Water polo makes a splash at UTD
Group offers artistic diversity
VOLUME XXXI, NO. 13
THE STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF UTD
SEPTEMBER 19, 2011
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ECS turns 25, looks to future ROBERT MOREAU Mercury Staff
As it celebrates its 25th anniversary year, the Erik Jonnson School of Engineering and Computer Science is undergoing a rapid expansion with the recent opening of three new departments and a vision to become a national research university model. “(We’ve) added material science and engineering three years ago, then mechanical engineering two years ago, then bioengineering,” said Yves-Jean Chabal, material sciences endowed chair. The creation of three new departments, bringing the school’s total to five, follows on the heels of the Emmitt Project, a $300 million collaboration with Texas Instruments that resulted in the construction of the Natural Science and Energy Research Lab. It is also part of an effort to form UTD into a Tier Oneranked research hub of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex by 2020, according to ECS’ 20102020 strategic plan. “It was very compelling (coming here) because we’re one of the only growing universities in the country … it’s an exciting time to be at UTD,” said ECS Dean Mark Spong, who joined the university in 2008. The requirements of what makes a Tier One research university are a mixture of subjective and objective measures. A school’s ranking by major publications such as U.S. News and World Report, where UTD is currently ranked 143rd in national universities, is one factor. “There’s really no hard definition of Tier One…it’s kind of a rallying cry,” Spong said. Other measurable requirements, noted by the Texas Tribune in an August 2010 article, are an endowment of at least $400 million, at least 200 PhDs conferred in each academic year of the preceding biennium and at least $45 million expenditures in restricted research funds in each fiscal year of the preceding biennium. In the 2009-2010 academic year, ECS graduated 63 PhD students, according to its website. It also had $35 million in research expenditures in 2010. As of this year, UTD will also reach $100 million in research funds, another milestone. This number represents the total amount of money in grants, gifts and state funds available for university research spending. To achieve its aims, ECS hopes to attain 175 faculty and 5,000 total students by 2020; as of this year, Spong said, the school has about 3,600 students and 120 professors, an increase in 30 faculty from 2008. “I think the opportunity (for growth) is enormous,” said Mathukumalli Vidyasagar,
PAUL DANG & CHRISTOPHER WANG/STAFF
Graduate student Saurabh Misra is fighting to protect the freedom and civil rights of oppressed Indian tribes.
PAUL DANG Mercury Staff
Families crouched tightly together in front of their homes as the ominous growls of bulldozer engines rumbled in the background. Police officials surrounded them, armed with canes, and soon the sounds of wood cracking against flesh coupled with cries as the people begged them to stop. The crippled and pregnant women were not spared. Even a 118-yearold woman was beaten when she would not leave her home.
“Please, it is enough now. Please,” she pleaded in torment.
hese violent scenes still pervade the thoughts of Saurabh Misra. They were the unwanted stowaways he carried with him from his homeland of India. It’s hard to believe that just over a month ago, Misra was fighting social injustices like these in his native country. His amicable demeanor hides his internal struggle while his youthful smile tells a story of a man much younger than 28. Now Misra can often be found working on his laptop in a booth at the Comet Lounge as students clamor around him on their way to class. This is his new home. Immigrating to the United States and enrolling at UTD as a graduate student, Saurabh wants to empower himself to fight for a cause that he had never even heard of five years ago.
THE DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA Imposed by British colonial rule, The Criminal Tribes Act, first mandated in 1871, branded the nomadic tribes of North India as criminals. By 1924, the legislation had “notified,” or listed the members of nearly 200 tribes throughout India as criminal simply based on their ethnicity. “They notified these people as criminals by birth,”
see FORGOTTEN page 5
see ECS page 5
UTD develops undergrad journal Largest honor society ‘Exley’ slated for spring launch NADA ALASMI Mercury Staff
Undergraduate students currently involved in research or creative projects may be interested to know that UTD is looking to publish their work. Starting spring 2012, UTD will begin publishing The Exley, a research journal dedicated to the work of undergraduate students. Though there are many similar journals in Texas, The Exley promises to become one of the highest quality in the state, said Courtney Brecheen, assistant dean in the Office of Undergraduate Education. “The quality of our undergraduates and high level of student en-
gagement ... will make The Exley a first class undergraduate research journal,” Brecheen said. “It’s a big step for UTD, but it’s also a natural (one) given our excellence in undergraduate education.” The first issue of The Exley will be published in March and will feature student-written summaries of research projects, analyses of history or literature and essays on study abroad trips or internships. It will also display student photographs, art pieces, videos and music scores. The journal will be free to read in both a print and online version and will be published once a year. The decision to create The Exley
see EXLEY page 5
WHY “THE EXLEY”? The name, The Exley, comes from Elizabeth Exley Hodge, a UTD employee who plans to fund the first issue of the journal. Hodge managed grants for Natural Science and Mathematics and the Office of Sponsored Projects before her retirement in 1986. Students interested in publishing their work should contact Courtney Brecheen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Michael Gunnin at mgunnin@ utdallas.edu.
establishes UTD chapter JOSEPH MANCUSO Mercury Staff
UTD continues down the Tier One road this month with the Phi Kappa Phi, or PKP, honor society opening its doors to students. During the week of Sept. 26, the society will begin inviting new members into its ranks. The UTD installment marks PKP’s 316th chapter, having signed its charter last semester in April. “Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, largest, most selective, all disciplinary honor society,” Dr. Denise Boots, president of the UTD PKP chapter, said. “We are establishing a community of scholars on campus, and this semester
we will do our first invitations for students into this society.” This particular honor society fulfills a requirement for the university to achieve Tier One status. Unlike most other student organizations, PKP is invitation only. Students are advised to be in class as much as possible on the week of Sept. 26, as invitations will only happen once, Boots said. During PKP events, participating professors and administrators will be dressed in full academic regalia, in an attempt to bring a new level of academic tradition to the campus. “We will be inviting 700 stu-
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THE MERCURY n SEPT. 19, 2011
UTD Police scanner
LAUREN FEATHERSTONE Mercury Staff
Student senators on Sept. 6 approved the creation of a committee tasked with updating the Student Government constitution. Brittany Sharkey-Andrews, SG president and Art & Performance senior, said parts of the constitution have been incompatible with senate procedure for many years. During the meeting, there was a necessary constitutional suspension in order to confirm the appointments of this year’s freshmen representatives. The creation of what is officially being called the Governing Documents Task Force will allow a small group of six or seven senators to look over the constitution and discuss changes. Senate will then hear the suggestions offered by the task force. Calvin Jamison, vice president for Business Affairs, presented upcoming facilities and programs that he said he hopes will help UTD become a destination campus. Plans include four additional soccer fields, a third residence hall and an Arts & Technology Complex, Jamison said. New transportation opportunities include extended Comet Cruiser hours, changing the third bus time from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. to 8 a.m.-11 p.m. and the Zipcar service, a car-sharing program which offers two vehicles in parking Lot I,
the Clark Center lot, for rental by the hour. Working alongside Business Affairs, SG formed a bus survey team. The team performed surveys on the buses to discover the number of students using public transportation and the popular spots to get picked up from and taken to. The complete results are not in yet, but Sharkey mentioned an overwhelming student interest in a weekend bus to Addison that could be part of future routes. Kacey Luker, wellness coordinator, spoke on behalf of the Body Doubles program. Body Doubles is a semester-long fitness program that encourages students to improve their health through prize incentives, group classes and oneon-one nutritional support. Students will receive a $10 discount when they register for an exercise program, either Boot Camp or Group X, in the Wellness Center this week. SG appointed seven freshmen to senate: Isaac Butterfield, Candice Cogburn, Alyssa Foster, Annie Liu, Monserrat Paez, Kaleena Thai and Tarek Zawi. Also new to Senate are senators Prisha Gaddam, Lye-Ching Wong and Nate Fairbank. SG allocated up to $50 for the purchase of snacks and drinks provided at the SOM Town Hall. The next senate meeting is Sept. 20 in one of the Galaxy Rooms.
