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thebatt.com

Calling all hippies The next potentially big Texas music festival, UTOPiAfest, is fast approaching. Steve Wells, music blogger for The Battalion provides a lo-down over at thebatt.com.

coming tuesday

Bicycle patrol The bicycle police have been out in force the first several weeks of school. Pick up a copy of The Battalion to find how you can avoid a $140 citation this semester.

thebattalion ● monday,

october 3, 2011

● serving

texas a&m since 1893

● first paper free – additional copies $1 ● © 2011 student media

Wrecking who?

If I felt like our defense was playing a little bit better, I probably would have gone for it ...

If this had been last year — probably would have.” — A&M head coach Mike Sherman on why the offense punted twice on fourth down and short

inside sports | 5 Volleyball spikes it A&M volleyball ended Kansas State’s winning streak and soccer split its road games during the weekend. Details about the weekend of sports inside.

voices | 6 Major changes Many majors with low enrollment are being streamlined into single majors which contain specialized tracks in attempt to improve efficiency.

news for you texas Border patrol mounts up MCALLEN — The U.S. Border Patrol is returning to its roots in the lower Rio Grande Valley, training six wild mustangs to carry agents in mounted patrols. The patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector adopted the horses from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse relocation program. The Border Patrol has trained them for riding and on remaining calm when there are loud noises from helicopters, allterrain vehicles, patrol dogs and gunfire. Mounted unit supervisor Mary Olivares told The Monitor that the horses “allow the agents to work in areas that are not accessible to other vehicles.” Associated Press

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Samantha Virnau — THE BATTALION

Arkansas receiver Jarius Wright fights for yardage against four Aggie defenders. Wright tied a school record with 13 catches.

A&M needs serious heart-to-heart after second straight collapse

I

n the words of former NFL head coach Bill Parcells, “You are what you are.” And right now, Texas A&M is a football team that doesn’t know how to finish games. It’s hard to win when you don’t score in the second half, and it’s even harder when you allow opposing quarterbacks to break school records for passing yards in consecutive weeks. For all of A&M’s first half brilliance running the ball — Christine Michael went berserk — the team could only muster a field goal after halftime. How does a team rush for 381 yards and fail to control the outcome? I have no concrete answer. Neither did A&M head coach Mike Sherman, who said

History repeats itself ◗ Texas A&M second half defense, last two weeks:

vs.

Jared Baxter senior media studies major and managing editor for The Battalion

Points allowed Total yards Comp.-att. Pass yards

vs. 27 299 30-37 286

25 297 16-17 239

◗ Arkansas went from giving up 404 yards in the first half to 224 in the second half.

he could not remember ever losing a game after amassing such a rushing total. Sherman struck the offensive balance he said was ideal, and yet running the football 54 times still didn’t feel like enough. It wasn’t enough to go for it on crucial fourth down situations, and it wasn’t enough to keep Arkansas receiver Jarius Wright off the field. Like a video game money play, Wright ran up middle seam of the defense and caught pass after pass. He broke Arkansas’ record for

◗ A&M’s losing streak against SEC opponents spans seven games and 16 years. ◗ The Aggies are 0-4 at Cowboys Stadium. ◗ A&M hasn’t forced a turnover in 15 quarters. ◗ Before Saturday’s game, A&M had never lost while rushing for more than 200 yards.

