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iWeek | pages 6-7

April 14, 2014

THE MERCURY | UTDMERCURY.COM

SSB addition, alumni center underway

Multilingual students translate for refugees

Planned location of Gundy Davidson Alumni Center

Future Student Services Building expansion

UT DALLAS | COURTESY

The SSB will expand into Lot K, while an alumni center will be built behind the ATEC building, where the tennis courts are currently located. PABLO ARAUZ | STAFF

MIGUEL PEREZ Life & Arts Editor

The office of alumnus and HRI Executive Director Bill Holston is decorated with gifts he received from people he's helped over the years. The set of Russian stacking dolls was given by a Jewish man who was beaten because of his religion. Holston also has a photo of two Burmese youth workers.

Major construction projects on campus are slated to continue well into 2016, including an expansion for the Student Services Building. Kelly Kinnard, director of physical plant services, said the programming phase for the SSB expansion is finished, and the building is scheduled to open in 2016. The exact location is still to be determined, but Kinnard said it ideally will be placed behind the existing SSB and replace Lot K. There are preliminary plans to connect the expansion to the Student Union. Matt Grief, assistant vice president for student affairs, said the expansion will provide space for growing offices and programs currently housed in the SSB. The Veterans Center, Comet Center, New Student Programs, SUAAB and the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs all plan to migrate to the SSB expansion.

Alumnus gives students opportunity to volunteer with Human Rights Initiative of North Texas

→ SEE EXPANSION, PAGE 12

PABLO ARAUZ Mercury Staff

Being bilingual or multilingual can be a skill students take for granted, but at the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas it can actually help save lives. HRI is a nonprofit organization that provides legal representation and social services to immigrants who are victims of human rights violations. When political science professor Anthony Champagne invited alumnus and HRI Executive Director Bill Holston to campus to speak at a lecture in February, he gave students the opportunity to work for the organization. “We rarely realize that our language skills can actually save people's lives but this is an example of where you really can,” Champagne

said. Champagne asked Holston if he could recruit students to work with the organization as translators for asylum cases. Noor Wadi, interdisciplinary junior, applied for the program to be an Arabic translator. Her family, originally from Palestine, immigrated to the United States seeking better opportunities. “We have a long history of people being persecuted,” Wadi said. “We know what it's like to be a refugee.” At the lecture, she decided she wanted to work with HRI when she heard Holston speak about a Christian man living in predominantly Muslim Egypt who was tortured for his religion. Wadi said that if she ends up working with the organization, it will help her get the experience she wants to work in human rights law.

“We still have so many cases of people who are American and are getting their rights taken from them,” she said. Elisabeth Hagburg, communications and volunteer coordinator for HRI, helps find volunteer translators and said the initiative has two programs. One is the Women and Children's Program, which helps foreign-born children who suffer from abuse, neglect or abandonment as well as women and sometimes men who are victims of domestic violence, obtain a special kind of visa. Most of the time the clients speak Spanish. The other component is the Asylum Program, which assists people from other countries seeking asylum. This program requires translators for many languages including French, Tigrynia,

→ SEE LANGUAGE, PAGE 12

decoding religion Bahá'í students flee religious persecution in Iran, start UTD Baha'i Club to provide open atmosphere for growing faith community Editor’s Note In an effort to further understand UTD’s diverse population, what follows is part three in a four-part series exploring lesser-known religious communities, their traditions and their presence on campus. PABLO ARAUZ Mercury Staff

Nader Arzani left his home country two years ago, fleeing religious persecution for practicing the Bahá'í Faith in Iran. After the Iranian revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1978, the Iranian government deemed Islam the

state religion and restricted the practice of other religions such as Bahá'í. Arzani struggled to live as a follower of the religion. When he was 15 years old, Arzani faced a stubborn high school administrator who interrogated him and tried to force him to renounce his faith. When Arzani questioned his motives, the administrator threatened to kick him out of school. “I have faced some of the cruelty of the Islamic regime. I was one of the lucky people to not end up in jail or prison because of (my) religion,” Arzani said. Fortunately, he was able to stay in school because of his good grades and being liked by

MIGUEL PEREZ | LIFE & ARTS EDITOR

The nine-pointed star is a symbol of the Bahá'í faith. Nine, as the highest single-digit number, represents completeness.

the faculty. Arzani, now a business junior at UTD, said that while followers of Bahá'í are peaceful by faith, the Iranian government sees its followers as a threat to the religious order. Shahrzad Azimi, global business and accounting senior, is an American-born follower of the faith whose family fled Iran during the revolution, narrowly escaping persecution. “A lot of people left because they could no longer work,” she said. “They packed what they could and escaped because the government wasn't letting people leave.” Now Arzani and Azimi both are part of a growing Bahá'í community in North Texas where they can freely practice

their faith. The origins of Bahá'í The Bahá'í Faith, only 160 years old, was founded by the prophet Bahá'u'lláh with origins in parts of the Middle East that were at the time part of the Ottoman Empire. The religion is practiced by an estimated 5 million to 6 million followers in about 100,000 cities all over the world, according to the religion's main website, bahai.org. Known as a world religion by its followers, the faith finds guidance in all of the major nine religions

→ SEE BAHA'I, PAGE 5


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THE MERCURY | APRIL 14, 2014

NEWS

Just the facts

THE MERCURY UTDMERCURY.COM Volume XXXIX No. 7 Editor-in-Chief Lauren Featherstone editor@utdmercury.com (972) 883-2294

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Thought-provoking statistics from Christopher Wang ZAINAH ASFOOR Mercury Staff