Sept. 1 • A student reported the theft of a cell phone • A student reported the theft of prescription medicine Sept. 4 • A student reported the theft of a wallet and phone from the Dining Hall Sept. 6 • A student reported the
theft of keys from the basketball courts • A student reported the theft of an iPhone from the basketball courts Sept. 7 • A student reported the theft of mail containing a textbook Sept. 9 • A student was issued a ci-
tation after fighting with two other students • A student reported the theft of a wallet • Two individuals criminally trespassed onto campus Sept. 10 • An individual trespassed onto campus Sept. 11 • A student was issued a
city citation for Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor in Phase III • Police responded to a car accident in Lot J Sept. 12 • A non-affiliated male was issued a Criminal Trespass warning • The theft of a laptop was reported
The criteria for being a member of the society are very strict, and as such, membership is available to only certain students on campus. To be inducted, students must maintain a high GPA and be academically vigilant. “For juniors, it is the top 7.5 percent of students across each school, then the top 10 percent of all seniors across each school,” Boots said. “Graduates are nominated based on minimum criteria of a 3.8 GPA and a certain number of hours that they need to have at UTD.” Aside from being an academic honor, PKP also offers several benefits that contribute to being a member. There are discounts available from retailers and big businesses, from Apple and Dell, to T-
Mobile and Barnes and Noble. Being a member also has medical and life insurance benefits, as well as various scholarship opportunities. “There are approximately $800,000 worth of scholarships that are available to members every year,” Boots said. “They are given for fellowships, travel grants, continuing education, and academic and scholastic scholarships.” Two induction ceremonies will be held for new members. Undergraduate and graduate students will attend their ceremony on Nov. 21 and 22, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Galaxy Rooms. “Students have to aspire to academic excellence. It’s what Phi Kappa Phi epitomizes. We celebrate it, recognize it,” Boots said. “Astronauts, politicians, government officials,
business men and women, some of the biggest scholars of our time are members of this organization.” After students accept the invitation into the honor society, they must pay the respective dues. At the local level, dues are $25 annually, or $125 for lifetime membership. At the national level however, dues are $45 for the first year and $30 for each of the following. Boots said she aims to use PKP to enhance the university’s academic experience during her term as inaugural president of the UTD chapter of PKP. “It is part of the level that we are looking forward to getting to as a Tier One status research university,” Boots said. “Phi Kappa Phi was a natural fit for our curriculum.”
continued from page 1 dents into the organization this semester,” Boots said. “All junior initiates will be invited in person, during class, by one or two Phi Kappa Phi members, in full regalia with the invitation in hand, and will publicly be recognized for their academic excellence.” Senior and graduate students invited into the honor society will be notified by email beforehand. The organization is also sending out postcards to notify all invitees. “Regardless of how a student gets the invitation, we are celebrating their achievement and hope that they will accept the invitation to join us,” Boots said.
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After 10 years, how do you feel about 9/11? “Now that you’ve seen it happen, you start imagining that it might happen again.”
Why sexism isn’t sexist in the battle of the sexes PAUL DANG Mercury Staff
I pee standing up. And as a card-carrying member of that prestigious club, society has certain expectations of me. I like my cars fast, my sports loud and my women plenty. I always drink dark beer and never smoke light cigarettes. I do this before and after I move heavy metal while listening to heavy metal at my local gym. And if I ever get fat, it’s okay, because my wallet will always be fatter. Otherwise, I’m gay. I just read the script for virtually all commercials directed towards men. Gender roles have dictated the way our society functions to a degree so integral to our daily lives. Many groups have been created in retaliation to these prescribed roles. Generally speaking, feminists are women who want to act in a more traditionally male role and masculinists are men who want to behave in a more traditionally female role. Both groups are missing the point. The way I see it, Feminism and the Men’s Movement are opposite halves of the same coin: Humanitarianism. What irks me with a lot of radical feminists, keyword radical, is that they want their cake and eat it too. In their eyes equality is defined as superiority, and misandry is a great alternative to misogyny. Don’t get me wrong: I haven’t attended a He-Man-Woman-Haters Club meeting since “The Little Rascals” were released on VHS and cooties was an epidemic on the playgrounds. I’m a supporter of women having equal rights as men in the workplace. I think women should have complete freedom of their bodies. And while I might not buy into the hype that women are the end-all solution to poverty, I firmly believe that they are a crucial factor in the fight against mankind’s biggest problem. However, I can’t help but loathe radical feminists that perpetrate the notion that they are the only victims
of sexism — something men are solely The problem we have today is that responsible for. It’s simply not true be- our technological advancements have cause sexism is a two-way street. come so fast, our sociological progress I’d actually even go as far as saying has yet to catch up. men have it worse than women when It’s as though we have a state-of-the it comes to sexism. -art computer running Windows 98. Now before swarms of enraged People are still trapped in the gender women attempt to mindsets of past generations. They change the tune I’m don’t understand that gender roles singing to Castrato, let are a fluid concept and not a stagnant me support my argu- edict. ment of how women That being said, I feel that a lot of will never have it as bad men nowadays don’t understand what as men. it means to be a man anymore. Two words: The draft. They’ve traded the core of masculinSince the beginning ity for the role and appearance of being of civilization, and even masculine. to this day, males have Boasting has taken the place of hard been exclusively used as pawns of work. Steroids produce giant freaks warfare. No sexist injustice of women that are physically and mentally weakeven comes close to the perennial and er than athletes half their size. Comglobal nature of war, in which men petition has overshadowed personal have been the predominant casualty. progress. Imagine the outrage of feminists if In that context, I have more respect the U.S. government conscripted only for gay men than a lot of straight men women 18-40 years old for its wars. nowadays. They actually have the It’s understandable why men were balls to be themselves irrespective of selected for battle though. public opinion while many straight Originally, gender roles were created men walk on eggshells over the everas a system of making present fear of being society run smoothly. labeled gay. I’d actually On a biological Maybe it’s just me, level, men are better but standing up for even go as far at certain tasks while what you believe in as saying men women excel at other and being comforttasks. So the societies able with yourself have it worse of yore assigned speseems to be more inthan women cific roles to the most dicative of manliness when it comes fitting candidates and than which sexual you would have the partner you prefer — to sexism. more labor-intensive which brings me to tasks given to men my last point. while the more domestic positions Why did we ever turn human virwere given to women. You cover this tues into gender-based traits in the first base, I’ll cover that base. We both win. place? It’s important to note, though, Why should a man be strong, indethat the earlier societies’ gender roles pendent and brave when women with weren’t any more right or wrong than the same qualities are the most attractheir updated versions. They were just tive I’ve ever met? the best ones people had at the time. Why should a woman be kind, nurTechnology would alter society turing and open when those were the however, and the biological playing fathers that their children yearned for? field would be evened out. With auAs the future leads our world into tomation, physical differences had less androgyny, much like it will blend our impact in many fields. Women can races, maybe society will stop searchnow perform most duties just as well, ing for arbitrary ideals in men and if not better than men, barring the women and start finding better indimore primitive tasks. viduals overall.
