Drag queens take center stage PAGE 10
VOLUME XXXII NO. 8
THE STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF UTD — WWW.UTDMERCURY.COM
APRIL 30, 2012
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Director: ATEC facility to triple classroom space Building attracts ‘world-class’ faculty LAUREN FEATHERSTONE Mercury Staff
As ATEC continues to grow, it expands into modern facilities that will house advanced technology, innovative research and world-class faculty. Now that the structural work for the Arts & Technology, or ATEC, building is nearly finished, people can begin to see the facility take shape, said Rick Dempsey, associate vice president for Business Affairs and Facilities Manage-
Rugby streak ends
Wayne State takes UTD down
ment. The next milestone will be to complete the building’s exterior and then finish the work inside. Thomas Linehan, Endowed Chair and director of Arts & Technology, elaborated on the details of the internal work and why the project is necessary for UTD. The Arts & Technology school was created in 2002. Since then, ATEC has formed the Emerging Media and Com-
AKSHAY HARSHE/PHOTO EDITOR
The west side of the new ATEC facility. ATEC Director, Thomas Linehan, said the building will house 14 classrooms, five design studios, five major research labs and a significantly more powerful render farm for student use.
see ATEC page 5
The mad dash to
PAUL DANG Mercury Staff
The undefeated streak of the UTD rugby club came to a halt on April 14-15, when the newly founded team experienced its first losses of the season at a tournament that would have placed them in the national championships. Leaving on the foreboding Friday the 13th, the team began a 13-hour bus drive to Wayne, Neb., where the National Small College Rugby Organization PacWest Region Championship was hosted. Ominous storm clouds loomed over the field on the next morning of their first game against the host school, Wayne State. An intense first half erupted and the more experienced Wayne State team exploited every hole they could find in the UTD team’s plays. The first half ended: Wayne State 34, UTD 0. The first salvos of thunder echoed, as cracks of lightning etched the Nebraskan sky, causing officials to postpone the match until the weather subsided. The match resumed an hour and a half later and while a quick surge from UTD gave the visitors a touchdown by Vince Dutton, the match ended with Wayne State winning 44 to 7. “It was a huge disappointment,” said Jimmy Chi, MIS senior. “ This was the players’ first loss in what had been an immaculate league season. “It wasn’t that we were a bad team
see RUGBY page 5
How does UTD fare in the race? ANWESHA BHATACHARJEE Features Editor
or the first time in the university’s history, all academic schools have come together to work towards a comprehensive multi-year campaign for fundraising. This campaign, which officially began in fall 2009 and will continue until Dec. 31, 2014, has set a goal to raise $200 million from donors, according to university officials. As of 2011, UTD has already raised $110 million. The campaign was publicly launched March 29 to encourage alumni participation to raise the remaining $90 million in gifts and pledges, said Aaron Conley, vice president for development. Of the $110 million, more than $55 million was raised in 2011, while in 2010, the university received $40 million in endowments and gifts.
Among the 2011 donors, more than 1,710 were alumni, according to UTD’s annual report. The number of giving alumni jumped by 20 percent last year as compared to 2010, Conley said. However, alumni aren’t the only ones giving to the university, he said. In 2011, 1,348 donors were unconnected to the campus and another 300 were corporations. “The local companies see us as a great opportunity for ensuring they have the kind of skilled workers they need for their business, … so they want to make sure they’ll be able to hire great engineers, and people with business backgrounds,” Conley said. “And it isn’t necessarily about a company’s own interests — a lot of them want to make sure that North Texas is a good place to live.”
see TIER ONE page 5
INFOGRAPHIC BY CATHRYN PLOEHN INFORMATION BY THE TEXAS HIGHER EDUCATION BOARD
SIFE takes championship title for service
Team members, adviser reflect on their road to victory SHEILA DANG Mercury Staff
The UTD chapter of Students in Free Enterprise, or SIFE, took home a regional championship after presenting their work at the SIFE USA Regional Competition on April 13 in Dallas. SIFE is an international organization that encourages students to use business principles and strategies to develop community outreach programs. The competitions, which begin at the regional level
and progress to the SIFE World Cup, serve as a platform for SIFE chapters to present the work and impact of their projects. “We selected eight projects out of the 17 that we have that show what we’ve worked on in the past, what we’re working on right now and what we’ll continue to work on in the near future,” said Lisa Nielsen, president of SIFE UTD and management and administrative sciences graduate. “So our presentation was actually like a scrapbook ... we wanted
to tell the story of how SIFE started at UTD and where we’re going.” The schools in each of the regional competitions are grouped into leagues with respect to the strength of their SIFE chapter. Each school is then allotted 24 minutes to present their work and five minutes for Q&A from a panel of business leaders who serve as judges. Ha Nguyen, finance graduate, was one of five students that presented SIFE
see SIFE page 7
THE MERCURY n APRIL 30, 2012
UTD Police scanner
LAUREN FEATHERSTONE Mercury Staff
Senate rejected modifications of Article 1 of the Student Government constitution at the April 17 SG meeting. After weeks of debate, senate chose to continue use of the current system of running elections, stated in Article 1, Sec. 1 and 2 of the SG constitution. In the current system, one junior and one senior from each school is elected to senate. Seven sophomores, 14 graduates and the president and vice president are elected at-large. Students who are not elected may apply for appointment for any seats left open. Senators began proposing amendments to Article 1 more than a month ago, after concerns that SG might not adequately represent the student body. The final amendment attempt was proposed by Jessica D’Souza, Communications Committee chair and sociology junior. D’Souza addressed a growing student body and representation for commuters and proposed half of the graduates be elected in the fall. The internal percentages and calculations would be more complicated, but the ballot would look the same, D’Souza said. Nate Fairbank, undecided freshman, agreed that commuters are historically underrepresented in senate,
even though they make up a large percentage of the student body. Nick Hinojosa, management and administrative sciences graduate, opposed the amendment. He said senate was trying to solve every potential electoral problem for a minority that may or may not exist. Cody Willming, SG vice president and political science junior, said senate had difficulty resolving the Article 1 debate due to the mindset that it could always be improved. “The constitution can always be better, but at some point a decision has to be made,” Willming said. Sharkey Andrews, SG president and Arts and Humanities senior, said that even though nothing ultimately passed, she was glad that senators had the chance to think about the constitution and see that change is possible. Text Swap, an SG conducted textbook exchange, is tentatively scheduled for May 10-11. Dates for the fall Text Swap will be posted at the event. With leftover funds in the project budget, senate allocated up to $800 for a Tshirt gun to promote school spirit. The allocation is contingent on approval from UTD officials. The 2012-2013 senate term will begin at the next SG meeting, scheduled at 5:15 p.m. on May 1 in one of the Galaxy Rooms.