4UVEFOU(PWFSONFOUIBTBEPQUFEBOPĂŻ DJBM honor code for all students to abide by, said Vice President Charlie Hannigan at the April 1 SG meeting. Students were given two honor code options to vote for on the SG election ballot. In total, 2,708 people voted, and the winning honor code option received 1,493 votes. The new honor code reads: “As a Comet, I pledge honesty, integrity, and service in all that I do.â€? Other UT campuses have student honor codes, and SG felt it was important for UTD UPIBWFBOPĂŻ DJBMDPEFPGFUIJDTUIBUSFĂŹFDUJUT values. After months of writing proposals, circulating petitions for signatures and patiently waiting, the Redbox pursuit has come to an end XJUI3FECPYTEFDJTJPOOPUUPJOTUBMMBLJPTLPO campus. This decision comes from a Redbox representative, who said the company will be removing all booths from all college campuses. The company has previously expressed its concern that college students will not use the kiosk given the easy access students have to movies online. “We are sad to hear that, but I still think there is a positive in that we did gather a lot of signatures, and a lot more people heard about Student Government,â€? said Student Affairs Committee chair Casey Sublett. t"OFXBQQDBMMFEi.Z+40.wIBTCFFO released for students to download on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides professor information, a schedule of Jindal School of Management events, a map of the building and a weather forecast. The senate hopes that more schools will take the initiative to create apps as well, said Residential Affairs Committee chair Katie Truesdale. The proposal for the campuswide UTD app is still in the works. tɨ  FVOJWFSTJUZTDPOUSBDUXJUI8FMMT'BSHP will end in July and will not be renewed. This NFBOTTUVEFOUT$PNFU$BSETXJMMOPMPOHFSCF connected to their bank accounts. Hannigan said this is a protective security measure UTD is taking because there have been security breaches on other campuses of bank account information using school IDs. Students will be contacted by Wells Fargo for further information. t "DBEFNJD "ĂŞBJST $PNNJUUFF DIBJS +P

seph Lim said the next “Comet Chatsâ€? event is tentatively set for 8 p.m. on April 16 in The Pub. The speakers will be married EPPS professors Alex and Nicole Piquero. Senate allocated  GPS BEWFSUJTFNFOU ĂŹZFST BOE QPTUFST GPS the event. t "T QBSU PG UIF OFX NBJMJOH TZTUFN UIBU began last October, students living on campus will now receive several emails about delivered packages that were too big to fit in the mailboxes. Students will have two weeks to pick up the packages from the Res Hall lobbies, or from UIFMFBTJOHPĂŻ DFGPSUIPTFMJWJOHJOUIFBQBSU ments. If a student fails to do so, the package will be mailed back to the sender. In the past, TUVEFOUTXFSFOPUJĂŤFEUIBUUIFZESFDFJWFEPWFS sized packages by notes left in their mailboxes or at their doors. Oftentimes, students did not receive these notes. tɨ  FOFXFTU3FT)BMMXJMMPQFOJO+VMZBOE will house 600 students, Truesdale said. This new Res Hall will be named Res Hall West, and the current Res Hall West will be renamed Res Hall Northwest. A new dining hall, which will have 700 seats, and an activity center will be located in Res Hall West. All UTD students will have access to the dining hall and activity center. Senate voted on a few name options for the dining hall to be presented to Auxiliary Services. Some of the name options presented at the meeting include “Comet Cuisine,â€? “Galaxy Grillâ€? and “Big Daddy CafĂŠ.â€? t -FHJTMBUJWF "ĂŞBJST $PNNJUUFF DIBJS 4JEE Sant said SG is working on bringing Texas governor candidates Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott to campus to participate in a debate. A date, time and location of the event will be scheduled once SG hears from both parties. t $PNNVOJDBUJPOT $PNNJUUFF DIBJS Miguel Juarez announced that the “Meet Your Senatorsâ€? event, which was originally postponed because it was scheduled during Springapalooza, is now set to take place from noon to 2 p.m. on April 17 on the Student Union Mall. t"QSPQPTBMGPSOFXOBNFTGPSUIF3FT)BMMT IBTCFFOTVCNJUUFECZVOJWFSTJUZPĂŻ DJBMTUPUIF Board of Regents. If approved by the Regents, the name change will take effect in 2015. Because the proposal has not been approved yet, the proposed names are being kept confidential. tɨ  FOFYU4(.FFUJOHXJMMCFBUQN on April 15 in one of the Galaxy Rooms.

Madison McCall Cathryn Ploehn Sunayna Rajput Zhi Tang Jeff Thekkekara Justin Thompson Shyam Vedantam Yang Xi

Mailing Address 800 West Campbell Road Mailstop SU 24 Richardson, TX 75080-0688 Newsroom Student Union, Student Media Suite SU 1.601 FIRST COPY FREE NEXT COPY 25 CENTS The Mercury is published on Mondays, at two-week intervals during the long term of The University of Texas at Dallas, except holidays and exam periods, and once every four weeks during the summer term. Advertising is accepted by The Mercury on the basis that there is no discrimination by the advertiser in the offering of goods or services to any person, on any basis prohibited by applicable law. Evidence of discrimination will be the basis of denial of advertising space. The publication of advertising in The Mercury does not constitute an endorsement of products or services by the newspaper, the UTD administration, the Board of Regents or the Student Media Operating Board. Opinions expressed in The Mercury are those of the editor, the editorial board or the writer of the article. They are not necessarily the view of the UTD administration, the Board of Regents or the Student Media Operating Board. The Mercury’s editors retain the right to refuse or edit any submission based on libel, malice, spelling, grammar and style, and violations of Section 54.23 (f ) (1-6) of UTD policy, which can be found at policy.utdallas.edu Copyright Š 2014, The University of Texas at Dallas. All articles, photographs and graphic assets, whether in print or online, may not be reproduced or republished in part or in whole without express written permission.