Rayas Mendoza CS freshman “It’s been much more difficult to come to the U.S. They make you jump through hoops, especially in airport security. There are different lines and I find that offensive.”
Maryori Yenero SCM grad student “It’s sad that the unification of our country relies on a tragic effect, not on personal intuition.”
Jiyou Xu Accounting grad student “I feel like I have to defend my religion more, but at the same time I feel like more people understand it.”
Saan Zaman BA junior “It really brought out racism in other people and it kind of hurts to see Middle Eastern people get mistreated because of ignorance”
Daniel Mitchell ATEC freshman “It makes me realize that the world is not as safe as it was in the third grade and it taught me how to reach out to people in times of need.”
Bethany Wright Speech pathology freshman
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THE MERCURY n SEPT. 19, 2011
Two worlds collide in cyberspace
Firewalls limit networking options, block sites for students in mainland China ANWESHA BHATTACHARJEE Features Editor
Networking and status updates have crept into our daily lives to the extent where we take their existence for granted. For some students, however, staying connected with friends and family could very well be as difficult as breaking down virtual walls in the cyber world. A large population of international students, particularly Chinese, are forced to go incommunicado on social media websites when they return to their home countries, where these websites are indefinitely blocked by national governments. Sites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been blocked in China since the summer of 2009. Earlier this year, China, which constitutes the biggest internet market in the world, also blocked access to the professional networking website LinkedIn, according to a CNN news report released Feb. 25. “When I was studying in China, even Wikipedia was blocked, although it isn’t anymore,” said Zhen Sun, a management information systems doctoral student in the School of Management. “These, and some news websites, may contain terms or words sensitive to the government, which are blocked.” China has a policy of blocking any website that can potentially harm the reputation of the
government, said Wei Chen, operations management doctoral student in the SOM. Although Facebook may not do so directly, groups and pages could be directed against the Chinese government, he said. In her sophomore year back home, however, Facebook was not blocked and Sun created a Facebook account for herself. Many websites may also be blocked by zealous officials working for the government to prove their worth to their superiors, Chen said. “If you are a government official who controls which website to block, how do you show your superior you’ve done your work?” he said. “So you show him how you’ve increased the database of websites that are blocked.” This year, many Chinese students had trouble viewing websites that provide important information for their move to the United States. “It’s interesting how I couldn’t open Ashwood Apartments’ website to apply for a lease,” said Lusi Li, also a management information systems doctoral student in the SOM. Although this is her first semester in the United States, Li had a Facebook account back in China. “We can unblock these websites if we want, through proxy websites and software,” she said.
“When I applied to the U.S. I had to access information on websites and Facebook that were blocked so I used these proxy sites to bypass the firewalls.” Social media websites that are commonplace here may not be accessible to the people living in mainland China, but equivalent networking websites in Chinese are available.
While the Chinese get their social media fix through a “microblog” website, www.weibo. com, their most popular social networking website is Renren Network. A few minor differences apart, Renren and Facebook are very similar, right down to their color theme and layouts, Sun said. “In Facebook, you post a message on your friend’s wall, all your friends can see it, but this won’t happen in the Chinese version,” Sun said. “Maybe it’s
a culture thing, but in the Chinese version, people always like to post all kinds of photos they have of their day-to-day lives, and I don’t see a lot of people posting news links on Renren like they do here on Facebook.” In fact, Chen said he personally prefers
Renren to Facebook. “Renren has some really good flash games that I liked to play,” he said. “I can access Renren here, but the network speed here is slower so I don’t have as much fun playing here as I did back home.” While Chinese students here can still stay in touch with their friends back home, nonChinese students traveling to China on educational trips and exchange programs from other countries face cyber isolation for the entire duration of their trip. “Naturally, I did some research before going into China
and realized that without using the Chinese equivalent of Facebook, I wouldn’t be able to really connect (with friends) in the same way as I do here,” said public affairs junior Eric Obodo. Obodo was awarded the Confucius Scholarship to study the language, history and culture of China and attended school at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade in fall 2010. Even before leaving for his trip, Obodo looked up proxy websites to bypass the Facebook block, he said. “A lot of college communication is mediated by Facebook and social networks,” Obodo said. “I knew that eventually I would have to bypass (firewalls) in order to share information and keep up with my family without having to spend money on calling them.” The difficulty in staying connected to the rest of the world is not just due to a block on social networking websites, but also because access to many educational websites and YouTube tutorials and videos is restricted, Chen said. “The Chinese government can filter anything they want from any website — sometimes it’s annoying — I do mind,” he said. “Another related problem is that if you search on (prominent people) like the Chinese premier multiple times on Google in a short period of
time, they can block access to your computer for some time.” Conversely, people in the west have false impressions about the situation in China, Obodo said. “Westerners, and I can give an example of myself, enter China with a particular bias and the popular misconception of China that it’s very secluded, controlling and Communist,” he said. “There’s actually a lot more freedom than China gets credit for, and you can actually experience it once you get there.” Most of the time, academic websites are not blocked, Chen said. Communicating with professors or collaborating on research papers is not hard for students, even when they are back in China, since email is accessible. Although Gmail runs slower in China than in America, UTD’s Zmail works fine, and email communication is not a problem in the Chinese mainland, Sun said. At the same time, email is not a sufficient substitute for social networks when it comes to communicating with other friends, both American and from other countries, she said. “When I’m in China and cannot access Facebook or any life here, I feel as if I didn’t really come to the U.S. — I just dreamt of the U.S.,” Sun said. “It’s so strange, when I’m in China and my friend is visiting family in India, I have simply no access to her. I may communicate through email, but I don’t have access to the life here anymore.”
THE MERCURY n SEPT. 19, 2011
continued from page 1 Saurabh said. In an attempt to structure colonial rule, the British found it impossible to assimilate the nomadic tribes of India, which did not follow the caste system like most of India. “These people used to be on the go continuously, and by their nature they were brave and courageous,” Saurabh said. “They were not people that could be kept under control. The British wanted to keep them under control and that was one of their reasons.” After gaining independence from the British Empire, the Indian government “denotified” and removed the tribes from criminal contention in 1952, replacing the former law with the Habitual Offenders Act. However, the
continued from page 1 occurred after Sheila Pineres, dean of Undergraduate Education, visited Texas A&M’s undergraduate research journal and decided UTD should also have one of its own. Students who are interested in publishing their work
continued from page 1 bioengineering endowed chair. Vidyasagar, as head of a five-professor department, said he would like to hire about three or four additional faculty soon. As of this year, the bioengineering depart-
denotifed tribes, or DNTs, consisting of 80 to 110 million people in total now, are still listed as habitual criminals based on the same arbitrary logic of the old British legislation. Their stigma as criminals have made them social outcasts and prevented them from getting professional jobs, Saurabh explained. Consequently, many of these ostracized communities face extreme poverty. “The DNT’s are the poorest of the poor in India,” Saurabh said. “It is so dire that people don’t know how dire it is.” With little to no media coverage on the issue, Saurabh learned about the issue on his own with only the guidance from his professor, Ganesh Devi, who has dedicated his research to these tribes. “He is my idol,” Saurabh said in regards to his professor. “I was very inspired by
him.” As he became more informed about the plight of the tribes, Saurabh and a group of likeminded college students formed an activist group called Sambhav in 2006. Together they would visit certain DNT communities and provide education to the children — the majority of whom had never even set foot in a school. “I wanted to create an organization that could use the energy and talents of youth to bring some positive social change,” Saurabh said. While volunteering for these underprivileged communities, Saurabh witnessed firsthand the horrors and injustices the people of these tribes faced. Such was the case of Maninagar.