See Football on page 4

campus

state

Water bottle filling stations help raise green awareness

Republican candidates to debate in Rudder Justin Mathers

Megan Nolan The Battalion Students who stopped by any of the five bottle filling stations around campus last week met members of the Environmental Issues Committee, who distributed free refillable water bottles to increase awareness of new green initiatives. “The Environmental Issues Committee of SGA is dedicated to increasing awareness of opportunities for sustainable living,” said Environmental Issues Committee co-chair, Amanda Cernovich “This being said, EIC’s role is to promote the use of the refill stations and reusable water bottles as an alternative to one-time use plastic water bottles.” Carol Binzer, director of administrative and support services for Residence Life, said the stations are able to satisfy any thirsty student tired of cycling through disposable containers. “The drinking stations are retrofitted onto existing water fountains and provide refrigerated, filtered water at no cost to the filler,” Binzer said. Binzer said using the stations is extremely easy, and helps make Aggieland more environmentally and health conscious. “They are intuitive; put your bottle un-

Kolin Loveless — THE BATTALION

One of the five water bottle filling stations found across campus. der the facet and the sensor starts filling,” Binzer said. “The stations keep plastic bottles out of the landfill, make healthier lifestyle choices, are more attainable and offers an alternative to soda or other drinks.“ Cernovich said each station is equipped with a counter that tracks its usage. “The counters track how many plastic water bottles have been saved for each individual station,” Cernovich said.”This helps students realize what a difference they See Water on page 5

The Battalion Students will have the opportunity to hear from seven Republican candidates who are campaigning to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy left by Kay Bailey Hutchison, who announced she will not run for re-election in 2012. The A&M College Republicans worked alongside several Republican organizations in the Brazos valley to bring the candidates to A&M. The debate will start at 6 p.m. and continue to 8 p.m. Monday at Rudder Auditorium. Susan Laue, a member of the Republican Women of Brazos Valley, said the event will educate attendees about candidates’ stances and show Texas politicians that the Brazos Valley and its students are paying attention to national issues. “We believe the greater the attendance, the more credence these candidates and future statewide candidates alike will accord the citizens in our region. We have a substantial electorate that deserves respect and consideration,” Laue said. Student government was also instrumental bringing this forum to A&M. Bryce Bender, senior industrial distribution major and SGA legislative relations commissioner, said he hopes to have a second debate next semester. “We reached out to the Democratic party and are planning on doing something with them in January, that way we will have both parties represented on campus,” Bender said. “Essentially it’s bringing the See Candidates on page 2

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Randy Luck — THE BATTALION

The equestrian team started in 1998 and has won nine national titles, one reserved national championship and one conference championship.

Candidates Continued from page 1

political process closer to students, giving them a chance to hear from someone who might likely be our new senator.” Notably absent from the candidate lineup is Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. “Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst … is apparently not doing any events around Texas at all right now. He is the only one who declined the invitation,” Bender said. Organizers said the debate is free to attend. Bill Flores, first-term U.S. congressman from Bryan-College Station, will mediate the forum. The candidates Glenn Addison’s professional background is as an independent insurance agent. He has also served on the Magnolia ISD School Board since 1997, and for six years as president of the school board. From 2003 to 2008, Ted Cruz served as Texas’ Solicitor General, the state’s chief lawyer before the U.S. Supreme Court and all state and federal appellate courts. Cruz is the youngest solicitor general in the

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nation, the longest serving solicitor general in Texas, and is Texas’ first Hispanic solicitor general. Andrew Castanuela served in the Air Force until 2008 and now works with a Central Texas nonprofit organization, Center for Life Resources, providing drug and alcohol counseling to teens and adults. Castanuela said he is concerned with government and fiscal spending. As a sixth-generation Texan, Elizabeth Jones currently serves as Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates Texas’ energy industries. Jones has also served as a state legislator. Tom Leppert served as mayor of Dallas from 2000 to 2011. Before this role, Leppert held private-sector positions in construction, financial services and real estate, including CEO of The Turner Corporation, a general building company. Lela Pittenger is a West Texas native with an agricultural background. Pittinger became involved in politics four years ago, and is campaigning to “return our nation to its roots of Judeo-Christian values and Constitutional government,” according to her website.

nation&world Chris Christie enters GOP race MANCHESTER, N.H. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s entry into the 2012 presidential race could dramatically reshape what has become a two-man race between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. But Christie, who’s under pressure from party elders to run, hasn’t faced national Christie scrutiny — and he could join other early favorites who burned out fast. The budget-cutting Christie is the latest heartthrob of Republicans who have been looking for a more exciting candidate than Romney. Associated Press

