gave him the opportunity to command 248 soldiers. Karen Hughes, 1st Sgt., said that Herman had the tough task of changing positions, but was successful, and they worked well together. “He’s an aviator so he was in a position where his MOS [Military Occupational Specialty] did not accommodate the unit. As a pilot, he had to learn to become a logistician. He adapted very well,” Hughes said. “Our mission was to support the aviators. We fed them, provided maintenance, and provided medical. We were making sure that the battle could go on. We deployed with 248 soldiers, we didn’t lose any soldiers, we had a high level of responsibility.” Now a student in the reserves, Herman spends his time between classes and working at the Military Sciences Building, assisting the Army Reserved Officer Training Corps. The AROTC Battalion Training Officer, Maj. Keith Roberts, said Herman has been a welcomed addition. “He’s a big help. He comes in as part of his drill, probably once a week, so I know that he leaves class, gets changed into uniform and does a good job juggling his school schedule with work. Once he’s here, he’s fully Army and not as a student, which is probably challenging,” Roberts said. “Mark does a good job of diving right in when he gets here.” A graduate of West Point, Herman said the decision to come to A&M was based in part to its respect of traditions. “I had my choice of where to go to school,” Herman said. “We share a lot of the same values, like the honor code that all students abide by. I don’t think all schools understand that.” Herman said he attributes his current successes to the leadership opportunities the Army has provided, and believes the Army can do the same for others.

world Rebel leader demands new government Rebel soldiers seized the military’s headquarters Thursday and replaced Papua New Guinea’s top defense official with their own leader, who gave Prime Minister Peter O’Neill a week to step aside for his ousted predecessor. The self-proclaimed new leader of the country’s defense forces, retired Col. Yaura Sasa, insisted he was not mounting a coup. But he warned that the military will take unspecified action unless O’Neill stands down and former prime minister Michael Somare, is reinstated, as the national Supreme Court ordered last month.

South Korea holds drills South Korea staged live-fire drills Thursday from a front-line island shelled by North Korea in 2010, the first such exercise since North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died last month. Marines at Yeonpyeong Island and nearby Baengnyeong Island fired artillery into waters near the disputed sea border during the two-hour-long drills, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said. The drills were routine exercises and there haven’t been any suspicious activities by North Korea’s military, the official said on condition of anonymity, citing department rules. South Korea last held artillery drills at the front-line islands on Dec. 12, COURTESY PHOTO five days before Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack, the official said. Similar Capt. Mark Herman, right, and Erik Magnuson, left, at the awards drills at Yeonpyeong in November dinner the night before the All-American Bowl. 2010 triggered a North Korean “As an officer, it’s your job to Herman said. “It’s a serious com- artillery bombardment that killed four lead, to be in charge. So it’s re- mitment, but my perspective is that South Koreans. ally been a hands-on experience to deployment is where the real Army The Associated Press lead and manage people. Employ- shines. It’s a great experience for any ers are looking for experience that man or woman.” you can’t learn in the classroom,”

1/25/12 11:31 PM


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SUMMER STAFF Positions

corrections

Camp Ozark is recruiting at Koldus this week! A Christian sports and adventure camp for boys and girls ages 7-17, located in the heart of the Ouachita Lake and Mountain Region in Arkansas, is now accepting applications for summer staff positions. www.yoursummer2012.com for interviews and applications CAMP OZARK....THERE IS A DIFFERENCE! 155 Camp Ozark Drive (870) 867-4131 Mt. Ida, AR 71957-8309 http://www.campozark.com

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Josh McKenna — THE BATTALION

Puddles and leaks dampen the halls of Read Building on Wednesday following storms that produced tornado warnings and 60 mph winds.

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A&M Campus

The Battalion welcomes readers’ comments about published information that may require correction. We will pursue your concern to determine whether a correction needs to be published. Please contact us at editor@thebatt.com.

