Volume II, Issue 3
Women in Washington New Congress sees fewer female members p. 3
When Harry Befriended Sally Does friendship first spell disaster for relationships? p. 8
Govts. scramble over website p. 16
Christmas comes to campus p. 20
Professors and Construction of the Ivory Tower
Letter from the Editor: Gavel Media’s present, future
To the Boston College Community, It has been an eventful year and a half getting Gavel Media started, and it has been an honor to help organize a body that aims to add to the dialogue on campus. Since our editorial board rotates every calendar year and I will be graduating in the sping, it is time for me to pass on the “gavel” to Maeve Kennedy Gormly, in whom I have utmost confidence. She will take what we have done so far to the next level. I am proud of the work of our editors and reporters. Every person had to have a passion for journalism and an entrepreneurial spirit. As with any new group, the main concern for me was to help put in place a system that would work for future generations of Gaveliers, and I am confident that the next board will take what we have created so far, refine it, and make an even bigger impact. But I also do not want to belittle what we have done. We broke the story about the union workers issue, we have been with the BC chapter of the American Association of University Professors since its inception, and we have
pushed for more dialogue on progressive issues that are in sync with Catholic views. Gavel Media is succeeding in its task of forming opinions based on facts. There is no need to insult, to belittle or to create fear — those are tactics of old politics. New politics must be rooted in facts and be sensitive to human experience — politics is not a game. These are the principles that have guided - and will continue to guide — Gavel Media. For campus journalism, we have helped bring it to the 21st Century by breaking news stories online. But we also understand the importance of traditional print journalism, which is why we still print monthly. We have helped further video broadcast journalism and usage of the Web — we are not simply a newspaper. As for the future, I am confident that Gavel Media will be there to help guide the discussion. I always tell the Gaveliers to dream big and just temper it as you go along. The sky is the limit — it just takes vision and elbow grease. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this organization because it is a worthwhile one and will play a major role in the future of BC. I am excited for the board that will take over next year, I wholeheartedly believe that Maeve will lead courageously, and with the help of Eliza Duggan (Managing Editor), the organization will achieve great things. I am grateful for the dedication of Yanira Revan (Copy Editor), Robert Rossi (Culture Editor), An-
drew Schofield (Opinions Editor), Justine Burt (Video Editor), Rodaan Rabang (Assoc. Video Editor), John Leahy (General Manager) and Sean Robbins (Business Manager), all of whom have been with Gavel Media for a while and have done great things. I am also very proud of the editorial assistants who have stepped up right when they joined Gavel Media and are making an even bigger commitment as editors: Michael Kennedy (Online Manager), Meghan Smith (News Editor), Mason Lende (Features Editor), Kenneth St. John (Assoc. Opinions Editor), William Stoll (Asst. Opinions Editor) and Aruem Shin (Assoc. Business Manager). We also welcome Jasmine Uduma (Assoc. News Editor) and Gillian Freedman (Photo Editor) to the editorial board. To the current editors who have helped this organization become what it is today: there is not enough room in this issue to thank you for believing in our mission from day one and sticking around through the highs and lows. Gavel Media will need your guidance even after you graduate. To Campus Progress and David Spett: thank you for the advice and support whenever we needed it. To the College Democrats, especially Kristoffer Munden and Andrew Slade: thank you for your support since day one and allowing us to navigate our own waters. And on the rough-
est of waves, Kris, you were there to help calm my nerves, and I am grateful. To members of the administration and faculty who have helped guide us as we were figuring things out: we would not have achieved as much without you. To the readers: thanks for your support. I hope you have found something that keeps you coming back to our pages and website. To my fellow students at BC from either side of the political aisle: while it is important to be busy with activities on campus, you cannot shelve civic duty during your years here. Most people our age are disheartened by politics. But politics needs to be changed through participation, not apathy. There is no time when we can take a break from learning about and discussing political topics that will dictate the rest of our lives. Looking back, my seven semesters at BC have been amazing. I have learned so much and am grateful for all the opportunities here. Of course, there are issues that should be fixed so we can make sure BC is the epitome of higher education in the Jesuit tradition. No matter how big BC gets and no matter how high it is ranked, at the end of the day, BC’s mission is to challenge young men and women to think, and nothing should get in the way of that. With gratitude, Tue Tran
Gavel Media seeks to serve with dynamic content
Dear Friends of Gavel Media, As outgoing editor Tue Tran passes the reins of leadership to move on to the next step in his journey, a young staff of eager editors is prepared to step up and continue the process of helping Gavel Media reach its potential. I am excited to have an opportunity to work to serve Gavel Media and, more importantly, to work to serve Boston College. Together, we aim to diversify the social, cultural and political dialogue on campus — that has been a primary goal of the Gavel family from day one. As we embark on our next chapter, we must embrace our role as a collective of independent, interested people seeking to harvest that dialogue to the best of our ability. As a board, we do not all agree on editorial content, nor do we expect a BC thinker to agree with every spread, feature or opinion expressed on our website or published in our pages. Personally, I hope that you do not agree with us unreservedly: our job is not to shove our opinions at our readers, but to encourage people to think and form their own educated beliefs. Although we are the progressive news source of BC, we seek to avoid falling into
the dichotomous political connotations of the term “progressive.” We welcome any well articulated argument, because it is through reasonable conversation and the sharing of ideas that we can truly begin to move forward. Just three semesters into Gavel Media’s existence, I am thrilled to see how this organization has flourished and how it has contributed to the personal and academic growth of many members of the Gavel family. As editors and contributing writers have come and gone, I have had the good fortune of seeing great passion and enjoying enlightening, formational conversations with some of BC’s best and brightest. I could not have asked for a better table from which to awkwardly accept a quarter sheet as I aimlessly wandered as a transfer student on student activities day. Gavel Media is a living, breathing organization — our youth is our advantage in that we do not operate as a single machine, but as a group of individuals who all have something different to contribute. We have a valuable ability to adapt and evolve to suit our members interests and abilities and, above all, the needs of BC. I encourage anyone with an interest in becoming a part of the Gavel family in any capacity to contact us at email@example.com. I would like to thank Tue and those who helped him found Gavel Media. They saw a void in campus discourse, and they had the ambition and the wherewithal to step up and help fill the hole. Together, by establishing Gavel Media, they contributed positively to what we believe should be an inclusive ex-
change of ideas that we consider to be a fundamental element of our education at a Jesuit institution of higher learning. As editor-in-chief, I seek to take this young news organization and continue to stabilize Gavel Media’s production. Fortunately, I expect to have a stellar board of talented editors who frequently impress me with their broad variety of skills and on whom I know I can rely to help continue Gavel Media’s nescient legacy. As a relatively new addition to the campus, we are constantly shaping our internal and external paths of communication, noting what works and correcting our missteps. Even in our short existence thus far, we have made notable progress from the day that we launched to the paper that you hold in your hand or the website that you see before you today. We will work together to provide readers and viewers with continuous thought-provoking content of ever-improving quality. We are aware that we are young; we are imperfect and still claiming our niche on the Heights. However, as a group, we are enthusiastic and we are capable. As a news organization, we must be able to stand behind our content, and generating quality articles and videos for the BC community is of the highest priority as Gavel Media progresses. I look forward to serving you over the course of the coming year, and I hope that you make www.bcgavel.com a regular web destination. Sincerely, Maeve Kennedy Gormly
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Number of women in Congress faces historic decline By Meghan Smith Editorial Assistant Despite the fact that many women ran in the primaries for the 2010 midterm elections, when the 112th Congress is sworn in this January, there will be a decline in the number of female members in Congress. Women in the next US Congress are projected to make up just 16 percent of the members, down from 17 percent in the previous Congress. Although the actual number of seats lost is not a huge number, the change is still significant because it is the first decrease that women in Congress have seen in 30 years. Although the number of women in Congress has never been close to proportional to that of the American population, for the past three decades each Congress has seen a steady increase in the number of women holding seats in the Senate and House of Representatives. This trend began in 1978, and women have slowly made progress in each succeeding election. The election cycle started out looking promising for women, with more female candidates seeking nominations than ever before. During the primaries, 262 women ran for House seats, which marks an increase from the previous record of 222 set in 1992, a year that was called the “Year of the Women.” Of the 113 female Republican candidates who challenged incumbents, only 32 were successful. Of the 80 Democratic women who challenged incumbents, 37 were elected. Although female Republican candidates like Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle drew a lot of attention in the general election, they lost in their respective races. The Tea Party played a big role in many elections in this cycle. Boston College professor Abigail Brooks, who teaches sociology and women’s studies, said that a possible reason for the decrease of women in Congress this year can be attributed to the general anger against the Democrats. She said in an email, “I might also hypothesize that since, in this election cycle, there was a backlash against the Democratic party and the
progressive policies the party advocates, that there would be a corresponding backlash or decline in women’s representation in politics,” Brooks said. “Since, despite some recent highprofile Republican female candidates, generally speaking, the majority of women running, and currently holding, political office in the United States are Democrats.” Although recent, visible female politicians like Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin are remaining very active in American politics, the US is far behind other countries with respect to female representation in governing institutions. According to a report from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the US ranks 90th in the percentage of women represented in the country’s houses of government. This is also due to the fact that many countries have certain quotas that need to be filled so that a proportional number of women can be elected. Not only will the number of women in Congress decrease, but many of the female members of Congress will also lose their leadership roles. Since the Republicans will have a majority in the House, they will take control of leadership and committee positions. The most notable change will be that of Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the current Speaker of the House and the first woman to hold the position. This position will go to John Boehner, who is the current Republican House Minority Leader. Three women who are currently chairwomen of committees will also lose their seats. These include Rep. Louise Slaughter of the House Rules Committee, Rep. Nydia Velázquez of the Small Business Committee and Rep. Zoe Lofgren of the House Ethics Committee. The change of leadership in the Senate will not change as drastically since the Democrats will still hold the majority. The most notable leadership change for female Senators will be Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, who is currently chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee and lost her re-election race in November. There will still be three female committee
Photo courtesy of Scrumshus via Wikimedia.org
chairwomen, Sen. Dianne Feinstein on the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer on the Environment and Public Works Committee and Sen. Mary Landrieu on the Small Business Committee, all of whom are Democrats. According to Brooks, the lack of female leaders in our current society, especially in politics, can be attributed to the difficulty that many women face because of stereotypes in our culture. “It continues to be somewhat difficult for many Americans to conceive of a female president because of deeply embedded, and I would argue socially and culturally constructed, beliefs about women’s characteristics — overly emotional, a lack of intelligence and rationality, a lack of toughness and strength — as distinct from men’s,” Brooks said. It is still unclear how this more conservative Congress will govern differently. Brooks said that it could mean there will be less attention paid to issues that affect women. “Having less women represented in politics also means less attention, awareness, and policy work focused on aspects that effect women disproportionately such as affordable, quality childcare, maternity and paternity leave, reproductive rights, violence against women, the
wage gap, among other issues,” Brooks said. Some female members of Congress have voiced concern that the number of women is considerably low. Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, told CNN, “It does concern me that there are not more women in leadership positions. That I do think is disappointing.” Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington has said that women in leadership positions are an important part of Congress. “It is an important voice that is heard at the table and it’s a little different perspective than the men bring,” McMorris Rodgers told CNN. “It’s important that we are reflecting America.” Despite the loss in Congress, women made considerable progress in gubernatorial races. Three states elected their first female governors: Susana Martínez in New Mexico, who is also the first Latina governor in the US, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, and Mary Fallin in Oklahoma. All three of these women are Republicans. “It traditionally has been more difficult for women to break the executive glass ceiling than the legislative glass ceiling,” Collins said. “It is highly significant.”