April 13 • A student was arrested for DWI. • Officers received a report of criminal mischief to a student’s vehicle. April 14 • A student reported fraudulent use of his debit card. April 15 • A student was issued a citation for consumption of alcohol by a minor. April 17 • A non-affiliated individual reported unauthorized use of his vehicle. April 18 • A staff member reported criminal mischief to two library books. • A student was issued a
citation for possession of drug paraphernalia. • A non-affiliated male was issued a criminal trespass warning. April 20 • Two students were arrested for possession of marijuana following a traffic stop. • A non-affiliated individual was issued a citation for DWI as a minor. • A student was arrested for assault-family violence. • A non-affiliated individual was arrested for assault-family violence and interference with an emergency telephone call. • A student reported noncriminal property damage to his vehicle. • A student reported the
theft of his cell phone. • A student received a citation for DWI as a minor. • Two students received citations for consumption of alcohol by a minor following a traffic stop. April 21 • Officers received a report of theft of a stolen laptop. • A student reported her unattended vehicle was hit in Lot D. April 22 • A student was detained during a public intoxication investigation and released to an adult. • An unknown person released soap into the northernmost reflecting pool. • A student reported harass-
ment. • An officer responded to a minor vehicle collision between a student and a nonaffiliated person in Phase IX of University Village. April 23 • A student received a citation for duty upon striking an unattended vehicle following a police investigation. • A non-affiliated individual was issued a criminal trespass warning. April 24 • A student reported violation of an active protective order. April 25 • A non-affiliated male was arrested for public intoxication.
APRIL 30, 2012 n THE MERCURY n WWW.UTDMERCURY.COM
UTD could be friendlier place ROBERT FYRST
My towing terror
EPPS Graduate Student
PAUL DANG Mercury Staff
The apartment complex I pulled my car into always seemed like a ghost town, devoid of residents, even though their cars filled most of the parking spots. My friends at UTA actually enjoyed how pastoral the apart- if I just stepped on the gas and ments stayed, even on weekends, rammed through the door. which is why it baffled me when I didn’t have that kind of monI didn’t hear the several tons of ey. metal creep through the night and Turns out my car was towed less take my car along with it. than 30 minutes before I got up After a night of inequities on and I actually saw the tow truck April 20 — and there’s no con- that towed my car cruising away nection there — I decided that I from the impound lot, right as I was in no state to make the hour- got there. long drive back from Arlington at Time in lot: 6:48 a.m. 4 in the morning, without a quick Time out of lot: 6:55 a.m. nap. And despite all of my sob stoI woke up two hours later to ries about being a broke collearn a life lesson about how car lege student that I pitched to towing is a draconian process, a the lady working at the office of few steps shy from being an out- the impound lot, I got no such right scam, and how I’d never break. Maybe it was because we want to go through the ordeal couldn’t actually see each other’s again. faces through the two layers of My car was gone. completely tinted The first and — most likely bulWhen your most natural thing letproofed — glass belongings are that ran through that separated us. my mind and my The towing insomewhere buddy Greg’s mind dustry can’t afford you don’t bewas grand theft any opportunity auto. for humanity. long do they This was ArlingI had no idea then belong ton — it gets like that such a medito the person that. eval process still Greg quickly existed. that owns the remembered his Let’s put it into place? complex carried perspective: A vea reputation for hicle that doesn’t towing cars at evbelong in a priery whim, and how he — a resi- vately owned establishment gets dent — had his car towed a few physically ousted without a warnmonths ago because he forgot to ing and the owner has to pay a hang up a parking permit. hefty towing and storage fee to A half-hour drive to an area of get their own car back. Fort Worth where dreams go to Does that logic hold up in any die and $293.30 later, I waited other real life scenarios? in my driver’s seat for the rusty I walk into a private booth at a gate of the impound lot to slowly sports stadium, forget my belonginch open, calculating in my head ings in the booth and the owners how much more it would cost me not only refuse to give me my
stuff back unless I pay them, they start charging me daily “storage fees.” Obnoxious. It ultimately comes down to a question of ownership. When your belongings are somewhere you don’t belong do they then belong to the person that owns the place? If that’s the case, those sunglasses you left at so-and-so’s place, our U.S. military bases situated on foreign soil and that car I parked at my friend’s place aren’t really ours, are they? If I hadn’t been able to scrounge up the $300, a quarter of how much I paid for the car itself, the storage fees would continue to pile on until the price to get my car back would be more than what my car cost. In that situation, most owners would just forsake their cars and after a certain period of time, the vehicle belongs to the impound lot and they, being a profiting business, would auction these cars off in a process that’s basically legal theft. An extreme example of this profiteering occurred last year in Chicago, where Kathie LaFond’s drunk boyfriend wrapped her car around a tree, killing her 5-yearold son in the process and in the aftermath, she was billed with a $550 impound fee — an impoundment she attests never happened. And while my towing story wasn’t nearly as horrific as the Chicago mother’s, you have to ask yourself, what happens when legal leeway allows an opportunity for profit?
The political climate has been tumultuous for Texan women this year. At the end of 2011, Texas became the first state to require a transvaginal ultrasound before performing an abortion, a medical procedure where doctors probe a woman seeking an abortion, 24 hours before the procedure. The purpose of the transvaginal ultrasound is to decrease the amount of abortions in the state by making them more difficult to obtain. According to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article written by Alex Branch and published on March 1 entitled “Patients often unhappy with new Texas sonogram law, abortion providers say,” Branch writes that the unnecessary procedure causes the hardship of having to schedule two appointments, a burden for women who live far from abortion clinics. Pro-choice Texans considered this move a huge blow, and they responded by organizing the March Against the War on Women, in protest of the new law. In the wake of this heralded “War on Women,” a group of feminist-minded students at UTD decided they were going to do something about it. With varying focuses, the Pro-Choice Feminist Alliance, or PCFA, banded together to promote awareness of feminist issues, including the use of transvaginal ultrasounds, on campus. Shortly after coming together as a group, members of PCFA found that their prochoice ideals would take a hit by the state government. In March, Governor Rick Perry and Director of Health and Human Services Tom Suehs signed a bill into law that cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, clarifying that organizations affiliated with abortion
could not receive money under the federally funded Women’s Health Program. “The current climate in Texas is definitely not a positive one when it comes to women’s reproductive rights,” said Trace McCaslin, PCFA member and Emerging Media and Communications freshman. “I’m very displeased with the cuts to Planned Parenthood’s funding.” PCFA does not have very far to look for feminist support. The Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance at UNT, one of the largest feminist groups in North Texas, cosponsored a rally on the square in Denton to fight back against the state government’s onslaught of attacks on women’s reproductive healthcare. With members of PCFA in attendance, it seemed to the groups involved that a collaboration would soon be underway. “I went to the Stand Up for Women’s Reproductive Healthcare rally in Denton,” said, Shelby Schram, one of the founding members of PCFA. “(PCFA is) definitely trying to get a really strong North Texas contingent that we can hopefully bring to Austin when we have these big rallies.” The Austin rally is set to occur on April 28, just one of more than 50 rallies that will occur nationwide as part of the March Against the War on Women. PCFA is looking to help organize a carpool for those in North Texas that wish to attend. It’s no small undertaking for a new group on campus, but according to PCFA member Michelle Ofiwe, the group is ready for the challenge. “As far as Texas goes, we’re probably like a firecracker in a barrel. We’re not the biggest organization, but the passion and drive that we have would surprise a lot of people,” she said.