AUSTIN — Organizers have announced a new four-day comedy festival to take place in Austin this April. The headliners include Seth Meyers, Aziz Ansari and Steven Wright with more than 20 other comics scheduled to perform. The event is called the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival and will be based at the historic Paramount Theater from April 25-28. Performances include stand-up, improv sketch and musical comedy and there will also be a ďŹ lm festival. Austin’s calendar is ďŹ lling up with festivals, to include the South by Southwest music, ďŹ lm and interactive festival in March and the outdoor Austin City Limits music festival in the fall.

nation Mars rover celebrates eighth birthday Wednesday marked the eight-year anniversary of the Opportunity rover on Mars. Opportunity landed in the Eagle crater at 5:05 a.m. UTC on Jan. 25, 2004, three weeks after its twin rover, Spirit. While Spirit stopped communicating with Earth two years ago, Opportunity is still in great shape. Its latest mission consists of exploring the Red Planet’s 14-mile-wide Photos by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Endeavor crater, which it reached in August 2011. It took Opportunity three years to make the 4.8-mile trip from its previous post. Both rovers have faired exceptionally well, considering that they were expected to last only three months. In August of 2012, Curiosity, a bigger, more powerful rover, is expected to land on the side of Mars opposite from Opportunity. Jennifer DuBose , staff writer

Homeless NY science whiz does not make ďŹ nal cut in contest BRENTWOOD, N.Y. — A New York high school student who attracted national attention after it was reported that she was living in a homeless shelter is not among the 40 ďŹ nalists in the prestigious Intel Science contest. The ďŹ nalists were announced Wednesday. After Garvey’s situation came to light, Suffolk County ofďŹ cials announced they were arranging for her family to move into a house. She

also appeared on the “Ellenâ€? show, where she received a $50,000 college scholarship. On Tuesday, she was an invited guest at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. In an appearance Wednesday on the “Todayâ€? show, Garvey said the presence of so many “historic ďŹ guresâ€? made her want to combine her studies in science with policy. The Associated Press

thebattalion THE INDEPENDENT STUDENT VOICE OF TEXAS A&M SINCE 1893

Robert Carpenter, Editor in Chief THE BATTALION (ISSN #1055-4726) is published daily, Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters and Monday through Thursday during the summer session (except University holidays and exam periods) at Texas A&M University. Periodicals Postage Paid at College Station, TX 77840. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Battalion, Texas A&M University, 1111 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-1111. News: The Battalion news department is managed by students at Texas A&M University in Student Media, a unit of the Division of Student Affairs. News ofďŹ ces are in The Grove, Bldg. 8901. Newsroom phone: 979-845-3313; Fax: 979-845-2647; E-mail: metro@thebatt.com; website: http://www.thebatt.com. Advertising: Publication of advertising does not imply sponsorship or endorsement by The Battalion. For campus, local, and national display advertising, call 979-845-2696. For classiďŹ ed advertising, call 979-845-0569. Advertising ofďŹ ces are in The Grove, Bldg. 8901, and ofďŹ ce hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Fax: 979-845-2678. Subscriptions: A part of the Student Services Fee entitles each Texas A&M student to pick up a single copy of The Battalion. First copy free, additional copies $1. Mail subscriptions are $125 per school year. To charge by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express, call 979-845-2613.

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1/26/12 12:33 AM


sports

page 4 thursday 1.26.2012

thebattalion

Two Tebows Jared Baxter: More than one side to the quarterback

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or better or worse, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is the most compelling individual — not just athlete — in America today.

Everyone knows who Tebow is, or at least one would expect as much by now. Yet, some weeks back, an old friend of mine asked me who he was, why he was so famous and why everyone cared so much about a guy who played football. That’s when it hit me like a wobbly Tebow pass: How do you explain Tebowmania to someone who has never witnessed it? The conversation was comparable to that of breaking down Aggie traditions to a newcomer. The answer: It’s the story — the journey of his life and his religious beliefs — that sets Tebow apart. “We all have life experiences that can bless the lives of others,� Tebow writes in his book Through My Eyes. “Whoever we are. Wherever we find ourselves. Whatever we are involved in, no matter our age or station in life.� To an outsider, Tebow’s obsessive following by fans and media makes no sense. Here is a player who, on his best days at the professional level, manages to complete only half of his passes. He typically disappears from the stats sheet for three and a half quarters, flips his inner-switch to “Tebow Time� and then pulls off a miraculous comeback in the closing minutes. But “Tebow Time� does not always guarantee a victory. No, he fumbles. Sometimes he throws an untimely interception. Or he just gets sacked trying to run for his life. If Tebowmania was defined by nothing except highlight-reel comebacks, then we as a society would be wasting our attention, right? At every major junction, Tebow has managed to prove his critics wrong, whether that was winning national championships, the Heisman Trophy, or becoming a first-round NFL draft pick. He wasn’t supposed to succeed with his long, windup throwing motion. His running game — the Tebow jump pass, those furious scrambles up the field — were not meant to succeed against pro defenses. And yet none of those aspects of Tebow’s fame are what drives his following. It is his outspokenness and adherence to Christianity that fuels the controversial fire. Where Tebow is the ultimate competitor and team leader, he is also the symbol of America’s never ending religious debate. I once listened to someone tell me I must hate God for criticizing one of Tebow’s quarterbacking performances. Somehow the two could not be separated, and it was either forgive Tebow for his lack of production that particular day or exempt him from criticism all together. What some fail to realize is that Tebow’s