Ireland faces economic difficulties despite recovery plan By Kevin Fagan Assoc. News Editor Speculation continued recently over whether an $85 billion bailout package for Ireland would be approved by the European Central Bank, in a move similar to what was necessary to shore up Greece during its debt crisis. The package was already approved on Nov. 28 by European authorities, and constitutes an attempt to stem the crisis that some speculate may shift to Portugal and Spain. “Authorities allowed banks to take on way too much risk and their recapitalization measures have so far allowed bank creditors to dodge losses that contractually they volunteered to bear,” Edward Kane, the James Cleary Professor of Finance in
the Carroll School of Management, said of the proximate causes of the crisis. These private sector losses from banks have now become the Irish government and taxpayers’ problem, stemming from the October 2008 decision to have the government guarantee all banks’ debts. This represented an effort to restore confidence in the banking system and ensure the proper functioning of financial markets while the economy was in a state of free fall, though the plan now appears to have backfired. When asked about why the Irish government needs the bailout measures, Kane said, “The holes in Irish bank balance sheets are simply too big to expect Irish taxpayers to pay off.” Instead of causing growth for its economy and increased pros-
perity for students, the bank guarantees are weighing on the Irish economy. The unemployment rate in Ireland reached 14.1 percent this past September and has continued to rise at a rate of 4.4 percent since September 2007. The Irish crisis affects the United States both because of the spillover effects of a lack of confidence and changing foreign exchange rates. The dollar has strengthened substantially against the Euro in recent weeks, making US exports more expensive to purchase in Europe, and thus less competitive. Robert Gibbs, White House spokesman, referred to the Irish debt crisis in a press briefing as having affected our economic recovery. The White House continues to receive daily updates about the crisis and
is tuned in to make sure that discussions between Ireland and the European Union result in a positive outcome for the global economy. Portugal and Spain appear to be next in line for experiencing a crisis, though Kane said that where the next crisis happens really makes no difference. “Creditors want to shift their loss exposures out of the banks of several Euro-zone countries on favorable terms and also want to see how much relief they can extract from the international community as they do this,” Kane said. The best-case scenario for creditors would be a gigantic safety net that would prevent the crisis from spreading, though this would be disastrous for taxpayers in those countries.
Haiti struggles with cholera outbreak, unclean water By Meghan Smith Editorial Assistant A major cholera outbreak has spread through Haiti, killing and infecting hundreds of thousands. The outbreak, which was confirmed on October 21, has killed 1,700 people and infected over 75,000 to date. Making matters worse, this Caribbean country still struggles with the effects of a damaging earthquake that also killed thousands of people last January and severely hurt the already weak infrastructure of the country. Most of the cases have been in the Artibonite Departmente, which is about 50 miles north of the capitol. In this region, 79 people have died. Over 160 people have died in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. It has been particularly devastating to rural areas that do not have access to proper medical care. This epidemic comes almost a year after a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Port-au-Prince and killed over 200,000 people and left 1.3 million people living in refugee camps. Haiti has struggled with problems like poor water sanitation and a strained public infrastructure that was worsened by the earthquake. Cholera is having such a detrimental effect on Haiti because of the way it spreads, which is through the contamination of infected food or water. Water is usually contaminated by untreated sewage that infects the water, which is problematic in a country with poor public sanitation problems. A person can also get the disease from eating food that was prepared by an infected person. The danger of cholera is not the bacteria itself. It causes severe dehydration and diarrhea, and a person can die within a few hours of contracting the disease. Cholera can easily be prevented by ensuring that there are good sanitation systems and that people drink purified water. This has been difficult in Haiti, which is one of the poorest countries in the Americas. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 100,000 deaths worldwide because of the disease each year, but Haiti had not seen the disease in over a century. The CDC recently put out a travel warning for Haiti urging people who are visiting the country to be cautious. Many relief organizations have responded to the needs of the country. The Red Cross has now donated $3.3 million to Haiti to help fight the disease. These funds will be used to buy supplies like soap and waterpurifying systems. However, the United Nations has said that over $160 million in aid is needed to fully help the country. Health officials have said that something as basic as soap could have a big impact in fighting the disease, but many Haitians cannot afford it. Although organizations like UNICEF and Clean the World have dis-
tributed hundreds of thousands of bars of soap to hospitals and orphanages across the country, there is still a shortage of this basic item. There is also a shortage of bleach, intravenous fluids and rehydration solutions. Another major problem is that there is a lack of doctors and nurses to treat the disease. Most medical workers do not have any experience in treating the disease, since it has not been seen in the country for so long. Many of the hospitals are not well equipped to handle a disease epidemic like this. Corinne Clifford, A&S ’13, who went to Haiti on a church trip in 2008, said that she witnessed the poor medical facilities while travelling around the country. “In 2008, when I was there, the need for medical attention by local citizens far exceeded what the small clinic in Dessalines [a town two hours outside of Port-au-Prince] was able to provide,” she said. “I can only imagine what the healthcare disparities are right now. From what I observed, the infrastructure just cannot support an outbreak of a disease like cholera. The operating room that I saw at the local hospital was so primitive that I could not imagine anyone performing any serious surgery.” Clifford said that lack of clean water was also a problem. Because the water was unsafe to drink, she said, they drank CocaCola with most of their meals. The source of the epidemic has resulted in controversy. Many Haitians believe that a camp of Nepalese peacekeeping troops from the UN caused the outbreak. Their base is near the Artibonite River, where most cases have been reported. Cholera is an epidemic in Nepal, so Haitians blame poor sanitation at the Nepalese camp, although the UN has denied bringing the disease and has said that none of the soldiers tested positive for the cholera. French epidemiologists announced this week that they believe the disease started in the center of the country, not locally or in the refugee camps. Many Haitians have protested and demanded that the peacekeepers leave. The UN forces are there because of the political corruption and economic problems that the country has dealt with in recent years. They have been there since 2004, trying to help this country that has experienced poverty, emigration, environmental problems and disease. The World Health Organization has warned that the disease will probably spread to other countries in the Caribbean. So far, there have been six cases reported in the Dominican Republic, which borders Haiti on the island of Hispaniola. One case has also been reported in Miami, Fla., but the CDC is confident that the US has adequate medical facilities to contain any outbreak. Haiti, on the other hand, is unfortunately expected to experience even more deaths and suffering from the disease.
Photo courtesy of G. Pollard via Wikimedia.org
WikiLeaks reveal diplomatic interactions to public By Marina Lopes Asst. News Editor On Sunday afternoon, cable by cable, the fog mystifying the most guarded sector of the American government was briefly lifted. WikiLeaks, the infamous media organization, whose release of government documents caused a stir throughout the government earlier this year, was back at it. This time, their target was not the U.S. military, but rather, the elusive diplomatic sector. The hundreds of cables released gave the average American a rare look into the inner workings of American foreign policy. WikiLeaks claims to have access to over a quarter of a million cables, which they will slowly publish throughout the following months. Yet after the release of the first hundred cables, it became increasingly clear that this set of documents was a far cry from the pentagon papers. “Most of the stuff is frankly innocuous,” Seth Jacobs, professor of American foreign policy in the history department, said. “There are no ‘gotcha’ moments in the WikiLeaks.” For all the fanfare surrounding their release, the documents amount to little more than an irrelevant collection of gossip and presumptions about foreign leaders. The public learned that behind the smiles of ambassadors and diplomats throughout the world there is judgment and distrust. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is described as an “impulsive yesman” who is “thin skinned.” Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is described as an isolationist man who is hesitant to work. The release of the WikiLeaks cables comes at a crossroads for American politics where distrust of the government is becoming increasingly pronounced and demands for accountability are infiltrating all sectors of the government, even those traditionally kept under close guard. “The excuse of national security has become a rationale for abuse and excessive and unnecessary secrecy,” Jacobs said, “It has also become a way of getting away with slopping, incompetent behavior.” In terms of information, the cables confirmed what was already widely speculated: that Pakistan has been a double agent in the War on Terror, accepting money from both the United States and Al Qaeda, and that oth-
er Arab nations see a nuclear Iran as a threat to regional security. Yet having that information publicly broadcasted might force governments to publicly acknowledge positions they have long harbored in private, cutting out the United States as a middleman for negotiations, and promoting frank discussions between traditionally antagonistic governments like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu repeatedly praised the release of the documents. On Monday, he told a group of editors in Tel Aviv, “If leaders start saying openly what they have long been saying behind closed doors, we can make a real breakthrough on the road to peace.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized the leaks on Monday. “The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines our efforts to work with countries to solve shared problems,” Clinton said. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been criticized repeatedly for putting American and foreign lives in jeopardy. “The earlier wave of WikiLeaks relating to Afghanistan did contain information that definitely endangered the lives of a number of people, including Afghans who have cooperated with the United States’ effort,” Jacobs said. “By revealing their names you are, if not sentencing them to certain death, exposing them to terror and making them much more reluctant to cooperate with the United States in the future.” Assange defended the release of the documents in an interview for Time magazine on Wednesday. “This sort of nonsense about lives being put in jeopardy is trotted out every time a big military or intelligence organization is exposed by the press,” Assange said. “However, this organization in its four years of publishing history … has never caused an individual … to come to any sort of physical harm or to be wrongly imprisoned and so on. That is a record compared to the organizations that we are trying to expose who have literally been involved in the deaths of hundreds or thousands or, potentially over the course of many years, millions.”
Pre-med program doubles, offers holistic education By Caroline Conole Gavel Media Reporter As current and prospective students look to make decisions about their majors, Boston College faculty and administrators cannot ignore the surprising increase in Pre-Medical (pre-med) students over the last few years. According to university data, the number of students enrolled in the Boston College Pre-Med program has grown by 44 percent over the last five years, and pre-med students now make up approximately a quarter of the College of Arts and Sciences. Students and faculty contribute this notable increase to several factors: the reputation and student-focus of the school’s pre-med program, BC’s liberal arts curriculum and its dedication to producing “Men and Women for Others.” According to the BC biology department website, the pre-med program’s faculty and staff attribute the increase in students with premed intentions to the superior advising and lab facilities at Boston College. Professor Robert Wolff, the director of the Boston College Pre-Med program, is quoted as saying, “I think Boston College has developed a reputation for a very strong pre-med program and that in itself becomes self-fulfilling,” Wolff said. “Students feel they are taken care of and get good advising, and they let their fellow students or prospective students know. So some of what we are enjoying is word-ofmouth at a national level.” In addition to advising services, BC’s premed program provides students with the opportunity to meet in groups to discuss current medical school trends and grade-specific information packets. The program also created a pre-med council made up of faculty members in various academic departments in order to broaden students’ perspective on the different facets of the medical field. University statistics also show that BC’s attention to pre-med students has been paying off. Between 2005 and 2006, roughly 73 percent of BC seniors applying to medical school were accepted, compared to the national average of 47 percent in 2006. But while science majors dominate the rolls of hopefuls for medical, veterinary or dental
school, the BC program follows a liberal arts model that encourages students from majors beyond the sciences to enroll in the pre-med program as well. Students are also drawn to the pre-med program because they can pursue other interests in addition to their science courses. “I believe from personal experience that many pre-medical students are drawn to Boston College not only because of the strength of its pre-med program, but also because of the opportunity to take classes in a variety of disciplines and even pursue minors and majors in non-science related fields,” Corrine Clifford, A&S ’13, said. Given the opportunity to pursue additional majors, students are also able to broaden and diversify their options after graduation. “I really appreciate BC’s liberal arts curriculum in conjunction with their pre-med program,” Anne Freedman, A&S ’13, said. “It has allowed me to pursue an International Studies major in addition to my pre-med classes. Ideally, I would love to combine these two interests in my future career, and I am interested in organizations such as Doctors without Borders.” As evidenced by the large number of premed students eager to volunteer their time in local hospitals, the campus ministry group Loyola Volunteers sets up students interested in medical fields with placements at local hospitals. Loyola Volunteers contribute 3 to 4 hours a week in local hospitals as well as participating in a weekly reflection. As a pre-med student, Clifford became involved in the Loyola Volunteers program. In describing her experience as a volunteer, she said, “I am really glad that BC provides me with opportunities to use my science and medical training to help the community.” Following the Jesuit tradition, BC is dedicated to maintaining and strengthening its commitment to integrating intellectual, personal, ethical and religious formation, all with the purpose of achieving unity between academic excellence and service to others. In addition to Boston College’s liberal arts curriculum, the university’s motto “Men and Women for Others,” serves to draw students interested in using medical training to make a difference in the lives of others.
Gavel Media Photo by Gillian Freedman
Gavel Media photo by Gillian Freedman
Teaching at BC focuses on hybrid model By Michelle Martínez News Editor On campuses throughout the country, online learning methods have been on the rise. Though it is common to find undergraduate institutions that use technological methods such as posting slides online, some are now offering live streaming lectures. Though online learning used to be a method employed mostly by for-profit universities and community colleges, many national universities, including University of Florida and University of North Carolina, now offer some of their classes exclusively online. This means that numerous classes never have face-to-face instruction, but rather offer all instruction via the Internet. Most research surrounding the advantages of online learning and teaching in recent years, however, has tended to focus on K-12 learning rather than that of higher education. According to Dr. Ana Martínez-Aleman, Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership & Higher Education at Boston College, the benefits of online learning are yet to be determined. “There is, to date, no trend data for certain types of analysis on learning outcomes, and we have not yet seen large assessments in this area,” said Martínez-Aleman. “We do know that nationally, most online learning is student-directed, not instructor-driven.” From some of the K-12 studies, however, it can be determined that a combination of online and face-to-face instruction can have positive effects on learning. “A meta-analysis of studies suggests that simply having either online-only or faceto-face only instruction appears to be less effective,” Martínez-Aleman said.