Archer scholars special edition: What they hope to gain from the experience “I think I’m nervous about getting into the Archer and DC bubble so much that I forget other important things ... I think some of us get so caught up in our careers that we forget how to relax and enjoy what we are doing in life.
Dana Litovsky IPE sophomore
Jessica D’Souza Sociology sophomore
“I really want to work in Congress or the state legislature as a legislative assistant, so it’ll be great to get experience and possibly job opportunities ... In high school I was a congressional page so I spent a semeser in D.C. working in the House, and ever since then I’ve been obsessed with politics.”
Cody Willming Political science sophomore
Media Adviser Chad Thomas Editor-in-Chief Shane Damico Managing Editor Bobby Karalla Director of Sales and Promotions Jessica Melton
Photo Editor Akshay Harshe Features Editor Anwesha Bhattacharjee Graphics Editor Cathryn Ploehn
“The Archer program is such a unique opportunity. It gives you real-life experience to help you figure out what you want to do while you’re in college ... I’m really interested in public policy that affects healthcare. I’m excited to learn firsthand about healthcare legislation and communication at the national level.”
Staff Writers Paul Dang Staff Photographers Christopher Wang Contributors Abhishek Basu Lindsay Bernsen Shawn Cho
“I want to be a prosecutor, so the Archer program will really help me see if it’s the career path that’s right for me.”
Elizabeth Petruy Political science sophomore Troi Cluse Sheila Dang Jamie Field Lauren Featherstone Ben Hawkins Irene Morse Chelsea Upton Yang Xi
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News Meters, chargers added to car services
THE MERCURY n APRIL 30, 2012
ZipCar use among freshmen highest in nation LINDSAY BERNSEN/Contributor
Parking Meters As the university grows, officials continue to find innovative ways to accommodate students and their need for transportation. In Lots F, K, G, M and I, smart parking meters, called “Payby-Space Kiosks” have been introduced to replace old, individually spaced meters and timelimited spaces which had a shorter duration. Meters debuted on campus in the 1990s at a cost of a dollar an hour, said Paul Smith, Parking and Transportation Supervisor. The new meters are still a dollar an hour and have been placed in areas that expect high turnover, like the lots of the Student Services Building, Hoblitzelle Hall and the Visitor’s Center. While most of the lots that received new meters were selected by the Parking Office and benefit students and guests on campus for administrative reasons, the M West lot was modified at the request of Hasan Pirkul, dean of the Jindal School of Management, to better service JSOM students. Before the modifications, Lot I contained 160 spaces designated for business that were offlimits to students. Now, 64 of those spaces are metered, and the other 100 have been returned to student use. At the Visitor’s Center, nine spaces are now designated as free for use while getting a visitor’s permit, while the others are metered. Whereas the old meters only accepted coins, the new meters don’t accept cash at all. According to Smith, before installing the credit-only meters, the university examined meter data from other Universities across the state. At Texas A&M, the biggest meter user overall, 93 percent of meter transactions are paid for with credit card and only 7 percent with cash. UTD decided that card readers would be more cost effective than change meters, saving the manpower and labor costs of collecting and aggregating the coins and then taking them to a bank and depositing them. Smith said it seems to have been the right decision: Since January 17, when the card readers began operation, the Parking Office hasn’t had a single complaint. The new meters are enforced 24 hours a day, all week long, consistent with enforcement of purple and orange spaces.
ZipCars The ZipCar group has recently approved the addition of a fifth ZipCar to the university’s fleet. UTD, which is still in its first year of using the program, is the biggest “freshman” user in the nation – some days, a single car will have 12 one-hour reservations, said Thea Junt, sustainability manager. The cars are used by commuting students, running errands between classes, as well as by car-less students living on campus. Recently, UTD’s ZipCar membership expanded to include access to cars in the UT Austin fleet, and by next year, the university may add another 2-3 vehicles to its own fleet, including a small truck, which the Parking Office has already approved. Membership is also now available to alumni at ZipCar’s standard rate of $50 a year, with $25 worth of free drive time included.
CATHRYN PLOEHN/GRAPHICS EDITOR
Charging Stations Credit card reading parking meters aren’t the only parking change. The university has installed eight “blink” electric vehicle charging stations, which are pending finalization. The university decided to install the charging stations after the Department of Energy started an initiative known as the Electric Vehicle Project, targeting the Dallas-Fort Worth area – among other regional hubs – for electric vehicle infrastructure and dedicating grants to install the stations throughout the city. Although the Parking Office estimates that there are presently more stations on campus than electric vehicles, the steep discount ECOtality, vender of the blink stations, offered – “buy one, get seven free” – made planning for the future easy, said Thea Junt, Energy Conservation manager. “It is better to build infrastructure ahead of demand,” Smith said. The stations had to be located in parking lots near buildings with electrical rooms, a criterion Junt said was surprisingly tough to meet. “For example, in order to put a station by the McDermott Library, running power would have cost 12 times as much for six stations as putting meters by the Activity Center,” Junt said. Locations were also selected for their visibility and turnover, as well as convenience for off-campus guests, who can access our stations as part of the nation-wide “blink network,” a comprehensive pool of electric vehicle charging stations that can be monitored online for availability. According to Junt, the university hopes its participation in the network may draw community members onto campus to explore as they wait for their cars to charge. For the rest of the year, students will be able to use the stations without purchasing a new parking pass, and visitors will always be able to use the stations without charge. In the future, a permit of gold or better will be required – or a residential parking pass, as no stations are located in apartment lots – along with ownership of an electric vehicle. Charging an electric vehicle usually takes 2-3 hours, and as demand ramps up, students and staff will be asked to park in the station spaces only while charging.
