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APRIL 2, 2012

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Texas Ed Board enlists its first UTD student Klein to work on higher ed financial aid committee

PAUL DANG Mercury Staff


Kayla Klein, neuroscience sophomore and SG rep, becomes the first UTD student to work on the Texas Higher Education Committee Board. Starting June 1, she aims to make tuition assistance more accessible for students.

Kayla Klein will become the first UTD student to represent her peers by voicing tuition assistance concerns on a board that oversees the state’s higher education plan. Currently devoting much of her sophomore year to a double major in neuroscience and biology, Klein will also act as a member of the Financial Aid Committee on the Texas Higher Education Committee Board, or THECB, beginning

June 1. “It looks great to see UT Dallas have a student up to par,” said Sharkey Andrews, Student Government president. “It adds to our name as a university.” THECB aims to increase enrollment and degree opportunities over a multiyear plan, and Klein said she hopes to increase the accessibility of scholarships and financial aid while she is on the board. As former class president and student body president at Cedar

Park High School, Klein said she discovered a passion for helping others get their voice heard, long before the green and orange. “It can be intimidating for students to bring up their issues to teachers or administrators, which is why representative organizations are needed,” Klein said in an email. “I don’t mind talking to faculty and administrators about problems so I almost feel like it is my duty to help those around me who might

see KLEIN page 4

FIJI gains its charter SHEILA DANG Mercury Staff

The UTD colony of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, or FIJI, became an official chapter March 24 after it was awarded its charter at a banquet. After two years of recruiting members, saving funds and building an on-campus reputation, the colony petitioned the governing body and ultimately received a charter, elevating the men’s status to full brothers of the fraternity. Connor Pokorny, an alpha class member of FIJI and computer science junior, said while it required hard work, the path toward receiving a charter felt rewarding. “It feels amazing, it’s really great,” Pokorny said. “Two years ago we set out and this was our goal, to get chartered. You hope it happens faster, but a lot of guys put a lot of hard work into this. So we finally have our charter and we’re able to move forward.” While the length of time it takes to receive a charter can vary, the governing body consistently looks for

UTD one of few schools ready Story by Anwesha Bhattacharjee Photo illustration by Cathryn Ploehn

It’s that time of the year when frequent storms blow through Texas. According to statistics from the National Weather Center, 50 percent of the 1,691 tornadoes in the United States in 2011 were in the month of April alone, with another 35 percent between May and June. From past data recorded by the National Climactic Data Center, or NCDC, North Texas has been found to lie within “The Tornado Alley,” a region prone to tornadoes. Texas recorded 155 tornadoes in 2011, according to NCDC. Other states in this region include Kansas, Oklahoma, and areas of Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota. The National Weather Service, or NWS, identifies UTD as one of 107 universities in the country that is “StormReady”, or prepared for severe weather conditions. UT Austin, Texas A&M and UT San Antonio are among others in Texas to have received the same status.

see STORM page 5

see FIJI page 5

Charge stations ready for use

UV upgrades residents’ Internet free of charge PAUL DANG Mercury Staff


Eight electric car charging stations have been installed across campus as part of a U.S. Department of Energy research development project. “(The project) selected a few metropolitan areas to install the infrastructure and gave grants to companies in the area to get the infrastructure installed,” said Thea Junt, energy conservation and sustainability manager. “The Department of Energy will collect data (from the stations) for one or two years.” Two stations each are located near the Activity Center, Clark Center, Research and Operations Center and parking lot K.

University Village upgraded its Internet speeds for all residents on March 26, while offering the option for an even faster connection to those who want to pay more. Formerly clocked at 3 Mbps, or megabits per second, the new plan with Time Warner Cable permanently sets download and upload speeds to 5 Mbps for UV residents at no extra cost. Housing officials blazoned their new service with a preview of what 10 Mbps download and upload speed would be like on the weekend of March 23-25. Matt Grief, assistant vice president for student affairs, facilitated the change to the Internet system that had been in place since 2008. “This year we have had some issues with speed and the students’ ability to upgrade their speed in the units,” Grief said in an email to The Mercury. “As the campus official who works closely with this

agreement with Time Warner, I felt that the students in University Village had not been provided a quality Internet product for the entire year.” Fahad Firoze, a graduate student, has served as a peer advisor for University Village for almost two years. He said that the only complaints about the apartments’ online connectivity have been its frequent disconnections. “It would just malfunction, like completely stop working,” Firoze said. “We’ve had a lot of issues with that in the past so I think that’s why [University Village] acted when and which they did.” With the previous speed of 3 Mbps, a typical movie file of 1 gigabyte would ideally take 44.4 minutes to finish downloading. The same movie would take about 26.7 minutes to download with the upgrade running at its highest potential. Despite the data bit rate increase, some residents resumed online activities as they normally would any

UV Internet by the numbers • University Village Internet formerly at 3 Mbps • Residents preview 10 Mbps speeds on March 23-25 • UV increases standard Internet speed from 3 Mbps to 5 Mbps on March 27, for free • Faster speeds available for users who want to pay an additional fee other day. “I haven’t really noticed an increase in speed or anything like that,” said Clay Farris, accounting senior. “But I never really had an issue with the speed before.” Residents now also have the option to pay out of pocket for Internet speeds faster than the newly set 5 Mbps.