According to Elizabeth Clark, Director of Instructional Design and eTeaching Services at Boston College, BC does not have that many online-only courses available. “The only fully-online (not hybrid) courses are ones held through the C21 Online program, and these are continuing ed courses for the public,” Clark said in an e-mail. Presently, several Boston College classes implement this hybrid technique. Many courses, in addition to offering traditional lectures, now also have video-captures of the lectures posted online. “BC is really committed to the teaching process, and highly values that, along with the student experience on campus, so the movement toward online education for undergraduates hasn’t been strong,” Clark said. “What’s happening is that more and more faculty members are incorporating technologies to enhance their teaching and the learning process.” In addition to the benefits of the hybrid model of instruction, the costs of implementing an exclusively-online course might deter BC from becoming involved in online teaching. According to Martínez-Aleman, the start-up costs alone for such an infrastructure are staggering. “I anticipate that we will continue to move toward greater use of media in teaching and learning at institutions like BC, residential colleges and universities with a strong-contingent of full-time faculty,” Martínez-Aleman said. With over 4.6 million students taking a college-level online course in 2008, online education seems to be on the rise throughout the United States. Boston College, however, remains loyal to traditional methods of teaching, opting to focus on the hybrid model of electronic and face-to-face teaching and learning.
Packaging changes designed to discourage tobacco consumption
Photo courtesy of Tomasz Sienicki via Wikimedia.org
By Mason Lende Editorial Assistant The Food and Drug Administration, in an effort to reduce tobacco consumption and express the negative side effects of smoking, has released 36 new graphic images that depict the effect smoking can have on a person’s health. The labels, which feature images and statements, will appear on half of the packaging of every cigarette package sold in the United States. These new regulations are the first major step that the FDA has taken to reduce smoking since Congress granted them the power to regulate the tobacco industry last year. Prior to last year, when Congress regulated the tobacco industry, making radical changes in labeling was more difficult. In an interview with CNN about the new la-
bels, Stanton Gantz, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco says that the United States currently “has the weakest warning labels in the world.” Canada, a nation with a single-payer health care system, has a strong interest in reducing smoking and smoking-related health consequences. Thus, in June 2000, the health department in Canada required all cigarette packages sold there to display image and print warnings on both sides of the package. Studies of anti-tobacco interest groups have shown that the labels did have a positive correlation with reduced smoking among adult Canadians when they were introduced, but due to few changes in the labels since then, the reduction rate has decreased. In contrast with the Untied States, Canada is considered to have some of the strongest warning labels in the world. However, plans to reveal new labels in the coming year have
been put on hold pending further study of its effectiveness. Although warning labels are largely considered to reduce smoking shortly after being introduced, their long-term effects following the stagnation of the shock of the visual warnings are unclear. Graphic depictions on warning labels seem to have a more definitive effect upon younger and new smokers as opposed to changing the habits of long-term smokers who are more likely to already be aware of the effects of smoking. Richard McGowan, SJ, adjunct associate professor at the Carroll School of Management and research associate at Harvard Medical, has specialized in research related to the public policies concerning the gambling, tobacco and alcohol industries. “I doubt that it will have a significant effect on smokers,” McGowan said. “The warning labels on the cigarette packaging are essentially the same as those in Europe. The Europeans have a much higher smoking rate than the US.” Regardless of questions concerning the efficiency of such labels, a recent worldwide study reveals the need for tougher warning labels. The World Health Organization released information that more than one billion people smoke worldwide. In addition to this, the first major conclusive study about the effects of secondhand smoke reveals that 600,000 people around the world die annually as a result of secondhand smoke.
While more initiatives need to be taken to reduce smoking in public places to solve this problem, new warning labels, if they prove effective, could be a major first step in reducing smoking-related deaths, which currently ranks as the leading cause of preventable death. “Certainly, once again, the government is trying to employ the least objectionable measure to decrease cigarette sales,” McGowan said. “Increasing the excise tax rate (Japan has recently increased its excise tax by 40 percent) is the only proven measure to lowering cigarette sales.” While anti-tobacco advocacy groups are calling the new warning labels a breakthrough, not all of the tobacco companies are pleased. The statement released by Phillip Morris USA pledged its support for tobacco regulations and declined to decry the new labels as intrusive upon their rights or potentially harmful to their sales. However, R. J. Reynolds, a competing tobacco company, questioned the legality of the labels in relation to the first amendment right to the freedom of speech. “While I am sure they would like to avoid them, it is somewhat ironic that new labels could actually protect these firms with future liability suits in the future,” McGowan said. Nine of the 36 labels available for public viewing and input will be chosen to appear on packaging. The final labels will be chosen sometime in 2011, and the packaging regulations will take effect on Oct. 22, 2012.
Seven ways to stay happy and healthy during final exams By Eliza Duggan Print Manager During finals, consider your body as a vessel for storing precious cargo — your brain — that will be getting you through the week. Treating yourself well sets you up for success during a stressful and grueling academic marathon. Doing a few simple things in preparation for the flood of tests and papers can really help you get through. 1. Eat well As corny as it may sound, when you fuel your body, you fuel your mind. Keep balance in your diet — eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for essential vitamins and minerals. Think spinach, proven to boost memory: this iron and calcium-rich leafy green isn’t just for Popeye. For more memory boosters, try berries and fish. Don’t forget carbohydrates: whole grains, as opposed to refined flours, keep you full longer and release energy slowly. It’s also helpful to stock up on healthy snacks like fruit, chopped veggies, granola bars, and nuts to keep you going during those long hours in the library. Though a sugary treat may be tempting to cut through the stress, refined sugar has a crash-and-burn effect on your body and ultimately slows you down. A little dark chocolate,
however, releases sugar slowly through your system and increases the serotonin in your brain, which makes you happy and relieves stress. 2. Sleep Though late night studying seems inevitable for many people, the best way to take a final is to be well rested. If it comes down to studying for two more hours and getting three hours of sleep, or sleeping for five hours, you’ll be better off getting the sleep because your memory will function better. When you sleep, you process information, and your long-term memory will be most accessible after a good eight-hour snooze. When it comes to actually taking the final, it is more difficult to think and write coherently when you are sleep-deprived because your body cries out for sleep and interrupts your thought processes. If necessary, make time for sleep a part of your study schedule. 3. Drink lots of water It is important to drink water all of the time but especially during times of stress. Dehydration can cloud your mind and exhaust your body, and finals week is not a time when you want to be feeling sluggish and hazy. Water also keeps you healthy and able to fight illness more efficiently, and nothing is worse than be-
a great stress-buster. Exercise increases endorphins and allows you to take your mind off of studying while treating yourself well.
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ing sick during a test. Drinking water requires very little effort but produces great results! 4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol Although caffeine can be helpful to stay awake studying, it is a stimulant that can increase stress, so use it with caution. If you do drink caffeine, try not to drink it at night so that you can’t sleep, since those precious hours of sleep are crucial. Alcohol can impair physical and cognitive functioning, so try to do your celebrating later. 5. Exercise Though hitting the gym may not always seem to fit into a rigorous study schedule, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day is
6. Make a study plan and take breaks When you are faced with a week of tests and papers that have a large effect on your final grade, knowing where to start studying can be a daunting task. But don’t despair — nobody knows how you study best more than you do, so you have the best chance at creating a plan for yourself that will be successful. When formulating a plan, consider the difficulty of every class and how much information you will have to know, and make sure to include time for sleep and breaks! 7. Study in groups Not everyone does best in a group setting, but even if you like to work alone, it can’t hurt to bounce your ideas off of someone for a few minutes while formulating a thesis or thinking about potential short answer questions. For classes that involve memorization, studying with people in your classes can be very helpful to process information. Plus, different people remember different details, and you can help each other grasp concepts that were unclear. At the very least, you can commiserate together about the task ahead.
Behind the Scenes: Operations of Eagles Ops By Lauren Viola Assoc. Features Editor The world of college athletics may seem like less of a mystery than that of professional sports. The captain of the hockey team may have sat next to you in Calculus last year, or the football quarterback might sit at the next table over at Hillside Café everyday. But when these students, seemingly “regular” college kids attending class and hanging out with friends, step out onto the field, ice or court, they are suddenly transformed into heroes. Outside of the classroom, these athletes are different people, mysterious to all. There is one group of students, however, who gets to see the action and the drama behind the scenes of the world of athletics. Students may recognize them simply as the people shooting the T-shirt gun, but in fact, Eagle Ops handles so much more. “I refer to it as Boston College Sports Marketing,” Scott Landay, director of Eagle Ops and CSOM ’11, said. As a team of 19 undergraduate students, they work with the office of External Operations to assist with game day marketing, operations and promotions, according to Landay. “We staff all home varsity men’s football, hockey and basketball games,” Landay said of the group. “Then, we also work some of the non-revenue sports,” such as soccer, baseball and women’s basketball for
targeted marketing campaigns. Eagle Ops’ responsibilities range from setting up on ice promotions at hockey games to escorting the season ticket holder of the game onto the field between quarters at a football game. “People barely see on the Jumbotron this elderly husband and wife who have been season tickets holders for 50 years,” Landay said of the season ticket holder of the game promotion. “But we’re the ones that have their seat location, we’re sending our team up to go find them in their section, escorting them down to the field, watching the game clock, prepping them, telling them ‘ok, you need to stand here, the cheerleaders are going to escort you to this spot on the field, you need to face that camera’, making sure they’re ready to go when the clock hits a specific time, and then escorting them back off and then back up to their seats.” It is the behind-the-scenes work, like retrieving these and other honorees from their seats or relaying information to the public address announcer and control room, that Landay feels people do not know about the organization. Eagle Ops began three years ago, with an effort by Al Dea, former UGBC president and BC ’10. “Al kind of created this program,” Landay said, “and an email was sent out over the summer to apply.” “Since it was our first year, we didn’t really have the opportunity to really get hands on in-game stuff,”
Gavel Media photos by Lauren Viola Landay said of when Eagle Ops was created. “We would help out here and there with some small things, but it wasn’t really full-fledged marketing and promotions.” Since that first year, Landay has served as co-director and is now director of the program. He has focused on getting the volunteers more involved with what full-time athletics staff are doing during games. “It gives us great exposure to what life is like in the marketing world and in the operations world for an NCAA college athletics program,” Landay said. In addition to the early mornings, setting up FanFest four to five hours before kick-off for every home foot-
ball game and the constant running around relaying information during events, Eagle Ops members have full access to the stadiums and playing surfaces during games they are working. “Being on the field, I would say, is probably the most exciting part,” Landay said, recalling his experiences on the sidelines at football games. “I feel like I’m in the action.” Landay recalled his favorite memory from this year’s football season, which was being on the field during the first game of the year - Mark Herzlich’s first game back. “When the team was about to run out, and Mark Herzlich was going to lead the team onto the field, I
got to stand right there at the tunnel entrance to the field,” Landay said. “Right across from me was the nun from Notre Dame, and there were some cancer patients that they brought to stand at the tunnel. As a student, to be able to do that was pretty amazing.” As he gets ready to graduate in the spring, Landay aims to prepare the team he is working with now to carry on the program. “All the stuff we do is for the fans, to really try to enhance game atmosphere. That’s why we were created,” Landay said. “It’s our hope, through a lot of the promotions and stuff we do that it adds a little more excitement to game day.”
Life Chat: Friends drifting apart, redefining ‘antisocial’
By Blair Thill Gavel Media Blogger Q: Lately, my roommate and I aren’t close like we used to be. What can I do if we’re growing apart? Or does this just happen and I should let it happen naturally? A: Assuming that growing apart has not hurt your relationship as roommates, there’s a trick you can use to determine whether the friend-
ship is worth saving. Picture your life at BC. How does your roommate stack up in that life? Is she someone that you can’t imagine losing or not talking to? If the answer is no, she isn’t a vital part of your happiness, stop here. Don’t do anything. It may sound selfish, but do it for self-preservation. Talks about the ebbing of a friendship are always awkward, no exceptions. Why put yourself through that if you don’t have to? It’s better to ride it out and see if the problem corrects itself. However, if the answer is yes, she is paramount to your happiness, continue to the next space. Pick a card from the awkward conversation deck and see where it takes you. If a friendship is worth saving, an awkward conversation is a necessary evil. Ask her to pick a night for a roommates-only dinner. Feel her out by asking what her life is like these days. Subtly point out the fact that
you haven’t hung out in a while. If you can’t pin her down for such an occasion, you’ll have to be more direct and simply ask her what’s happening between the two of you. Just remember, as corny as it sounds, use ‘I feel’ statements. They are a cliché for a reason. And if at the end of either course of action the friendship hasn’t gotten back on track, that’s ok. It’s just part of the natural progression of weeding out your true friends. Q: A lot of people tell me I should “live it up” in college, meaning partying every night, but I don’t think that satisfies me. Does this make me antisocial? A: According to dictionary.com, someone antisocial is “unwilling or unable to associate in a normal or friendly way with other people.” In that definition, do you see any men-
tion of being unwilling to party? Or unwilling to drink? Think of it this way. For four years of your life, you are basically given a free pass to drink and party every night of the week. College social mores try to tell you you’re strange if you don’t want to partake in such “fun.” But in any other four year span of your life, if you drank every day, you’d be considered irresponsible and undependable. Hell, you’d be an alcoholic! So in the grand scheme of things, if you’re not into partying in college, how are you really hurting yourself ? You’re not.