THE MERCURY n APRIL 30, 2012
continued from page 1 munication, or EMAC, degree. The school has grown from zero to 1,048 students, a relatively quick increase, especially for the given space, Linehan said. The demand for additional space was primarily the result of interest from students who wanted to study ATEC, Linehan said. The current ATEC building has five classrooms. The new facility will be three stories tall, have a fourth floor extension for visual arts, 14 classrooms, five design studios and five major research labs. Linehan said students wanted customized classroom studio space, as well as
continued from page 1 that day or anything, it was just experience,“ said Dominic Prestia, ATEC junior. The rugby club sprung from a small group of devoted rugby players that had practiced together in 2010. Only in the 2011 fall semester did the UTD rugby club become a registered team. They went on to compete against colleges that had years of experience over them, but despite being
continued from page 1 Donors and alumni are central to the Tier One campaign through the endowments, pledges and gifts they make to the university, Conley said. Although Naveen Jindal and Charles and Nancy Davidson were the biggest donors last year, he said, every gift counts towards fundraising, including the annual fund gifts of $25 that alumni make to their school. Endowments contribute towards funding research and graduating more doctoral students each year, both of which are measured for Tier One eligibility. Currently, UTD places third among seven “Emerging Research Universities” in Texas, after the University of Houston and Texas Tech University, in terms of endowment funds. According to a report published by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in February, both University of Houston and Texas Tech University have fulfilled the criteria to receive funding
informal learning spaces in the new building. There will be small study pods spread throughout the building, project spaces for groups, student lounges on every floor and coffee and beverage rooms. The only study space ATEC students currently have is the “kitchen lab,” where no classes are scheduled, but it still receives 100 percent utilization and is always packed. One reason students need to be able to study in their school’s building is to have access to intensive computing resources. Officials are currently looking at options that involve cloud computing to allow students to log onto the main server and have full access to ATEC software from any personal or stationary de-
vice in the building, Linehan said. Using the building’s resources, students will be able to complete their work faster. The render farm in the building will have up to the equivalent of 100 very fast computers, so students can calculate an assignment in 10 minutes that would take overnight to do on a home system. There will be a strong focus through the main lobby area and through some of the larger corridors of the building to create an exhibition space to showcase student work to the public, which students currently do not have. The 1,200-seat auditorium will be another way to draw in both the larger community of the university and the community outside of the
university. Linehan said he hopes the auditorium will be used for prominent lecture series and high-quality, international video conferences. Linehan explained that new facilities were not only necessary for more space, but for developing the ATEC program, which has undergone a huge transformation. ATEC used to be focused on the entertainment industry, but now virtually every market sector is showing a huge demand for digital content, including scientific research. Current major research sponsors include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where ATEC students create virtual training spaces for teachers and nurses, and the U.S. Army, where similar vir-
tual training spaces provide cultural training for soldiers. These research contracts are important because they allow UTD to support about 100 graduate students by paying their tuition and stipend, through a research sponsor, Linehan said. The new building will enable UTD to hire world-class faculty. Over several years, ATEC has received about $8 million from an anonymous donor, who requested that the money be spent on people, not facilites. This donation has opened up three new endowed chairs for ATEC, and two big names have applied for the distinguished professor position in Serious Gaming, Modeling and Simulation, Linehan said. One of Linehan’s main
goals is to make the ATEC department at UTD unavoidable. He said he hopes that the ATEC program will become so renowned that anybody working in the field, including many employers, will need to come through UTD. ATEC experts coming to UTD will ensure that the ATEC program stays relevant to what the needs are in the industry and will give students a leg up when they apply to major companies such as Pixar. “Everybody in the world is going to say, ‘Why would he go to UT-Dallas?’ And they’re going to find out,” Linehan said. Dempsey said the new building is on track to open fall 2013.
outclassed, the underdogs became the 2012 state champions. “Honestly, out of the 35 solid guys we have on the team, only four of us, I believe, have played before,” Prestia said. “To go that far with a bunch of guys that have never played — that was amazing.” The match for third place took place on Sunday against the University of Puget Sound, or UPS, from Washington. Both UTD and UPS arrived on the field with fresh scrapes and bruises from their
Saturday losses, playing as though they had something to prove. This game was evenly matched and tough for both sides. Reminiscent of the matches against UTSA, the UPS team scored on their first two tries, giving the Puget Sound a head start for UTD to catching up to. UTD fired back with Dutton capitalizing a penalty kick and Luke Lewis scoring a try before the second half. UPS 10, UTD 8.
The second half commenced and Dutton — no stranger to the penalty kick — scored another one to put UTD in the lead for the first time at 11 to 10. Despite a hard fought game, UPS walked away with the victory. “I felt good after the game, it’s never fun losing, but I definitely didn’t feel defeated,” Prestia said. Nathan Sohadaseni, MIS senior and team captain, said they understood that they were outclassed in terms of
experience by the others teams like Wayne State, which had rugby facilities and a community that valued the sport highly. “After winning the championship, we didn’t really mind if we were going to lose or not but we just went in with the mindset that we were going to go and do our best,” he said. “We played our hearts out and ended up having a great showing.” Word of the UTD rugby club’s underdog story had spread to the other teams at
the tournament and coaches and players from Wayne State, Puget Sound and even California Maritime Academy, who didn’t play against UTD, came to congratulate the budding team. The players said they expect to make it to the national championships in Colorado next year, but until then, they’ll have time to revel in what has been a fairytale rugby story no one saw coming. “We definitely put UTD rugby on the map,” Sohadaseni said.
from the National Research University Fund, or NRUF, although UTD fell short on a few measures. To be eligible to receive funding from the NRUF, UTD needs to have restricted research expenditures of $45 million for two consecutive years, said Bruce Gnade, vice president for research. The university spent $41 million in 2010 and roughly $44 million in 2011, falling marginally short of the required amount. By August 2012, however, UTD’s research expenditure is expected to cross the $45 million mark, Gnade said. At the same time, research is growing at a steady rate of five to seven percent, he said. Meanwhile, the university also graduates fewer doctoral students each year than is required to receive NRUF funding. While the threshold requires 200 doctoral students to graduate each year, UTD graduated 195 and 160 students in 2010 and 2011, respectively. “Certainly this is an area that we have to improve in,” Gnade said. “As the number of faculty grows, the number
of doctoral students is going to grow as well — we’ll get there, and in reality that’s why we need more research funding which pays for doctoral students. So it all kind of ties in together.” As of 2011, the university employed close to 500 faculty members, of whom 211 were on tenure track. By 2017, the number of total faculty is expected to grow to more than 600, Gnade said. Adding more programs and increasing enrollment will in turn create the need to hire more faculty, he said. While enrollment is projected to grow further this year, it won’t be as high an increase as fall 2011. Although the number of applications received has grown significantly, accepting more students than the infrastructure can support will ultimately work against the university, Gnade said. If students in their freshmen year cannot take their chemistry and calculus courses due to a lack of sessions and laboratory facilities, they will not be able to graduate in four years, which is another metric used
to measure Tier One status, he said. As a result, UTD will most likely have a lower acceptance rate than UT Austin this year, Gnade said. Typically universities with lower acceptance rates are considered better, indicating high competition for admissions. Although the university is striving to meet the metrics that define Tier One status, the growth has not compromised the quality of education or quality of students at
UTD, he said. “If our total goal was just to be able to say we’ve met the numbers of Tier One, we could have graduated more Ph.D students and asked our donors to give their money upfront to spend on research instead of as an endowment to hire faculty, and met the numbers,” Gnade said. “But from day one Dr. Daniel has said ‘We don’t change how we do business.’” And the reason for that is clear — UTD doesn’t just
want to be a Tier One university in the terms defined by the Texas Legislature, but a university known nationally for the quality of education it provides, he said. “If you have to (tell people) that you’re Tier One, you’re probably not one yet,” Gnade said. “It should be obvious to everyone around you that you are a top tier university — MIT, Berkeley or Georgia Tech don’t have to say they are Tier One — when you are, people will know it.”