A typical settlement of a tribal community in Maninagar, India, who have a hard time staying in one place as the police persistently demolishes their houses every six months.
land as their residency. However, corporate interests eventually saw potential profits in the land and made a deal with the local government to relocate the habitants of Maninagar to a new location. The
contract was signed and bulldozers were sent to demolish the houses that had been constructed. The people living in Mani-
Located outside of Ahmed-
abad City, Maninagar was home to a denotified tribe that settled there after generations of nomadic traveling. After living in the area for almost a century, the Indian government recognized the
in The Exley must submit a 500-word proposal to the Office of Undergraduate Education by September 30, said Michael Gunnin, prelaw instructor and managing editor of The Exley. After proposals are screened for quality, selected students will be invited to submit their final projects by November 4.
While Brecheen said she hopes around 30 students will submit a proposal, the journal will feature the work of about 10. One student hoping to publish his work is Zack Weger, a computer science freshman who conducted research in the summer as a part of his Clark Fellowship. Along with associate pro-
fessor of computer science Latifur Khan, Weger studied various coding techniques used to monitor employee work habits. While Khan and Weger’s research will be published in a professional conference, Weger also hopes to publish a summary of research in The Exley. “It is great to have this
on my resume,” Weger said. “Though I don’t know exactly what I will be doing in the future, I will be able to use (my publication in The Exley) to my advantage.” A second student who is applying to get published is Samir Patel, a biochemistry freshman who was also involved in the Clark Fellowship.
Along with Dennis Miller, associate professor of biology, Patel conducted research on a fast and cheap DNA cloning method known as “Double Strand Overlap Cloning.” Patel hopes to work in the business field after his biochemistry degree and said publishing in The Exley will help set him apart from his peers.
ment is admitting undergraduate students for a baccalaureate degree program, with 67 students currently enrolled. However, growing a school is not without its obstacles. Though it has support from the state and industry, ECS suffered a 5 percent base budget cut this year, Spong said. Another challenge for faculty
is increased workload due to increasing numbers of new students and courses. “The number of students coming in … does put a lot of stress on the faculty,” Chabal said. Alongside growing its faculty and student base, ECS professors said they hope to maintain and increase research and internship part-
nerships with businesses, which include telecommunications firms such as Ericsson and AT&T. “A large percentage of the students tend to go into grad school. We want to give them a taste of research from the beginning,” Vidyasagar said. “We’re trying to figure out ways to make that happen.” Though moving with an
eye to tomorrow, ECS has plans to celebrate its 25 years in existence. Activities include a special distinguished lecture series, taking place monthly during the 20112012 academic year, as well as an engineering open house coming next spring. Despite any new difficulties brought about by ECS’s expansion plans, the school’s
faculty seem to believe they can meet the ambitious goal to become a model for both Texas and the nation by 2020, and that they are already well on their way to doing so. “As long as we keep getting good students and faculty, we’ll be able to maintain this growth. It’s all about the students,” Spong said.
see FORGOTTEN page 6
continued from page 5 nagar, however, were never told about the deal. “On paper the land was transferred to them,” Saurabh said, explaining the contract. “They never came to know that. The thumb impressions and the signatures that were on the papers were not of these people. They were forged.” The lifelong inhabitants of Maninagar refused to leave their land even after their houses were destroyed. They had nowhere else to go. With the tribe’s longstanding stigma as criminals, most other Indian communities would not accept them into their midst. Many people, like the 118 yearold woman in the tribe, weren’t capable of relocating anymore. Instead, they endured sixmonth cycles of having their houses flattened by corporate bulldozers, only to rebuild makeshift houses, and have the process repeated again. Police officials finally resorted to physical force to remove the people and began to indiscriminately beat anyone who resisted with wooden canes. In addition to the physical violence, the police would also take the people’s belongings from their homes and never return them — in attempt to prevent resettlement. Lacking shelter and necessities, children and the elderly passed away due to the exposure to the elements. Saurabh and the members of Sambhav had multiple confrontations with corporate and law enforcement officials when they attempted to stop the demolitions and the senseless abuse of innocent. Saurabh and his peers conducted a one day fast and sent a petition letter to their government. But despite their resolve in the
THE MERCURY n SEPT. 19, 2011
face of revving bulldozers and the countless more petition letters sent to government officials, the demolition crews continued to come, bringing with them more even manpower to remove the inhabitants. A bitter experience that haunts Misra to this day, he recounts the tale in a lowered voice as he gazes into the distance. His work in the next community would not be as bleak, but it would present unique problems of its own for Saurabh.
CHHARANAGAR Much like Maninagar, Chharanagar was also inhabited by nomadic people on the outskirts of Ahmedabad City. Formerly a barbed-wire ghetto where the British government had forced nomads in to, the area eventually became home to the Chhara people. Unlike in Maninagar, Chharanagar was a fairly prosperous community thanks to the abundance of jaggery, a concentrated form of unrefined sugar often used to brew liquor. Liquor brewing existed as an art form passed down through generations of Chharas, and it was perfected over the years until the Chharas became masters of their craft. While liquor production is legal in most of India, a prohibition of alcohol was sanctioned for the state of Gujarat, which Ahmedabad resides in. The ban on alcohol in the region opened up a black market for liquor — something corrupt police officials have exploited, Saurabh said, by forcing the Chharas to brew illegal alcohol in their homes under threat of prosecution. Branded as thieves and crooks, Chharas found employment to be a difficult task despite their success in academics. Their reputation had also made them scapegoats for the crimes that
Volunteers working with Sambhav, teach children of the tribal community in Maninagar, in a small concrete enclosure.
happened in the area, evident by their high incarceration rate. Alcohol production offered a higher standard of living and a ticket out of jail for many Chharas. However, Saurabh explained how it would also be a trap for them since police officials used this against them to keep them under their thumbs. Most homes in Chharanagar can be found today equipped with a liquor-brewing apparatus inside. After joing Denotified Tribe Right Action Group, or DNTRAG, Saurabh was introduced to Dakxin Bajrange, a Chhara who turned to activism after witnessing generations of oppression in his community. This time, his war for civil rights would take place in an entirely different theater.