There are plenty of things to do in college that are fun, social, and NOT revolving around alcohol. You’re in one of the greatest cities in our nation - get a group of likeminded people together and hit the town. Go shopping. Take in a concert. Go dancing. Leave the alcohol to those who are interested in a drunken hookup. As long as you’re getting your kicks, who really cares how they’re coming? Blair Thill, BC ‘09, is a blogger at Gavel Media’s website (bcgavel.com). For more advice from Blair, check out her blog “Life Chat.”
Looking for some advice? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Life Chat.”
Single, White and Clueless: When Harry befriended Sally By Blair Thill For Gavel Media You’re at a bar. A guy you know and might (sort of) be interested in tells someone the two of you “clicked” as soon as you met. Does this mean: a) He thinks you’re destined to be great friends. b) He thinks you’re destined to be more than friends. c) It doesn’t mean anything because he’s a guy and guys don’t talk with subtext. How does a girl go about determining the right answer without the ability to look into the future and actually see his endgame? Words like “click” and “connect” mean different things to different people. If I were using such a word, it would most likely imply choice B, but I have learned that my subtext and a man’s subtext are even less compatible than men and I. But if I were in that situation — more than wondering about the context of a single word — I would inevitably be pondering a deeper question: have I already been friend-zoned? The “friends zone” is rather legendary, especially when you’re in college, where the attitude implies that if he didn’t want to hook up with you right away, it probably means he’ll never be interested. In the real world, where it’s commonly frowned upon to jump every attractive per-
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son you see, does this attitude hold up? Or was the attitude bogus to begin with? We’ve all seen When Harry Met Sally and thought, “Wow, that’s the way to do it.” You meet someone, become good friends, and after an indeterminate amount of time,
Fresh Perspective: A liberal arts education By Daniel Klemmer For Gavel Media
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when one of you is upset, the other comes to the rescue, and bing bang boom you’re making out on a sofa, knowing there’s been more between you all along. It’s the perfect melding of choices A and B. It would be easy to cast off the “friends become lovers”
story as Hollywood made — except that there’s always someone in your life that fits the scenario: Friend, friend of a friend, or newspaper wedding announcement. For me, it’s my own brother. He became friends with his wife when he was 16 years old and interested in her best friend. It took quite a few months, but he soon realized he was going after the wrong girl. Seventeen years, two dogs, and one impending baby later, they’re still together. And the list goes on. I also had friend from high school I found out got together with her best guy friend. I saw the wedding announcement with the couple who became friends for a year before getting together. Are they all the exception or the rule? I have never been able to transition from a friendship to a relationship. Not when I bonded with a guy at a retreat. Not when I worked on the college newspaper with a fellow music lover. And again, the list goes on. It’s a catch-22, really, because I’m more apt to fall for someone AFTER I get to know him. So here we are, joking around in a bar, talking about our lives — have I reached the point of no return? If he knows I’m afraid of pigeons, is all hope of a relationship permanently damaged? I guess all I can do is wait for my own, personal multiple choice question to answer itself. This blog was originally posted at singlewhiteclueless.bogspot.com. Blair Thill, BC ’09, also blogs for Gavel Media.
The matriculation list of my high school is respectable but nothing to rave about. Only 70 percent of the 217 graduates went to college — over 60 percent of those students going to in-state schools or ones where they receive location benefits. This leaves only 28 percent of my graduating class going to schools that are considered “selective.” The point is that my high school is not some feeder to the top 100 universities, so only those who take education seriously get the most out of their opportunities. My personal high school experience consisted of taking the hardest possible courses to enhance my transcript in every way possible. I was never — or at least I thought I wasn’t — able to take the really interesting classes like Psychology or Philosophy, so college was going to be that time. College, wherever I would land, was supposed to be the “grass-is-always-greener” safe haven where all subjects are riveting and my brain is always thinking. And it has been. My college decision essentially came down to two schools — one of which I would have attended solely to major in civil engineering. The subject area strongly enticed me, but it was a dauntingly specific focus. For my other
choice, Boston College, I would enter undeclared in the College of Arts and Sciences, essentially the most undecided any student could be with the sky literally being the limit. I didn’t want to narrow my educational endeavors to the slim focus of civil engineering so early in my life. I wanted to be — and I was — opened up to the world of education once again with myriad options for classes. I ultimately chose BC and took a smattering of courses from Sculpture to Advanced Calculus. I found myself — for the first time in my education — reading material that was truly interesting to me on a consistent basis. I could not remember the last time I read a piece of literature and actually felt smarter and better for getting through it. It was material that I looked forward to discussing and could never wait to tell my roommate or my dinner partner about that night. I found myself having discussions with classmates and dorm residents that were meaningful and deep thinking, not just about last weekend’s events or upcoming schoolwork. One enlightening moment stemmed from Craig Lambert’s article “Nonstop.” I brought up the article to a floor-mate, and before I knew it, we were intensely discussing how reliant people have become on technology in today’s society.
I have never had such a deep, genuine conversation, which was so effortless, especially in a non-classroom setting. I was surprised at how intrigued a fellow 18-year old could be in what previously would have seemed like a boring topic. I believe all this relates to the worth of a liberal arts education and the setting of college in general. In college, especially at BC, people are encouraged to think deeply and reflect; I believe BC’s Jesuit and open liberal arts influence was the fuel that kept our conversation running. It is such a learning community that once the conversation began to flow, more and more people took part; I never once became self-conscience or worried that I was being judged. Before BC, I had never so frequently experienced having a fun time while simultaneously being completely true to myself. It was a new feeling because it was so effortless yet stimulating. Although I have the upmost respect for the Jesuit and liberal arts education, I do not believe it is just their ideals and beliefs that guide the campus. I think it is the student body as a whole that truly buys into the system and uses the resources BC has presented to develop their “whole person.” It is the student who ultimately leads his or her mental and spiritual journey, and I’m just glad I landed at BC for the trip.
Students celebrate holiday season with spirited decorations By Eliza Duggan Print Manager “I think Buddy the Elf would be really happy to be here,” said Taylor Makson, A&S ’13, whose suite in Vanderslice represents the spirit of the season with lights, twinkling icicles, and paper snowflakes — and that’s just upon entering. There are also two miniature Christmas trees complete with tiny, glistening ornaments, a Santa Claus hat, a gold wreath hanging over the door, and mistletoe. Makson and her roommates recommended duct tape for hanging decorations, since it is so durable. For a quick and easy way to spruce up a dorm room, “Lights are basic, and paper snowflakes are a nice touch,” Makson said. “If you want to start a romance,” interjected her suitemate Erin Conlin, A&S ’13, “mistletoe is always fun!” “Christmas is the best time of the year,” said Makson’s roommate Anne Freedman, A&S ’13. “We’ve played [Mariah Carey’s] ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ since November.” All in all, the decorations create a feeling of warmth and comfort. “I like the homey feeling of the décor,” Freedman said. In 66 Comm. Ave, three roommates, Jasmine Uduma, Kim Sykes, and Victoria Sponsel have made the most of their tight triple. With colored, white, and icicle lights and garlands hung on the walls, penguin decals on the windows, and a Christmas tree, their room has a warm glow appropriate to the season. Thinking economically and environmentally, they used LED lights to
Gavel Media photo by Eliza Duggan decorate. Lights are good for such a small space, since they do not take up very much area in the room. “Plus,” Sykes said, A&S ’13, “they’re so cheerful!” To hang lights, the 66 residents recommend small wall hooks from CVS, which are nearly invisible and will not mark up the walls. “CVS has lots of great college budget decorations,” said Sponsel, A&S ’13. These girls love getting into the holiday spirit, not just with decorating but also by playing lots of Christmas tunes. They also like to
double in Williams into a festive room because, said Shue, “BC is home.” Featuring two Christmas trees, one of which lights up and sings, a nativity scene, stockings, a running train set, fake snow, a copy of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and a plethora of Christmas lights, their room is a cheery, twinkling representation of the season. “I love the Christmas season, and decorating helps you get into the spirit,” said Shue, who frequently plays Christmas music. One of his favorites is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” which seems to be popular among those inspired to decorate. The two roommates both enjoy the cheer that the holidays bring, “Everyone’s in a really good mood!” remarked Walka. Although they have put much effort into decorating, the gatherings with friends and family are what matter most. “It’s important not to forget what Christmas is really all about,” said Walka, “which is celebrating a person who devoted his life to loving others.”
have a Christmas dinner together before the break and make gingerbread houses. Kim Sykes is also looking for some winter weather. “I want it to snow! Christmas is about snow,” she said. For Jasmine Uduma, A&S 13, the holiday decorations really help create a feeling of home. “If you live out of state, decorations help get rid of the homesickness,” she said. Johnny Shue and Nathan Walka, both A&S ’13, have turned their
Gavel Media photo by Gillian Freedman
Gavel Media photo by Gillian Freedman
Professors construct ideals for higher education Tue Tran Editor-in-Chief
hen students think about the faculty at Boston College, they usually assume that professors have a collective conscience — an all-encompassing understanding of what goes on at the University. It may be because of something as simple as the student seeking support from the faculty for an event or for a new student initiative. But at BC, this campus-wide awareness shared by all professors does not exist, according to Susan Michalczyk, professor in the Honors Program. And as a result, there is no entity that can speak on behalf of all faculty, including when issues that students face arise. This was why the BC chapter of the American Association of University Professors (BCAAUP) was formed officially in January 2010. “Our goal is to establish a voice for the faculty,” Michalczyk said, who was elected president to help gather information from professors across campus and to help formulate positions the chapter would take on concerns that are raised. The national AAUP organization is geared towards advocating for professors. According to its website, “the AAUP’s purpose is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good.” While this describes much of what the BCAAUP has been doing, according to Michalczyk, the BC chapter acts as more. “As an AAUP chapter … we are doing more than a generic chapter at another university,” she said. “So we’re doing what might a faculty senate do and what might an AAUP chapter do.” A faculty senate would be one body made up of elected professors, to represent all faculty, that would have some say on how a university functions. A faculty senate’s responsibilities are as numerous as the number of universities that have them. Even without a faculty senate at BC, professors do have some say in policies through smaller elected committees, their departments and the Provost Advisory Council (PAC), which
includes 20 professors, according to the Faculty Handbook. And some argue that this is a more efficient way of running a university. Pat DeLeeuw, vice provost for faculties, believes that the opportunities professors have to influence decisions are adequate, noting an “ideal” is subjective. “It really is a matter of personal preference to some extent that this way of proceeding is sufficient,” DeLeeuw said. “I don’t think a majority of faculty members are unhappy with the way things are running.” But according to Judith Wilt, executive board member of the BCAAUP and professor in the English department, these have too narrow a scope or do not have sufficient influence over decisions. “For a university of our size, a number of faculty feel that a freestanding faculty senate or faculty assembly … whose name implies something of a shared governance position would be better than a set of committees whose names don’t really clarify the possibility that there is a real participation in policy making,” she said. And while Wilt agrees that there are a lot of areas over which faculty have influence, professors do not have much say on key parts of the University. “There’s this whole intermediate area between what goes on in the classroom … and the world outside,” Wilt said. “And in between, there are issues that cross school boundaries that aren’t just A&S matters, aren’t only in the classroom … and there is no university-wide, faculty-dominated body where these things can be discussed.” To DeLeeuw, the largest obstacle currently in the way of a senate is that faculty have not participated in the past. “A senate — a faculty senate — would be a good thing if enough faculty wanted to have a senate,” DeLeeuw said. “I think it would be difficult to achieve at Boston College in 2010 to get enough faculty to want to participate.” But DeLeeuw believes there is a place for the AAUP chapter at BC. “I welcome the existence of an AAUP chapter,” DeLeeuw said. “I think the existence of the organization is a good one.” To Michalczyk, the BCAAUP is much more than a faculty senate and will continue to not only advocate for faculty concerns but also to analyze the inner-workings of BC and propose changes from the point-of-view of the faculty.