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tim Tebow is an NFL star, something that fans often overlook. devotion to God exempts him from nothing and grants him no special football privileges. Tebow the quarterback and Tebow the believer are two separate personas that make up one individual. When Tebow drops back in the pocket and scans the field he’s not thinking, “God has my back on this one,� before he chucks the ball down field. He’s thinking about defensive coverages and finding open receivers. The man is out there to score points, win games, work hard and earn a paycheck while he’s at it. Tebow the believer? He thanks God for allowing him to win those games. He thanks God for his teammates time and time again. And when Tebow is not around football, he travels the globe spreading the Christian gospel through his own charitable foundation. “God challenges us to change the world,� Tebow wrote. “And to accomplish this, He asks us to change it one life at a time.� Those who adhere to Tebow’s beliefs tend to want these two personas to be one and the same. They want Tebow’s on-field success to be attributed directly to his beliefs. Several Republican presidential candidates have reportedly even reached out to Tebow for a political endorsement, only to be refused. I shudder at the thought of a quarterback being viewed as an election game-changer. Tebow is not a messiah. He is not working the miracles of God in football. And one does not have to be a believer in Christianity in order to appreciate his competitive spirit and accolades. Revel in Tebowmania. Go on a “Tebowing� spree, if you must. But remember, he’s just Tim Tebow: Man. Quarterback. Believer in God. Jared Baxter is a senior media telecommunications major

Kristen Womac Management Andrew Wood Psychology Benjamin Wood Meteorology Dorothy Wood English Amber Woodin Biomedical Sciences

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students | 577 s & graduate students seniors

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CLASS OF ’12:

Miss your graduation portrait last fall?

FEB. 13-16 will be your last chance to have it made for Texas A&M’s 2012 Aggieland yearbook.

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UNIVERSITY DINING

To schedule your portrait appointment, go to www.thorntonstudio.com. Then go to School Portraits, Scheduling, click New User, complete form with Registration Password: tamu, click submit and login; or call 1-800-883-9449, or see the photographer Monday, Feb. 13, in Room 308 of Rudder Tower. There is no charge to get your senior or graduate student section photo in Texas A&M University’s 110th yearbook.

1/25/12 11:57 PM


news

page 5 thursday 1.26.2012

thebattalion

American student rescued during Somalia raid PHILADELPHIA — An American aid worker rescued by Navy SEALs in Somalia was a student leader at her Christian grade school, attended a religious college in suburban Philadelphia and “fell in love with Africa” while doing student teaching in Nairobi. The Rev. Don Meyer, president of Valley Forge Christian College, said everyone at the small school in suburban Philadelphia is thankful their prayers have been answered with word that 2007 graduate Jessica Buchanan, 32, was rescued along with Poul Hagen Thisted, a 60-year-old Dane. The two were working with a demining unit when gunmen kidnapped them in October. “Ever since Jessica was captured, we all as a community have been praying for her safety and for her safe release,” Meyer said in a telephone interview. “The priority is just how grateful we are that she is safe.” The SEALs parachuted down in the early morning darkness Wednesday, killing nine kidnappers and freeing Buchanan and Hagen. President Barack Obama ordered the rescue after intelligence indicated Buchanan’s health was failing, according to a senior administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly. A Danish Refugee Council official said Buchanan was “not that ill” but needed medicine. The family reported that her health is good, Meyer said. Relatives did not immediately comment. The family had asked people at the school to keep quiet about the case while authorities tried to negotiate Buchanan’s release, Meyer said. Now, he said, the school wants to offer its “deep gratitude” to the people who worked to free her. Buchanan was an elementary education major at Valley Forge Christian, which has about 1,100 students, and had done a student teaching stint at Rosslyn Academy in Nairobi as part of her course work, Meyer said. “She fell in love with Africa,” he said. “She could hardly talk about Africa without tears in her eyes.” Minutes after giving his State of the Union address to Congress, Obama was on the phone with Buchanan’s father to tell him his daughter was safe. “Her life story is a model of what we prepare our students to do,” Meyer said. “Now,