UTD Police scanner


Senators debated Article 1 of Student Government’s renewed constitution during the majority of the March 20 SG meeting. The discussion over Article 1 was concerning how senators are elected and who they should represent. At the previous meeting, SG was divided on whether senators should be elected by class, school, at-large, or an alternative method. The amendment was tabled and new ideas were brought to the March 20 SG meeting. Braeden Mayer, SG secretary and international political economy senior, proposed an amendment to solve qualms over Article 1. Mayer suggested senators be organized by grade classification, including graduate students, allowing one senator per class for every 2,000 students enrolled at UTD. For example, if UTD reaches 20,000 students next year, there would be 10 freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior and graduate students for a total of 50 senators, according to the amendment. Freshmen and graduate students would be voted on in the fall, with general elections for everyone else in the spring. However, senators still had concerns. Senator Raj Shah, healthcare management graduate, worried the proposed system would create an unrepresentative student government. It is likely that the number of senators with political science majors would heavily outweigh the number of senators with biology majors if given the chance, Shah said. Senators

agreed that a diversified senate is a positive thing. In response to suggestions of an at-large election, where senators would be unclassified and chosen solely by a majority of votes, Cody Willming, SG vice president and political science junior, said there is a need for a system that holds senators accountable to a certain constituency to keep elections from becoming a popularity contest. Ultimately, senate tabled the discussed sections, 1.1 and 2.2, of Article 1 to allow the creation of alternative amendments and further consideration before making a decision. Senate approved Article 1 with the exception of section 1.1 and 2.2. Sharkey Andrews, SG president and Arts & Performance senior, reported on decisions by faculty senate, regarding previous SG discussions. For the tobacco resolution, faculty senate approved a 10-meter tobacco-free perimeter around every building on campus. Alternative smoking areas are being discussed and an official decision has not been made, Andrews said. The committee on educational policy denied faculty senate’s approval of including the C- pre-requisite policy, which required a grade of C- or higher in pre-requisite courses, in the academic catalog, Andrews said. SG allocated up to $300 to Passport to the World, an event where cultural organizations represent their countries with food, music and more. Senate will continue discussing Article 1 at the next SG meeting, scheduled at 5:15 p.m. on April 3 in one of the Galaxy Rooms.

March 12 • A black leather jacket was stolen at the Facilities Management building. March 15 • An officer responded to the Student Union regarding damage to university property. March 17 • Officers were dispatched to the Waterview Apartments leasing office in regard to a verbal disturbance. • A student was issued a citation for Possession of Alcohol by

a Minor and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. A student was issued a citation for Possession of Alcohol by a Minor. A small amount of marijuana was also seized and submitted into evidence for further investigation. March 20 • An individual was arrested for public intoxication. March 21 • A non-affiliated individual was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 2.

• A student was cited for disorderly conduct. March 22 • A student reported his debit card information was used without his consent. • An unattended cell phone and laptop were taken without the owner’s consent, from the computer lab desk in the Jindal School of Management. March 23 • A student reported the theft of $900 from his wallet. • A student was given a criminal trespass warning after a harassment re-

port about the student was taken. March 24 • A student was issued a citation for Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor. • A student was arrested for activating a fire pull station when no actual emergency existed. March 25 • A non-affiliated individual was issued a citation for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor. • A student was issued a citation for Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor.

Women’s group aims to become new ∑∑ P chapter ASHA ANDREWS Contributor

A new women’s organization on campus is in the process of becoming an official South Asian Sorority. The Domestic Violence Awareness Support group, also known as the Divas, is an interest group working to be a Sigma Sigma Rho UTD chapter. The sorority currently has 17 chapters in the country and only one chapter in Texas, located in Houston. Although the group is

still forming, it already has high expectations from Julie Murphy, assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Life. “(Sigma Sigma Rho is) great, they’re a new community that the school needs, especially being an international organization,” Murphy said. But starting a chapter was not an easy decision for Niya Saju, a Divas member, who said she never knew it would be so much work. As a founder, Saju must meet with Sigma Sigma Rho’s National Expansion Committee to

prove that the Divas are good enough to join the ranks. Since there is only one other chapter in Texas, Saju said the future UTD chapter has the opportunity to give the sorority a good name. “We want to do our best to make sure that Sigma Sigma Rho has a clean and good reputation,” Saju said. The values and mission statement that this sorority carries are much different from any other group, Murphy said. Ten women at St. John’s University in New York

founded Sigma Sigma Rho in 1998. The founders focused on women who had been involved with domestic violence and on giving back to the community. In keeping with these values, the Genesis women’s shelter has become the Divas’ special organization which they have adopted to volunteer at monthly. “(The Divas’) philanthropies are different, and we need new and different groups at our school,” said Maria Campos, United Greek Council president.




