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Tennessee Tech University | Cookeville, TN | 38505



Volume 94 | Issue 13 | Free in single copy | February 25, 2011

Tuition money to be exhausted next week By JULIE GRAHAM Staff Writer

Courtesy of Warner Music Group

John Rzeznik, lead singer; Mike Malinin, drums; and Robby Takac, bass of the Goo Goo Dolls will perform in the Hooper Eblen Center.

SOLO Bill concert set list released Concert date set for 7 p.m. April 5 at The Hooper Eblen Center sor one major event on campus By GERI ANNA WILSON each semester. Staff Writer Vertical Horizon is expected to be on stage for at least an hour before the Goo Goo Dolls performs. Ochsenbein expects the concert to Preparations for the Student last until 11 p.m. or later. Organizations Life Opportunity Although the concert is quickly concert hosted by SGA are in full approaching, uncertainty about swing, but do students actually how tickets will be distributed still know the details? Finally, there are exists. SGA is currently considering answers. two separate methods. The concert will be held at 7 “Students will either have to p.m. April 5 at The Hooper Eblen have an active swipe card to get in Center, which has a seating capacity the concert, or they may come show of 10,200. The Hoop will be opening their student ID and get two tickits doors at 6 p.m., and the concert ets–-one for themselves and one for should begin around 7 p.m. a friend,” Ochsenbein explained. “We’re expecting about 3,000 to If it is decided that students 5,000 people,” said SGA president may pick up tickets before the conSean Ochsenbein, “and faculty can cert by showing their Eagle Card, come, but they will probably have then the concert will be open to all seating in the back where students students, one friend of each Tech won’t be.” student, and facHe also said ulty and staff. that floor seating Ochsenbein said will be first come, that the decision There will first serve. should be made be law East Tennessee within the next enforcement State University has two weeks. on the scene, held similar concerts With such but it’s still a in the past. Most of a large event place for Tech’s planning for taking place on students the concert is based campus, safety to have fun. on the prior experiimmediately beence and success of comes a primary ETSU’s concerts. concern to most SGA has made a Sean Ochsenbein students and contract with AmerSGA President faculty memican alternative rock bers. SGA is band, the Goo Goo planning to have Dolls, and Verti20-30 police ofcal Horizon, a rock ficers on duty at band from Washthe concert. ington, D.C. to per“There will form at the Hooper be law enforceEblen Center. Earlier this semester, ment on the scene, but it’s still a when students were asked to vote place for students to have fun,” on which band they would most Ochsenbein stated. “We have to like to see perform, the Goo Goo make sure everyone is acting acDolls was not the first choice. cordingly.” “The number one band the stuThere may possibly be several dents chose was actually Maroon unexpected surprises at the con5,” Ochsenbein said, “We put in a cert. bid for them, and it looked like we SGA is considering passing out were going to get them. Then they free refreshments at the concert, decided to do a European tour, and such as pizza and a drink or food we did not have the kind of money that may be catered by Chartwells. to fly the entire band over.” Ochsenbein’s reasons for atSGA is paying for the concert tending the concert seem to be endwith money from the Student Or- less. ganizations Life Opportunity Fund. “Basically, the students just Last year, students on campus vot- need to show up,” Ochsenbein ed and passed a rule requiring each said. student to finance the SOLO fund More information about the by charging a $20 fee each semes- concert will be available in coming ter. The fund enables SGA to spon- weeks.

It takes $4.60 to operate Tech for one second. If students’ tuitions and fees were the only things operating Tech, the money would run out March 1, and Tech would no longer be running. Most of the funds to run Tech come from alumni dollar gifts and state help. Only 22 percent of funding is from student tuition and fees. “We want to educate students to show them where their tuition dollars are going,” said Kristie Phillips, Annual Programs director.

Annual Programs has put together a celebration to educate students on how much it really costs to run Tech for a day. They got the idea from other universities around the South. The celebration will start at dead hour March 1 on South Patio. It will be carnival-themed with food and games. “Everything is free for students, and Greeks will be able to earn participation points to put towards their Greek Week total,” Philips said. The celebration is called Tuition Runs Out Day and exists to show students what day Tech has used all of their tuition money. Annual Programs plan is to educate students and build awareness on campus. They plan to make this an annual event.