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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 offices 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 classified advertising, call 979-845-0569. Advertising offices are in The Grove, Bldg. 8901, and office 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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cross country | The men’s team placed seventh at the Notre Dame Invitiational during the weekend.

golf | The No. 16 women’s team tied for fifth at the Mason Rudolph Fall Preview during the weekend.

softball | First pitch between A&M and Temple Junior College is at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

sports

thebatt.com

thebattalion monday 10.3.2011 page3

Weekend recaps Full recaps of A&M volleyball, soccer and golf are available online.

volleyball

Aggies tame Wildcats’ streak Mark DorĂŠ Special to The Battalion The A&M volleyball team stopped the red-hot Kansas State Wildcats in their tracks Saturday, ending Kansas State’s nine-match winning streak in straight sets (25-22, 25-20, 25-18). The Aggies (13-3, 2-1 Big 12) handed the Wildcats (134, 2-1 Big 12) their first Big 12 Conference loss as the two teams moved into a tie for third place in the league. A&M improves to 6-0 at home on the season. A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli said that her team’s preparation contributed to the win. “Kansas State is one of the hottest teams in the Big 12 right now,â€? Corbelli. “Our goal was to serve them tough and get out blocking going early. We had scouted them pretty well and our players responded beautifully with the plan.â€?

Up next Wednesday 6:30 p.m. at Texas TV-FSN Saturday 6:30 p.m. at Kansas Junior middle blocker Lindsey Miller helped to contain K-State sophomore blocker Kaitlynn Pelger and the rest of the Wildcats at the net with a career-high nine blocks. Miller had three blocks in a row during a decisive 10-0 Aggie run in the second set that Miller said brought new energy. “It definitely was a big shift of momentum,� Miller said. “And a 10-0 run isn’t very common. We always try to focus on smaller runs like runs of three points and runs of five points, but it was definitely the blocking that helped out tonight and made things easier for the defense.� Pelger came into the match as the reigning back-to-back Big 12 Conference Offen-

sive Player of the Week, but A&M held the conference leader in kills (4.77) and points per set (5.85) to eight kills and nine digs for the match. Corbelli said that Miller and the Aggies’ serve were key to this disruption. “I thought our serving was tough enough to discourage them to run their middle,� Corbelli. “It kept them a little but out of system. Lindsey had nine blocks, it was definitely a career night for her in blocking, and that was a big reason why [Pelger] was struggling tonight. But it definitely started with their passing being a little off.� Senior hitter Kelsey Black keyed the Aggie attack with a game-high 16 kills along with 10 digs and a team-leading .357 hitting percentage. Black’s double-double was her tenth of the season. Sophomore setter Allie Sawatzky’s 30 assists helped A&M best Kansas State

Big 12 standings OU ISU Texas A&M KSU Texas Missouri Baylor Texas Tech Kansas

Big 12 3-0 3-1 2-1 2-1 2-1 1-2 1-3 0-2 0-3

Overall 16-3 12-3 13-3 13-4 9-4 14-5 12-6 14-3 11-4

in kills, 42-37. With the game tied 20-20 late in the first set, a tightly contested volley went A&M’s way and spurred a run that ended the set 25-22. The Aggies out-hit the Wildcats .250 to .176 for the match, and Corbelli praised the team’s consistency. “I think it’s been a little characteristic of us early in our season to have a drop off after a good run of points and we really stayed consistent tonight,� Roger Zhang — THE BATTALION Corbelli said. Senior hitter Kelsey Black serves against Kansas State.