UTD could be friendlier place Trayvon Martin was shot and killed because of a hoodie PAUL DANG Mercury Staff

In a ruck of attempts to point the finger of blame for the death of Trayvon Martin, Geraldo Rivera claimed that the culprit wasn’t guns, Florida legislation or the actual shooter, but instead the 17 year old died because he was wearing a hoodie. “The hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was, ”Rivera said on an early morning segment of “Fox and Friends.” And while the cast of Fox News’ morning show found no qualms with Rivera’s statements, virtually everyone else with a working frontal lobe — including Rivera’s own son — lashed out at the irrational and insensitive statements made by the seemingly earnest reporter who had over four decades of journalistic integrity. But when one takes a second look at the flawed logic behind the so-called “Hoodie Theory,” it’s no different than the kneejerk reaction that says Trayvon was shot solely because he was black. So why aren’t the hate crime allegations discounted immediately like Rivera’s assumptions? The Fox reporter’s statement about the perils of hoodie wearing refers to the perception and profiling of a criminal which, in this case, extends to racial profiling. Rivera even prefaced his comment by specifically urging black and Latino parents to not let their kids outside wearing hoodies, for fear of them looking like “gangstas” and subsequently being treated as one. Does this mean that white

youths wearing hoodies would be mean that all X’s are criminals. in similar danger? Just because a hate crime conWhat about Asian kids in hood- sists of X (ie. One race harming ies, would they have the same another), it doesn’t mean every crosshairs on their backs? occurrence of X is a hate crime. Without really saying that it To make the assumption that was a racial issue, Rivera’s argu- every time you see an instance of ment implies that race was indeed white-black violence, male-female a factor in Trayvon’s death. violence, gay-straight or whatever Yet, while the hoodie remark other socio-diametric violence has been thoroughly denounced, you can think of, that there’s an the idea of this tragedy being a intentional hate crime taking racial issue still seems to be en- place, would be conjecture withtertained throughout the nation, out supporting evidence. swaying investigations towards And there has been no evidence the hate crime scenario. yet, that proves that this shooting “The U.S. Justice Department was an example of white-on-black could bring a hate violence — never crime charge against mind the fact that This kind of the shooter in the Zimmerman is half killing of black Flor- jumping to Latino. ida teenager Trayvon conclusions only However, the Martin,” the Associpublic keeps bringated Press reported serves to exing up racism. on March 25th. This kind of acerbate long“Join Us in Fightjumping to conclustanding social ing for Justice for sions only serves Trayvon,” the front tensions in this to exacerbate longpage of country. standing social tensaid shortly after the sions in this counshooting. try. “Don’t judge me by my color,” And it’s these kinds of speculaa picket sign read at a rally in San- tions and scapegoats we see every ford, where Trayvon was killed. time a tragedy occurs that does Another AP report talks about a disservice to the deceased, the the “Black Male Code,” and how families grieving and the subsea black father must teach his son quent investigations. about the racial perceptions that Trayvon Martin’s tragic death could put him in jeopardy. might very well be a result of While a historical and racial a hate crime, self-defense, bad context should definitely be con- legislation, abuse of power or a sidered, the people who are blind- sweatshirt affixed with headwear, ly saying that Travyon’s death was but until any of these motives are a hate crime are using the same actually proven in a court of law, logical fallacy that racial profil- they remain hearsay. ers use to apprehend their targets: At the end of the day, only The Fallacy of Association. three parties will ever know what Just because a certain crime really happened, and that’s Trayseems to be mostly perpetrated by von Martin, George Zimmerman X (ie. A black or Latino person, and whatever omniscient being or a hoodie wearer), this doesn’t you choose to believe in.