Signs will be put on buildings with price tags to say how much things Pell Grant actually cost. may be “We want students to realize how reduced much things really cost around here,” Page 3 Phillips said. Volunteers will be operating booths and educating students. They will be asking for donations. “If we can get students to donate any amount of money,” said Phillips, “that would be great, but money is not our first objective. It’s education.” Some of the booths that will be


See “Tuition,” page 2

Crop shortage affects Dining Services Tomato availability at Tech dining facilities limited due to winter weather and fixed food budget By EMILY WEINZETL Staff Writer

Freezing weather in California, New Mexico and Florida has skyrocketed national produce prices this month, but the financial storm finally reached Tech’s campus just last week. The national produce shortages and price increases occurring this winter are forcing certain areas of Dining Services to make some adjustments. Students who ordered at the omelet bar at the Fresh Grille in the RUC Marketplace last week may have noticed the sign explaining that due to increased prices, tomatoes would not be available for breakfast. “This is the first time I’ve seen produce [price] skyrocket in almost

10 years,” Sam Holm, Dining Services director, said. “In the early 90s, we literally had to take lettuce off the salad bar. The salad bar didn’t exist for a while because of some freezes in California and further south.” With certain food budgets to maintain, Dining Services has seriously been considering which areas can afford reduction. “We try to limit it. We still have tomatoes down in Backyard Burger and other places,” Holm said. “But you don’t have to have tomatoes on your omelet—it’s not going to be the end of the world. We just try to adjust to keep some of our costs in line because we have an overall budget we have to maintain.” But as tomato prices triple across the country, jumping from $12-$15 to $40 per case, it’s not just Tech that’s affected. Driving the huge heightening in price is not only the law of supply and demand but ship-

ping costs that increase as companies are forced to ship produce from further south, sometimes even from South America. “We’re usually one of the last ones to [be affected] because of our volume,” Holm said. “Usually, you’ll see the supermarkets be affected quicker. With stores like Walmart and Kroger, tomatoes are already through the roof.” The freeze is even causing larger corporations like Wendy’s to make cutbacks. Wendy’s issued a statement to the Orange County Register saying, “We are now serving tomatoes on our hamburgers and chicken sandwiches upon request only. The decision was difficult to make, but necessary.” See “Tomato,” page 2

History months not treated equally on campus By BRITTANY RITZMAN Staff Writer

Each year, February rolls around on campus with countless posters featuring famous African-American accomplishments throughout history and advertising guest speakers and movie events. In fact, of 45 students interviewed across campus, 32 knew that Black History Month is recognized in February, and 11 had attended Black History Month events hosted on campus. However, of those same 45 students, only four of them were aware that October is recognized as Gay History Month, and no one had attended any campus events that honor it. Though these numbers reflect how little information is available on campus regarding Gay History Month, strides are being made to bring Tech’s gay community into a more positive and recognizable light. “A lot of people will only see the part of the gay community that

The biggest thing is, we have to let people be themselves. Usually, they’ll find their own place to belong. Ed Boucher Dean of Students

fits stereotypes, and that really hurts our image,” Jamie Barrett, Lambda Association president, said. Lambda, also known as the Tech Gay Straight Alliance, was formed on campus several years ago but had very little recognition until Fall 2010. On its website, the organization states that a student does not have to be gay to join or show support but does need to have an open mind. Unfortunately, there can be drawbacks, as fellow students may raise questions about the decision to support a notoriously homosexual organization. “It takes strength to be open to criticism and questions when you show your support,” Alex Friend, freshman psychology major and Lambda member, said.