News 6 Students volunteer for, celebrate Earth Week
SHEILA DANG Mercury Staff
The Office of Student Volunteerism recently hosted UTD’s first annual Earth Week, held April 16-22, which featured a collection of events to celebrate and showcase sustainable initiatives on campus. “In the past, there had been bits and pieces of events and programming, but not anything that was formally combined together to happen for Earth Week,” said Monalisa Amidar, assistant director of the Office of Student Volunteerism. “We were lucky that we had student groups that were eager to jump on-board. It’s a goal of ours that this becomes an annual tradition.” The events included an Earth Fair held on the Student Union mall and Chess Plaza, with a display of Zipcar vehicles as well as booths showcasing UTD’s “green” student organizations such as Students for Environmental Awareness, or SEA, and the Vegetarian Society at UTD.
“I hope that UTD’s Earth Week allowed students to learn about the efforts that both administration and student-run organizations are making to promote environmentally friendly policy, recycling and conservation on campus,” said Marissa Miller, president of SEA and biochemistry sophomore. Earth Week also included a picnic on April 19 near the recently relocated Community Garden to kick-start the spring planting season. Originally located between the soccer fields and Phase II of the Waterview Apartments, it was moved to the intersection of Drive A and Drive H to accommodate the Loop Road construction. The garden itself was designed to be sustainable by prohibiting the use of pesticides and using compost scraps produced on campus as a weed barrier. Students wanting to contribute to the garden must sign up and join the UTD Community Gardeners. “We built (the garden) in such a way that it’s expandable, so as interest and involvement goes up,
we can add more plots,” said Thea Junt, energy conservation and sustainability manager. “On some gardening days, we harvest and take the food to a food bank, but most of it is for (personal use).” The week concluded on the national Earth Day on April 22 with the university taking part in Earth Day Dallas, a two-day festival in Fair Park featuring exhibits, live music and a speaker series, including former First Lady Laura Bush as the keynote speaker. “We had nine booths at the event. We had folks from JSOM that presented some of their findings in sustainability in construction and building, engineering and computer science had four booths that showcased research programs in green and innovative engineering,” Junt said. “Natural Science and Mathematics (department) also had two booths to showcase their green research.” Earth Week followed a string of successes in sustainable initiatives on campus; UTD was recently listed in the Princeton Review’s
THE MERCURY n APRIL 30, 2012
AKSHAY HARSHE/PHOTO EDITOR
A student works a booth at the Earth Fair on the Student Union mall during Earth Week. Other Earth Week events included a picnic on April 19 near the Community Garden.
“Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition,” and is the only University of Texas school to make the list. UTD also placed first or second in every category it participated in during the recent RecyleMania competition, and further, the Green Fund referendum was
successfully passed in the Student Government elections. Both Amidar and Junt hope the Earth Week programming will spur interest in eco-friendly campus practices as well as raise awareness for programs already in place. “We hope to get conversations
going about these ideas,” Amidar said. “We’re doing great things already, it’s just a matter of bringing them together and letting people know that these groups exist, that these research projects exist and that there’s a rise in interest in ways we can be sustainable.”
Concealed carry bill could stay alive in Texas Senate JAMIE FIELD Contributor
A concealed handgun right to carry measure may resurface as another Senate bill this upcoming 2013 legislative session. Texas Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R) is the primary author of the concealed carry measure. Wentworth’s original concealed-carry bill did not pass in 2009, so he proposed the concealed carry on Texas campuses as an added amendment. “The people who would be able to carry weapons on campus, if this passes, would be licensed, and
therefore fully trained,” Wentworth said in an interview with the Texas Tribune. He said Texans looking to obtain a concealed carry license must be 21 years old, take a 10-hour course, pass a written exam and pass a test with the firearm on a shooting range. Along with completing the required concealed carry training, applicants must also pay a $100 fee and pass a criminal background check. “People do not lightly apply for licenses,” he siad. In 2007, the Virginia Tech shootings prompted Wentworth to propose his original SB 354. Ac-
cording to MSNBC, the Virginia Tech rampage ranks as the deadliest school shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history. “This is about self-defense. It’s about protecting lives of students who are totally vulnerable and defenseless,” Wentworth said, referring to the Virginia Tech shootings. Closer to home, Texans will not forget about the second deadliest campus shooting at UT Austin. Charles Whitman killed 16 people and wounded 31. On Sept. 29, 2010, Colton Tooley fired shots on UT Austin grounds with his semiautomatic, before turning the gun
on himself. Wentworth told the Texas Tribune, “I just decided that I didn’t want that ever to take place on a Texas college campus again.” Ethan Harmon, EMAC junior, thinks the bill is a terrible idea. “This is a place of education, and there is no room for weaponry, concealed or not,” he said. Harmon said he believes that the issue of trust between one another causes the greatest concern. “This mistrust could lead to any kind of discrepancy on the premises of UTD’s campus, which would be poorly handled by such actions like
passing concealed carry,” he said. A local Dallas-based chapter within a nationwide organization in favor of gun ownership restrictions heard news that Wentworth was not planning to re-file the concealed carry bill next legislative session. President of the Dallas Brady Campaign chapter, Marsha McCartney, said, “I think Wentworth finally realizes that there are too many folks who don’t think carrying guns on college campuses is a good idea.” Harmon agreed with McCartney’s stance on concealed carry. “The bill would overall make Texas campuses feel like an unsafe
place, instead of a place one receives education,” Harmon said. To date, Wentworth campaign officials have spoken to the Texas Tribune about the re-filing of the concealed carry bill. They told the Tribune that Wentworth is currently focusing all of his efforts for re-election and doesn’t know if he will re-file. Wentworth recently said, “I haven’t made up my mind about that, but I’m certain, because there was overwhelming support in both the Senate and the House, that someone will file it and it will be debated vigorously next spring.”