UTDPD Blotter March 27 t"OVOBĂŻ MJBUFEQFSTPOXBTBSSFTUFEGPSESJWJOH with a suspended license and possession of drug paraphernalia on Campbell Road at about 1 a.m. t"OBĂŻ MJBUFEQFSTPOSFQPSUFEUIFJSXBMMFUTUP len from NSERL at about 11 a.m. t"TUVEFOUXBTJTTVFEBDSJNJOBMUSFTQBTTXBSO ing for the entire campus for one day, due to his disruptive behavior. March 28 t"TUVEFOUSFQPSUFEIJTXBMMFUXBTTUPMFOGSPN the Comet CafĂŠ at about 2 p.m. t "O VOBĂŻ MJBUFE NBMF XBT BSSFTUFE GPS SBDJOH BOE%8* BOEBOPUIFSVOBĂŻ MJBUFENBMFXBTBS rested for racing and possession of marijuana on Campbell Road at about 4 a.m. March 30 t " TUVEFOU XBT DJUFE GPS PQFO DPOUBJOFS PG alcohol and speeding on Synergy Park Blvd. at about 3 a.m. March 31 t"TUVEFOUXBTDJUFEGPSQPTTFTTJPOPGBMDPIPM by a minor at Residence Hall North at about 6 a.m. t "O BĂŻ MJBUFE NBMFT CJDZDMF XBT TUPMFO GSPN Phase II at about 6 p.m. April 3 t"TUVEFOUSFQPSUFEIJTWFIJDMFIBECFFOEBN aged and keyed at Lot M at about 11 a.m. t"TUVEFOUSFQPSUFEBUIFGUGSPNUIF4UVEFOU Union at about 8 p.m. April 5 t " TUVEFOU SFQPSUFE IFS QVSTF TUPMFO GSPN ECSS at about 7 p.m. April 7 t"OVOBĂŻ MJBUFEQFSTPOXBTBSSFTUFEGPSESJW ing without a license on Campbell Road at about 12 a.m. t"TUVEFOUXBTBSSFTUFEGPSBOPVUTUBOEJOH1MB OP1%USBĂŻ DXBSSBOUBU1IBTF***BUBCPVUQN

LEGEND VEHICULAR INCIDENT THEFT DRUGS & ALCOHOL OTHER MAP: UTD COMMUNICATIONS | COURTESY

March 29: An unknown person shattered the passenger side glass door of a contracted UTD bus owned by Buses by Bill at about 9 p.m. on Rutford Avenue.

March 28: Six students were issued criminal trespass warnings for the residence hall construction site on Waterview Parkway at about 1 a.m. April 4: An employee reported a phone harassment at the Administrative Building at about 4 p.m.


OPINION

APRIL 14, 2014 | THE MERCURY | UTDMERCURY.COM

Unlimited political contributions pave way for continued inequality CHRISTOPHER WANG COMMENTARY

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shows that the failure of many to rise to the top is not of any personal or moral defect, but the fault of structural and institutional deficiencies. These problems threaten not only personal well-being, but also the system as a whole. A December 2013 Associated Press survey of three dozen economists found that a majority believes that widening income disparity is harming the U.S. economy. They argue that wealthy Americans are receiving higher pay, but they spend less than middle class consumers, the majority of the population, whose incomes have largely stagnated. Gar Alperovitz and Richard Reich argue that with so much wealth concentrated at the top, there’s simply not enough purchasing power to make the rest of the system function. If an economy depends on the exchange of goods and services, then it will fall apart if the 99 percent have no income or wealth to pay for goods and services, never mind health, education or other factors that can create opportunity and safeguard well-being. Klein drives home the point on politics, wealth and income: “A young hedge funder who just got her first big bonus might show up in the top 1 percent of the income distribution. But she’s still paying down college loans and saving up for a house and waiting to see whether these incredible checks keep coming. She doesn’t have the security to be trying to purchase politicians. “But someone in the top percentile of the wealth distribution?” writes Klein. “They’ve probably been very comfortable for a long time, and they know they have the resources to continue being very comfortable for a long time, and so they can make speculative investments in politicians.” Thus the Supreme Court’s ruling opens the floodgates to oligarchy. By giving voice to the vociferous, comfort to the comforted and power to the powerful, a government by the few, for the few and of the few is in the future. With avenues for advancement quickly closing, we may be destroyed by our own unequal prosperity. If money equals speech, then we will find that some Americans are more equal than others in our stratified society.

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“Would you still eat at the SU dining hall if there were dining options in the res halls?”

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The April 2 Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission removing the last remaining limits on political contributions is troubling for the future of American democracy. By conflating monetary donations with politically efficacious speech, the court paves the way for the wealthy and well connected to control government for years to come. This ruling is symptomatic of a troubling gulf that continues to widen between rich and poor in America, and threatens meritocratic ideals. Outsized political influence is already wielded by the wealthy. This recent ruling only reinforces that situation by allowing unlimited and unrestricted donations to politicians, campaigns, parties and political action committees. Politicians will become beholden to their donors, not their constituents, and the gap in prosperity will continue to grow. Even education, the great leveler, is an increasingly difficult path to advancement. With a greater concentration of wealth at the top, the 99 percent increasingly struggle with paying for higher education. Wealthy families don’t have to worry about educating their children. But for the working class, or even the middle class, college becomes an astronomical expense for households on a budget. Ezra Klein, formerly of the Washington Post and founder of Vox writes, “A family might be doing fine on the income scale but still living handto-mouth, with little left over to pay for the child’s SAT prep or college tuition. A family with wealth, on the other hand, can always liquidate some assets to invest in their child’s future, and they can do so without worrying that they won’t be able to pay next month’s mortgage.” Even more empirical evidence suggests that the best driver of economic growth is more equal in-

come distribution. A 2011 study published by the journal Finance and Development of economic growth of both developed and developing nations using more than 50 years of data found that equal income distribution had the greatest positive correlation to economic growth. Less equal income distribution actually reduced the amount of time an economy spent expanding, compared to countries with more equitable income distribution. Unequal income distribution is the greatest quantifiable threat to social mobility. Studies by the Urban Institute and the U.S. Treasury have both found that about half of the families who start in either the top or the bottom quintile of the income distribution are still there after a decade, and that only 3 to 6 percent rise from bottom to top or fall from top to bottom. Our stratified society is becoming more ossified. The Congressional Budget Office reported in 2011 that travel between income brackets is largely flat, with only marginal changes amongst all American households from year-to-year. In plain English, many of these movements up and down are along the margins, like households earning $1 million one year and $950,000 the next. Most damning, economist Alan Krueger estimates that “the persistence in the advantages and disadvantages of income passed from parents to the children (will) rise by about a quarter for the next generation as a result of the rise in inequality that the U.S. has seen in the last 25 years.” This means that household income, the single most effective driver and predictor of growth, is stagnating in such a way that the advantaged will only become more advantaged, and the disadvantaged even more so. Wealth and income are two different things, but since income is not distributed equally, those at the top of the scale have seen both their wealth and income skyrocket over the past few decades. If opportunity is a ladder, then inequality makes the rungs farther apart. Intergenerational and lifetime mobility are at all-time lows, after 30 or more years of gains for the top 1 percent. Empirical evidence