Lambda began as the “Eclectic Society,” a club to promote diversity and acceptance on campus. When a student first approached Ed Boucher, dean of students, about starting an organization for gays on campus, Boucher informed him that he would have to find a faculty advisor to be an official campus organization. The student returned to Boucher’s office and told him that he was having difficulty finding a sponsor because faculty members who were homosexual were nervous about being so open about their sexuality, and faculty members who were not homosexual were afraid that they would be seen as such. See “Lambda,” page 2

IN THIS EDITION INDEX News.......................2-3 Opinion ...................... 4 Sports ........................ 5 Entertainment ............ 6

Women’s basketball three games from NCAA tournament bid Page 5


Let’s Talk About Movies: Academy Awards preview Page 6





More stories at Athletic Advising Office gets face lift Fitness Center adds new equipment Nursing students utilize learning simulators


Page 2 | February 25, 2011

Tuition CONTINUED from page 1 set up are dunk tank, foursquare, corn hole, and goldfish toss. A food booth will have pop corn, cotton candy, a deep fryer, and more. Tech cheerleaders and Golden Eagle will also be in attendance, as well as the Magic 98.5 bus to provide music. Volunteers will be handing out coupons, and there

will be prizes. Some of the give-away items include Tshirts, food coupons, and Tech Athletic items. “The celebration will take place rain or shine, and everyone is invited,” Phillips said. “We hope to have a big turnout. I mean, what students wouldn’t want free food?”

Tomato CONTINUED from page 1 Other corporations like McDonald’s and Jack-In-TheBox have continued business as usual, commenting that the tight supplies have not impacted their restaurants. Tech, however, is seeing some pressure. Dining Services gets its produce from T&T Produce out of Georgia. The company’s website has listed ‘watches’ for spinach and arugula, stating shortage situ-

ations have not improved. In addition, The California Farm Bureau Federation said supplies have not only dropped for tomato crops, but also bell peppers, cucumbers and lettuce. Students can expect the tomato shortage to continue until mid-April. It is estimated that the new crops of tomatoes will be made available at this time.


Construction supplies dominate the right side of the second floor when students enter the front doors of the library.

Students offer opinions about library renovation Construction to be completed by August By JACKSON CRESSWELL & WILLIAM SHECKLER Staff Writers

CONTINUED from page 1 “So I told him, ‘Well, I’ll do it,’” Boucher said. “When it comes down to it, it’s a civil rights issue. Gay students have as much right to form an organization as anybody else on campus. “[Lambda] is a way of saying ‘What do people who are different from us do?’” Boucher said. “‘How do they fit into the community?’ I think it serves a very important purpose here on campus.” In 2008, the Tennessee Board of Regents awarded a diversity research grant to each TBR university to measure the campus climate for minority students and diversity on campus. “Overall, I think it’s pretty good,” Lambda treasurer Abel Howard said. “Most of us put ourselves in situations where we know we will be comfortable though.” Lambda is currently working on the “Safe Haven” project, which will allow faculty members to put a sticker on their doors to symbolize that their offices are open to homosexual students who need advice or counseling. “Having a diverse campus—people who don’t look like you, don’t talk like you, have a different ethnic background—is rewarding,” Boucher said. “When stu-

dents live on campus, it’s probably the most diverse setting they’ll ever live in.” The diverse environment helps prepare students for the future workforce because they will almost certainly have to work with those who have different backgrounds and ideologies. However, the diverse campus setting also brings complications. “How do you get people who feel like they are part of a minority to feel like they are a part of Tech?” Boucher said. “How do they make a connection to campus? “We can’t be all things to all students,” Boucher said. “We have to break it down into smaller parts.” Currently, there are almost 200 student organizations on campus to help students form connections and enjoy being at Tech. One reason it is so important that students feel a sense of belonging is measurable. Involvement on campus has proven to boost retention and graduation rates, both of which reflect well on an institution. “The biggest thing is, we have to let people be themselves,” Boucher concluded. “Usually, they’ll find their own place to belong.”

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Source: Tennessee Tech University Library Facebook page




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The Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library has been hardpressed getting everything updated, ready and up to speed. While students have been scurrying about to their classes, workers have been diligently updating the library in order to create a better place to learn for everyone on campus. The renovation project is touted as transforming the original library into the Learning Commons. According to the Learning Commons website, “The learning commons will be a modern, collaborative learning environment, a place to study, snack, surf, research, get tutoring and much more.” W&O Construction is the company replacing the carpet, painting the walls, adding ceiling tiles, and installing more electrical power supply throughout the library. “I know it is a hardship on some of the students now,” said David Taylor, W&O construction superintendent, “but when this is completed, it will be a really updated library for them. The main floor will have many new finishes, and it’s increasing the electrical/IT everywhere. It will be really convenient for the students.” Construction on the library has been marred with