Soccer splits Midwest road trip vs. Mizzou, Kansas James Solano The Battalion The No. 13 Texas A&M soccer team (8-5, 2-1 Big 12) ended its fivegame win streak with a 1–0 loss at the Missouri Tigers Friday. The Aggies bounced back Sunday to blank the Kansas Jayhawks, 3–0. Despite leading Mizzou in shots, 18-16, and shots on goal, 11-7, the Aggies were unable to connect on any goals Friday night. The Tigers handed the Aggies their first conference loss of the season. “It’s a tough result for us,� head

a lot of chances and put them under a lot of pressure and they passed the test.� The Aggies bounced back Sunday with a 3–0 shutout over the Jayhawks, improving their conference record 2-1. In the ninth minute of Sunday’s match, freshman midfielder Katie Perry assisted on senior forward Merritt Mathias’ fourth goal of the season. “When you play as physicallydemanding a game as we had to play on Friday,� Guerrieri said, “respond-

Up next Friday 7 p.m. at Texas Tech coach G Guerrieri said. “[Missouri] fought and fought and fought and we’ve got to be able to finish the chances we create.� The first half of the match was a defensive effort that led the two teams into the half gridlocked at 0–0. “In the last nine minutes, we went ahead and threw everything at them,� Guerrieri said. “We created

ing with a pretty resounding 3-0 victory was a pretty good wrap-up for the weekend.� The Aggies opened the lead to 2-0 when freshman Allie Bailey netted a goal in the 33 minute. The final goal of the game came from a penalty kick with six minutes remaining by freshman forward Kelley Monogue. The Aggies outshot the Jayhawks, 20-16, placing seven shots on frame. The 3–0 blanking marks the first time Kansas has been shutout this season.

Big 12 standings OSU Texas A&M Texas Tech Texas Baylor Kansas Missouri Iowa State Oklahoma

Big 12 3-0 3-1 2-0-1 2-2 1-1-1 1-2 1-3 0-2 0-2

Overall 14-0 9-5 8-3-2 8-4 9-2-2 8-5 9-5 6-5 -1 5-8

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NEW YORK — The protesters who have been camping out in Manhattan’s Financial District for more than two weeks eat donated food and keep their laptops running with a portable gas-powered generator. They have a newspaper — the Occupied Wall Street Journal — and a makeshift hospital. They lack a clear objective, though they speak against corporate greed, social inequality, global climate change and other concerns. But they’re growing in numbers, getting more organized and showing no sign of quitting. City ofďŹ cials “thought we were going to leave and we haven’t left,â€? 19-year-old protester Kira Moyer-Sims said. “We’re going to stay as long as we can.â€? The arrests of more than 700 people on Saturday as thousands tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge seemed to pour oil on the rage of those who camped out overnight in Zuccotti Park, a private plaza off Broadway near Wall Street. The growing, cross-country movement “signals a shift in consciousness,â€? said Jared Schy, a young man sitting squeezed between three others who participated in Saturday’s march from Manhattan’s Financial District to the bridge. Associated Press

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Junior running back Christine Michael rushed for 230 yards and three touchdowns against Arkansas. gone for it. I felt like I just couldn’t give them a shortened field,� Sherman said. “If we were had been playing better defense — if this had been last year — we probably would have.� After the post game press conference, I made my way through Jerry’s world and back to the parking lot. Three of my friends, Aggies, waited for me next to my car. One had her head down; the other two had a stare on their face that summed up Saturday’s experience. We didn’t want to talk about the game. But as we made our way back to College Station, we couldn’t help but to break it down: the defensive lapses, the lack of second half scoring, the disappointment of losing to another SEC team. The more we talked about it, the more we came to understand the scope of an entire season. I arrived home realizing that hope isn’t lost. There are still seven games left to decide the Big 12 conference title. There’s still a trip to Norman, Okla., to face those No. 3 Sooners. As Aggies, we held our heads high and moved on to next week against Texas Tech — because that’s who we are.