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“If (the new) dining hall is closer to my next year option living on campus, I would probably go there. If I’m coming out of class, I’d just go to this dining hall.” Aaron Dotson Neuroscience junior

“I live right by the res halls, so if there are dining options over there, there’s no need to walk halfway across campus.”

Nicholas Kotey

Neuroscience senior

“I work in the labs over here in the ATEC building, so this would be closer off of class. But just wherever’s closer.”

“Yeah totally, because it’s the same thing and that would be so much closer. Unless it has less options.”

Akilram Krishnan ATEC junior

Becky Jin Global business and supply chain management freshman


4

THE MERCURY | APRIL 14, 2014

NEWS

UTDMERCURY.COM

New dining hall, campus store to open next semester Second parking garage to feature Einstein’s Bagels, potentially IHOP IAN GONZALEZ Mercury Staff

This coming fall semester, the opening of the Phase IV Residence Hall will create new dining options on campus. The building, which will house 600 new students, comes with a recreational facility and a dining area. With seating for almost 800 students, this space will offer students another option for on-campus dining. The current dining hall, which opened in fall 2009, was originally built to be able to seat about 400 students, and it was constructed when the student population was just under 16,000. Since then, dining services has repositioned registers, added soda fountains and increased seating to accommodate the rapid population surge. “This dining hall is primarily designed as your all-youcare-to-eat type dining hall,” said Bob Fishbein, assistant vice president of Auxiliary Services. “It will have a clean, fresh, modern appearance to it with an upscale look and feel.” Seating in the current dining hall is separated from the food stations, but the new venue will be more interactive, with pockets of tables mixed in among serving stations in “vignettes” that will encourage

student meetings and a sense of cohesiveness among many tables, said Carrie Chutes, assistant director of food and retail services. Another functional difference is the inclusion of the dish return within the actual dining hall, separating the traffic between those entering and those leaving that is experienced in the current dining facility. After the new dining hall opens, the old one will be reevaluated for its attendance and traffic, and additional franchises will be considered, including Panda Express, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, Freshens yogurt and Wild Greens salads, Fishbein said. The new residence hall will also house a full-size Papa John’s that will be able to serve more than the personal pizzas served in the Comet Café. The new location will be open till 1 a.m., making it a late-dinner alternative to The Pub. With more kitchen space, Chick FilA will be able to expand in the Comet Café and serve more students, while most likely keeping the same hours. Also in the fall, UTD will open a campus store close to the new residence hall that will sell items such as snacks, fountain drinks, candy, health and beauty supplies, juices, fresh fruits, sandwiches and micro-

wavable foods until 1 a.m. Additionally, the parking garage across from Residence Hall South will feature an Einstein’s Bagels and potentially an IHOP Express. The Einstein’s, which is projected to open next fall, will offer breakfast and light lunch. The details of the IHOP Express are still in negotiation, but the location would provide another latenight food option that could be up and running as soon as spring 2015, Fishbein said. Other important expansion plans for the coming semester include a Jason’s Deli in the Jindal School of Management and an increased selection in the University Bookstore. The Jason’s Deli will be a small version of the dine-in eatery that will include breakfast and lunch options from a limited menu. The bookstore selection will increase to include more snacks, drinks and hygiene products, as well as common dorm materials such as extension cords, lamps and small furniture. The expansion comes in the wake of the election of Student Government President Brooke Knudtson. A main component of Knudtson’s platform included the mission to expand options on campus by

→ SEE DINING, PAGE 12

CONNIE CHENG | ASST. PHOTO EDITOR

The Japanese Student Association hosted the Japanese Festival on April 3 at the Student Union mall to explore traditional Japanese games and culture. Students took part in folding origami, calligraphy and Yoyo water balloon fishing. JSA also provided free sushi for participants.

Correction: In the March 31 edition of The Mercury, in the article titled “What’s in a vending machine?” the name of a vendor was incorrectly reported. It is Mcliff Coffee + Vending. The Mercury regrets this error.

Admit it, owning up to our mistakes only makes us more likeable. facebook.com/theutdmercury


LIFE&ARTS

APRIL 14, 2013 | THE MERCURY | UTDMERCURY.COM

5

Forced ‘Rio’ sequel lacks vision Musical comedy film features pleasant animation but pushes unnecessary subplots, weak characters SHYAM VEDANTAM COMMENTARY

The experience of watching the animated family film “Rio 2” is like eating a second candy bar. The taste is ephemerally sweet and gratifying, but after it’s over, there’s a gradual realization that it didn’t taste quite as good as the first one. It was fine while it lasted, but otherwise, an unremarkable experience. The first film, “Rio,” was a surprise hit, grossing $486 million. In it, Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), a domesticated blue macaw, is discovered as the last surviving male of his species. Conservationists then discovered a wild female blue macaw named Jewel (Anne Hathaway). The two are brought together in Rio de Janeiro to hopefully further the species. “Rio” had a distinct and interesting cultural charm to it, no doubt brought out by Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha. It recreated, with a loving animation style, the city of Rio de Janeiro. The catchy musical numbers also had distinct Brazilian tones to them. Overall, it was a well-crafted family film with good dialogue, enough humor and easily digestible themes. The story did not end with a cliff hanger that needed to be answered with a sequel. The box office numbers undoubtedly inspired this production. The setup for “Rio 2” is that a new population of blue macaws are found in the Amazon. Jewel, craving to get back to her jungle roots and teach her three children about how to live in the wild, convinces Blu to travel deep