BUDHAN THEATER Inspired by the wisdom of professor Ganesh Devi, the Budhan Theater Group was formed as a means of empowerment for
the underprivileged people of denotified communities. Their mission was to use theater as a medium for raising awareness. The group sought to employ performers from denotified tribes in their plays while promoting theater as a form of education for the children of these communities. After many lifetimes of nomadism, the ancestors of the DNTs had developed an aptitude for the arts from constantly performing on the road for their livelihood. This talent was passed down throughout generations within the tribes. “Art is in their blood,” Saurabh said. For Dakxin, the fight for civil rights happens through the lens of a camera. Working with Budhan Theater, Dakxin is an independent film director. Since 2005 he has dedicated his focus on producing documentaries that highlight the struggles of the denotified communities. Coming from a denotified tribe himself, he
wishes to erase the stigmas that the tribes have in India. “Film and theater can sensitize people,” Dakxin said. “Both art forms are close forms to the human being. They can transform the actors and the spectators.” His first documentary featured a Budhan Theater play that reenacted the depictions of Maninagar’s plight. As the fan base for the Budhan Theater Group continues to grow, the denotified tribes of India take a step closer towards the dignity and representation they deserve.
A PROMISING FUTURE The works of activist groups like Sambhav and DNTRAG have brought attention to the issue of the denotified tribes not only in Indian, but globally as well. In 2007, the United Nations requested India to repeal the Habitual Offenders Act. Deliberation, however, ultimately rests
in the hands of the Indian government, which has yet to repeal this law. Recently, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that further investigation was needed for the corporate undertakings in Maninagar, something both Saurabh and Dakxin consider as a victory for their cause. Dakxin was asked to give a lecture at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. discussing activism through theater in early September of this year. He said the Budhan Theater Group has become a part of the syllabi for theater classes at Georgetown. On Sept. 20, Dakxin and his brother Uttar visited the UTD campus to take part in a play the Indian Student Association hosted for their Fall Bash. He hopes to inform the students about the issues occurring overseas. Saurabh continues to study in the Economic, Political and Policy Sciences program. He plans to return to India to help the DNTs after he gets his Masters degree there.
SEPT. 19, 2011 n THE MERCURY n WWW.UTDMERCURY.COM
Multilingual pop singer stands out among peers Graduate student expresses herself through global music FLORENCE ATKINSON Mercury Staff
While preparing for a career in the business of saving lives, Sylvia Aziz is using her vocal talent to uplift peoples’ souls. The 23-year-old healthcare management grad student has gained a following through singing at local venues and maintaining a popular YouTube channel. Perhaps the most unique aspect of her talent is the fact that she sings fluently in English, Arabic and Italian thanks to her diverse cultural background from Egypt and Italy. She also admires the Turkish language greatly and loves the meaning behind the culture’s music. “I have a lot of Turkish friends, and over the years I’ve really begun to love Turkish music,” Aziz said. “Turkish is really close to Arabic (music), because it is really
similar and they really stress (on) the music, not just the words of the song.” Aziz has been singing ever since she can remember. In kindergarten, she wrote her best friend a farewell song in the hope of expressing how much she would truly miss her. “Sometimes it is hard for me to express myself,” Aziz said. “Even on my Facebook status, most people just put the way they feel; with me, it is always a quote from a song. That’s what people relate to.” Some of her more well-known works include YouTube videos of her covering famous songs such as “Someone Like You” and “Airplanes.” Though she has not performed in her dream place of Rome, she has sung at numerous venues including weddings, graduations and church events. She also
Sylvia Aziz, a healthcare management graduate student, expresses herself through her music. She sings popular English songs but is equally fluent in Italian, Arabic and Turkish.
played in a Showcase in 2009 at the House of Blues. “My 21st birthday was the day after, so it was right on time,” Aziz said. “Everyone I wanted was there. My friends, my family; it’s just an amazing feeling to know
that everyone important to you is out there, rooting you on.” Aziz is inspired through different people in her life, but mainly from those who shower her with compliments via Internet after watching and subscribing to her
online channel. She feels motivated by inspiring other people and the strong support system she has, backing her in whatever she does.
see AZIZ page 8
Students’ interactive art show enthralls guests
ZOE WILSON Mercury Staff
Seeking to promote awareness of the art produced at UTD, several graduate students formed the “14+1 Collective”, a group of 12 artists and two art historians. The works these artists have generated were displayed during a oneday art exhibit called “Hello!” on Sept. 10. “It is our first show and the name ‘Hello!’ came up and it seemed to make sense to everybody because it kind of represented our introduc-
tion to the world,” said Willie Baronet, former master of fine arts, or MFA, student. The show created an eclectic atmosphere — a truly dynamic setting in which the canvases could actually be touched and glitter-clad dancers jumped up and passed out notes and conversed with the viewers. “My experience at art galleries has been that you basically just walk around,” said Hilary Holsonback, MFA student. “Here it is much more interactive — a lot like (an event) from the Sixties.”
Amid all of the commotion, the viewers still found time to look at original pieces of artwork and appreciate them both as individual works and as part of a cohesive collection. “‘Hello!’ proved to be an interesting show consisting of a broad range of perspectives coming together and forming an interconnected exhibit,” said Erin Naker, a guest at the show. These 14 artists demonstrated their diverse interests and skills, including photography, painting and performance art. Danielle Georgiou, an actress,
dancer, performance artist and Arts & Humanities doctoral student, spent countless hours choreographing a 16-minute piece called “bien dans sa peau,” or “comfortable in my own skin,” for a dozen dancers. “The challenge of working in a live setting is different from stage where the audience is in a seat and you know what to expect,” Georgiou said. “Here the dancers just spontaneously appear. The dancers know the movement but don’t know how it will play out in an interactive setting.”
This impromptu air proved to be one of the most unique aspects of the show. Emily Loving, MFA student, mirrored this improvisational feel in her work, which sought to record fleeting memories and curiosities through a series of photographic frames. “Multiple images tell a story and I like to allow my images to speak for themselves,” Loving said. “I don’t want to hinder other people’s natural reactions.”
see HELLO page 8
Artist group exhibits Transforming minds individuality, culture Dean ushers JOSEPH MANCUSO Mercury Staff
The building at 221 East Louisiana Street is not very striking by itself. Its bricks are dull beige and the inside is lined with rows of linens and fabrics arranged in a manner that makes the place feel aged. It seems like any other Ma and Pa store; but just up the stairs is a vivid, thought provoking collection of contemporary art. The Solvent Collective, a 10-person group consisting mostly of UTD student artists, both former and current, recently put their work on display at the Second Floor Gallery during the McKinney Second Saturday art walk. Founded in 2009, the Solvent Collective represents the next generation of artistic expression; free from the constraints of classical art, the messages they portray and questions they pose are unlike so many others. “When I look at art, I stand there and ponder it for a while to take in its meaning,” said Janan
Siam, UTD graduate and member of Solvent. “But then there are tourists who just walk by and glance at it. In that one moment, even in that glance, they get a spark out of it. A subliminal, subconscious message comes across.” Although the group varies widely in their styles, they have similar aspirations and ideas of what they want to say to the world. Solvent tends to put a focus on being a community, using each other’s strengths to reach a larger audience and make a more significant impact. “I feel that in today’s society (art) is all about individualism and less about the community,” Siam said. “In the past, without technology, the only way you could survive was to be in a community, and I feel that art is the same way.” Since its founding, the collective has had its art exhibited in four house parties and once before in the Second Floor Gallery, but the
see SOLVENT page 8
A guest admires a painting at The Solvent Collective’s art exhibit on Sept. 10. It was the group’s second exhibit this year.