In everything they do, they always keep the ideals of higher education in mind. “What people are most concerned about is preserving, maintaining or strengthening what it means to be an academic, what it means to be an intellectual, what it means to be a professional in the Academy,” she said. With about 70 faculty members — both tenured and non-tenured — who are official members of the BCAAUP and another 40 who attend the meetings regularly, there seems to be a reinvigorated faculty, according to Michalczyk. Recently, the BCAAUP sent out surveys to the faculty, to figure out the problems professors are facing, and they are now working on compiling the data. But a surprise discovery was that a lot of professors’ concerns transcend departments and schools, and this was not understood until they reached out to all areas of BC. “We, as faculty, have come together to talk openly about things, to share our concerns,” Michalczyk said. “And what I’ve found most striking is that there is no division. Not everyone agrees with things, but there’s a level of respect and appreciation for one another that I have found really energizing.” The BC chapter has worked on topics such as academic freedom, shared governance and the professional status of contingent faculty, which means that they support adjunct and part-time faculty having rights such as academic freedom. “There’s been a lack of communication, a lack of transparency. And when we come together to start talking about things, we realize that we have a lot more in common than we had known before,” Michalczyk said. “And that by working together, we can strengthen the University.” As for the future of the organization, Michalczyk hopes to continue to lay down the foundation they have been building by increasing membership and holding programs that would elicit discussion among faculty. From the responses they have collected through their survey, they are positive about what they have been doing and the direction in which they are moving. “For someone to write and say ‘really great work that you’re doing,’” Michalczyk said, “tells me and our executive board that we’re on the right track.”
Gavel Media photos by Gillian Freedman / Gavel Media Graphic by Wiilliam Stoll / Background courtesy of livingtheextraordinary.blogspot.com
Marijuana legalization inches to realization
Photo courtesy of Bogdan via Wikimedia.org By Mason Lende Editorial Assistant Despite losing the vote for legalization, marijuana may still be the next widespread referendum to inspire voters to participate in elections. Much like conservative states have put initiatives on the ballot concerning abortion to promote voter participation, many liberal states seem to be considering using marijuana to increase liberal votes. In addition to the California legalization referendum, Arizona became the sixteenth state to legalize marijuana. The vote won by less than 5000 votes.
While voter turnout is historically lower in midterm elections than in presidential ones, the failure of Proposition 19 in California cannot be blamed entirely on poor turnout. In California, the potential for legalization of marijuana was less controversial than it might be in other states. The drug is already legal for medical use — a loosely defined term that includes anything from AIDS to neck pain to menstrual cramps. In October, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that decriminalized marijuana use for personal use; simple possession now results in an infraction instead of a misdemeanor and a $100
fine. This means that those caught with under an ounce of marijuana will not receive an arrest record and puts possession on par with a traffic ticket. “It seems to me that there are a couple of things you can predict,” Richard Tresch, professor of economics and director of graduate studies in the economics department said. “One is that ... supply and demand are both going to change for any addictive drug. Demand will increase, and this is the doctor’s fear.” Rather than being seen as commentary on whether or not marijuana should be legalized, the failed attempt to approve the loosely worded Proposition 19 should be viewed in part as a campaign failure. In fact, one of the main roadblocks to passage was the idea that this proposition did little to change the status quo of marijuana in the state. Exaggerated statements of reducing California’s budget by reduced crime-fighting efforts and marijuana taxation met resistance with voters and anti-legalization groups. “By legalizing these things, you take whatever criminal aspects there
are out of it, and with the price lowered, it’s just not profitable. And, you can get it legally anyway, so why would you buy it illegally?” Not only did the opposition effectively contend that the claims of saving money were overstated, but it also pointed out that it is difficult to know exactly what effect the legalization would have on the state’s budget. “My guess would be that for most of these drugs is that the increase in supply would outstrip demand and the price would drop,” Tresch says. “And so would the profits.” In addition to being exaggerated, the legalization campaign was poorly funded, which could ultimately have contributed to its 8-percentage point loss. One of the many problems with the Proposition 19 campaign was the lack of clarity between the current status of marijuana in California and the effects that such a bill would have. Currently, under Proposition 215 — the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 — individuals may use marijuana for medical purposes if prescribed by a doctor, and private farmers may cultivate the drug for
medical use. Some legalization advocates also opposed Proposition 19 due to its construction, not its ideology. Many expressed concern that Proposition 19 would have commercialized marijuana production too much, disallowing competition from “mom and pop” marijuana growers. Under Proposition 19, individuals would have been allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal consumption, which could be used in private residences or licensed dispensaries. Although the law would have allowed for private possession and consumption of an ounce of marijuana, it would not have allowed for uncontrolled drug usage. It only would have allowed for people over the age of 21 to consume the drug knowingly. As more states allow for medical marijuana, the legalization gap is being closed. “Economist using back of the envelope supply and demand curves can sort of guess what’s going to happen,” Tresch says. “But whether it’s good or bad is not a judgment that I’d want to make. But it won’t solve the budgetary problems in California.”
Column: Students debate Four Loko, say ban not needed By Sean Robbins Business Manager The Food and Drug Administration’s ban on caffeinated alcoholic beverages last month has spurred widespread debate, causing some people to argue that banning specific kinds of alcoholic beverages is a violation of their civil rights. According to some Boston College students, Four Loko, which was created in 2005 and is now the drink at the center of this debate, did not emerge within the popular drinking sphere until several months ago. As it grew in popularity, Four Loko began appearing on the shelves of every alcohol retailer in the United States. Four Loko’s rise has illustrated that drinking trends, like fashion, can fall into and out of popular interest. Despite the dangerous health concerns that have recently emerged with caffeinated alcoholic beverages like Four Loko, the great majority of surveyed BC students feel that the responsibility lies not with the manufacturer but with the consumers. “It is up to people’s personal choice to be smart about drinking, and to do it responsibly,” Amancio Lopes, LSOE ’11, said. “People should have the right to purchase [Four Loko], [but the companies that produce caffeinated alcoholic beverages] should make more of an effort to publicize the potential dangerous effects of their product.” The only legal responsibility of manufacturers is to inform consumers of the potential negative effects of their products. This re-
quirement is similar to how drug companies list possible side effects associated with their medications. Other students agree with Lopes that the banning of Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic beverages is unnecessary. “Obviously the combination of caffeine and alcohol isn’t going to make anyone healthier, but I think the negative aspects of Four Loko have been very over-exaggerated,” Laura Gennarelli, LSOE ’11, said. “The bad experiences I’ve seen people have with Four Loko weren’t any different than what would happen if someone were to take one too many shots or a beer too many. I doubt that someone who drinks enough Four Loko to endanger their health will develop healthy drinking habits simply because Four Loko is banned.” People who have recently become loyal to the caffeine and alcohol combination will now likely mix vodka and Red Bull as they did before these new fusion drinks surfaced. Other students have echoed the opinions of Genarelli and Lopes by placing responsibility on the consumer rather than the manufacturer. “People know what they are getting into when they buy them,” Benjamin Donovan, A&S ’13, said. “There is no need to regulate Four Lokos.” However, some people have observed the adverse effects of Four Loko within the BC community. “Four Loko merely complements the existing alcohol culture on campus, although when in the hands of inexperienced drinkers, it often
leads to sickness and poor decision making,” Peter Brown, A&S ’12, said. Yet, despite this admission reported by several interviewed students, Brown also acknowledges, “The responsibility rests upon the user and not the manufacturer to ensure that these beverages are consumed in a responsible manner.” Several weeks ago, a warning was sent out to all Boston College students by University Health Services warning of the potentially dangerous risks associated with the consumption of Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic beverages. Interestingly, upon interviewing a representative from University Health Services, it was found that the number of medical cases resulting from Four Loko abuse has been insignificant. It seems as if the best safety measure is to encourage people to drink responsibly rather than place blame on the companies who produce potentially harmful substances. What removing Four Loko has done is to set the precedent for the federal removal of other potentially harmful substances. Imagine the upheaval, for instance, if high-proof alcohol were pulled off the market simply because it was deemed “unsafe.” Other students also noted the importance of Four Loko’s shelf presence. “By packaging such a mixture, Four Loko makes it convenient for people to buy a readymade caffeine and alcohol mixture, where students might otherwise not have gone through the trouble of buying the individual products and mixing them,” Tedd Wimperis, A&S ’11,
Photo courtesy of Austin Uhler via Wikimedia.org says. The big question remains, what’s next? Has a model for alcohol-drinking already been set by caffeinated alcoholic beverages like Four Loko? If this is the case, Red Bull, Monster, and other energy drinks may see a spike in sales as caffeinated alcohol-drinkers look to create the same cocktail on which Four Loko capitalized. Perhaps standing on deck to become the next alcohol trend is Kingfish Spirits’ new product: alcohol-infused whipped cream. Only time will tell if this new alcoholic invention will take the world by storm and suffer the same fate as Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic beverages.
Looking back at 2010: Progressive issues
BCAAUP brings campus together through dialogue
2010 has been a year that many would like to forget. 15 million Americans have been out of a job for most of the year as unemployment rates continue to push 10 percent. The United States’ conflict in Afghanistan shows little sign of ending as the 10-year anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks draws closer and closer. The BP oil spill continued for months while its long-term effects on the Gulf Coast will last for years. And amidst all the challenges this country has faced over the past 11 months, the people we look to the most for calm, intelligent guidance have continued to be consumed and divided by the partisan conflicts. But while the issues that face our political system are more readily assigned blame rather than solutions, the accomplishments of the past year cannot be ignored. Criticize the Obama administration and his fleeting majorities in Congress for his lack of any effort towards bipartisanship, but one cannot deny the party’s admirable steps towards lasting progressive reform. Years into the future, historians will not note Barack Obama’s plunging approval rating and the ever-present political sparring. But rather, they will write of the results that will last as the dust settles on yet another year distinguished by hyper partisanship — namely health care reform, advancements towards the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and reform of the financial regulation. It seems as though every president since Richard Nixon has promised, in one form or another, to reform a health
One of the main goals of a Jesuit education, particularly liberal arts, is for students to develop critical thinking skills. This is mostly achieved through discussions in class and late night chats with friends about an article, book or simply life. This exchange of ideas and the refining of one’s arguments for one’s beliefs happen through dialogue. But students have to wonder if there is sufficient dialogue between the administration and the faculty as a whole, which would only help to make Boston College a better university. Yes, there are committees with elected faculty that deal with specific issues, and departments have power to make a lot of important decisions within their area. But is it not concerning that there has not been a body formed for professors to understand the issues at BC holistically? And the Provost Advisory Committee is also not enough if all the power they have is to “advise” - this word implies a lack of tangible influence. To the students, professors are BC. And it is because of this that faculty need to have the opportunity to understand the school as a whole and to know how decisions are being made and who is making them. This is why we fully support the BC chapter of the American Association of University Professors (BCAAUP) because they are helping to do what BC should have been doing all along: collecting information about faculty concerns and fostering a community among faculty
care system that has been crumbling for decades. And on March 21, Obama and his colleagues on Capitol Hill finally accomplished a comprehensive reform of that system — succeeding where men like Bill Clinton could not. And while the reform itself is anything but perfect, it will open the door for additional improvements that will comprehensively solve the problem in the future. Progressive issues continued to be the focus of much of the rest of the year following the lengthy battle for health care reform. California judge Virginia Phillips ordered the government to stop the enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on Oct. 12. Another California judge struck down the voter-approved gay marriage ban last August. And most impressively, Obama and his fellow Democrats were able to achieve an overhaul of the financial system amidst the venomous political environment that arose following the health care reform. But as much as we would like to sit back and relax during this holiday season and believe that all of the issues facing this country have been solved, much more work needs to be done. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a policy that asks the people protecting this country to lie about who they are, still needs to be repealed. More steps need to be taken to address problems like global warming and the decaying education system. And those who represent us on Capitol Hill finally need to realize that they act in the interest of Americans – not their respective party operatives.
The Gavel is the monthly print edition of Gavel Media, a student-run organization. It is published with support from Campus Progress / the Center for American Progress – online at www.campusprogress.org - and the College Democrats of Boston College. We are, however, editorially independent.