controversy since beginning last semester. Many faculty members expressed frustration with Tech’s decision to discard books in favor of an eventual student lounge and meeting area. Students have also been voicing their concerns with complaints about everything from unreliable printers to crowded study areas. Administrators are not oblivious to the criticism. The Jan. 11 edition of “Tech Times” warned library-goers that until the Commons opens in August, “Students and faculty can expect some construction noise.” “There’s plenty of other places on campus to go to hang out,” said John Shellhammer, senior engineering student. “The library should be a library.” Popular opinion is that the library’s facelift is being implemented to appeal to prospective students. However, students from other area colleges seem less than impressed. “[The Learning Commons] sounds kind of stupid,” said Hayden Mason, communications major at Middle Tennessee State University. Mason, who transferred from Tech last year, insists that a new study area wouldn’t be enough to sway his decision when picking a school. Matthew Patterson, a former University of Tennessee student, who now attends University of TennesseeChattanooga echoed Mason’s sentiment saying, “Incoming

Courtesy of Charlene McClain

Books overpower the second floor on December 3, 2010. freshmen may really like the idea, but to make any sense, it really has to impress parents, since they are probably paying the bills.” Mason said, “I didn’t go to campus to hang out. We’d go to someone’s house or find something to do away from school, like hiking. I’d study in my room, and I don’t think I ever ate on campus. “I just don’t see the point,” he concluded. When this project is completed in August, there will be access to electrical outlets throughout the library. Accessibility to outlets span from one of the 28 columns every seven feet. A big portion of the construction crew’s job will be completed during Tech’s spring break. During the break, the water lines will be shut down in order to hook

one up to the new café being built. All other library construction will be done during regular school hours and on Saturdays. Taylor believes that everything is going rather well, and as long as they don’t run into anything unexpected, the biggest parts should be finished by sometime during mid-May. Right now, W&O is waiting on Tech to pick what kind of ceiling tile they would like before installing the carpet. Another project that W&O is working on across from the library at Clement Hall is installing a new system power generator. The addition of the generator will ideally keep the computer room from ever going down due to power loss.

Counseling Center to hold spring break safety workshop By SARAH DEROSSETT Staff Writer

A whole year’s intake of alcohol could happen in one week. Tech’s spring break is March 7-11, and the Tech Counseling Center will be holding a workshop March 3: “Spring Break 2011: Be Careful Out There!” “This workshop covers everything from how to treat your sunburn to alcohol safety,” said Cynthia Bryant, Counseling Center assistant director. Sophomore Kristen Tackett said, “Spring break is that one week in the year where you can totally let loose. This is the week when students leave all their stresses behind and vacate to the sun, surf and parties.” According to FITSNews. com, “Last year was Ameri-

ca’s busiest spring break ever, and while travel officials are estimating a 10-20 percent drop in travel due to the flagging economy, our country’s annual booze fest on the beach is still an economic winner.” Junior Katherine Cox said, “You either love it, or you hate it, but spring break is something a college student should do once.” Junior Katelyn Henderson said, “The first thing that comes to mind when I hear spring break is fun in the sun, time to let your hair down, take chances, make mistakes, and cherish the memories.” According to seattlepi. com, 41 percent of college students said they plan to drink alcohol and use drugs more during spring break. “Of course, good memories are made on spring break,” junior Grant Gasper said. “The first thing I pack is the alcohol.”

Spring break stats In an online survey that asked what they would pack for spring break, 440 students responded:

50% condoms 45% alcohol 23% fake ID 14% cigarettes 9% marijuana Source:

NEWS Page 3 | February 25, 2011

Pell Grants may be reduced next year, subsequent years Federal Pell Grants to see a $845 cut, lowering the average award by $785 next academic year By TALLULAH GILLIAM Copy Editor