in innovation BOBBY KARALLA Managing Editor
Dennis Kratz is responsible for inventive programs such as ATEC, EMAC and the Confucius Institute. Using the mind of a teacher and the leadership of a dean, Kratz has transformed the humanities at UTD during his 14 years as dean of the School of Arts & Humanities. His leap to dean never killed the educator inside of him; his passion for teaching still motivates him today. Kratz’s journey began in Baltimore, MD, where he earned admission into Dartmouth College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in classic literature — focusing on Latin and Greek — and moved on to Harvard where he would pursue a master’s and, later, a doctorate degree. While at Harvard, Kratz took a job teaching Latin and Greek at the Roxbury Latin School, an all-boys prep school for exceptionally gifted students — with a present-day average SAT score of 2230. This was Kratz’s first teaching job, and he said he was immediately hooked. He knew he had to teach. He taught at Roxbury while working on his Ph.D. in medieval studies. Upon completion of his doctorate degree in 1970, Kratz got a postdoctoral fellowship and spent a year involved in linguistics and other educational issues but had no success finding a teaching job. Kratz’s search finally came to an end two years after he earned his Ph.D. when Ohio State offered a job. Kratz said the school differed too much from the Roxbury School
A&H Dean Dennis Kratz talks about his journey as an academic from being a teacher to a creative educator. Kratz has been responsible for founding the ATEC, EMAC and Confucius Institute programs.
and was too discipline-bound to meet his desires. “I went from a school with 220 to a university with 50,000 — very organized, a very hierarchal place,” he said. “… I wouldn’t say I was unhappy there, but it was very constraining.” He yearned for the chance to provide students with an interdisciplinary education, but Ohio State’s rigid structure made doing so difficult. He took it upon himself to develop an alternate method. One of these methods was a modular-based approach to learning foreign languages that wouldn’t let students out of a
certain level unless they received an A or B. “The variable was time,” Kratz said. “Some kids took forever, but some kids could make eight or nine hours credit in a semester if they were really good at it.” Kratz’s innovative ideas were radically different than those of the university’s, so he knew his time to move on was nearing. In 1978, a friend told Kratz about a new job opening in Dallas that would allow him the opportunity he had been chasing. Immediately interested, Kratz took
see KRATZ page 8
continued from page 7
(From Left) Crystal Parker, Jana Duplechin and Gabriel King perform as part of “Hello!”, an exhibit by graduate students to promote awareness of UTD’s art, on Sept. 10.
continued from page 7 human psyche responds to images. “I’m really interested in identity and how it is affected by advertising,” Holsonback said. “That is why all of my pictures are self-portraits. I dress up and throw on a masquerade of how a certain advertisement has affected me.” Holsonback’s message was
continued from page 7 group is looking to expand its reach. The McKinney area is historic for its art, and while contemporary art tends to thrive in a city environment, the juxtaposition of old and new makes for an interesting perspective and can appeal to unlikely audiences, Solvent’s artists say. “We do many different types of art, from video
just one in a myriad of viewpoints articulated through “Hello!”, to which the artists contributed even though they seemed certain of a meager turnout. “The amount of people was pretty shocking, I expected the venue to be so empty a tumble weed might go by,” Holsonback said. Participating artists said Sept. 10 was a success for the “14 + 1 Collective” but it is just the first step on a long mission to improve the
standing of the arts at UTD. These students plan activities such as street performances and other innovative shows in a continuing effort to reach their goal. “There is so much talent at the school and its just not being seen enough at UTD,” Holsonback said. “One of the reasons that I wanted to form this collective was because I feel like we don’t get enough publicity or encouragement from the school. I want to raise the standards.”
installations, to paintings, to photography,” said Kia Wright, marketing senior and member of Solvent. “It’s pretty diverse, but we all have a theme of social consciousness and cultural awareness throughout our work.” The art that they exhibit has a wide range of emotions, from the perverse and twisted, to the luscious and colorful, and everywhere in between. The art was listed for
sale, but Solven’ts artist’s say the main purpose of their shows is to put their name and their work out into the world. “If all of society could see my art, I would say that it might force more introspection,” Siam said. “It asks a question of a viewer, to take a step back from everything that you’re doing and think about the things that you have done, your purpose for doing them and what impact they have on society.”
the interview and then the job at UTD, moving south with wife Abby — now UTD’s associate provost — and young son. He instantly knew he made the right choice. “This place is just a hoot,” he said. “It was so different back then. It had its own joys.” At the time of his arrival, UTD was home to mostly returning students and graduate students — the student body was largely different than what Kratz was used to. With an enrollment hovering around 5,000, Kratz was allowed the freedom to experiment with new programs and learning methods. “What really attracted me down here was its newness and its devotion to seeking connections across fields and disciplines,” he said. “That’s always been the best thing about UTD.” During his first few years in Richardson, Kratz juggled writing two or three books on translation and a fellowship in Germany, where he translated Latin epic poems into English. A huge turning point in Kratz’s career came in 1990, when UTD first accepted freshmen. As a member of the com-
continued from page 7 “I have around 300 different people subscribing to my videos and taking time out of their day just to watch and hear me sing,” Aziz said. “When you get a message from someone saying ‘you re-
THE MERCURY n SEPT. 19, 2011 mittee that created the first curriculum, Kratz admits the first groups of freshmen didn’t go well at all. However, his days at Roxbury gave him an advantage over other professors who were mainly used to working with older students. Kratz developed a good reputation among undergraduates, and administration offered him a position as the associate dean of undergraduate studies, and soon after, he took over as dean. Under Kratz’s leadership, enrollment grew at huge rates, which demanded internal adjustments to meet the needs of a larger, younger student body. After taking a trip around campus pretending to be 19 years old to experience how a young student would view the campus, Kratz and his associate dean discovered the need for widespread change. He said UTD looked old and boring, and some alterations were in order. During that time, Kratz created several student programs including Collegium V and had a hand in others including the chess program. In 1997, Kratz was hired as the dean of the School of Arts & Humanities. Though he constantly grappled with balancing a dean’s responsibilities with a teacher’s attitude, Kratz said the dean platform gave him a chance to impact more
students in a positive way. “Teaching is all about changing individuals’ lives,” he said. “… Teachers are transformers. I thought as a dean, we can transform lots of people for the better.” Kratz’s first groundbreaking creation was Arts & Technology, or ATEC. The idea came after Kratz continually stressed the importance of linking multiple disciplines under one umbrella. He thought, as a sciencefocused university, UTD could provide art students with a hybrid education that combined art, technology and science all in one degree. “The goal of ATEC is not to be a games program or an animation program,” he said. “It’s meant to be this overarching marriage of creative arts with advanced technology in a humanistic context … ATEC exploded us.” Kratz’s new program was acclaimed by academics, and a growing A&H student body transformed UTD’s image. “If there’s ever a university that (needs) humanities, it’s UTD,” he said. With other new programs like EMAC and the Confucius Institute, Kratz continues to transform UTD’s liberal arts into an even more unique degree. He said his motivation comes from his days as a teacher.
ally pushed me to do it,’ or ‘You lifted my spirit today,’ it makes you feel really good about what you do.” Despite her age and the uncertainty of the music industry, Aziz doesn’t believe that her road ends here. She is content for the moment with her music but believes that she has bigger
and better things to do and more people to inspire with her words and her melodious voice. “I don’t feel like this is where it ends, and I’m not going to settle for less,” Aziz said. “I have a ton of people who support me, and I feel like I’m not finished. There is still way more to do.”