into the Amazon. Blu is reluctant to go, as he has largely adjusted to living with human technology, but he goes to make his wife happy. When they reach the Amazon, they run into the surviving blue macaws, led by patriarch Eduardo (Andy Garcia), who is also Jewel’s father, and Roberto (Bruno Mars), Eduardo’s right hand and perfect songbird. Unfortunately, Eduardo and Blu have different approaches on how to live, an illegal lumber business is threatening to destroy the rainforest and Nigel is returning as the villain from the first film to have revenge on Blu. A large portion of the original cast — Jamie Fox, will.i.am, Leslie Mann and Rodrigo Santoro — comes back for this film, though they do feel very shoe-horned into it. A notable addition is Kristen Chenoweth as a poisonous frog, who probably has the most memorable musical number in the film. The jungle is striking and brightly animated here. The 3D is put to good use, adding depth and layers to the forest. It isn’t a necessary upgrade, but thankfully it isn’t used in a gimmicky fashion or in dark scenery. The exuberant and shiny animation style is in line with previous films by Saldanha (“Rio,” the “Ice Age” series, “Robots”). The choreographed dance numbers are joyous if unimaginative. The soundtrack, by John Powell (“How to Train Your Dragon,” “Kung Fu Panda”) alongside Brazilians Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, is again distinctly Brazilian in sound design. It’s pleasant to the ear and the musical motifs are fun enough to hum. The songs are decent, but they’re not quite good enough to knock “Frozen” off its claim on the billboards. The problems really just stem from the overpopulated script. The story is

RIOMOVIES.COM | COURTESY

Endangered macaws Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) return to the Amazon rainforest in “Rio 2.” Directed by Carlos Saldanha, the sequel features voice acting from Jamie Fox, Kristen Chenoweth, will.i.am and Rodrigo Santoro.

credited to Saldanha, and the writing credits are shared by Carlos Kotkin, Jenny Bicks, Yoni Brenner and the late Don Rhymer. Many of the jokes appeal to the lowest common denominator and are extremely lowbrow. There is a creative idea to have a game resembling soccer in the film, since the World Cup will be in Rio this summer, but otherwise, the film’s plot points and themes are very bare

bones. It’s a moderate step down in quality from the first. This problem probably stems from the questionable inclusion of several plot threads intertwining through the film. Where the first had a creative idea supplemented by quirky characters in a soulful city, “Rio 2” thins out each of the characters so that everyone gets invited to the party. As a family film, it doesn’t reinvent

Contemporary exhibit explores vulnerability

CONNIE CHENG | ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR

A geometric version of a painting by Francisco Goya is part of “Code Yellow,” a co-curatorial gallery showing in the Visual Arts Building. MIGUEL PEREZ Life & Arts Editor

The artwork currently lining the walls of the Visual Arts Building looks nothing like usual art museum fare. Instead, five cocurators have collaborated to organize a contemporary statement whose pieces lie outside the realm of preconceived notions of art. Greg Metz is one of the curators of “Code Yellow” along with five other art professionals. He calls the gallery a kind of “experimental curatorial exercise.” Metz has brought together the curators — Kael Alford, Janeil Engelstad, Mona Kasra, Laray Polk and Maxmillian Schich— with the idea that there’s a platform all of them could address with their various art disciplines. “We took a big idea and just tried to interpret it,” Metz said. “We would run things by each

other, but we had some good discussions that talked about what impact art is having in social dialogue.” The curatorial group decided to focus on the idea of vulnerability. “We all feel vulnerable in some way,” Metz said. “Whether it’s because drones are going to invade our space or having Google listen in on our private conversations, under the guise of democracy. Really, we’re being controlled.” One of the installations, “N ØTABLE SELFLE$$ AFFECT,” curated by Mona Kastra, is a small television playing a loop of different overlaid videos related to press coverage on Edward Snowden. Distorted images of Snowden, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin vie for the whole screen and what results is an eerie mishmash of voices and faces. On the floor, WikiLeak papers

are scattered all around. Metz said they’ve been illegally downloaded. “It’s a viable communication mechanism for approaching maybe dangerous subject matter or things that we aren’t allowed to talk about,” Metz said. Elsewhere, prints of political cartoons, 60s rock album covers and illustrations break up white walls as part of “Caveat Emptor,” Metz’s portion of the exhibit. “Caveat Emptor is sort of political cartoons and commentary,” he said. “A lot of us forget about that as being an art form. They’re kind of visual editorials.” There are digital versions of works by Spanish artists Fransisco Goya and the first print in the series is a simple illustration with the caption “slide your card, take your pill.” Images of graphical and statistical data blown up and recontextu-

alized into art adorn the adjacent wall. They’re part of “Didier Sornette: Creepy Figures,” curated by Max Schich. The images depict data used to predict financial crises and extreme events. When they’re placed on a wall as a statement, the audience is forced to reconsider their meaning, Metz said. He refers to these images as the warning signs that start to show up in illustrations, map charting and journalistic photography. “It’s kind of like the canary in the coalmine,” Metz said. “What are the signs? This could be a continuing series recognizing how people are recording what’s going on and how artists are using this as a platform to draw attention to issues.” “Code Yellow” will run through April 26 in the main gallery of the Visual Arts Building.

the wheel. At only 101 minutes, the film’s feverishly forward-pushing momentum causes the experience to end abruptly. “Rio 2” overfills its story with unnecessary subplots and multiple thin characters, but bright animation, a quick pace and a Brazilianinspired soundtrack keep this film going.