Notwithstanding. It’s a word used countless times in House Resolution 1, the FullYear Continuing Appropriations Act, which would fund the federal government for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year ending Sept. 30. The question remains if higher education and the economy will withstand the provisions put forth by the resolution. Among many other program cuts, the resolution would cut the maximum Pell Grant award of $5,550 by $845 and lower the average award by $785. “That’s about all I get,” said Tyler Johnson, junior turf grass management major. “It’s sort of hard to swallow.” More than 4,000 Tech students received a Pell Grant during the 2010-11 academic year, with an average award amount of $3,788. About 15.4 million dollars has been given out, and Financial Aid expects to make some additional awards to those taking summer courses, according to Lester McKenzie, Financial Aid director. “I believe this cut could

have a devastating effect on our student population,” McKenzie said. “The University will adapt and adjust, just as it has for 100 years, but the immediate concern is for the students currently enrolled and who may be enrolling in the near future.” Hundreds of thousands of students across the nation would lose access to the grant entirely, and by 2017, students would see a $2,090 cut to the currently projected maximum award of $6,105. The resolution passed through the House last week by a 235 to 189 vote, with 9 present/not voting. It still has to make it through the Senate and be signed by the president before taking effect. “We are placed in the inevitable position of possibly rescinding award offers based on legislation passage,” McKenzie said. Hal Rogers, House Appropriations chairman, said Feb. 15 on the House floor, “The resolution represents the largest reduction in non-security discretionary spending in the history of the nation. Never before has Congress undertaken a task of this magnitude, but never before have we been faced with a deficit crisis of this scale.”

The United States borrows around 40 cents for every dollar it spends, much of this money coming from China. Jess Hill, senior earth science major, said, “It’s horrible. America is shooting itself in the foot. Why don’t they cut funding to the war and deal with the problems here? Everyone acts like that’s not the problem with the budget, but it is.” Rogers said, “This bill is about shared commitments and shared sacrifice. These cuts are the result of difficult work by our subcommittees to make the smartest and fairest reductions possible. No stones were left unturned, and no programs were held sacred.” Shadi Saeed, freshman Mechanical Engineering major, asked, “Why us? Go take it from the employers, people who are working. I really do not like this bill. I’ll have to work for the rest [of the money previously provided by Pell].” McKenzie said, “I think anyone who has benefitted from one of the federal aid programs should take some time this week to write letters—go on the senator’s web pages and submit your position on this resolution.”

McKenzie did so himself, sending a letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander after the resolution passed in the House. He also created a Facebook page for Financial Aid Administrators because of this resolution. Rogers said, “Our subcommittees scoured the budget for wasteful activities and cleaned out excessive and unnecessary spending, while prioritizing the most essential and effective programs.” Mathew Collins, freshman mechanical engineering major, said, “I really don’t see the benefit. In the long run, more individuals across the country will go into debt.” The Pell Grant reduction would essentially reverse recently passed legislation that would increase aid to $64 billion during the next decade. Nearly $33 billion was allotted for the program during the 2009-10 fiscal year, however, an additional $5.7 billion was awarded. The Pell shortfall was factored into the next year’s budget. Rodgers said, “Even if we all agree a program is efficient and needed, we can’t spend money we don’t have. The more the government borrows, spends and regulates, the harder it is for business to access capital, grow and create

jobs.” Eighty percent of the fastest growing jobs in America demand training above a high school level. Current estimates show America needs 22 million more degrees by 2018, however, we are on pace to be three million short because of high college costs. Rising cost will prevent more than three million college-qualified students from low and moderate-income backgrounds from getting a degree this decade. Norman Frese, freshman Mechanical Engineering major, said, “The idea should be to look at what’s driving the increased cost of education. If I look at it selfishly, I’d be upset that they’re taking my money, but it’s not the government’s responsibility to give me money. If I value my education, it’s my responsibility to pay for it.” Collins said, “It doesn’t seem fair to me that because the economy is low now that students are being punished. Pell benefits low income people. I don’t understand their logic on that.”

This story continues online @ Rich Williams, higher education advocate for contributed to this report.

Efforts to purchase Cummins Falls continue Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation seeking help from Tech students, community to raise $1.3 million by June 16 By LOGAN NICKLESON Staff Writer

Privately owned Cummins Falls may be on its way to becoming a state park, thanks to support from Tech students and area residents. The 75-foot-tall waterfall and surrounding forest located in Jackson County on the Blackburn Fork River has been named a priority for Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, whose mission is to save the natural treasures of Tennessee. “Cummins Falls is the eighth largest of 640 waterfalls in Tennessee and the first largest in private ownership,” said Kathleen Williams, Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation president and executive director. In May of last year, 186 acres of the northeast side of Blackburn Fork River, home to Cummins Falls, was sold at public auction to Cookeville resident, Dr. Glenn Hall.