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EPPS Graduate Student

I am a morning person. I like to get up very early, watch or read the news, have some coffee and get out the door. Early is typically not a friend of college students. However, this is who I am. I also am the type of person who likes to say “hello” to just about everyone I see when walking around. I think it really has more to do with me than them. I want to be noticed. If I am having a good day, I want someone to see that. If I am having a bad day, I want someone to help cheer it up. So every day when I move about the UTD campus, I spend a chunk of my time saying “hello,” “good morning” or “hi” to dozens of people. Every day, maybe one person says anything back. Most people just walk by and never say anything back to me. It is disheartening. Sometimes I wonder, “Did they hear me?” Or I think “Maybe they are in the zone.” You know the zone — it’s that place you go when you are going from point A to point B and everything in between is noise. Wow. I hadn’t thought about it before, but for a lot of people, I am just noise. I am not a fellow student or colleague. I am not an American or world citizen. I am not even a member of the UTD community. I am just noise in the busy flow of day. Every day when a guy from Lubbock goes to a class in Green Hall, there is a young woman from Tulsa who is sitting in a class in the Jindal School of Management and an attentive young man from China learning something new in the Clark Center. All of them connected by a university campus trying to provide a wellrounded education. But we don’t think of these others here because they too have become noise. How did that happen? When did we stop noticing each other and recognizing that each of us is connected? One month after 9/11, my father was diagnosed as terminally ill. He was given three months to three years to live. Still raw from watching live television as nearly three thousand people died before my eyes, I did everything in my power to get home quickly. The victims of 9/11 were people who I did not know. It is strange, but I remember the lack of noise around me at the time. It was as if all voices had shut off. Over that next three years, I made

it home a couple of times a year. On September 2, 2004, I was called and told it was time and that I should come home. The next day, I arrived. Later that evening, we were told he was brain dead. The afternoon of September 4, I sat quietly by my father’s bedside as the doctor’s turned off his life support and I watched him take his last breaths. When I walked out of that room and saw others sitting in ICU rooms with other patients, I wondered, do they know? Do they know that my father just died? Or are we just noise in their lives? In Wisconsin, I used to go to a neighborhood bar for brunch on a regular basis. My young son used to love to go with me. For years, we would eat brunch and this one waitress would always give my son extra cherries in his soda or an extra scoop of ice cream on his cake. He ate up the food and the attention. That waitress would always greet my son by calling him her future ex-husband. He liked that idea. Two years after we moved to Texas, while she was on vacation in Mexico, this waitress was fatally stabbed in her hotel room. My son remembered her and he took it hard. She was a waitress in a restaurant, not one of his close friends or a family member. But she was connected to us. She made a young boy care about her just by reaching out. She provided more than just noise in his life. I love being here at the University of Texas at Dallas. I love the greenery, the programs, the location, and many of the people. But the one thing I miss is the feeling of connectedness with others on campus. We don’t all have to be close friends or family to make a difference in each other’s lives. Maybe the person you are walking by is like me and just wants to be noticed. Or maybe that person is feeling alone and really needs to be noticed. Does it really hurt you to say hello or to simply smile? We have a special opportunity before us. We are members of the UTD community. We can focus on our individual reasons for being here or we can broaden our horizons to include the diversity of individuals and goals of UTD. That person walking by you is not your enemy. The student sitting alone in the cafeteria might be your new best friend. The co-worker from a program on the other side of campus maybe the person who notices your flat-tire before you pull off. We are all connected. We are more than noise in the background. We are UTD.

How do you think students should be assigned to senate seats? “They should assign them by classification because there seems to be a growing amount of freshmen on campus.”

“I think if they have a good GPA, volunteer and are overall good students, nothing else should matter.”

“Split everyone equally by classification and then represent the school’s proportionately.”

Ricardo Arana ME engineering sophomore

Vanessa Kadado Psychology sophomore

Mitesh Mahajan Graduate student

“There should be a certain number of students by classification who are chosen regardless of major.”

“I think they should divide it by school. If there is a larger population in the SOM that should be reflected in senate.”

“I think it’s fine now. If you don’t have all of a certain school represented, it would be biased.”

Syeda Ain Biology freshman

Brian Philip Physics senior

Hira Bhatti Biology freshman

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Editor-in-Chief Shane Damico Managing Editor Bobby Karalla

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Media Adviser Chad Thomas Staff Writers Paul Dang Staff Photographers Christopher Wang Contributors Asha Andrews Shawn Cho Troi Cluse Sheila Dang Lauren Featherstone Ben Hawkins

JD McCrary Albert Ramirez Larry Stavinoha Yang Xi

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Free service could prevent thefts, save student dollars BOBBY KARALLA Managing Editor

The UTD Police Department will provide free Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, etchings, a service that can prevent auto theft and save students money on car insurance, on April 12 in the police station parking lot. With help from the North Texas Auto Theft Task Force and Richardson Police, the UTD PD will perform the etchings for free from 10 a.m.

to 2 p.m. Crime Prevention Specialist David Spigelmyer said a vehicle with a VIN on any or all of its windows is far less valuable if stolen, and can also detract a potential thief from taking the car. “If I’m a car thief, I don’t want parts in my shop that are going to link me to a stolen car,” Spigelmyer said. In addition to deterring a possible theft, the service could save an individual up to 10 percent on his or her comprehensive insurance.