TUE TRAN, Editor-in-Chief MAEVE KENNEDY GORMLY, Managing Editor ELIZA DUGGAN, Print Manager MICHELLE MARTINEZ, News Editor ANDREW SCHOFIELD, Opinions Editor DANIEL MONAN, Culture Editor YANIRA REVAN, Copy Editor PEDRO ONRUSH, Photo Editor NICHOLAS DOMINO, Special Projects Editor SUE BYUN, Assoc. News Editor KEVIN FAGAN, Assoc. News Editor LAKE CORETH, Asst. News Editor MARINA LOPES, Asst. News Editor PAIGE HECKATHORN, Assoc. Opinions Editor LAUREN VIOLA, Asst. Features Editor ROBERT ROSSI, Assoc. Culture Editor LEA FREEMAN, Asst. Culture Editor CHRISTINE OLSON, Assoc. Copy Editor
across all schools and across the tenure/ non-tenure line. This group of professors is courageous in their fight for what they believe will improve the University. Against many roadblocks, they continue to have unrivaled passion for BC, and we commend them for the work they have done. They know their students best and fight for our best interest as well. Simply put, faculty concerns are students’ concerns, and our concerns are theirs. We urge all members of the administration to have meaningful dialogue with the BCAAUP. And we urge students to find out more about this issue and the BCAAUP through talking to your professors and going to bcaaup.org. Many universities, including Jesuit ones, have faculty senates that have a lot of influence over all that goes on at those schools. So it is surprising as to why BC does not have one. The administration also should not dismiss the idea for a faculty senate on the basis of lack of faculty support. It is clear from the 100-plus professors who attend the BCAAUP meetings that there is overwhelming interest, especially considering the BCAAUP is still a new organization. Without a doubt, great administrators have played a part in making BC what it is today, along with great professors. But when faculty do not have a voice equal to that of the administration, students have to question whether or not the University actually operates by the ideals it claims to teach.
ERGY JEAN-BAPTISTE, Webmaster MASON LENDE, Editorial Assistant MICHAEL KENNEDY, Editorial Assistant ARUEM SHIN, Editorial Assistant MEGHAN SMITH, Editorial Assistant KENNETH ST. JOHN, Editorial Assistant WILLIAM STOLL, Editorial Assistant Video Department GABRIELLE CHWAZIK-GEE, Broadcast Manager SEAN MEEHAN, Video Editor JUSTINE BURT, Assoc. Video Editor RODAAN RABANG, Assoc. Video Editor Business Department JOHN LEAHY, General Manager SEAN ROBBINS, Business Manager
Country’s future power in doubt with current recession Connor Larsen America has two oppositional fixations: thinking about itself as the strongest, most exceptional country, and thinking about itself as an aged degenerate who has passed its prime. Anxieties about the latter are almost always set to come out during a time of relative crisis, when the collective psyche challenges the imagery that we use for ourselves in a time of surplus. As David A. Bell recently wrote in an article for The New Republic, such apocalyptic responses can be seen throughout American history in times of challenge or uncertainty: the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and, more recently, in response to both September 11 and this “Great Recession.” According to a new wave of journalists and academics, the United States is just now losing its economic and military authority worldwide and will soon fall prey to a new array of stronger rivals, just as Rome fell to the barbarians. What this kind of language says to us speaks to the way that national allegory operates to unify disparate groups of people. When one refers to the nation as a strong, economic muscleman, such language creates an individual figure for the nation and downplays the discrete groups of people that make up America. Similarly, in times of crisis, the figure of the United States becomes an image of
weakness, degeneracy and old age, while our “rivals” — that is, those who are stronger, faster, and more disciplined — move in to leave us in the dust. As Bell writes: “How can a weak, flabby, undisciplined couch potato possibly compete with a rival who eats right, studies hard and works out every day (like the Russians … I mean the Japanese … I mean the Chinese)?” Such analogy, which becomes a national allegory, uses the structure of rhetoric to create a unified vision even for discrete and diverse individuals of the given country. Times of crisis often show the weakness of using such allegory, even in times of prosperity. As the United States continues to struggle through a recession, the rhetoric of the nation has made a seismic shift, as if it had aged 40 years in the time span of three years, from the welterweight champion of the past century to an aged retiree who is scrapping just to pay the bills. Yet, as Bell notes in his essay, such apocalyptic language “arise[s] as much from something deeply rooted in the collective psyche of our chattering classes as from sober political and economic analyses.” Bell does not discredit all of the concerns that such writers have with concern for America’s future, but he does see the reaction of many writers to be unnecessarily dire, or at least out of touch with a more restrained, more nuanced treatment
of America’s future. Concerns over the “Great Recession” have shattered our previous national allegory, which is quickly being replaced by a new allegory that shows the United States as the next Rome. The problem, as Bell says, with merely replacing one analogy for another is that neither is rooted in truth. Such analogies might be compelling, especially if one is inclined to “sound the alarm” about America’s future, and so aim to “wake up”
the sleeping country to its trouble. Yet, as Bell says: “We would do better to recognize that calling ourselves “the new Romans” is really just a seductive fantasy, and that our political and economic problems demand political and economic solutions.” Which is to say, one would do better by staying grounded in real economic truth and analysis than getting caught up in comparisons to Rome, but one wonders if this new image of America is one that its citizens could believe in.
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Renewal of Bush tax cuts incompatible with budget crisis Kenneth St. John Editorial Assistant On the morning of Dec. 4, Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have, if passed, restored tax rates for upper income taxpayers (individuals making over $200,000, couples making over $250,000) back to Clinton-era levels. Senate Democrats backed the bill wanting to maintain
the Bush tax cuts for everyone except upper income taxpayers. As a result, President Barack Obama will most likely be forced to negotiate with the Republicans and allow the Bush tax cuts in their entirety to continue for all. At first glance, this seems as though it is a good plan. But the stark reality is, “no.” America now has an all time high national deficit,
Photo courtesy of Haeg via Wikimedia.org
and the national debt is growing larger than ever before. The federal government simply cannot afford continuing the Bush tax cuts any longer. In 2001, when the Bush tax cuts were enacted, America had a budget surplus leftover from the Clinton administration. The combination of the tax cuts, along with Bush’s costly endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan was what originally put America “in the red.” With the onset of the Great Recession in the Fall of 2008, Obama was forced to use taxpayer money to bailout numerous banks and corporations. This was a necessary evil to prevent the national economy, and to a greater extent, the global economy, from totally crashing. However, the budget suffered as a result. The New York Times recently published a so-called “Deficit Project” which uses data from the Congressional Budget Office to find ways to cut — and eventually eliminate — the deficit. One of the many cost-cutting measures that the Deficit Project found was to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for incomes over $250,000 per year. If this were to happen, the savings to the deficit would be $54 billion by 2015 and $115 billion by 2030. The Deficit Project also found that if the Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire
for everyone, the deficit savings would be $226 billion by 2015 and $367 billion by 2030. In the midst of this current economic downturn, it is unethical to raise taxes for those not in the upper income tax brackets. People are still unemployed and are looking to find work, and raising taxes on them would do more harm than good. Those in the higher income brackets can afford the tax hike. Upper income taxpayers were doing just fine during the Clinton administration, before the tax cuts, so there is no reason for them to balk now, when the country now requires them to chip in a little. This alone does not solve the deficit problem, but it is a step in the right direction. The Deficit Project also recommended a number of other measures that would decrease the deficit. One of them would be to institute a “Millionaire’s Tax” which would save $50 billion by 2015 and $95 billion by 2030. Cuts in defense, reductions in foreign aid and measures related to health care and social security were also suggested. Regardless, it is apparent that the budget is a major issue that America faces, and if politicians from both sides of the aisle do not find a solution soon, we can be in a situation similar to Greece, Ireland and Iceland. That is a future we do not wish to have and our children to live in.
True spirit forgotten amid holiday frenzy Paige Heckathorn Assoc. Opinions Editor
As I write this column, I’m a little bit more tired and crabby than usual. The school year is ending (which, of course, equals stress), and the fire alarm so kindly went off at 2:30 a.m. in my building last night. And yet, I have tried to maintain perspective on the situation. It is exceptionally easy to get caught up in all of these small matters that make our lives seemingly more difficult, and the holiday season always seems to exacerbate all of those problems. Christmas is a crowded time of mass consumption that always seems to bring more stress than necessary during a time that is meant to be filled with gratitude and concern for those around us. And yet, it often turns into a feeding frenzy of gifts and malls that are packed with last-minute shoppers in a hurry. The holiday season often brings out the worst in each of us as we seek that perfect gift, while we bypass the needs of others during this time. It is not a startling revelation to hear about our societal problem with helping others during the holiday season, and Boston College represents just a microcosm of that issue. While undoubtedly some Eagles have participated in community service during this time, and others may have also used charitable donations as Christmas gifts, or given gift cards to micro-loan groups such as Kiva, we as a population tend to be selfish. And in all honesty, it’s hard not to be. We have final exams, final events, and for us seniors, the final weekend-of-some-significance (usually plus a theme) party that we have to either throw or attend. It’s easy to get caught up in our own individual lives to the point of forgetting about the world outside the walls of BC. What is perhaps most ironic about all of this is the emphasis that this school puts on service and living for others. Programs on campus, such as Applachia and Arrupe, are certainly important aspects of learning about the world outside of Chestnut Hill, and about what it means to serve others attentively. Other groups that serve the greater Boston area have also created an important relationship between BC and the underserved community of this city. But all too often, that experience is not translated into everyday life. I do not want to discount the experiences that people have had in their own service (and this is not meant to disparage these groups, as can often happen in the BC community), but the long-term results are often disappointing. Sure, there are some great stories to tell later to friends and family (and also to prospective employers), but there is rarely a changed trajectory. And that is perhaps what is most perplexing about our culture of service on campus – we
can be committed advocates throughout our four years in Chestnut Hill and then fall into an uninvolved existence. All of the concepts of social justice that BC grads learned in their time at school — fueled in no small part by the Jesuit tradition and the aforementioned service trips — are not carried over into everyday life. That becomes most apparent during this holiday season, when overtures are made but no serious consideration of charity and service to others is taken. This is painfully clear as Congress is allowing unemployment benefits to run out as the holiday season kicks into gear. While the Republican party is pushing for extended tax cuts for the rich (that have not been paid for), Congress is blocking more money getting into the hands of those who need it the most – those who have lost their jobs in this rough economy, not the wealthiest members of our society. President Barack Obama, addressing the newly elected Governors of America (a large faction of which are Republicans), warned the incoming officials that the lapse in employment benefits will have adverse economic repercussions for their states, which are still trying to recover during the busy shopping season. And yet, Obama has not put enough pressure on Congressional leaders to act in the best interest of the American people, not the most advantaged in our society, allowing the
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GOP to score these superficial political wins at the expense of real individuals and families during these difficult months. And so it is my hope that students at BC can look beyond obligatory charity and service during this holiday season and think about the kind of society we want to live in when we leave our community here. We must challenge ourselves to look beyond the immediate gratification of a political win into how we, as future leaders of this country, will look to serve those most underserved among us. Alternative gifts are wonderful, and performing service during the holidays should not be discounted. But this winter should be used to seriously consider the kind of justice we expect when we leave these grounds, especially as the new Republican House comes to power in January. Hopefully, the apathy of post-grad life will no longer be the trend. Instead, we will look beyond our petty troubles and issues to provide the change that we voted for two years ago.
Partisan politics at the root of decling political climate
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William Stoll Editorial Assistant Hours after the GOP retook the House of Representatives, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell declared, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President [Barack] Obama to be a one-term president.” This statement itself should send a chill down the spine of any person in the United States — Democrat or Republican. Note the context of this statement: the Republican Party had attained a sweeping victory, recapturing a significant majority in the House and essentially securing the limitation of power held by Obama and the Senate. But the first thing he declares is that his top priority is to obstruct the reelection of Obama. He is neither promising the American people to fight unemployment, nor referring to hotissue topics like the expiring tax cuts or reducing the deficit. But instead, he is acknowledging that the most important thing to him is to prevent a second term for the president. This statement signifies what our current political landscape has become. Put simply, the polarization of American politics impedes the government from acting responsibly. We have moved past the days of McCain-Feingold-like bipartisanship, with compromise and solutions as distant memories. The greatest and most recent example of this is found in the passage of our health care law. This law was passed despite the majority of Americans opposing it and the overwhelming majority placing other issues, such as the economy, well above health care. While I personally was for health care reform, even I knew that this law should not have been passed in the manner in which it occurred. The Framers set up our government so that the minority could be heard and could prevent total majority rule. However, the passage
of the health care bill represents a new age in American politics. The Democrats passed this bill with an all-or-nothing attitude, knowing that for many of them, a “yes” vote essentially sealed their political deaths come midterms. And yet, it was passed, and the question now is, what next? Suppose the GOP sweeps the presidency and both houses in the next election. Is it that far-fetched to believe that they may be swift to pass laws that every Republican politician dreams of ? I’m not talking tax cuts or deregulation of the economy. I’m referring to things like English as the national language, the end of Social Security and welfare, a certain death to health care and deportation of illegal immigrants. It sounds a little crazy, but if the Democrats would commit political suicide with health care, what exactly would prevent a Tea Partybacked GOP from rolling out their most conservative agenda? If they hold the majorities that the Democrats controlled these past few years, the simple answer is: nothing. Lately, it seems as though politicians from Alaska to Washington have lost touch with the American people. They are more concerned with their own agendas, or their respective party’s own agendas, than caring for their constituents, and really why should they? There hasn’t been a major party challenge to the GOP and the Democrats since the Progressive Party in the early 1900s, and since the American people continue to vote in droves for whichever party they feel they identify with, there is really no need for the average senator or congressman to care about his or her voters. Do you think the average American is well informed? Would they be able to explain to you their current congressman’s views on abortion, taxes, or the wars in the Middle East? No, they probably couldn’t. The average American votes for the party, not the person. In 2008 when things were not going well for the GOP, the people voted Democratic. Now that the Democrats failed to make things instantly better, 2010 was the election of the Republican. This incessant party-swapping and the idea of “well, things with this party aren’t going great, I’ll just vote for the other one this time” is the exact opposite of what our country if founded on. Right now, people should be so sick of their politicians that there should be a swell of new political parties filled with new politicians that will act for the people while in office, not for themselves. The Declaration of Independence implies that when a people are dissatisfied with their government, it is well within their rights to get rid of it and start over. I am certainly not suggesting any sort of revolution or revolt, or even a restructuring of government. But unless our politicians can change to become more cooperative with each other, listen to the people, and turn things around, the mentality and the faces of Washington are going to need a change.