The Associated Press

Jessica Buchanan, 32, was rescued along with Poul Hagen during a helicopter raid performed by the Navy SEALs in Somalia on Wednesday. the priority, though, is that she be joined with her family. ... It’s thrilling beyond words.” Before Buchanan’s family moved from Ohio years ago, she attended the now-closed Ridgeville Christian School, a preschoolthrough-12th-grade campus in Springboro, north of Cincinnati. There, she was a student leader very involved in activities and sports, including basketball and volleyball, said retired high school science teacher Roy Merrill. “She was an outstanding student,” Merrill said. “She had a lot of drive to get things done.” Elementary school teacher Carol Richards said Buchanan and her family were “very Christian people.” “We are so excited,” she said of the rescue. “Many prayers have been answered.” The Associated Press

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1/25/12 11:05 PM


voices

page 6 thursday 1.26.2012

thebattalion

MAILCALL freshman English major Beloved Reader, If the following discourse reads as inordinately abrupt in addressing an issue, such is my disappointment — I am left with no other recourse than but to touch upon the object of my rue in melancholy haste. This past Thursday, I was obliged to purchase a textbook for an English Literature course — however I am entirely sure this is not a singular matter — and as I perused through the highly costly text, my heart gradually plummeted until my hands carried my eyes on their palms in heartbroken ire. To believe the book esteemed as an Introduction to Literature mostly consists of 20th century writing when 500 years of literature are completely in our capacity to read! I do not understand in the least why, simply with the inclusion of Shakespeare and five or six more historic writers, the editors are pleased with their product. I can but admit it is no wonder Literature has lost its appeal for youthful ambition; with the utter neglect of the thrilling history behind the

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junior nuclear enginnering major Upon reading Wednesday’s issue of The Battalion, I was sorely disappointed in the misrepresented views of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo on Wikipedia’s decision to blackout to raise awareness of House Bill SOPA and Senate Bill PIPA. The outof-context tweet is even bolded and repeated at the bottom of the article. Subsequent tweets between Dick Costolo and Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, clarify that Costolo was only referring to Twitter when he tweeted “closing a global business in reaction to single issue national politics is foolish.” He expresses that he himself would be hypothetically foolish to blackout, given Twitter’s nature as an effective tool for disseminating information. Costolo tweeted @jimmy_wales on Jan. 16 “[I] was only referring

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to Twitter in response to explicit tweet suggesting we lacked courage for not shutting down....” Wales later responded “Thank you. The Guardian misinterpreted you. I thought so. You guys rock.” I’m happy to see an article about SOPA/PIPA in The Battalion, but I would expect the writers to at least perform basic research before submitting the article and it ending up on the front page with false information.

From Hung Nguyen, junior mechanical enginnering major In Monday’s issue, The Battalion had an article named “Year of the Dragon, International Aggies celebrate Chinese New Year.” As an international student from Vietnam, I felt offended by the title of this article. I have many Chinese friends and I love all of their traditions but I don’t celebrate

Chinese New Year. In fact, like many international students coming from countries that use the lunisolar calendar, I celebrate Lunar New Year which marked the first day in this calendar. If the article was about inclusiveness and reaching out to different cultures then it should have used a more inclusive language. Many student groups on campus rather than Chinese students celebrate this “New Year” holiday and they clearly do not celebrate their holiday as a Chinese one. Even on the official website of the White House when President Obama sent out a message about this holiday, he used the term “Lunar New Year”. From this incident, I believe that The Battalion staff should do more research before publishing an article on the newspaper front page.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and forum participants in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of Texas A&M University, The Battalion or its staff.

MAILCALL GUESTCOLUMNS Make your opinion known by submitting Mail Call or guest columns to The Battalion. Mail call must be fewer than 200 words and include the author’s name, classification, major and phone number. Staff and faculty must include title. Guest columns must be fewer than 700 words. All submissions should focus on issues not personalities, become property of The Battalion and are subject to editing for style, clarity and space concerns. Anonymous letters will be read, but not printed. The Battalion will print only one letter per author per month. No mail call will appear in The Battalion’s print or online editions before it is verified. Direct all correspondence to: Editor in chief of The Battalion (979) 845-3315 | mailcall@thebatt.com

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1/25/12 11:07 PM


news

page 7 thursday 1.26.2012

thebattalion

the

battalion Senate Continued from page 1

interested in making sure the rivalry resumes as soon as possible.” During the SEC shakeup last fall, University administration indicated A&M would like to continue the annual rivalry with the Longhorns, a sentiment that was not returned in Austin. Loftin also spoke for the second time Wednesday about the possibility of renovating Kyle Field. He broke silence about the topic during a public economic meeting in the morning. Loftin said discussions about renovating Kyle Field began before he took office in

Roger Zhang — THE BATTALION

University President R. Bowen Loftin responds to a question Wednesday evening in Koldus building.