THE MERCURY n APRIL 30, 2012
No vacancy on campus
Housing app numbers grow with enrollment IRENE MORSE Contributor
UTD enrolled 2,022 freshmen for the 2011–2012 academic year, an increase of more than 300 from the the previous year. Because of increases in enrollment, some upperclassmen, including those who received housing scholarships or are from other states, were denied their first request for housing. Matt Grief, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, said this is because the housing applications of freshmen leaving the residence halls and moving into the on-campus apartments were prioritized over all other applications, with the exception of students who renewed their current apartment for the summer as well as the academic year. Students who were denied on-campus housing for the next year are uncertain how University Village, or UV, determined priority. Matthew Westbrook, mechanical engineering junior, and his roommates filed a transfer request with UV because they wanted to move from a first-floor apartment to a second-floor apartment. They were denied
continued from page 1 UTD’s work and acknowledged that there was significant anxiety leading up to the presentation. “We were there the morning before (the competition) to try to feel the room and try to reduce our nerves,” Nguyen said.
housing and learned later that they should have renewed their current apartment. “My roommates and I only found out about the housing priority when we directly went to the UV office and asked why we, returning customers, were denied housing altogether,” Westbrook said. Grief said administrators decide priority for on-campus housing with one of the primary goals of the University in mind: improving the Freshman Year Experience. “Their educational success is dependent on where they live and being on campus. Having that support structure with the Residential Life program is very important,” he said. Grief said the University recognizes the difficulties faced by students who were denied their first request for housing, especially those who received housing scholarships, and has remedied the problem. “Everyone who is an AES scholarship student who was housed in University Village at this point in time has either signed a lease with Waterview Park or has been offered a space at University Village,” Grief said. However, some students
say they’re not satisfied with their experience because the housing UV provided may be different from what they originally requested and the rent may be higher. Sarosh Ahmed, neuroscience junior, said she was expecting to be placed in a four-bedroom apartment. After her first housing request was denied, UV placed her in a two-bedroom apartment. “Though being granted the Academic Excellence Scholarship and submitting my application seconds after it opened should have prioritized my request per UV standards, I am placed in an option that would double my rent from the past two years,” Ahmed said. Sagar Shah, biology and business junior, said although he applied for housing on the first day it was available, he was denied housing for both summer and fall. Additionally, some students posted complaints on Facebook about the timing of UV’s emails telling them they had been denied housing. These emails were sent out in early March, right before or during Spring Break, which put a damper on vacations and made communication with the housing office difficult.
“But it went well because for a month we practiced almost everyday.” Jeanne Sluder, SIFE UTD adviser, shared the team’s anxiety but said the presentation moved flawlessly. “I don’t think they missed even one word that had been rehearsed and the PowerPoint and video ran right on cue,” Sluder
said. “They had prepared and rehearsed for weeks and I was ready for them to share our story with the judges and all the other people who had come to watch.” Among the eight projects that were presented at the competition was “Youth Village: Financial Literacy,” in which SIFE UTD coordinated a five-week course to teach young men
AKSHAY HARSHE/PHOTO EDITOR
Due to the increasing number of students on campus, University Village denied many students’ housing applications, leading students to question how UV priorities applications.
“I tried to get in contact with someone at UV right after I got the email, and I was told that I would have to wait until Monday of Spring Break,” posted Shelby Chattin, literary studies sophomore. There are also unanswered questions for those upperclassmen who are having to look for off-campus housing. Students without cars are limited to the few apartment complexes on the Comet Cruiser bus route. “Until on-campus housing is sustainable for our growing student body, AES should consider extending the housing allowance to off-campus residences,” Ahmed said. In addition, off-campus apartment complexes don’t of-
fer programs like Residential Life, and UTD hasn’t set up any partnerships with them. “We are looking right now at potentially trying to arrange an agreement with an offsite search company,” Grief said. He said the decisions regarding housing are part of the University’s growth. “I would not view it as a crisis. I would view it as a continual growth of our campus,” Grief said. Over the past four years, the University has constructed three new residence halls. In addition to these, Grief said that a fourth residence hall has been planned that will tentatively house 600 students. This residence hall is also intended for
freshmen. “If we can’t fill all those halls with first year students, we’re certainly going to look at our other students and look at options of housing them as well,” Grief said. Some additional housing options are being considered for graduate students. Grief said that UTD would soon be surveying current students about their housing needs with the hopes of constructing new graduate housing on campus at some point in the future. “We know that there is a need for housing, and we’re always going to be looking at what we can do to increase our housing as the need arises,” Grief said.
about topics such as investments, debt management and properly managing checking and savings accounts. Another project called “Auto Care European: Sam’s Club Step Up for Small Business,” aimed to help the struggling owner of a local auto repair shop. Nguyen served as the leader for the project and presented the results
at the competition. The team’s business plan earned them a $1,500 grant from Sam’s Club to carry out the project. “The marketing aspect came with creating and distributing fliers, updating the Facebook page and website and making arrangements for a speaker event,” Nguyen said. “Our members also spent over 30 hours volun-
teering at Auto Care European to expedite a waste management program and sort through trash and unused car parts.” This will be the fourth consecutive year that SIFE UTD has advanced to nationals. The team will travel to Kansas City, Mo., to attend the SIFE USA National Exposition from May 22-24.
THE MERCURY n APRIL 30, 2012
APRIL 30, 2012 n THE MERCURY n WWW.UTDMERCURY.COM
A Spiritual Brush
Sociologist conveys art of living through abstract artwork Story by Anwesha Bhattacharjee
very day, her mother would return from work and see the paintings she made. And for a long time every one of those paintings was a lotus — each in a different color. “I remember the first thing I ever drew was a lotus,” Jayshree Bihari said. “I would sit all day long and draw lotus flowers in different colors — blue, pink and red — until my mother got tired of them.” Today, Bihari’s paintings have grown from watercolor flowers to a more abstract, mature blend of acrylic on canvas. The public policy doctoral student’s collection of more than 30 paintings, called the “Art~Sutra”, was recently showcased in a four-month-
Growth, whether spritual or intellectual, is possible only when one is well rooted in the reality of the microcosm within. This piece is called Roots, exudes the power of roots in our lives, and Bihari used bronze and acrylic on canvas to paint it.