Spigelmyer said the process, from start to finish, takes 10 minutes. Dealerships also offer such a service, but Spigelmyer said it could cost as much as a couple hundred dollars. “We’re not in the business of making money,” he said. “Our business is public safety.” Along with the VIN etching, Michelle Lanham from Reduce Auto Theft in Texas will be giving free 10-minute sessions on vehicle protection from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Phoenix


Members of the North Texas Auto Theft Task Force perform a VIN etching. Crime Prevention Specialist David Spigelmyer said a window with a VIN can detract a potential thief from stealing a car. The procedure also can save up to 10 percent on comprehensive car insurance.

Room. According to the Texas Automobile Theft Prevention Authority, there were 68,219 cases

of stolen vehicles in Texas in 2010, and the driver left keys in as many as half the stolen cars. From 2008-10, seven cases

of car theft were reported at UTD, according to the 2011 Clery Report. Two of those cases were reported in 2010.


integral to my development of a deep understanding of university policies and the practices of working with higher education,” Klein said. “I have learned how to speak on behalf of students around me and how to advocate on their behalf.” As a McDermott Scholar, Klein has worked closely with Douglas Dow, a political science professor, who said he commended Klein for being one of his standout students. “McDermott’s are chosen not just for their academic excellence and the likelihood of great academic achievements,” Dow said. “They’re also chosen because these are people that have interests and capacity to be engaged deeply in public service and leadership, and I think Kayla is really exemplifying that.”

Specifically choosing the THECB’s tuition assistance department, Klein said the area of financial aid and education is near and dear to her since she was blessed to receive scholarships that allowed her to attend UTD without the stress of having to pay for it — an opportunity she wants more students to have. “In this economy, higher education has been hit hard and subsequently students have been denied more and more scholarship opportunities,” she said. “I hope to combat this decline in funding through working with THECB to increase awareness of scholarships offered within individual universities and through third parties.” Klein will hold her position on the Financial Aid Committee until May 31, 2014.

continued from page 1 feel like they don’t have access to bringing up their concerns.” While most students would spend their first year acclimating to the alien terrain known as college, Klein wasted no time in leaving her mark on the University. As a freshman, she became secretary to the Residential Senate, which made her one of four freshmen residential senators in SG. The following semester, she ran for SG again and garnered her current position in the student senate as the Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, where she will continue serving on until the school year concludes. “This position has been


THE MERCURY n April 2, 2012




continued from page 1 several indicators that a chapter will be successful. “They take a lot of stuff into account. They just make sure that we’re going to survive as a chapter, make sure there’s enough interest and that we have a good brotherhood going. Once they see that, they grant us a charter,” said AJ Klein, emerging media and communication sophomore. Klein, who has been a part of FIJI for more than a year and a half, said he chose the fraternity after he was impressed by some of the members. “The core guys I saw in the fraternity had the brotherhood and they had a good head on their shoulders, and I really respected that and wanted to be a part of it,” Klein said. “The fact that we live up to our why


continued from page 1 “It’s an achievement for a university to have (the StormReady) designation … it shows that the university is prepared for active weather disasters,” said Calvin Brown, emergency management director at UTD. As part of the preparation, UTD installed a new text alert system in February 2011 and purchased a weather service to monitor the local weather, in addition to alerts received from the NWS, Brown said. The campus is now prepared for storms includ-


Members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, or FIJI, pose as they receive their charter at a banquet on March 24. Two years since its initiation, the charter makes FIJI the fourth officially active fraternity chapter at UTD after Chi Phi, Kappa Sigma and Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

I’m proud to be a FIJI.” FIJI’s values — friendship, knowledge, service, morality and excellence — along with a commitment to scholarship were some

of the reasons Pokorny became a part of the fraternity. “We have a scholarship that anyone with over a 3.0 GPA gets and it’s

$250. One of the things I’m proud of is most of our members get (the scholarship),” Pokorny said. “We strive for high academics and scholarship is one of

our main focuses.” After becoming an official FIJI chapter, Pokorny said the group will continue to shape the organization and brotherhood.

ing tornadoes, hail, severe winds and snow. Another aspect of being StormReady is to involve students in various drills throughout the year, such as fire drills as well as testing of warning signals. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety, or EH&S, also offers a free two-weekend course each semester known as Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, classes. The classes train attendees in social rescues, basic first-aid and to help first responders in an emergency, said Victoria Li, sociology sophomore and a

student in the CERT class of fall 2011. Li, who is also a pre-med student, said she heard of the CERT classes at the safety awareness assembly on campus in recognition of 9/11 and decided to attend them to learn more about safety. “(The emergency responders’) philosophy is to do the greatest good for the greatest amount, and they teach you how to do that … — they tell you what your limits are,” Li said. Part of the CERT training was to teach attendees how to prioritize among injured victims of a di-

saster, so that paramedics know whom to administer treatment first, she said. “These classes open your eyes to your own weaknesses and that you’re human … you realize that you can’t really do as much as you want to do, and that the best way to be effective is to really just know your limits and work around (them),” Li said. The EH&S conducts mock drills from time to time that involve educating people on campus about what to do in an emergency, testing of both outdoor and indoor warning signals and alarm systems, Brown said.