SEPT. 19, 2011 n THE MERCURY n WWW.UTDMERCURY.COM
Women begin ASC play Pushing limits Inconsistencies cost soccer team after four matches on fair coverage
ANDREW JOHN Mercury Staff
With two wins and two losses in its non-conference games, the UTD women’s soccer team began conference play for the 2011 season on Sept. 15. The team took a two-game slide into the conference opener against Mississippi College, souring the results in UTD’s first matches. In its season opener against the Southwestern Assemblies of God University on Sept. 2, UTD took complete control of the game and won 7-0. Freshman Sarah Borg had a
strong start to her collegiate career with a goal within two minutes into the game. She later scored the seventh and final goal of the game for her side. Another freshman also had a bright beginning on the team in UTD’s second match: Jasmine Chipps scored the game-winning goal in the team’s 1-0 victory over Fredonia State University. The team’s momentum then somewhat faltered the following weekend as the goals stopped coming. Although the Lady Comets enjoyed a scoring frenzy in their previous matches, UTD was held
scoreless against Trinity University and Southwestern University, losing 2-0 and 1-0, respectively. The offense suddenly disappeared, troubling head coach John Antonisse. “For some reason, we had difficulty finding the back of the net,” head coach John Antonisse said. “We weren’t composed in front of the goal and that was reflected in the scores.” Although the Lady Comets had numerous opportunities to score, they simply could not finish. Despite the disappointing out-
see SOCCER page 10
COMETS TIE WITH NO. 1
Forward Michael Darrow chases a ball in a match against the University of LaVerne. The Comets won the game 1-0 on a second-half Mark Brooks goal. UTD was 4-0-1 as of Sept. 15 after beating Mississippi College.
Men’s soccer undefeated after opening stretch ANDREW JOHN Mercury Staff
After posting strong results in its first four games of the season, the UTD men’s soccer team aims to continue its recent run of success through conference play. The Comets remained undefeated in their four non-conference games to start off the year. They kicked off the season with a dominant 4-0 win in an exhibition match against Northeast Texas Community College. UTD then added two more wins to its winning streak with 1-0 victories over the University of La Verne and Southwestern University. Sophomore Austin Mading managed to finish a well-placed through ball late in double overtime against Southwestern to give UTD the win. On Sept. 10, the team then tied against the current No. 1 Division III team in the nation, Trinity University, 1-1. Although the Comets did not achieve an upset, it was the first time in 12 match-ups between UTD and Trinity that the Comets did not lose.
UTD came from behind to even the score with a powerful free kick by sophomore Mark Brooks. On the defensive end, sophomore goalkeeper Steve Nicknish came through with nine saves that game, earning him the honor as the ASC Defensive Player of the Week. “Winning in overtime was big. Eventually tying Trinity also was big. Those were good results for us,” said head coach Jack Peel. These non-conference games serve as an indicator of the team’s status as it heads into conference play. The early games are a good way to prepare for the rest of the season and see where the team is since UTD does not get much preparation time, Peel said. From these opening matches, the coach has recognized several of the team’s strengths. “We’ve done some things well that we’ve been working on, and we’ve found a lot of things we need to work on,” Peel said. “They’ve had a good attitude about these things. Our defending is good. Our organization and shape are good.” In addition to these strong points,
Peel identified the team’s current weaknesses and hopes to improve upon them shortly, noting that the team has not been very aggressive and strong on attacking set pieces, especially considering the general size of the time and the good services the players get in. UTD had its first conference game on Sept. 15 against Mississippi College and then played at Louisiana College the following day. The Comets’ next match will be home against Hardin-Simmons University on Sept. 22. The meeting against Hardin-Simmons is likely to be a competitive, high-intensity battle, especially because it will be UTD’s first home conference game. Furthermore, all UTD freshmen are required to attend at least one athletic event during their first year, and Peel and his players hope for a large crowd at the match. Hardin-Simmons’ physical style of play should be good for anybody to come and watch, Peel said. Editor’s Note: All records and statistics are accurate as of Sept. 14. In addition, the UTD men defeated Mississippi College 1-0 on Sept. 15.
UT, ESPN spurn fans, ethical journalism with new TV station BOBBY KARALLA Managing Editor
Media ethics, competitive balance, alumni COMMENTARY loyalty and conference affiliation are all in question in today’s NCAA, and it is due in part to a TV station. But unfortunately for its two main beneficiaries, no eyes of Texas are upon it. The brand-new Longhorn Network launched in late August to a resounding silence and didn’t cause much bustle as UT drummed Rice on Sept. 3. What was thought to be a huge step forward in detailed, schoolspecific coverage has so far been a bust, as one irrelevant provider carries the network that so many millions long for. ESPN announced its intentions to launch a UT-exclusive channel called the Longhorn Network back in January 2011. To secure the rights to all things UT, the “worldwide leader in sports” pledged to fork over $300 million during the course of the 20-year agreement. ESPNLHN would air at least one football game per season, UT football’s spring game and a variety of other athletic events, including volleyball, basketball and Olympic sports. On the surface, this type of agreement seems painless and fair. ESPN pays UT to broadcast its games, while UT sacrifices its right to sign a larger, more lucrative deal with another network. It’s a no-lose situation, right? “Everybody can do something special and do it in their own way. That’s America,” said DeLoss Dodds, UT athletic director, in a Houston Chronicle report. Dodds seemed to be pretty happy with the arrangement when he made that comment earlier this summer. What appears to be a perfect marriage between athletics and media, though, is actually not only questioning the integrity of an entire news organization but also furthering the imbalance in the Big XII -— one of the NCAA’s most important conferences. As a national mass media outlet, ESPN is journalistically required to remain unbiased to any team. Often, people including myself will bring up the “East Coast Bias” argument, but that pales in comparison to this new, unique partiality aimed directly at a school. A huge majority of sports teams and fans are located on the East Coast, including some of the most successful of all time — immediately, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics come to mind. When a national news outlet is not only trying to report on multiple sports but also trying to appeal to the largest audience possible, it only makes sense to subconsciously focus on a city like New York — one that has a population larger than entire regions of the U.S. and also a legendary baseball team. But even though ESPN’s telecasts may flaunt the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry like it’s comparable to the Cold War, the Longhorn Network takes an obvious bias to an even less ethical level. UT has a huge alumni population and an even larger fan base, but that gives ESPN no reason to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars to a school in order to host all its sporting events on a satellite network. A journalist’s main purpose is to stay distant enough from its subject to remain unbiased while accumulating enough information to organize effective coverage on the target. However, when the largest sports media network is in bed with one specific subject, it completely compromises not only its credibility, but it also makes a mockery of journalism in general. It will be impossible to take ESPN seriously through the coverage leading up to the UT/OU or UT/A&M games. It will be even more impossible — should a Longhorn contend for the Heisman — to take the “Heisman Watch” coverage seriously. But what is even more frightening about the network is how UT appears to be treating its alumni. Schools often hit up alumni for money, which is completely fair. The institution gave its alumni a degree, so they are indebted to the university til death do them part. This network, though, acts more as a trap than a charity. “If you want to have a network, you can’t give it away,” said Chris Plonskey, women’s athletic director in the Chronicle. ESPN could only strike a deal with Grande Communications to air the Longhorn Network — among other, smaller carriers, the main provider under the Grande umbrella is Verizon FiOs. To North Texas residents, it seems like a great deal. FiOs has 3.9 million subscribers nationwide and a respectable 250,000 in Texas. Every single regular subscriber, though, resides in the Metroplex. Grande has hardly any presence along the I-35 corridor. To make matters worse, ESPN reportedly sought 40 cents per subscriber
see NETWORK page 10
Runners prepare for D-III Championships ANDREW JOHN Mercury Staff
After a few weeks of practice, the UTD cross country team raced in its second meet of the season at the Texas Lutheran Preview on Sept. 10 in Seguin, Texas. Teams from around the area competed in the meet, including some Division I schools and a few teams from the ASC. The UTD men’s team finished sixth out of the total 10 teams, and the Lady Comets finished in last place on their side. Considering
that many of the competitors were scholarship runners from Division I colleges, head coach Kyle Starnes said he feels the Comets ran well. “I was very pleased with how we ran. I just like the way we went out and competed,” Starnes said. “We had some of our kids beat some scholarship runners. Our men’s team was very close to beating one of the scholarship teams.” Sophomore Jordan Newcomer led the men’s side for UTD with a time of 28:49, finishing 33rd overall out of 87 runners in the 8K race.