long exhibit at the Lillian Bradshaw Gallery in downtown Dallas. For Bihari, art is a source of joy and happiness, and a form of mediation. Her inner peace radiates through her paintings, which depict, in an abstract form, spiritual messages. On the one hand, her work combines the essence of the sciences and humanities, on the other, Bihari’s artwork illustrates people’s struggle to rise above the turmoil of daily life and connect with the eternal soul. In all her paintings, the unique mesh of colors on the canvas, thrown in with three-dimensional elements in some of her works, all paint a trail that leads the mortal soul towards inner happiness. Even though art means a lot to her, until two or three years ago, Bihari, who works as an Institutional Research Analyst in the Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis, practiced painting only as a hobby. Bihari grew up in the historical city of Lucknow, located in northern India, during a time when everyone wanted to be a doctor or an engineer. “My parents were supportive (of painting) but … back home I didn’t have much choice — especially when I was growing up, because being an artist didn’t fetch you your bread and butter,” she said. Bihari has never had formal training in painting. Her earliest memories of an art instructor was a doctor — her mother’s colleague — who loved being around kids. Later, through her years in school, she took up drawing and art as an elective as part of her curriculum. Although her art teacher at school saw potential in her work, Bihari herself never gave it much attention until she won an award in “The Golconda Contest,” a nation-wide competition in India. However, after high school Bihari continued studying and earned her bachelor’s in science followed by a Ph.D. in sociology. Later, she became busy founding and running a clinic for
abused women, but managed to scrape in some time to paint every now and again. In the fall of 2003, Bihari came to UTD to pursue a degree in public policy and political economy. She met Euel Elliott, public policy professor and
then associate dean for the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. Later, Bihari also took two of his courses. Bihari and Elliott continued to stay in touch, and started seeing each other romantically in 2008. They married in December 2010. Although he doesn’t paint, it was Elliott who encouraged her to take up art as an alternate occupation. “I think she has a real talent for painting,” Elliott said. “People who know more about art than I do have always consistently thought she has a real talent in that area, so I encourage her to pursue it and try to turn it into something more than just a hobby, into something of an occupation — a full time thing.” There have been smaller exhibits for Bihari’s works before, but the one in the Lillian Bradshaw Gallery was Elliott’s idea, Bihari said. Elliott, however, refused to take credit for the success of the exhibit in any way, joking that his work involved helping her get the paintings out of the house and into the car, nothing more. Meanwhile, Bihari plans to launch a website for “Art~Sutra” soon, and wishes to teach painting to children in the future.
EMAC student Archer fellow to spend his fights disease, senior year in Cuba, D.C. raises awareness DEBI TERRY Contributor
Nataleigh Jimison, EMAC senior, organized a lupus awareness event on April 21 to bring awareness and help raise funds for its cure. The event, titled “Spreading Wings for Lupus” took place at the Clark Center and brought together many people who have been touched by the disease and about 50 supporters. It began with a dance performance to “Living Proof ” by Mary J. Blige, which delivered the message of hope through a long journey. At the event, Jimison shared her personal struggle with lupus. Whereas a normal body’s defenses attack infections, lupus causes these defenses to attack the body’s healthy tissues. This leads to a myriad of problems, most commonly inflammation and kidney failure; Jimison has dealt with both. Lupus also involves debilitating pain that is instigated by tasks as simple as wearing shoes or opening a bottle. This semester Jimison had surgery to repair her hip that was suffering from bone decay caused by lupus. However, she still shot an entire video project from her hos-
pital bed. “My number one goal is to graduate from the University of Texas at Dallas in May 2012. I can just visualize walking across the stage and accepting my degree,” Jimison said. “I won’t let lupus get in the way of that.” The Office of Student AccessAbility aims to help students like Jimison accomplish their academic, recreational and social goals. The office currently caters to approximately 300 students with documented disabilities ranging from temporary injuries to chronic diseases like lupus. The office provides academic, non-academic and environmental accommodations, referral information and support to students with disabilities. Lupus requires floating accommodations as it may vary from day to day depending on what are known as lupus flares. Kerry Tate, director of Student AccessAbility said, “We encourage students to use our office. We have a lot of resources that could help them.” Lupus is a disease that has no cure, but Jimison says she is determined to fight hard to find one. All proceeds from the event were sent directly to the Lupus Foundation of America, North Texas Chapter.
ELIZABETH SOHNS Mercury Staff
It’s a constant struggle for college students who worry about meeting all of their degree requirements and juggling extracurricular activities within four years. However, Braeden Mayer accomplished all of this in three years to pursue two remarkable opportunities during his senior year of college. Mayer, an international political economy junior, plans to study abroad in Cuba during fall 2012. Mayer said Cuba and its foreign relations with the United States have always intrigued him. In his sophomore year, he chose to enroll in Monica Rankins’ “The History of the Cuban Revolution,” a course in which students analyze the relationship between the United States and Cuba and its development over time. For Mayer, the course furthered his interest and curiosity in the so-called “Crocodile Island.” Cuba is not one of the usual locations that come to mind when choosing a destination to study abroad. Labeled as a “forbidden territory,” travelling to Cuba has been prohibited or highly discour-
aged over the years. In addition, Cuba is a Communist country and its foreign relations remain highly disputed. To grasp a better understanding of Cuba’s past and present, Mayer will be taking multiple courses at the University of Havana. Mayer is hoping to do an independent study analyzing the role of media in Cuba; this would most likely involve investigation into the prevalent censorship by Cuban authorities. “Being cut off from the United States because of the lack of Internet in Cuba, which is very poor, is my biggest insecurity about traveling to Cuba,” Mayer said. “It’s known for being scarce and slow.” In spring 2013, he will be going to Washington D.C. to participate in the Archer program. Although there is a focus on public policy and political science in the Archers program, students
of many different majors have participated in the program, including history, biology, management, economy and sociology majors. Edward Harpham, faculty adviser for the Archer program and associate provost at UTD, has witnessed immense growth in the program. He said the application process is very rigorous, but the experience is invaluable in terms of one’s career. “The Archer program provides students with a unique set of opportunities for personal and professional growth in Washington D.C.,” Harpham said. “It is a capstone BRAEDEN MAYER experience for students’ interest in public service, politics and the law.” Mayer said that he is excited for his trips to Cuba and Washington D.C. because he knows they will immensely further his education and allow for numerous opportunities in the future.
THE MERCURY n APRIL 30, 2012
Taking Time Out
The annual Oozeball tournament took place on April 20 near the Phase III parking lot. More than 15 teams, including students and staff, competed for the Oozeball trophy. AKSHAY HARSHE/PHOTO EDITOR
(TOP SERIES) YANG XI/STAFF
(Above) Kicking off their shoes and donning their evening gowns, UTD men competed for the title of ‘Miss Drag Queen’ at the Student Drag Show on April 24 in the Galaxy Rooms. (Left) Greek Week attendees take part in a rock climbing event on April 18 in the Activity Center. (Below) A student recites a poem at the Underground Poetry Circus on April 25 in The Pub.