If there is a severe storm on campus, the outdoor warning sirens will go off. These sirens indicate everyone should move inside a building and seek shelter as soon as possible. That way, students can hear all further alerts and messages through indoor announcement systems installed in each building delivered by dispatch, Brown said. If a storm warning goes off and there is no building nearby, people on the roads should seek low ground, such as ditches, and hide themselves there until the storm passes, Brown said.

“Beyond that, it’s a fraternity, it’s all about friends,” he said. “It’s about brotherhood and building bonds that will last a lifetime.”






Splatter Dance, the main attraction of Springapalooza, was postponed for a week due to rain. Students showed up en masse bursting with excitement, splatterd with colors and dancing with the music on March 26 at intramural fields. ALBERT RAMIREZ/STAFF

Scan this with a smart phone to find more pictures. Don’t have a smart phone? The content can be found on the Web at




An Extremely Awesome Concert, a Springapalooza event on March 20 at the Galaxy rooms. (Top) James Petralli from White Denim brings the atmosphere alive with his voice and guitar while students cheer for him. (Above Left) Guitarists from the band Man Factory give the head start to the concert. (Above Right) The guitarist from Gallery Cat gives an outstanding performance. (Below) Students listent to the band Gallery Cat.

(Series on top) Students experiencing the intensity, thrill and jolt of blackjack game at Casino night on March 21 at the Dining Hall. Senior Kelli Spragins and neuroscience senior Amre Aboul take the hand. (Far Left) Student having fun playing games at Comet Arcade on March 22 at the SU Mall. (Left) Interdsciplinary studies junior Zain Gaziani takes a scoop of Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt on March 19 at the Galaxy Room. (Below) A student tries his luck to win Comet pride points and prizes on March 23 at the Chess Plaza.


(Above) Singer Nikka Costa belts out a song at the Extremely Awesome Concert on March 20 at the Galaxy Room. Students rocked out, danced and cheered at the free concert.







APRIL 2, 2012

‘The Hunger Games’ will leave fans hungry for more JOHN D. McCRARY COMMENTARY

Making movies today can be rife with pitfalls for producers. Because of the collaborative nature of the medium, one shoddy pillar can bring the whole project down. From rushed scripts to inexperienced directors, budget constraints and heavy handed executives, I think we can sometimes forget just how difficult it is to make a good movie. While the much anticipated adaptation of Suzanne Collins novel “The Hunger Games” is no exception, it sets itself apart by navigating those various WWW.I.TELEGRAPH.CO.UK/COURTESY snares almost flawlessly to bring the Jennifer Lawrence stars in Lionsgate’s adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ popular novel series ‘The Hunger Games’. fans exactly what they will be arriving in droves to see. Not only is this film an adaptation of in a dystopian future. Every year, “The als of the arena. those three’s shoulders, but they are well a hugely popular series of books, Capital” forces the 12 “districts” All in all, Collins has created a universe supported by the likes of Stanley Tucci, but with a budget of approxto select a boy and girl be- that as a whole is passable enough and fa- Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks. imately $75 million, this tween the ages of 12 cilitates some very exciting reading. Oscar nomination or not, Jennifer project comes readyto 18 to fight in the With her thrilling tale of survival and Lawrence is still a bit unproven for a made with what can annual “Hunger a PG-13 rating, “The Hunger Games” film on this level, but yet again she be an unforgiving Games,” a tele- makes for a very accessible experience, proves that she can deliver the goods. fanbase and some vised to-the-death fan of the books or not. I think this film solidifies her positrigger-happy backgame of survival. Considering that the film rests on the tion as one of the most gifted young ers which oftentimes When her shoulders of some relatively fresh talent, actors working today. can spell disaster for younger sister is the whole thing is still perfectly cast. Having read the books myself, I a high profile film. chosen in the lottery The film stars Jennifer Lawrence think that director Gary Ross has real“The Green Lantern” to decide the “tributes,” (“Winter’s Bone”, “X-Men First Class”) ized Collins’ world of Panem to a tee. comes to mind. Katniss volunteers to as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson (“The Kids The issue of adapting any book into a For those of are All Right”) as Peeta and Liam Hem- film comes with a litany of creative and WWW.DRAGOART.COM/COURTESY compete in her place. you who are unfamiliar with the series, Along with Peeta Mellark, a boy with sworth (“The Last Song”) as Katniss’ functional issues, but I think this film the story centers around a 16-year-old whom she has a bit of a history, she is best friend and hunting partner Gale. is more true to its source material than girl named Katniss Everdeen who lives forced to try to survive the gruelling triThe series as a whole will rest on any other adaptation I’ve ever seen “No