Meanwhile on the women’s side, freshman Mel Cavage finished first out of the Lady Comets in their 5K run at 23:17, placing 55th out of the 107 female runners. Starnes said he felt satisfied with the effort of his runners, noting that many of the freshmen runners — especially on the women’s side — did relatively well despite not having a solid running base that many other runners come in with. “We finished 10th, but that’s not really indicative of how (the Lady Comets) ran,” Starnes said. “The ladies that we have just went out
and competed. Their conditioning is not quite there yet, but by the end of the year, it will be there. We’ll be just fine.” The ASC Championship is three meets away, which gives the team time to recuperate and continue to improve. The Comets plans to take it week by week, Starnes said. He hopes to specifically improve the team’s race-day preparation by learning from experience at each meet. UTD’s next meet will be the Texas D-III Championships in on Sept. 24 in Abilene, Texas.
CROSS COUNTRY RESULTS The following is a list of top results from the Texas Lutheran Preview. Men’s 8K Jordan Newcomer - 28:49 Clay Howell - 29:19 Jay Sydney - 29:42 Steven Baxter - 32:14 Robert Nguyen - 33:14 Women’s 5K Mel Cavage - 23:17 Austin Schmidt - 24:16 Ariel Schmid - 24:55 Heather Pan - 26:00
continued from page 9 in Texas while trying to cut deals with carriers like Comcast, Time Warner and DirecTV. An insistence upon making fans pay for the network combined with the lack of carriers limited the viewership at the network’s launch and ratings for UT’s first game of the season were slim — in fact, they were oddly unavailable, according to Nielsen ratings released days after the game. UT fans, of course, will rally to get the coverage they want. MackBrown-TexasFootball.com issued a statement to fans asking them to contact their service providers in an effort to acquire the Longhorn Network. They feel pressuring the cable companies will force them to ink a bad deal with ESPN. Reaching an agreement would be the worst thing that can happen. Should every cable company broadcast the network, the Longhorn Network will air UT games and even high school highlights of potential UT recruits, and the
suits in Austin will be the ones reaping the benefits. An increase in viewership will only mean a higher demand for networks like UT’s, which could provide an even bigger competitive imbalance throughout college football. Huge athletic programs like UT would be the only ones to gain from massive networks. Could you imagine having the UNT Mean Green Network on national TV? What about the Baylor Bears Network? Have any of you heard of Utah State, UNLV or Florida Atlantic? I don’t think the Runnin’ Rebels Network would do too well. Elite programs already make millions more than their less-fortunate counterparts, but continuing to launch networks exclusively covering one school will only make the situation worse, not alleviate any already-existing disparity. Sure, through athletic excellence UT has earned the right to the nation’s top recruits in every sport, but that does not mean ESPN should pay them even more to break journalism’s most sacred rule.
UTD SPORTS SCHEDULE The following is a list of upcoming times and locations of UTD sports games from Sept. 20 to Oct. 3. CROSS COUNTRY • Texas D-III Championships - 9/24 Abilene, TX • Ozarks Invitational - 10/1 Clarksville, AR MEN’S SOCCER • vs. Hardin-Simmons University* - 9/22 7 p.m. • vs. McMurry University* - 9/24 3 p.m. • @ Howard Payne University* - 9/30 3 p.m. • @ University of Mary-Hardin Baylor* - 10/1 3 p.m. WOMEN’S SOCCER • vs. Hardin-Simmons University* - 9/22 5 p.m. • vs. McMurry University* - 9/24 1 p.m. • @ Howard Payne University* - 9/30 1 p.m. • @ University of Mary Hardin-Baylor* - 10/1 1 p.m. VOLLEYBALL • vs. University of Texas at Tyler* - 9/20 7 p.m. • @ Centenary College* - 9/23 7 p.m. • @ Mississippi College* - 9/24 2 p.m. • ASC “Dink Pink” Crossover Challenge - Seguin, TX
THE MERCURY n SEPT. 19, 2011
continued from page 9 comes, Antonisse felt his team still played very well against Trinity and Southwestern, both of which are consistently strong opponents. “(The Lady Comets) may have had a bit of a deer-in-the-headlights look because (the match) was against Trinity and they are ranked among the top 10 in the nation,” Antonisse said. “It was just a matter of us playing against a really good opponent. We had our chances. They had their chances. They were strong. They put away their chances. We literally just missed chance after chance.” Antonisse still feels confident in his team and optimistic towards its future, saying the team’s current record is not an accurate reflection of how good the Lady Comets really are. One game the team is looking forward to is on Sept. 22 against the reigning ASC champion, Hardin-Simmons University. Hardin-Simmons was predicted to win the conference championship once again this season in a preseason ASC poll. “It’ll be a very interesting game,” Antonisse said. “Hardin-Simmons almost always shows up to play, so I think it’s just really important that we do the same thing. If we do everything we’re supposed to do, we could get a good result. “If we make little mistakes, teams like that will capitalize,” he continued. “The intensity level will be really high. We’re going to play hard. If I was a spectator, that would be the game I would want to watch.” Editor’s Note: All records and statistics are accurate as of Sept. 14. After this story was completed, the UTD women defeated Mississippi College 3-0 on Sept. 15. The Lady Comets played at Louisiana College on Sept. 16, but the game ended after press time.
* denotes ASC game
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THE MERCURY n SEPT. 19, 2011
Throw and Catch Intramurals score big during season openings
(Above and right) Students play in the inaugural water polo intramural game on Sept. 9 in the Activity Center. The match pitted the “Dream Team” (in green caps) against “Whataburger” (in orange caps). CHRISTOPHER WANG/STAFF
(Left and below) Intramural participants face off on Sept. 13 at the Intramural Fields. Intramural flag football kicked off on Sept. 6. The winning team in each game receives points towards the coveted Comet Cup. BEN HAWKINS/STAFF
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SEPT. 19, 2011 n THE MERCURY n WWW.UTDMERCURY.COM
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A college student’s method of telling time Caryn DiMarco
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THE MERCURY n SEPT. 19, 2011