Hall agreed to give Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation until June 16, 2011 to buy the land from him. Having already raised over half the money needed, Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation is primarily looking to Tech students and alumni and residents of Nashville, Cookeville and surrounding areas to help achieve the monetary goal of $1.3 million, according to Williams. “There is great support in Cookeville,” Williams said. “Cummins Falls is a boost for the local economy due to tourism.” She continued by explaining that support from Nashville was also significant. “When most people from Nashville think about hiking,” Williams said, “they think they have to go far away. This will be the closest state park to Nashville.” Coordinating the fundraising and representing Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation at Tech and in Cookeville are Bill Hedder-

ick, junior wildlife major, and Colby Paul, senior agriculture major. “Tech students basically live down there when there is nice weather,” Hedderick said. He also said he and others have been using means such as working booths at Tech sporting events and selling T-shirts and bumper stickers to increase awareness and funds, placing considerable emphasis on getting Tech alumni involved. “We’re trying to raise at least $5,686, which is what an acre costs,” Paul said. According to Paul, Tech students can stay updated and get involved via the Facebook page dedicated to the project. Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation is currently hosting hikes at the future state park on the first Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. Pre-registration is required. For more information, visit or call 651-386-3171.

events @ tech February/March

25 Until Sunday Parents and family weekend

26 5:30 p.m. Women’s baskeball v. Jacksonville State Eblen Center 6 p.m. Friendship International Banquet Multipurpose Room 7:30 p.m. Men’s basketball v. Jacksonville State Eblen Center

28 All day Midterm grading begins 7:30 p.m. Brass Arts Quintet Concert Wattenbarger Auditorium

1 11 a.m. TAB Tuesdays Sunglasses/Backpack giveaway 1st floor, RUC

3 11 a.m. Counseling Center Workshop Tech Pride Room 11 a.m. Lecture on International Research/Education Multipurpose Room, nursing building

4 Photo courtesy of Don Curry

Located on the Blackburn Fork River in Jackson County, Cummins Falls is the eighth largest waterfall in Tennessee.


Do you need help with English conversation or written papers? Go to: or write me at:

Until March 6 Upper Cumberland Home & Garden Show Hyder-Burks Ag Pavilion

7 Until March 12 Spring Break, no classes

15 All day Deadline for entering 2011 scholarships into scholarweb 11 a.m. TAB Tuesdays Free cookie decorating 1st floor, RUC 7:30 p.m. Tech Chorale in concert Wattenbarger Auditorium

18 All day The Oracle returns in print and online


Send letters to the editor to Include your name, e-mail address and limit letters to 300 words. Anonymous letters are not accepted. Deadline for letters is 4 p.m. Tuesday. We reserve the right to edit grammar, length and content.

Page 4 | February 25, 2011

College experience depends on student CASSIE TESAURO Asst. Editorial Editor

Remember the last week of high school? You relaxed with friends, took pictures of everything, and daydreamed about college. After all, you’d been stuck in the same building for four years. College is still a utopian dream free from all the drama, rumors and immaturity of high school. I remember looking forward to being around people who would cough and sneeze into their elbows instead of spreading their germs like wildfire. The reality of university life starts to take hold after about the first month here. You don’t magically become adults when you get to college. After all, you aren’t that far removed from high school yet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen students here sneeze into their hands and then grab door handles. It can be so disappointing when you realize that college is more like high school: part two. Part of the problem is that so many movies and television shows give us a false picture of what college will be like. On screen, college students all look like they are in their late twenties. They have classes outside

where they sit in circles and discuss philosophy. They have dorm rooms where the floor tiles all match and the paint isn’t chipping. At night, they all go to epic parties filled with guys who look like professional athletes and girls who look like models. And without fail, at least one of those girls will take off her shirt in front of a nerdy guy. Shopping catalogues (I’m talking to you, Target) show us another fictionalized version of college. According to the pictures, every single one of us will have a perfect roommate. We’ll have huge dorm rooms with great furniture. Everything in the room will stay clean and organized. Our decorations will be awesome and color-coordinated. And we will always be smiling. I don’t know about you, but I don’t look like a model in her late-twenties, my classes are generally indoors, and my dorm room is somewhere in between functional and slap-dash. I think that once college students get through a couple of semesters, they are noticeably more adult. I’m a junior now, and in