The Triumph of WikiLeaks Andrew Schofield Opinions Editor Bill Clinton claims it will cost people their lives. Hillary Clinton denounced it as a criminal act. And even Saturday Night Live satirized it on their latest show. But regardless of one’s view on Julian Assange’s latest round of WikiLeaks, one cannot deny that he has certainly touched upon one of the more difficult predicaments that democracies face. On one hand, our country was founded on the idea of freedom and equality, and it is often suggested that not only a free but also active press is vital to the health of our form of government. On the contrary, many believe that issues like national security take precedence over Assange’s right to publish thousands of classified government documents. And it is with that viewpoint in mind that the US government has focused on damage control — believing that these leaks threaten the little stability left in a world consumed by arms races and wars on terror. But while the US government is scrambling to salvage whatever diplomatic goodwill it still has, others seem less concerned about the disclosures — saying they broke little ground. World leaders like Putin, Karzai, and Gilani dismissed their significance. And I am sure that for many foreign policy experts, the leaked cables just backed up assumptions they already held. But the significance of the cables does not lie with diplomatic realm, but rather with the common American people. As columnist Arthur Brisbane writes in his New York Times article, “The real question should be: Are Times readers and Americans at large better informed on these issues because of the stories? The answer is unquestionably yes.” The released cables state the facts of reality that we rarely, if ever, hear from our leaders in Washington. Never would President Barack Obama openly doubt the ability of the Pakistani military or reveal that they believe Iran has already obtained missiles ca-
pable of reaching Western Europe. We could listen to congressmen and White House executives alike for hours as they reel off one canned remark after another and not learn nearly as much about the world around us as if we had these WikiLeaks. So, for myself, it is not the potential diplomatic damage that these leaks can do that frightens me, but rather, it is the fact that somewhere along the way it was decided that the people of this country are not deserving of the truth. Each American, whether a diplomat in Paris or a janitor in Pittsburgh, holds the same vested interest in the safety of this country. So why give one the truth and feed the other the same old rehearsed and guarded talking points? And while one could certainly make the point that some information is simply too sensitive to release to the public with regard to national security, consider the intelligence blunders of the George W. Bush administration. Assured by our country’s leaders that Iraq did indeed have weapons of mass destruction, we foolhardily rushed into a now seemingly unjustified war. And while the blame cannot be placed simply on one aspect of the situation, it is conceivable that it could have been avoided with a bit more transparency. The entire episode almost becomes symbolic of the general frustration that most Americans feel towards the current state of their political system. The public values honesty and transparency and wants to see their government share those ideals. People are tired of hearing every politician talk around issues in a part of the political game. They want facts. It is telling that a bizarre Australian man wanted for “sex crimes” has delivered more information to the American people over the past week than most Congressmen reveal over their entire careers. The system is broken, and until our leaders on Capitol Hill recognize their constituents as fellow countrymen rather than a potential vote, we will never be able to fix it.
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“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is outdated, unnecessary Andrew Slade When President Bill Clinton signed Defense Directive 1304.26 in 1993, he established the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” or DADT. At the time, this was seen as progress for gay people in the military, since it banned historically prevalent efforts to identify and expel gay servicemen. While the “don’t ask” part of DADT was perceived as a step forward 16 years ago, “don’t tell” today sends the message that homosexuality is a handicap so severe that gays need to keep it a secret. It suggests that there is something wrong with these men and women who wish to serve during a time of war, and it scares young Americans who are not heterosexual into thinking that the struggles they already face will only be amplified in the professional world. To the extent that it disallows free expression by a single, targeted social group, DADT is a discriminatory policy. There are some who argue that its repeal would have negative ramifications within the military, but studies have shown time and again that such concerns are unfounded. Most recently, the Pentagon conducted a study that concluded this November, stating that over two-thirds of the members of our military believe the repeal would have little or no effect on performance. Among those who suspect they have already served alongside homosexuals, 92 percent indicated that performance was unaffected. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush administration and a veteran has made clear his belief that DADT can and should be repealed “without posing a serious risk to military readiness.” This belief has been echoed by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Beyond assurances from military and civilian leaders that the potential consequences of repeal are limited and manageable, there are strong, logical arguments highlighting the institutional benefits of repeal. Most obvious is the fact that we are engaged in two wars. The military is actively seeking new recruits, while maintaining a policy that seems quite likely to discourage enlistment by a sizable demographic. Who, after all, would not be put off by a job offer stipulating that the candidate can have the job only if he or she keeps se-
cret some fundamental aspect of his or her identity for the duration of employment? In addition to the potential benefits in terms of recruitment, there is a financial advantage to repealing DADT. A 2006 University of California study conducted with former Defense Department officials from the Reagan and Clinton administrations, as well as West Point professors, found that the cost of discharging troops under DADT exceeded $363 million between 1994 and 2003. This figure is derived from the combined costs associated with training and recruiting replacements, as well as separation travel. Some say we study history to prevent the unfortunate parts of it from repeating themselves. Throughout America’s history through the end of World War II, our military was racially segregated. President Harry Truman changed this policy during the Korean War in the face of military opposition much stronger than that which exists today against the repeal of DADT. Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson stated recently that in spite of this, studies of military performance in Korea have indicated that integrated units operated just as cohesively as segregated units. While there are differences between these forms of discrimination, the primary arguments used by opponents of DADT’s repeal are strikingly similar to those used in criticism of Truman’s executive order for racial integration. I anticipate that in decades to come, we will be judged on the basis of how Congress ends up dealing with DADT. Gay people today grow up knowing that they are a minority, and that there are people in America who hate them because of something over which they have no control. While it is unlikely that the minds of these conformational conservatives will change anytime soon, our elected representatives in Congress have the opportunity to remind young people in particular that there is nothing wrong with them and that the negative views of an extremely vocal and influential faction of the population are in no way indicative of the federal government’s position on the matter. By repealing DADT, Congress could add weight to the claim that “it gets better.” How much longer must we wait to see the tolerance that we preach reflected in the policies of our military?
Zaftig’s shines as gem of Coolidge Corner
Photo courtesy of Zaftig’s.com By Sean Robbins Business Manager With the catchphrase “Let Us Be Your Jewish Mother,” Zaftigs Delicatessen of Brookline is far and above some of the best Jewish food I’ve ever enjoyed. The welcoming atmosphere, clever, varied array of sandwiches and dishes, and the friendly cast all enrich the Zaftigs dining experience. I wholeheartedly recommend that every Boston College student take the short ride down the C line to Coolidge Corner to experi-
ence some of the best food you will ever have in your four years at BC. The first time I happened upon Zaftigs, I was relatively new to Jewish food, and, despite having been to Coolidge Corner many times, had never strolled far enough down to 335 Harvard Avenue to notice the line of hungry people out the door. The first thing I noticed about Zaftigs were the awesome shirts the employees wore: “Happy Challadays,” “Get Latke” and “Kugel me.” It was then that I realized this place had personality — an energy that cel-
ebrated the excitement of the culinary experience. It has become routine for me in each of my visits to Zaftigs to order much more than I could possibly eat. The portions are generous, and with bottomless bagel chips and an even better version of our own Hillside Cafe’s herb cream cheese to boast, it is easy to fill up on appetizers before the main course ever arrives. My appetizer of choice is the Noodle Kugel — a sweet, savory blend of egg noodles, cinnamon and nutmeg that will make you feel like
you’re eating dessert first. The main courses are just as spectacular, ranging from every variation of artisan sandwich imaginable to fully stacked burgers–even breakfast all day. While each time I visit, I make full attempt to try something new, my roommate insists on the Bacon Bleu Cheese Burger each time, calling it one of the best burgers he has ever had. I’ve tried and highly recommend the Raphel: Roast turkey, mashed potato, stuffing, cranberry and apricot chutney on toasted challah with gravy. It’s a delicious sandwich for those who want a little Thanksgiving flavor even if it isn’t that time of year. It’s one of those so-stuffed-you-cannot-resist-eatingwith-both-hands kind of sandwiches that melts in your mouth. Any way you slice it, Zaftigs sandwiches are one-of-a-kind goodness. Although the scene inside Zaftigs is casual and relaxed, on the weekends during peak hours, expect to wait a half an hour before being seated. Hungry customers often line up out the door during summer months. In the winter, you’ll wait inside, but because the restaurant is thoroughly packed with dinner tables, standing is the only option. The wait is worth it, and if you’re in a rush, there is a short bar where people are seated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sitting at the bar has the energetic feel of being in a sports bar with five-star cuisine artistically prepared
for you. Two large LCD televisions hang above the bar, usually showcasing one of the popular sporting events of the day. It’s a combination I’ve never before experienced, but one that works surprisingly well. If you’re on the go, stop in and place a take-out order and you’ll be on your way in twenty minutes or less. Unlike many restaurants I’ve been to, the seating inside Zaftigs has a very communal feel. And while the place can become packed on the weekends, there’s just something special about the lively air inside Zaftigs. It is neither formal nor intimidating, but rather exciting and welcoming. And best of all, for college students looking to save money, Zaftigs isn’t nearly as pricey as some of the local restaurant joints nearby. The most expensive entrées top out below $16. Sandwich and fry combinations can run you anywhere from eleven to fifteen dollars, but because the portions are equivalent to large entrees elsewhere, your dollar goes a long way here. Going to Zaftigs regularly has become a tradition among my closest friends, and it is because Zaftigs is a culinary experience like none other I’ve witnessed. It is a winning combination of delicious food, lively atmosphere and great service. Zaftigs, you have full permission to “be my Jewish mother” and keep my friends and me coming back time and again.
‘Reflections’ showcase holiday arts By Daniel Monan Culture Editor This Dec. 17 through 19, Boston College will host “Christmas Reflections,” an artful blending of music, storytelling and dance celebrating the spirit of the holidays. The performance will feature professional dancers as well as Boston College students and alums. This year marks the second time that “Christmas Reflections” has been held at BC. Prior to last year, Director Bob VerEecke S.J. oversaw the Boston College Christmas celebration, “A Dancer’s Christmas,” for 28 years. VerEecke stated that he hopes “Christmas Reflections” will preserve the favorite elements of past years, while offering a production more in touch with the spirit of the holidays. “After putting on ‘A Dancer’s Christmas’ for all this time, we decided to do something on a smaller scale. Something more manageable,” VerEecke said. According to Father VerEecke, the goal was a more intimate presentation, reconnecting with Christmas. As the name would
suggest, “Christmas Reflections” promises to give audiences a “heartwarming reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.” “Christmas Reflections” may be less elaborate than previous years’ celebrations, but BC students lucky enough to attend will be hard-pressed to notice. Helen O’Dwyer, of the O’Dwyer School for Irish Dancing, has overseen choreography which will incorporate Irish Step and professional dancers from New York and Boston will perform alongside Boston College students and children of all ages. Interwoven with the singing and dancing, BC alumnus Curly Glynn will provide narration through a progression of classic and modern Christmas tales. These will include: The Story of Christmas According to Luke, An Irish Christmas According to Seamus, a contemporary tale entitled Christmas in Boston and the story of Shep, the Sleepy Shepherd. The stories have been selected to appeal to both the young and old and while the show will feature a deep spiritual message, VerEecke was quick to stress the entertainment value of “Christmas Reflections.” “It’s a wonderful celebration of the sea-
son,” VerEecke said. “It’s magical, it’s funny, and of course, it’s spiritual.” In past years, “A Dancer’s Christmas” had become a Christmas tradition for both BC students and the Boston area community. The cast and crew of “Christmas Reflections” fully intend to live up to this legacy. Although some BC students might be leery of taking a break from their studies during exam week to attend a show, Father VerEecke described the scheduling as a positive aspect by claiming the show will reduce the stress of finals. “BC students are so completely absorbed with finals and studies, but if you need a break, this is a great opportunity to spend an hour and a half on a fun thing,” VerEecke said. Tickets for “Christmas Reflections” can be purchased at the Robsham box office for $15. Past seasons have routinely sold out, so BC students are encouraged to make arrangements now rather than waiting. Performances will be held Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. as well as Dec. 18 and 19 at 3 p.m. The running time is expected to be one hour and 30 minutes.