Online Degree Continued from page 1

campus where they could obtain this degree … I even have one student this semester who is living in Israel,” Spickermann said. “We’re trying to fill a gap here.” Dean of distance education at Blinn College Mark Workman said there are a lot of opportunities for Blinn and Texas A&M to work hand-in-hand to meet the growing market of students seeking online degrees. At Texas A&M, the efforts to reach an online degree-seeking market target the graduatelevel of distance education, but does not have a centralized system to promote online programs for undergraduate students. “Some universities have created a centralized management system for distance education in order to monitor compliance with quality standards, provide some central marketing and promotions,” said Chad Wootton, associate vice president for External Affairs. “At A&M we have moved away from this model, in order to ensure the distance education experience is closely aligned with the campus-based experience.” Texas A&M offers more than 20 different graduate degree programs for distance learning. “We continue to see growth opportunities at the graduate level,” Wootton said. “…Particularly in programs that have markets of students who desire advanced credentials and deeper knowledge in their discipline or career.” Wootton said that nationwide online degrees have the highest rate of failure to complete by students. “Among the highest reasons is time management,” Wootton said. “While technology is providing new tools to enhance the experience, students studying online require considerable amount of individual contact.” Wootton said the University found careerminded professional students seeking graduatelevel credentials to be the most appropriate market for distance education. “Six to eight new degree programs offered online increased 50 percent or more online over the last year-and-half,” Wooton said. “I would expect each department is working with its faculty to determine others each year.” “This number of degree programs is higher than the number currently offered by UT-Aus-

Economy Continued from page 1

is normally reinvested into community projects, but recently some of these funds are being set aside to build a conference center. Reeh said that this is a poor use of the funds, however, because large meetings are becoming less common across the private sector. Loftin, during his brief seg-

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2010 and included proposals to add permanent seating to the south end zone, updating the East and West sides and even the prospect of reducing the stadium’s capacity. He quickly dismissed the possibility of reduction, citing high attendance this year — averaging more than 87,000 fans per game at a stadium with official capacity beneath 83,000. “We haven’t built Kyle Field in a very systematic way — sort of ad hoc,” Loftin said. “And the amenities are very low, compared to more modern stadiums.” Loftin said the University intends to select a company to develop conceptual designs of renovations and will consult students and donors regarding financially feasible options. Kyle Womack, student advocate of student services and senior history major, said decisions to expand or renovate must follow community feedback. “The goal is that, whatever we do, don’t impact local vendors,” Womack said regarding concerns that expanding the south end zone would require A&M to play home games in Houston for one season. “As far as we know, the administration is going to be very open, very honest regarding any plans going forward.” Shifting gears, student senator Scott Bowen expressed concern regarding University hiring practices and the role of affirmative action. Loftin said the first priority is to separate candidates based on credentials before giving preferential treatment to minorities and women, as prescribed by federal law. “Sometimes you’ll find… two people of the same exact degree of qualifications, and that’s when affirmative action does come into play, when you have no distinguishing feature regarding qualifications,” Loftin said. Student senator Drew Barber said the policy is in line with the University’s best interests. “Obviously, the University has a strong commitment to diversity — not only diversity of background and ethnicity, but also a commitment to a diversity of ideas,” Barber said. “And if this is a way to do so, we must continue.”