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including Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. The three core elements of Bahá’í are the oneness of God, the oneness of religion and the oneness of mankind. “We believe in the Bible and we believe in the Quran because we believe that every thousand or so years, God sends messengers so we don’t neglect those other scriptures,” Azimi said. Instead of having one figure at the center of its teachings, followers of Bahá’í look to the various spiritual leaders such as Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed as well as Bahá’u’lláh and his eldest son, `Abdu’l-Bahá, for religious guidance. The idea that the major religions build upon each other is called progressive revelation by its followers. “What we believe is that every religion brings something new to society depending on what they need at that time,” said Sarah Rouhani, speech language pathology and child development sophomore. Another central concept of Bahá’í is striving for world peace attained by the equality of men and women and all of humanity where the barriers of race, gender and religion are virtually nonexistent, Rouhani said. Azimi said the faith doesn’t have clergy or priests, only an administrative order that determines guidelines for followers of the faith. Rouhani and Azimi are both part of the UTD Bahá’í Club, which has occasional Thursday meetings devoted to creating an open atmosphere where Bahá’í followers and students of other religious backgrounds can pray and worship with songs. They also study various re-

ligious texts together, which is traditionally called institute. Azimi said that educating oneself independently in order to better serve humanity is another important element to followers of the faith. “To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world, to love humanity and try to serve it, to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood,” she said. Continued persecution Since its founding in 1844, followers of Bahá’í have faced adversity practicing their faith. Bahá’u’lláh himself was put in prison for his difference of beliefs, while followers in Iran continue to face religious persecution today. “It’s so sad to see your friends in jail and the people who are in jail now because they are trying to get a good education,” Arzani said. The public education system in Iran allows Bahá’ís to complete their high school education, Azimi said, but the government tries to find ways of keeping them from going on to college. Many of them then find other means of studying by taking online classes at home in secrecy, despite the risk, she said. While many of the religion’s followers take the difficult path of practicing their faith in Iran, the Bahá’í community continues to support them. “The Islamic government in Iran think they have this power to take over the world and defeat all the people that they look upon as infidels,” Azimi said. “The Bahá’í community doesn’t accept this idea because they believe that all people are free to practice their own religion and they should bring more peace around the world.”


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International Flair

This year’s International Week informed, engaged and entertained students with a series of events. Midday on Monday, Passport to the World at the Visitor Center Atrium gave students insight into the various cultures on campus. Early afternoon on Wednesday, students sampled teas from all over the globe during International Tea House in the Student Services Building. Volunteers drew lovely Henna on students at the Women’s Center on Thursday afternoon. As an exciting conclusion to the week, cultures from around campus showcased their talents at the International Talent Show in the Activity Center Main Gym. This week of events was sponsored by ISSO in conjunction with Rec Sports, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Galerstein’s Women’s Center and various cultural student organizations.

INTERNATIONA


AL WEEK 2014

ON OPPOSITE PAGE: YANG XI | STAFF JEFF THEKKEKARA | STAFF ARGHYA CHATTERJEE | STAFF ZHI TANG | STAFF PARTH PARIKH | STAFF ON THIS PAGE: ZHI TANG | STAFF ARGHYA CHATTERJEE | STAFF PARTH PARIKH | STAFF YANG XI | STAFF

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Team NCAA must reform fiscal rules evolving on time Student-athletes should be treated as university employees, must receive pay, health benefits ESTEBAN BUSTILLOS COMMENTARY

MARCELO YATES | STAFF

Junior infielder Morgan Anderson drives a pitch in a game against UT Tyler on April 5. The Comets are 10-17 in ASC.

Inexperienced softball team improving in spite of recent losses MADISON MCCALL Mercury Staff

The UTD softball team defeated the University of Dallas in two nonconference games on April 1 before losing three conference games to UT Tyler on April 4 and 5. The first game against the University of Dallas ended in just five innings after the mercy rule was invoked, as the Comets led 9-0. The team gained the lead in the second inning with doubles by junior infielder Morgan Anderson and junior catcher Avery McHugh. They scored four runs in the third inning and three more in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman pitcher Lauren McLeod allowed just one hit the entire game. The Crusaders fell short again in the second game with another five-inning loss. The Comets took the lead by storm after scoring four runs in the first inning. The scoring spree began after a triple by sophomore outfielder Chelsea Sartor resulted in a run by sophomore outfielder Taylor Ervin. The team continued to score runs in the second, fourth and fifth inning. Junior pitcher Jessie Richardson pitched for three innings and allowed two hits and zero runs. Junior pitcher Megan Aragones pitched the last two innings and allowed one hit and zero runs, bringing the final score to 8-0. UTD was pushed down to eighth place in the ASC rankings after its three losses against UT Tyler. The Patriots are currently ranked fourth in Division III. The Comets did not make any hits in the first game and got on base once due to an error by UT Tyler. Freshman pitcher Sara Davison allowed five hits and three runs, bringing the final score to 0-3. Despite the loss, Davison had a strong pitching performance against the high-ranking team. “I feel confident,” Davison said. “I am feeling good that I have a team behind me with good defense.” The second game of the series was a tough loss at 2-8. A double by McHugh in the first inning resulted in a run for the team, but the Patriots already had a two-run lead with a score of 1-3. UTD did not score again until the seventh inning. Richardson pitched for part of the first inning and allowed three hits and three runs until McLeod relieved her. McLeod allowed an average of one run per inning with a total of five runs within five innings. Aragones pitched the last inning and allowed two hits and zero runs. “We played a very tough team,” head coach Brad Posner said. “We are still growing, but we are much closer to where we want to be.” The final game against UT Tyler resulted in another tough loss with the final score at 0-2. The team made six hits but could not follow through with runs. Anderson advanced to third base in the third inning but that was as close as the team got to a run. Davison was handed the loss and allowed two runs and seven hits. “I think it’s the best we’ve ever played Tyler,” Anderson said. “We came out really confident, and we played the best that we could.” The Comets will play Letourneau on April 11 and 12 at home.