Football Continued from page 1

receiving yards (204) in the first half alone. With linebackers matched up in coverage and the safeties deep, Arkansas’ offense quickly turned into a “let’s throw it until they stop it� style of attack. And if that wasn’t painful enough, Wright managed to recover an end zone fumble amongst a sea of Aggies to tie the game in the fourth quarter. “We saw before the game, that they left the middle open a lot,� Wright said. “They did it against us too and we had to make them pay.� Junior linebacker Sean Porter, the Big 12 leader in sacks at 5.5, said that the corners and safeties can’t be the only source of pressure — the blitz needs to come from the guys whose No. 1 priority is to bring down the quarterback, not covering receivers. Sherman’s lack of trust in his defense resulted in two punts on fourth and short situations — the Hogs returned the favor by scoring touchdowns following both kicks. “If I felt like our defense was playing a little bit better, I probably would have





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HELP WANTED Athletic men for calendars, books, etc. $100-$200/hr, up to $1000/day. No experience. aggieresponse@gmail.com Cheddar’s Casual Cafe and Fish Daddy’s on University Drive are now accepting applications for servers and hostesses. Come be a part of our friendly team! Apply in person. EOE. Cleaning commercial buildings at night, M-F. Call 979-823-5031 for appointment. Groundskeeper Wanted for Property Management Co. in Bryan & CS, must have reliable truck and clean criminal record, F/T position, apply in person, call for details 979.775.2291 J. Cody’s hiring at all positions, apply within, 3610 S. College. No experience necessary just common sense!

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HELP WANTED Med Tech for full-time, medical allergy office. Excellent benefits. Great experience for student applying to medical or nursing school. Degree in Biomedical Science and one year commitment required. Please fax resume to 979-485-0575, apply in person at 3306 Longmire Drive CS, TX, or email resume to susanc@aggieallergist.com Personal Assistant. Assistant and cooking preperation, shopping, review bills, internet price comparison, outdoor work, some heavy lifting, lawn mowing, landscaping, and trips to bank or post office. Must be professional on telephone and in person. Punctual, friendly, able to complete assignments in a timely fashion and possess good organizational skills. Email: mpaull@suddenlinkmail.com PT Graphic Designer: Must know Photoshop and have web design experience. Email resume to cpaull@netperspective.com or all 979-695-9955. Seeking tutor for high school freshman for geometry, AP biology, and spanish. Please call 979-690-7613 after 7pm. STUDENTPAYOUTS.COM Paid Survey Takers Needed In College Station. 100% Free To Join. Click On Surveys.

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REAL ESTATE B/CS. Sell/Buy/Invest! Re/Max, Michael McGrann. TAMU ‘93 Civil Engineering. 979-739-2035, Nadia McGrann, 979-693-1851. aggierealtor.com

Tutors wanted for all subjects currently taught at TAMU/ Blinn and Sam Houston State starting at $8.25/hour. Apply on-line @ www.99Tutors.com, 979-268-8867.

LOST & FOUND Lost Eagle Scout ring, silver color with name and troop 811. Reward! Lost 9/20. 817-517-3362.

Math, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, $35/hour, $20/half-hour, monthly/group rates available, TANSTAAFL.tutor@gmail.com Need a Tutor? Friendly, helpful one-on-one private tutors for all subjects at TAMU/Blinn and Sam Houston State. Check us out at www.99tutors.com, 979-268-8867. Organic Chemistry tutor wanted! Did you or someone you know make an “A” under Dr. Santander? 512-415-9612.

ROOMMATES 1-male roommate needed. 3bd/3ba. $400/mo. +utilities and cable. Bus-route. 1.5mi from campus. 409-466-6865.

TICKETS I need Ag football tickets! 713-436-6244 (office) or 713-454-9776 (cell).

COLLEGE SKI & BOARD WEEK

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the

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Do you want to lose 3 dress sizes in 10min? 281-901-9463.