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Better Cooking BC: Buttermilk Biscuits By Kristoffer Munden For Gavel Media Buttermilk biscuits are one of my ultimate comfort foods. Served with butter and honey straight out of the jar, they’re a perfect way to start off your day. What’s more, buttermilk biscuits are one of the easiest types of breads to make – so, as long as you don’t overwork the dough, you’re almost guaranteed to produce some amazing biscuits. Ingredients 2 cups all-purpose flour 4 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon baking soda ¾ teaspoon kosher salt 3 tablespoons butter (straight out of the fridge), cut into small cubes 1 tablespoon shortening 1 cup buttermilk (chilled) 1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. 3. Add the butter and shortening to the dry ingredients. Make sure that the butter is very cold. Combine with a fork until the mixture resembles sand. Work the mixture with your hands to make sure there are no large chunks of butter or shortening left. Do not overwork the mixture! 4. Add the buttermilk and combine just until the liquid is incorporated. 5. Turn out the dough onto a floured counter and work it into a loose ball. Pat it out flat and fold the dough over itself. Repeat this folding process about five to six times, being careful not to work the dough too much. Use your hands; do not use a rolling pin. 6. After folding the dough over on itself five to six times, pat the dough out until it’s roughly 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into two-inch rounds. 7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the biscuits have puffed up and are golden brown on top.
Gavel Media photos by Kristoffer Munden
Column: Reflection on how ‘super’ BC fans are By Robert Rossi Assoc. Culture Editor The term “SuperFan” gets tossed around too much on the Boston College campus. The football team recently earned its twelfth straight bowl bid, and the hockey team is ranked fourth in the country, in the process of defending its national championship. But with such quality teams, the necessity of emails encouraging “SuperFans” to arrive in their seats before the start of games seems irksome. Are BC students really justified in likening their cheering abilities to the Man of Steel? The question can only be answered on an individual basis. Personally, after witnessing the infestation of Notre Dame fans on the Chestnut Hill campus this past Oct. 2, I decided that cheering on the football team at all seven home games was not enough. I wanted to be part of a victory celebration on another team’s turf. With a roommate hailing from central New York and a very limited budget, choosing the Syracuse game was an easy decision (playing in a conference mostly made up of teams south of the Mason-Dixon has its drawbacks). This choice meant sacrificing Thanksgiving with my family and suffering both a six-hour bus ride and the horrors of the Albany bus station. But victory would justify everything. The game came two days after the Patriot’s Thanksgiving day massacre of the Detroit Lions and one day after the Iron Bowl thriller and Boise State’s downfall. Football
could not have been better to me in the leadup to my trip to the Carrier Dome. Leaving the house two hours before kickoff did not feel early enough. Going to new places can make you appreciate things about where you have already been. In a few years, when many alumni SuperFans return to the stadium that will bear their name, the time and price of parking will no doubt cause great agony. Rest assured, Syracuse fans have it just as bad. They also have to ride a bus from the parking lot to the actual field. Glares from the opposition made me realize just how strongly yellow and orange can contrast. The seating at the Carrier Dome caught me off-guard. Even though I was in the BC section, positioned considerately by the entrance to the BC locker room (think about who greets opponents at Alumni when they run on the field), I could not stop looking for the familiar sea of yellow. At last I resigned myself to sticking out in a group of maroonclad alumni, and even worse, watching the game with my butt in my seat. The game itself was an entirely different experience. Gone where the chants, thunderclaps, and marching band-led dances. The JumboTron and cheerleaders suddenly affected how I watched the game. And, while I personally kept quiet on BC third downs, the Syracuse fans erupted every time. If SuperFans are half as loud in the roofless Alumni as the Orange fans were inside the Carrier Dome, their effect on the game is huge. The players and coaches really do need us there.
Photo courtesy of Robert Rossi
With a final score of 16-9, there were not many exciting plays to whip either side into a frenzy. A win is a win, though, and my hollers of victory as I left the stadium were met with “BC still sucks” chants from the supporters of the losers. Seeing my SuperFan shirt and sunglasses, many incognito BC fans high-fived me on the way back to the car. Experiencing the same at any away game is a must for all SuperFans before graduation. The most memorable moment of the entire weekend came courtesy of the BC defense’s
most recognizable face. Dropped back into zone coverage, Mark Herzlich made a diving interception to effectively end his final regular season game as a BC Eagle. The play was made even more special by the presence of Herzlich’s father in the stands, who led the crowd in a passionate “We are BC” chant after the final whistle sounded. Boston College is a community, not just a campus, and never in my life have I witnessed more tangible evidence than during Thanksgiving break in Syracuse, New York.
Filmmakers tell tales of love, life through BC’s campus By Tue Tran Editor-in-Chief A group of Boston College students and a professor from the film department are working on a a collection of short films, modeled after Paris, Je T’aime. Titled BC, I Love You, the films explore relationships at BC, and the final product will premiere at the Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday, Dec. 11. Sean Meehan, A&S ’11 and Video Editor for Gavel Media, says that he got the idea for this project about two years ago. “Ever since I got serious about filmmaking at BC, I’ve wanted to have that endlessly collaborative atmosphere with other student filmmakers,” Meehan said. According to Meehan, it was easy to find people who would be enthusiastic about making their own film. “Basically, once we told a few people, it ballooned so quickly that I was worried for a while that we were going to have too many films,” Meehan said. “People were all so committed to doing it, and once we had gotten to a good number, everybody was ready to dive headfirst into making as many great films as we could.” “It’s a complete student initiative.” Matt Laud, another director in BC, I Love You and A&S ’11. “We have the faculty’s blessing, but it’s completely student driven. I think we wanted to do something that we can say we did because we wanted to.” But one professor did want to join the project by contributing a short film. “I’ll jump on board with any project that helps build a community of filmmakers here at BC,” Gautam Chopra, a professor in the film department, said in an e-mail. Meehan’s piece is called “Gameface,” and is about a student who dons the Baldwin suit during games, but in daily interactions, the student is reserved. Then the student falls for a student photographer and must decide if the situation is worth the risk. Laud is working on a comedy titled “Acapocalypse” with a musical number. While that may ring a bell to “Gleeks,” Laud said he does not watch Glee. It is about a boy and a girl who live together as friends. But as the boy’s romantic feelings grow for his roommate, she falls for a boy in her a capella group.
But not all the films discuss romantic feelings between two students. Chopra’s film, titled “The Burglars,” is about an alumnus who returns to campus for his 10-year reunion and decides to visit his old mod. “I believe mine is the only film that features a graduate, mainly because I’m approaching my own ten year reunion,” Chopra said. “While the films share the common thread of BC, the unique ways that each filmmaker sees the world will make for an eclectic, surprising collection of films.” To find actors, they worked closely with members of the theatre department. They held a casting day in late October and found all the actors they needed. “They are an impressive bunch of actors,” Laud said. Meehan also had nothing but praise for his actors. “[W]orking specifically with the actors that I did on this project has made me just want to write parts for all of them,” he said. “I’d be a fool not to try to get them to work with me again.” Moving from a story idea to a final production on the big screen is a long process. Making a short film in a few months’ time and being a full-time student has its hardships. “Juggling academic work with this project is hard,” Laud said. “I’m sure I’m going to be pulling my hair out when my film is ready to go.” Laud estimated that he will have spent about 40 hours on this project, from writing the story to editing his film. But for those who love what they do, the labor seems much lighter. “I have a feeling that people will be blown away by the level of craft and the sophistication of personal expression on display in these films,” Chopra said. “Our students are so hardworking, talented, and innovative … and my hope is that the film will inspire other students to pick up a camera and tell their stories.” “When people go to the screening, they’re going to be treated to a hugely diverse set of films, so therefore they’re going to get a ton of different perspectives to chew on,” Meehan said. “… It’s going to be an awesome event, and we’re all so proud just to be a part of it.”
Photo courtesy of Sean Meehan The person behind the Baldwin costume falls in love in “Gameface.”
“Acapocalypse” shows when love for a roommate elicits song.
Photo courtesy of Matt Laud
Photo courtesy of Gautam Chopra In “The Burglars,” an alum strolls down memory lane by visiting his old Mod.
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Chorale concert rings in Christmas season
Gavel Media Photos by Gillian Freedman
By Eliza Duggan Print Manager The University Chorale of Boston College and the Boston College Symphony Orchestra performed their annual Christmas on the Heights concert in Trinity Chapel on Newton campus from Dec. 3rd to 5th. The popular concert was sold out at the two evening performances and the Sunday matinee, drawing huge crowds to hear the spirited holiday songs. University Chorale President Nicholas Foster, A&S ’11, and Symphony Orchestra E-board member Gabby Lewine, A&S’ 13, introduced the concert before they took to the stage. The concert began with a jubilant rendition of Handel’s “Joy to the World,” which was followed by the Chorale’s triumphant theme song, “Tollite Hostias” from the Oratorio de Noël by Camille Saint-Saëns. University Chorale and Symphony Orchestra conductor John Finney then invited the audience to sing along to the chorus of “We Three Kings,” which featured three soloists on the verses. Chorale Social Director Anne Nunziata sang the first verse, followed by President Nicholas Foster and Men’s Secretary Ryan Crowe. This first sing-along warmed up the audience for the second one, a cheerful rendition of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Next, the Chorale sang a piece from Mendelssohn’s Messiah, “For Unto Us a Child Is Born,” a vigorous and entertaining piece that features many long, challenging phrases among the four different voice parts. A jolly French carol, “Ding, Dong, Merrily on High,” followed. The BC Symphony Orchestra then took stage, performing the vivacious “Trepak,” the Russian dance from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. The familiarly exuberant piece was reminiscent of the famous ballet and the heartwarming story of the Nutcracker. The Chorale then joined the orchestra for a redition of “O Holy Night (Cantique de Noël).” Saturday evening’s audience members were fortunate enough to enjoy the guest soloist, Laetitia Muriel Blain, who is former Musician-in-Residence at Boston College and a well known musical personality in New
England. With a wonderful soprano voice, Blain sang the first verse in French before the Chorale joined in with English lyrics. “O Holy Night” was followed by “A Christmas Festival,” a medley of popular Christmas tunes arranged by Leroy Anderson. The mirthful and recognizable medley included “Joy to the World,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night” and “Deck the Hall.” Next was “Ave Maria,” which featured two senior soloists. Anthony Papetti, Vice President, sang first, and was joined by Margaret Mansfield, Women’s Secretary in a beautiful harmony before performing her own solo. John Finney invited the audience to sing once again when the Chorale performed a familiar favorite, “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” The singers took a brief break while the Symphony Orchestra then played a jovial rendition of “Sleigh Ride,” which featured percussionists mimicking the sounds of jingling bells, horses trotting, and a whip cracking, giving the feeling of an actual winter sleigh ride. The Chorale proceeded with a beautiful “Candlelight Carol” by John Rutter, followed by two carols arranged by Mechem. One was a gleeful Spanish Carol called “Fum, Fum Fum!,” and the other an English Carol, “God Bless the Master of this House.” John Finney introduced the next song, “Carol of the Bells,” as perhaps the most famous of all Ukranian carols. The quick, delicate melody of the sopranos was lushly supported by the fullness of the alto, tenor, and bass parts. The Symphony Orchestra’s flute player, Lauren Okada, and Franziska Huhn on harp were featured during “Silent Night,” a pleasantly soft and cozy tune. For the grand finale, the director asked the audience to stand for Handel’s “Hallelujah!” from the Messiah. It is customary to stand during “Hallelujah!,” following the tradition that the King of England was so moved that he stood during this piece, and thus the entire court had to stand. The audience was on their feet for the last song, and cheered on the Chorale and Orchestra in a great standing ovation at the end of the concert.