Country for Old Men” notwithstanding. The film trimmed its fat wisely and managed to smoothly integrate the details needed for anyone who might be catching up. The film is not without shortfalls, though. From the beginning the shots are aggravatingly frantic. There is an excess of handheld shots that are sure to bother anyone who had a hard time with “Cloverfield” or “The Bourne Supremacy.” While the environment of the film is spot on, Ross cuts between shots so quickly it’s hard to get a good look at things before you’ve cut away again to essentially the same thing. This would seem perfectly suited for the ADD ridden demographic, but definitely takes away from the experience visually. One of the nice things about the film is that it doesn’t rely too heavily on CGI, even though the world is fraught with fantastic elements. That being said, the special effects here aren’t great, to the point where at times they can be a bit hokey. Ultimately, the result remains the same. The source material is no work of art. It’s exciting and a fun read. It’s not meant to spawn some artistic response to the story. People read this book to have a good time, and will show up to the film expecting the same thing. It’s nice to be able to assure readers, for once, that they are going to get exactly what they were looking for when they go to “The Hunger Games.”

Birds fly better in space ‘Angry Birds Space’ flies birds to the moon, easy to crack


When the pigs threaten the harmony of space by stealing space eggs, the “Angry Birds” must bring their fight to the moons and asteroids scattered across the final frontier. It is with the premise of a Saturday morning cartoon that “Angry Birds Space” breathes new life into the intuitive and addictive mobile game series developed by Rovio. The game mechanics borrow heavily upon those established by the original game. Players are required to sling the birds from a sling shot to crush or hit the green pigs. “Angry Birds Space” adds to the traditional “Angry Birds” formula with the inclusion of gravity and the ability for the player to see a projection of the bird’s path. Both mechanics are easy to understand, and the game needs only to provide brief visual clues to make it clear to the player how each works. Within seconds it is possible to begin using a moon’s gravity to orbit birds around and knock down structures in ways not possible in the original game. Similar to the original series, each level requires an increasing level of finesse in maneuvering the birds. However, the game never becomes

overwhelming in its difficulty, and diligent players can knock out most levels in a few hours. Visually, the game is crisp and offers a visual look that is unique to “Angry Birds” while still separating “Space” from the previous titles. Both storytelling and explanation of game mechanics rely only on the comic book style visuals. Rovio is able to convey both with perfect clarity, making the game accessible to both beginners to the “Angry Bird” series and those that have played every previous iteration. It is understandable why the “Angry Birds” series is one of the most popular mobile apps. “Angry Birds Space” is available on the iPhone for $0.99, the iPad for $3, Android phones for $0.99 and the Kindle Fire for $2.99.



In a weeklong series of events, UTD’s diverse international population will showcase their culture and cuisine during International Week, organized by the International Student Services Office. Below is the list of events to look forward to during International Week 2012. Passport to the World – Globe trotting for a taste of cuisines, music and more from countries around the world. 12 -2 p.m., April 6 in the Galaxy Rooms.

Table Tennis and Badminton Tournaments – Singles and doubles table tennis and badminton tournaments. 7 p.m. to 12 a.m., April 3 in the Activity Center. Henna – Tattoo making using the ancient Indian art of Henna. 1 – 3 p.m., April 4 at Galerstein Women’s Center. International Movie Night – Three international movies will be shown — “Bunny Chow”, an Afrikaans movie, “Dooman River”, a Korean

and Mandarin movie and “The Fish Fall in Love”, a Farsi movie. 7:30 p.m., April 5 (multiple venues). International Talent Show – Cultural performances by international students. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., April 6 at the Alexander Clark Center. World Beats Dance Party – Dance to the beats of international music. 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., April 6 in the Galaxy Rooms.




Comets dodge bullet, avoid home sweep

UTD wins 5 of 7 games heading into series at Louisiana SHAWN CHO Mercury Staff

The Comets are now 16-11 overall as they overcame LeTourneau University in the last game of the series, 15-2, on March 24. They were disappointed to come out of the first two games with losses of 5-4 and 7-3, respectively, but came out strong to close the series with a blowout win to avoid a series sweep. The seniors led the team in batting during the series, with centerfielder Chase Brown going 7-for-12 at the plate, while shortstop Jacob Starnes finished the series 5-for11 with 3 RBI. First baseman Kyle Guest lit up the series finale with a grand slam home run while going 5-for-10 with eight RBI overall in three games. Senior pitcher Marvin Prestridge picked up his fifth win of the season in the final game, allowing just three hits after the first inning. Despite losing two games to LeTourneau, the Comets are leading the East division with a 6-3 ASC re-

cord and are in control of their own destiny as the conference tournament nears. “We don’t want to have to count on somebody else to lose to win a championship,” head coach Shane Shewmake said. “We’ve got nine games left and if we take care of business, we’ll win the East division.” In order to protect their seat at the top of the table, Shewmake brought to light the importance of reducing the number of men left on base in games. The Comets left a season-high 14 runners on base in the first defeat against LeTourneau (5-4). Had they put together a few more hits with men on base, Shewmake said the score line could have been in their favor. “You cannot put more pressure on yourself just because there is someone on base or in scoring position,” Shewmake said. “You have to have the same approach regardless of the situation, relax, and just do what you do.”