MUSIC Best deal in town- DJ services/audio rentals. RDM Audio does it all! Weddings, parties, band set ups, PA systems, Event Lighting, 979-260-1925. rdmaudio.com Party Block Mobile DJ- Peter Block, professional 22yrs experience. Specializing in Weddings, TAMU functions, lights/smoke. Mobile to anywhere. Book early!! 979-693-6294. http://www.partyblockdj.com

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puzzle answers can be found online at www.thebatt.com

NEW YORK — Andy Rooney insisted he’s not retiring. He’s a writer, and a writer never stops being a writer. Even so, he delivered his final weekly essay on “60 Minutes” Sunday night, his last in his 33 years with the newsmagazine. It was a moment, he said he has dreaded. “I wish I Rooney could do this forever. I can’t, though,” he said. CBS News announced last week that the 92-year-old Rooney would be stepping down from his well-entrenched berth on “60 Minutes” after delivering his 1,097th commentary. “I probably haven’t said anything here that you didn’t already know or have already thought,” he said. “That’s what a writer does. A writer’s job is to tell the truth.” Associated Press

MISCELLANEOUS

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BRYAN & COLLEGE STATION: 3 & 4 BEDROOM HOUSES, W/D CONN, PETS WELCOME, ALL APPL, SOME HAVE WOOD FLOORING AND A FENCED YARD! $725-$1195/mo 979.764.RENT(7368) www.twincityproperties.com

COLLEGE STATION: 2/1 4-PLEXES, UP OR DOWNSTAIRS AVAIL, WALKING/BIKING DISTANCE FROM TAMU, ASF 825, ALL APPL, W/D CONN, CENTRAL A/H! $495-$515/ mo 979.764.RENT(7368) www.twincityproperties.com

BRYAN: 2/1.5 NEWLY RENOVATED MIDTOWN MANOR APTS, AVAILABLE NOW, STARTING AT $535 FOR QUALIFIED PART-TIME STUDENTS, W/D CONN, POOL & FREE INTERNET, CABLE & MORE! $535-$575/mo 979.775.2292 www.twincityproperties.com

can make by being more sustainable and using a reusable water bottle.” Aside from the environmental impact, Cernovich said the stations are also a smart economic feature for students, saving money that would otherwise be spent on new disposable water bottles. Freshman general studies major Zach Rohl said he likes the idea for the Rec center, even if he doesn’t use it personally. “It’s nice especially in the Rec that I don’t have to wait behind someone who’s filling up their bottle when I want to get a drink since they have their own fountains now,” Rohl said. Funding for the project represents a cooperative effort between several different groups on campus. “The Aggie Green Fund purchased the units, then sponsoring departments pay for the installation and subsequent filter changes,” Binzer said. This week’s grand openings of the stations will mark the end of a long road of planning for everyone involved. “The refill station project was submitted and approved through the Aggie Green Fund, so a detailed timeline of installation was created before the stations were even ordered,” Cernovich said. Binzer said these may be the first five stations, not the only five. “Response from students has been favorable, as indicated by their immediate use recorded by the counters,” Binzer said. “The Green Fund project already found funds to sponsor a few more and Residence Life is looking at more, specifically one for Cain Hall and the University Apartments Activity Center, and the Rec Center already has two and is looking at a possible third.”

STUDIES IN PROGRESS ATHLETES FOOT STUDY

Volunteers ages 12 and older are needed to participate in a 6 week clinical research study of an investigational topical medication for the treatment of Athletes Foot. Eligible volunteers will receive at no cost: • Study Related Medication • Skin Exams by a Dermatologist • Compensation up to $200.00 for time and effort For more information please contact:

HAIR LOSS Volunteers ages 18-49 are needed to participate in a 8 month long research study with an investigational topical medication for Hair Loss. All eligible volunteers will receive at no cost: • Study Related Examinations by a Dermatologist • Study Related Medication • Compensation for time and effort For more information please contact:

J&S Studies, Inc. 979-774-5933 1710 Crescent Pointe Parkway, College Station, TX 77845 www.js-studies.com

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10/3/11 12:01 AM


voices

page 6

oh please.

monday 10.3.2011

thebattalion

EDITOR’SNOTE 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.