tin and many tier-one research universities in the nation,” Wootton said. For undergraduates, Wootton said he believes there will be more hybrid courses, as well as pockets of full distance course offerings, but not full distance degrees. The primary reasons for a lack of undergraduate programs offered online at Texas A&M is because state and federal rules require more than 50 percent of the credit hours required for a degree to be available online and the cost of maintaining the associated technological infrastructure. As well, Wootton said the undergraduate experience at A&M is not limited to a quality education but also includes the skills learned through on-campus experiences. “Everything is a marketable item; you just have to know how to market it,” said Johnnie Hammock, senior biochemistry major. “If there’s a percentage of people out there willing to invest in it then go for it, but if there’s not then all you’re doing is throwing money down a sink hole.” If Texas A&M is committed to making the experience for students pursuing degrees by distance education as similar in rigor and as communal as a classroom experience then there are considerable costs to having a quality distance education program, Wootton said. “Distance programs can impact the University financially in that it can bring more students to study without limits of physical infrastructure of classrooms,” Wootton said. “And some markets of students are willing to pay premium for convenience.” Graduate distance education programs, such as the masters of science in statistics degree, have grown their program by investing in online infrastructures; including lecture capture technology, which enables instructors to stream lectures and lecture materials, online applications, the eLearning system and online library resources, as well. Most professors agree that the on-campus experience should never be replaced, but that online opportunities will continue to expand as technologies develop and markets grow. “Ultimately, students will be selling themselves and their credentials in whatever profession they choose,” Wootton said. “The ‘value’ of the degree they have will come not in the completion documentation but in their ability to articulate and apply what they have learned.”

ment, gave a few hints as to the future of Kyle Field in light of A&M’s move to the Southeastern Conference. “A new six month study is underway to create concepts for redesigning Kyle Field,” Loftin said. “The changes will range from superficial ones to major changes. At summer’s end we will reach a decision.” Last year’s average home attendance reached a record high of 87,000. Visitors to

A&M brought millions more revenue in 2011 than in 2010, Loftin added. He also explained that next year the SEC will bring more fans from further distances that stay in College Station longer. “We’re all in this together,” Loftin said. “What happens at Kyle Field and Texas A&M helps to run the engine of the local economy.”

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news

page 8 thursday 1.26.2012

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thebattalion

Fuel School ignites passion in students Joanna Raines The Battalion “There’s a movement across the country of unprecedented worship and prayer across campuses.” said Cynthia Griffith, founder of College Station House of Prayer. The College Station House of Prayer is hoping to bring this movement to the Texas A&M campus this weekend through Fuel School. Justin Rizzo, Josh Hawkins, and Brandon Hammons are coming from the International House of Prayer to lead students in worship and teaching. The goal of the event is to equip students with the skills needed for growth in their prayer life in a collegiate atmosphere. “There’s going to be awesome worship and testimonies from different students about worship and prayer on campus and within the college community.” Griffith said. “The teaching will all be biblically based, and it will all point to what the Lord is doing on campuses.” The Fuel School event will begin Friday night, and continue all day Saturday. It will consist of four sessions, which are all free. The College Station House of Prayer hosted Fuel School two years ago. It brought together students of different churches and organizations, and impacted them spiritually. “We had a huge response, and it really impacted students then.” Griffith said, “There were some really crazy testimonies of people whose lives were radically changed.” Stefan Quartemont, junior genetics major, was a freshman when he attended the first conference and said it was a life changing experience. “I met a community of people that were extremely passionate and extremely ex-

Jorge Montalvo — THE BATTALION

pressive about how they felt about Jesus. I could tell they weren’t people who were passively doing it as a hobby,” Quartemont said. Quartemont said it was the first time he connected with fellow believers and because of Fuel School, was able to forge relationships with people from a variety of churches and organizations. While the event is based around Christianity, representatives said the event is open to people of all faiths. The purpose is to be educational, and geared toward anyone who wants to know more about Christian prayer and worship. Members of the College Station House of Prayer hope for more life changing responses this year. They said their mission is based on the First Commandment, which is to love God.

“To me that looks like loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Not just giving God time on a Sunday… but every day of the week every moment,” said Blake Shulze, president of the College Station House of Prayer. Every morning on campus, students meet for prayer at All Faiths Chapel. The students come from a variety of churches and organizations. Shulze said that he hopes to see more students join their efforts as a result of Fuel School. “I think that’s what my number one prayer and goal would be for the conference. That it wouldn’t just be an event, but that out of it hearts would be transformed and go into a place of worship and prayer as a lifestyle and on a continual basis.” Shulze said.

nation&world Whales shot in New Zealand Conservation staff in New Zealand have put down 33 stranded whales after several attempts to refloat them failed. The pilot whales shot Thursday were the last of 99 that stranded themselves Monday on Farewell Spit on the South Island. Department of Conservation area manager John Mason says staff and hundreds of volunteers had tried all week to get the whales refloated. He says they thought they were successful Wednesday when they got the whales into deep water — but were saddened Thursday to find that they had swum back ashore.

Stranded pilot whales are helped by volunteers at Farewell Spit on New Zealand’s South Island.

The Associated Press

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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