Even though the Comets could have lost faith after the first two losses and be swept, they remained mentally strong and bounced back to humiliate LeTourneau with a run rule victory, and the game called after the top of the 7th inning. “It’s all about collecting victories,” Shewmake said. “In baseball you have to have a short term memory sometimes because you cannot let one bad game hang over you before going into the next one.” The Comets took on Texas Wesleyan University on March 27, which was a non-conference game, and then travelled to Louisiana to take on Louisiana College in a threegame conference series on March 30 and 31. They will then come back home to host Mississippi College in a conference series on April 5 and 6 to try and further their advantage in the East division. Editor’s Note: This article does not include stats or information from the Comets’ 5-4 win against Texas Wesleyan on March 27.


Junior Zak Anderson attempts to avoid a pitch against LeTourneau on March 24. UTD won the second leg of the double-header, 15-2.







UT Tyler






East Texas Baptist








8-15 Note: Standings are accurate as of March 27

Softball squad preps for run at ASC tourney Upcoming East series give UTD chance to qualify

as a four-game series against the current East leaders Louisiana College at home to close out the season. “We see ourselves in the mix to make the conference tournament, the East being such a tough conference, everything is still wide open,” said Posner. “A couple of wins here or a couple of losses can have a tremendous impact on the standings.” The Comets started a 10-game road trip starting with a fourgame conference series against University of the Ozarks on March 30 and 31. They will then make the trip to Tyler for a double-header against University of Texas at Tyler on April 7. Editor’s Note: This article does not include stats or information from the Comets’ three-game series against the University of the Ozarks on March 30 and 31.

SHAWN CHO Mercury Staff

The Comets are now 15-9 overall but 3-7 in conference with a recent pair of losses coming against East Texas Baptist University 2-1 and 3-1 on March 24, respectively. They struggled at the plate, logging just two runs on eight hits total. Sophomore pitcher Heather Foust, who leads the NCAA Division III in wins as of March 26 (11-2) was handed the loss in the first game, giving up two unearned runs on six hits in 6.1 innings of work. In the later game, junior pitcher Jeni Olbeter (1-3) was handed the loss, giving up one run on three hits in 2 innings of work. “You can’t always explain what was missing in games,” head coach Brad Posner said. “We won’t make any excuses for our performance, but we just felt like we left something back in Dallas when we got off the bus.” They are currently sitting in fifth place in the East with Louisiana College leading the pack with a record of 7-1. Following a hot start to the


The Comets had lost four of their last seven games heading into a weekend series against the University of the Ozarks on March 30 and 31. But with a strong finish to the season, UTD is still alive in the ASC Tournament race.

season with great momentum after the ASC First Pitch Tournament and beginning their seven-game winning streak, the Comets have struggled to find their rhythm against competitive East opponents. “Our biggest challenge in games is not the opponents,” Posner said. “Our biggest challenge is to play at our best on any given day. And if we rise to that challenge, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is.” Posner pointed out the importance of playing the very best in every game regardless of who the opponent is or whether it’s a

conference or a non-conference game. “We’re a very good team right now, but we’re not good enough to beat a team with a caliber of ETBU if we don’t bring our Agame,” Posner said. “I think it’s a valuable lesson for our team that we have to find a way to win even if we’re not at our very best on that day.” The remaining games seem favorable in the Comets’ search for a spot in the conference tournament, with games against the likes of University of the Ozarks and LeTourneau University, who are below the Comets in the East.

UTD tennis on six-match winning streak


Junior Matt Davis smashes a forehand against Hardin-Simmons on March 23. UTD has won six straight matches to boast a 6-1 record. Davis was named ASC Player of the Week on March 21.

However, they also have to face University of Texas at Tyler in between the previous two, as well




UT Tyler



East Texas Baptist














8-14 Note: Standings are accurate as of March 27






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Wait...This isn’t Dubstep by Adam Thomas

Housing Applications by Cathryn Ploehn

April Fools by Troi Cluse

The Tengu - “Fukimo’s Story (part 1)” by Robert Moreau



email cathrynploehn@ for submission info


UTD Mercury edition. April 2nd 2012