A blow has finally been struck in the fight for the rights of student-athletes against the NCAA. On March 25, after players led by former quarterback Kain Colter petitioned to unionize, the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, director for Region 13 ruled that all football players who are still eligible to play at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., are legally employees of the school. It’s a decision that has taken far too long to make. The ruling states that the players are entitled to the same benefits as other members of the faculty and staff, including the ability to unionize and collectively bargain. The NLRB, which only has jurisdiction over private institutions, cannot make the same ruling at public universities. The NLRB can make the ruling at other private institutions like Stanford or Duke, but only if players there make a similar petition. The NLRB’s decision is the first time that a legal body has ever recognized student-athletes as something more than mere amateurs. While still a long way from paying athletes for their performance on the fields and courts, the ruling is the first step in the long-overdue process of compensating student-athletes, at least at the Division I level. College athletics brought in $16 billion in television contracts last year, according to Bloomberg. When student-athletes are not allowed to see a single cent of that money, they stop simply being athletes. A more proper term would be indentured servants. To be fair, athletes at Division I schools do get scholarships, which some may see as a form of compensation. Those scholarships, however, are not payments that the athletes are receiving, but rather expenditures that they don’t have to pay for later. Those scholarships also don’t cover the large medical bills that many of these athletes, especially football players, incur after their playing days are over. According to a report done by the Bleacher Report last year, the NCAA does not have to cover athletes for medical expenses they acquired while playing once they are no longer enrolled or under scholarship. That means once players take off their uniforms for good, schools are no longer responsible for injuries that they received while playing for them. Most universities do cover their former athletes up to a certain point, but this is done on a school-to-school basis. The fact that

schools have the option to turn a blind eye to the athletes who sacrificed their bodies to them so they could sell out stadiums once the athletes’ playing days are over is an ethical crime. Yet, the NCAA still does not have an across-the-board insurance policy to cover former student-athletes. What makes this worse is the fact that athletes’ scholarships are renewed on a yearly basis based on their athletic performance. So if players get hurt and are left with serious injuries, then they can say goodbye to their scholarships and say hello to a healthy dose of medical bills. With no money from their days of playing to help with visits to the doctor, players who are injured may be looking poverty straight in the face. Another payoff that some may see as making up for athletes not getting paid in college is the chance of players getting seen by professional scouts and making it to the “big time.” Unfortunately, even the exposure that major college athletics brings doesn’t guarantee a career as a professional. According to a report done by the NCAA in 2012, out of the 67,887 collegiate football players that year, only 255, or 1.7 percent, were drafted to play professionally. According to the official NLRB ruling, a major factor that went into its decision was the fact that the players spent a substantial amount of time, often 40 to 50 hours a week, working for the football team through practices, travel and other responsibilities. Official NCAA rules state that players are only supposed to work 20 hours a week on sports-related activities during a season. Professionals don’t work similar, overtime hours and fail to see an increase in their bank balance, so why should college athletes? The NCAA has cowered for years behind the façade of amateur athletics at the college level, but that mask has been transparent for decades. When schools are building multimillion-dollar athletic facilities on campus and signing head coaches for multi-year contracts that put most university presi-

dents to shame, amateurism goes out the door. The bitter truth is that college athletes aren’t amateurs, and they haven’t been for years. Whether it’s SMU paying its football players under the table in the ’80s or Reggie Bush receiving improper benefits at the University of Southern California for his play and later being forced to return his Heisman trophy, college athletes have been finding loopholes in the system for decades. If the NCAA continues to stubbornly pursue its agenda of keeping money from the athletes who actually create what the NCAA sells, then players will seek other means of compensation. That means athletes will continue to look for improper, often illegal, benefits from boosters and alumni who want to ensure a great performance for their school on the field. The concept of a student-athlete sadly does not exist anymore at most Division I schools. Athletes go there for one thing and one thing only: to play sports. “You fulfill the football requirement, and if you can, you fit in academics,” Colter said as part of his official testimony to the NLRB. To find a true student-athlete, one must look to the lower levels of college athletics, specifically Division III, which comprises 40 percent of the NCAA. At that level, athletes are not rewarded scholarships to play for their schools. They truly play because they want to be there. And while there are undoubtedly some who abuse the system and allow athletes to attend school based on athletic merits alone, the standard of having high expectations in the classroom and on the field holds true for most Division III athletes. While it would be great to pay athletes like UTD basketball player Kyle Schleigh, who has been named to the All-American team twice, Division III athletics simply

JUSTIN THOMPSON | STAFF

doesn’t bring in that kind of money. That excuse doesn’t exist for Division I schools. The money is there, and the NCAA and its member schools are simply holding it back. The members of the Northwestern football team will vote on whether to unionize on April 25. Northwestern University has, of course, come out against the NLRB’s decision. The university said in a statement, “Unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address the concerns raised by the students.” Unfortunately, the ruling brings up more questions than answers. If players do eventually get paid, will they be paid by the school, by sponsors like Nike and Adidas, by television broadcasters or by a combination of all of them? Will sports that don’t produce revenue like softball and golf get a share of the pie? Will star athletes on teams get higher pay than other team members? All of these are issues to be addressed, but at least they’re questions that involve getting athletes paid. Paying people for their work should never be a bad thing. For some reason it still seems that getting paid in college athletics has a negative connotation — at least if you’re an athlete. If you’re a coach or administrator, however, the money is for the taking. Division I players are still bound by the antiquated norms of being studentathletes. That needs to change. They are employees of their schools and should be treated as such. The solutions are as complicated and varied as teams’ playbooks, but the simple fact remains: Schools need to stop holding back and pay their athletes.