UTD celebrates Earth Week for the first time in efforts to revolutionalize the Go Green Initiative. One of the activities, tree planting, gathered students, faculty and staff to plant almost 20 trees on April 18 outside of the Visitors Center. The Earth Fair was put on to emphasize environmental health and safety, recycling waste, planting trees and saving non-renewable sources of energy. AKSHAY HARSHE/PHOTO EDITOR
APRIL 30, 2012 n THE MERCURY n WWW.UTDMERCURY.COM
Comets win regular season title Team clinches home-field in ASC first round SHAWN CHO
Dickson combined to shut out ETBU for the final three frames after starting pitcher senior The Comets have been crowned the ASC East Marvin Prestridge struggled, lasting only four inDivision Champions after closing out the regular nings. season with a 27-13 overall record (14-4 in the Similar to the second game, the Comets trailed ASC). The team will head into the ASC Cham- ETBU 6-1 early in the rubber match of the sepionship Tournament as the East Division’s top ries but rallied back in the end to take the game seed even though University of Texas at Tyler 14-6. The eighth inning proved to be pivotal as finished with the same conference record of 14-4 the Comets’ lineup punished ETBU’s bullpen because of the win against Tyler earlier in the sea- by registering 9 hits and 11 runs to go past the son. Tigers and finish the season “One of our goals was to on a high note, securing the make the playoffs, our next East’s top seed going into the goal was to win the East Diplayoffs. vision which we were able to This will be the Comets’ do,” head coach Shane Shewninth all-time appearance in make said. “Our next goal is the ASC Tournament, postto win the first round of the ing a 20-18 record in their playoffs and ultimately win previous eight trips to the 1. UTD 14-4 27-13 the conference tournament.” postseason. The school has The 2012 regular seanever won the league title but 2. UT Tyler 14-4 31-9 son came to a close with a finished runners-up in 2003, three-game series at East 2004, 2006, and 2011. 3. Mississippi 9-9 18-21 Texas Baptist University. The “Our goals at the beginComets successfully took ning of the season are right 4. Louisiana 7-11 14-22 two of the three games with on track,” Shewmake said. scores of 9-8 and 14-6, re“Two down, two to go.” spectively. The series didn’t The Comets hope to go start the way the team had deep into the playoffs and hoped for by losing 5-1, but the squad managed try to bring home the trophy for the first time in to bounce back and sweep the remaining games. the program’s history. The Comets were in danger of losing their “We feel like we’ve got a great chance to do place at the top of the divisional standings, some really good things,” Shewmake said. “We’ve trailing ETBU 8-5 in their final at-bat. The just have to relax, play our game, and not let the offense sparked to life with a little help from situation dictate how we play whether it’s the first the defensive end as well. Senior Jacob Starnes game of the year or first game of the playoffs.” reached first on an error by the ETBU first baseFor the 2012 season, the Comets lineup inman, and junior Zak Anderson followed suit by cluded seven players hitting over .300 for the reaching first with a single to right field, then se- season. Senior Chase Brown led the pack with a nior Chase Brown loaded the bases with a single batting average of .428 with 8 home runs and a to left. Junior Jake Wyand stepped up to crush .730 slugging percentage, followed closely by a a pitch well over the left field wall for a game- fellow senior Jacob Starnes (.390) and junior Jake winning grand slam to bring the score line in Wyand (.372). favor of the Comets 9-8. On the mound, the Comets recorded a total Senior pitcher Max Williard and junior Zach ERA of 3.36, with senior Marvin Prestridge lead-
ASC East Regular Season Standings
Micah Easterling (No. 27) greets Kaleb Robinson (No. 13) and Jacob Price at home plate after they scored against Mississippi on April 6. The Comets won 12 of their final 14 games.
ing the pack in the wins column with eight in 11 starts, followed by sophomore Jason Fink’s six and junior Derek Dallas’ five. Senior Max Willard led the ERA column with a 1.93 ERA, followed closely by sophomore Chase Knight with a 2.18 ERA. The Comets hosted McMurry University, who
finished fourth in the West with a 12-9 conference record, for a best-of-three series on April 2728 in the first round of the tournament. Editor’s Note: This article does not include stats or information from the Comets’ weekend series against McMurry University in the first round of the ASC Tournament from April 27-28.
Softball team comes up just short in East
Playoff push ends in disappointment but Comets put up program-best winning percentage SHAWN CHO
“This season has been capped as a miraculous run, but I think that’s a little unfair because we’ve been capable of this all The Comets came within two games of along,” Posner said. “I don’t think this was a pulling off an improbable finish to their miracle, but this was a more of ‘we figured 2012 season, but fell it out.’’’ just short of reaching the This year’s squad only playoffs for the first time had two senior players since 2005. The team who would be graduatfinished with an overall ing, and the rest of the record of 24-14 (12-12 squad will be expected in the ASC), one win back next year. Junior short of tying the proplayers will now be exgram record for all-time pected to step up and wins in a single season. become the leaders in The team finished its 2013. Twelve out of 18 ASC schedule with a 12players currently on the 12 mark, which is the squad are freshmen or team’s best ASC finish in sophomores, and they eight years. Even though have produced throughthe Comets just missed out the season in helpin making the playoffs, ing to achieve one of the head coach Brad Posner most successful seasons said the season was inin the program’s history deed a successful one. — the team achieved its “I really don’t know highest winning percentwhat more we could’ve age (.632) of all-time. asked for,” Posner said. “I think the fact that “As a coach, we like to we reached a significant define success not always place where we would by the end results but by like our team to be, as the process.” a coach, you couldn’t BEN HAWKINS/STAFF The Comets opened a be more proud of somefour-game series against Infielder Stephanie Harris’ reac- thing,” Posner said. “And Louisiana College with tion after an opposing runner it being our first year, safely reaches base. UTD missed a pair of wins on April the postseason by one game. that just tells us that we 20, with scores of 5-2 have something really and 3-2, respectively. But solid to build on for next they fell just short of reaching the playoffs year. when they were handed an 8-0 loss in the “Players figured it out and being able to last game of the series and season after beat- be a part of it and watch them be able to ing Louisiana College 6-3 in the game be- do it is just a tremendous thing as a coach,” fore on April 21. Posner continued. “So I’m really excited for The team was one game away from the team next year for what they’re capable sweeping the Wildcats, against whom they of.” have a 7-34 all-time record, and Posner said Looking into next year, Posner is anticiit was a valiant effort by the entire squad to pating good things to come for the program, try and extend their season into the playoffs. as it will try to repeat another successful seaRegardless of the outcome, Posner was more son and hopefully make it into the playoffs than satisfied with the team’s performance for years to come. throughout the season. “There is definitely continued success on Mercury Staff
the horizon, and we’re just looking forward to next year already,” Posner said. “I think we have some goals now that we can see that they’re very attainable as well, not just a dream.” The Comets’ batting average for the 2012 season was .312, with junior Brittanie Knowles hitting .409 with 47 hits to lead the pack, followed by freshmen Avery McHugh (.391) and Hannah Creech (.347). Sophomore pitcher Heather Foust led the team in the wins column with 17 and an ERA of 2.66, followed by freshman Micah Starkey with 3 wins.
FINAL ASC EAST PLAYOFF PICTURE 1. UT Tyler (20-4) (33-7) 2. Louisiana (14-10) (24-15) 3. East Texas Baptist (14-10) (24-15) 4. Mississippi (13-11) (26-14) * 5. UTD (12-12) (24-14) *
* - Indicates team was eliminated from playoff contention
THE MERCURY n April 30, 2012
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Mo-Mo & Sadie by Troi Cluse
by Dane Shamico
Nerdiest Kind of Catch Phrase by Adam Thomas
Parking Pass by Mr.Quibbels
THE MERCURY n APRIL 30, 2012