Ummm… yeah. Good luck with that.

MAILCALL GUESTCOLUMNS Make your opinion known by submitting Mail Call or guest columns to The Battalion. Mail

You won’t believe your Aggie eyes!

Behold the mind-blowing feats of the NATIONAL ACROBATS OF CHINA Friday, October 7! You have only one chance to witness these unfathomable acts of fierce strength and colossal magnitude.

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

Consolidating majors

NATIONAL ACROBATS OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA Rudder Auditorium FRI, OCT 7, 2011 • 7:30 PM

ORDER YOUR TICKETS NOW! Call 979-845-1234. Buy online MSCOPAS.org

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Naila Dhanani: A&M reorganizes small degree plans for efficiency

W

hat do the German, Russian and engineering geology majors have in common? They all graduated less than 25 students in the past five years. Twenty undergraduate majors were at risk of being eliminated in the 2012-2013 school year for having too few graduates. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), said that’s reason enough for elimination. Charged to ensure public institutes of higher education meet the expectations set by the “Closing the Gaps by 2015” program, THECB has followed through on its promises, leaving Texas A&M in a far better place. Let’s be clear — money played a huge role in this decision. The Texas Legislature faced a $27 billion shortfall this year and still had to balance the budget. Cuts had to be made and higher education sure felt them. “But this was no surprise,” said Provost Karan Watson, who is also the executive vice president for Academic Affairs. The THECB notified Watson in April 2010 of which majors were low-producing, giving her several options: programs could either be eliminated or money and resources could be spent to recruit more students. Eliminating programs outright would be a great disservice to students. Instead, most low-producing degrees will be consolidated into a single degree with tracks for students who want to specialize. The most profound change, of which Watson was a driving force, will create the Department of International Studies. The International Studies Program will be consolidated down to four tracks — international studies, modern languages, Asian and Arabic languages and Asian studies. The Department Head of European and Classical Languages — which will be eliminated at the end of the year — Steven Oberhelman said the THECB wasn’t happy with A&M consolidating its languages under one department, but the decision is not theirs to make. There is a fine line between government intrusion and being held accountable as a pub-

Pg. 6-10.3.11.indd 1

lic institution financed, in part, by taxpayer dollars. Instead of lamenting that A&M must follow government mandates, we should take pride in the board’s commitment to the interests of our University. A budget shortfall is not the only reason the THECB mandated the elimination of these majors. Reforms calling for the increased productivity and efficiency led the board to fulfill its responsibility in order to elevate the quality of higher education in Texas. The best part of this decision is that faculty members were involved. Largely ignored by controversial think tanks claiming to have all the answers to higher education reform, committees composed of faculty and students met the previous summer to address reports of low productivity and chart a new course of direction. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Sarah Bednarz said engineering geology is not where the field of geology is going, thus funds spent on maintaining this low-producing major would be better off maintaining individual courses. No classes will be eliminated, nor will any faculty members be dismissed as a result of these changes. In fact, Oberhelman said he is looking to hire more professors. This is not just a catalog clean up. Watson said this is a substantial effort aimed to sustain a diverse curriculum while recognizing the reality of budget cuts. Although these changes would not have taken place without the board’s recommendation, it’s still in the best interest of our University, students, faculty and especially the administration to be grateful. After months of going nowhere, we are finally making substantial efforts at improving the quality of our education. If a significant number of students are not graduating from a particular program, why spend large amounts of money in sustaining it? It makes far more sense to consolidate these programs. Affordability shouldn’t be the driving force of higher education reform, but consolidating smaller degrees is a smart move. Naila Dhanani is a junior biomedical sciences major and columnist for The Battalion.

10/3/11 12:13 AM

The Battalion: October 3, 2011  
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