Consistency key to ASC success Baseball team looks to end unpredicatable form in final stretch of regular season to prepare for post-season tourney ESTEBAN BUSTILLOS Mercury Staff

As the season starts to wind down, the baseball team is working to be more consistent as it makes a run for the ASC tournament. The Comets have their eyes set on closing out the regular season at games with Louisiana College on April 17 and 18, a game against Texas Wesleyan on April 22 and a three-game home series against Mississippi College on April 25 and 26. “Louisiana is always tough,” said head coach Shane Shewmake. “We’re playing them on the road, and you have to show up ready to play against those guys regardless of their record.” UTD was 1-2 against the Wildcats last season, who rank in the lower half of the ASC this year. The team will then return home to take on Texas Wesleyan in a nonconference matchup and Mississippi College in conference play. Both teams present a threat to UTD, as Wesleyan is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, or NAIA, and can field scholarship athletes, a luxury the Comets do not have. Mississippi, on the other hand, will be the next to last ASC opponent the Comets face this year. “We need to put together a sweep,” said sophomore infielder Jimmy Norris. “That’s what our coach has been saying all year, not just to beat those teams, but to get up higher in the standings and (better our position) in the brackets

MARCELO YATES | STAFF

The Comets (19-10 overall, 15-8 ASC) swept Ozarks in the April 11-12 series. UTD won the first game 4-3 in 10 innings. It then defeated the Eagles 5-1 in the first game of the doubleheader on April 12, and 13-2 in eight innings in the second game.

when they come out.” Norris, who has started every game for the Comets this season, has had a batting average of .356. He has also earned the ASC player of the week honors and was named to the d3baseball. com national team of the week earlier this season. “Wesleyan is always good,” Shewmake said. “We’ll let some guys who haven’t gotten to play a whole lot this year play in that game to get them ready for the postseason. We have to show up ready to play against Mississippi College as well. They’re a quality team.” UTD has been somewhat unpredictable in their play against opponents,

beating conference frontrunners Concordia one day 4-1 and then losing to them the next day 2-12. “We need to hit a hot point and pick everything up,” said junior second baseman Nick Marti. “We want to play as good as we can. That’s been our problem: We’ve played at other people’s ability. We need to play our game the whole time.” Marti has averaged .319 at bat this season. He also was named a Division III player of the week by d3baseball.com earlier this season. As the team looks toward the postseason and the conference tournament, the Comets are focused on simply playing at

the level that they know they can. “If we’re hitting, we’re not pitching well. We need to do both of those at the same time,” Marti said. “We need to put everything together.” The key to being successful after the regular season has ended is simple enough, Shewmake said. “The main thing is just relax,” he said. “We have the talent, which we’ve proven when we’ve beaten some of the best teams in the conference. When we play up to our ability, we’re as good as anybody.” UTD’s regular season will come to a close on May 2 and 3 against conference rival Hardin-Simmons at home.


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by Anand Jayanti by Anand Jayanti Etsy Regretsy

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→ LANGUAGE

—In brief—

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Campaign hits $200 million fundraising goal After more than four years and 22,000 total contributions, UTD has met its goal of raising $200 million for the Realize the Vision campaign. The campaign, which began in 2009, seeks to propel UTD to Tier One status. The $200 million was achieved about eight months ahead of sched-

→ DINING

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pressuring Chartwells — UTD’s official caterer — to allow outside vendors to sell on campus. Students currently can impact menu development by sitting on the food service committee where they can talk

ule. Aaron Conley, vice president for development and alumni relations, announced the milestone at the UT Dallas Alumni Awards Gala on April 3. To reach UTD’s 75,000 alumni, fundraising events were held as far as Taiwan and

India, and students working in the Comet Callers program contacted alumni from their school. Companies who have contributed to the campaign include Ericsson and Pioneer Energy Services.

directly with Chartwells’ management, Chutes said. “The committee does a vital job to get the administration knowing what students want,” Knudtson said. “So, I think, yes you can go about it through the committee, but why not go about it through all avenues?” As the university contin-

ues to expand, Auxiliary Services will try to grow in step with the population to ensure the quality of dining options. The concern of overextension amidst all the change happening on campus is a legitimate one, especially when it concerns feeding the growing student populous, Fishbein said.

-Sheila Dang

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Amharic, Lingala, Urdu and Kinyarwanda. “For all of our asylum cases, we feel that if they were deported from the U.S. or were forced to go back to their countries, they would face certain further persecution or possibly death,” Hagburg said. “So we really feel strongly with those asylum cases.” Holston also said the need for Spanish translators is high because of an increase of children fleeing gang violence in Honduras and El Salvador. The organization is currently looking for a Burmese speaker to translate for a youth worker who's been tortured for advocating democracy in Myanmar, which is currently governed by a military dictatorship. At the HRI headquarters near downtown Dallas, Holston's office is decorated with colorful paintings and small tokens of appreciation from people he's helped throughout the years working with the organization. On a small table near his

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The Center for Students and Recovery, a new program under the Counseling Center, will also be housed in the new space. Space within the existing building will be occupied by growing offices like the International Student Services Office and the Counseling Center. A complaint among students is the lack of common areas for study, Grief said, so the expansion will set aside space spe-

SUNAYNA RAJPUT | STAFF

desk, he has a picture of the two Burmese youth workers he's trying to help, a set of Russian stacking eggs given to him by a man who was beaten for being Jewish and Ethiopian money given to him by another man who spent years in prison for teaching and speaking up for

democracy in his country. The gifts have sentimental value to Holston, who truly enjoys his work. “I love doing this,” he said. “I love the clients, I love the opportunity to use my legal skills in an effort to literally save lives. It's very gratifying work.”

cifically for meetings and study spaces. It will also include a 450-seat lecture hall for guest speakers and orientation presentations, among other things. Modular buildings will be built in the area between Lots H and I that is currently fenced off. They are slated to open fall 2014 and will be occupied by the Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. President Daniel also announced plans for the Gundy Davidson Alumni Center at the UT Dallas Alumni Awards Gala. The facility will replace the tennis courts behind the ATEC Building.

Other ongoing projects include the Bioengineering and Sciences Building, located to the immediate south of NSERL, which should be completed by fall 2016, Kinnard said. Parking garage 3, located across from Residence Hall South, will be finished by fall 2014. The Student Housing Living Learning Center, also known as the Phase IV Residence Hall, will open fall 2014. Kinnard said the amenities within the building, including a gym and food services are specifically designed for all students, not just on-campus residents.

Caught Reading

The Mercury Anita Pamplin, interdisciplinary science senior, was caught reading The Mercury . She will win a $20 gift card to Palio’s Pizza. You can contact Palio’s at 972-234-4002. Thank you Palio’s Pizza!


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