many ways I’ve changed from who I was in high school. It’s just hard to notice these changes when we seem so immature compared to the mythological college world we see in film and advertisements. We are becoming adults, but it’s a slow process. We learn by trial and error. I certainly don’t consider myself a fullfledged adult yet. I have friends in their forties that still don’t consider themselves grown ups. As much as the world wants us to believe that there is a set time we enter different stages of our lives, it isn’t true. You can’t grow up according to a schedule. That being said, college doesn’t have to seem like a repeat of high school. If you were looking forward to something about college that hasn’t happened on its own, then make it happen for yourself. If you daydreamed about being in a sorority or fraternity, go check out Tech’s greek life. If you looked forward to sitting in the grass debating Aristotle, grab some friends and head to Sherlock Park. And if you drooled over dorm decoration advertisements, then grab your debit card and start shopping. Everyone wants to tell you that college is the best four (or more) years of your life. In reality, it’s up to you to make the experience everything you dreamed it would be.

Courtesy of Daniel Bouwmeester

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, is better known as the Blue Mosque.

Ignorance breeds hate groups SARAH TOWNSEND Editorial Editor

Last weekend, like most weekends in college, I went to a party with a friend and met a few strangers. They seemed nice enough. Just like I would any social gathering, I got to talking to people about traveling and mentioned my job. Somehow, this conversation led to one of the young men saying that he held 100 percent hate for Muslims. He didn’t respect it as a religion, and basically, all the problems caused in the world were mainly due to Muslim groups. There are reasons why you don’t talk politics and religion at parties, and this is one of them. Needless to say, my friend and I were taken aback by such a statement. I don’t know why

I do this, but I expect a college (in this case a graduate) student to have more of an open mind to the world, especially someone who said they’d traveled a lot outside of the United States. I am friends with several people who are Muslim and have never been anything but kind to me and would never say such a thing about Christians, or any religious group for that matter. Is it really so difficult to respect others’ beliefs? How many wars have been fought over Christian beliefs? When did generalizing an entire group of people based on their religious background become acceptable? Right now in Murfreesboro, there is a battle on zoning laws and other legal issues surrounding the building of a Mosque. This has been go-

ing on for a while, and taxpayers are the ones footing the bill. The cost has now exceeded the $75,000 budget, and another $100,000 has been added for potential legal fees. Don’t get me wrong. This is a big mess, and taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for it, but this money is being wasted on both sides to pay lawyers and other fees. My question is why do taxpayers have to pay so much in defense of allowing and following the regular zoning laws? If this was a Christian church or a Jewish temple, this wouldn’t even be an issue. My main concern is that individuals blindly follow “news” stories that bash a religion and culture they don’t understand. Not all Christians bomb abortion clinics and not all Muslim people are terrorists. By now, people should realize that the majority of people are not out to get anyone. There are hate groups within any culture. Don’t contribute to the ignorance that breeds them.

Poll of the Week Would you drop out of college if your Pell Grant were cut? (See page 3 for an article about the current situation.)

Go to to vote!



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Tennessee Technological University--nondiscriminatory on the basis of sex in its educational programs and activities including employment and admission of students to the University as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and regulations based therein and published in CFR, part 86. Tennessee Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer.

BRENDA WILSON, Faculty Adviser BEAT REPORTERS: Brittany Anderson, Jillian Boreing, Brendan Bowers, Brandi

Campbell, China Chafin, Courtney Clifford, Olivia Clinard, Jackson Cresswell, Sarah DeRossett, Zachary Edwards, Julie Graham, Candice Goodman, Candice Griggs, Emily Haile, Elizabeth Harper, Justin Hill, Heather King, Shelby McDonald, Amanda Miller, Logan Nickleson, Justin O’Dell, Alek Peterson, Brittany Ritzman, Andy Rutherford, Will Sheckler, Logan Shrum, Ashley Smith, Niklas Trzaskowski, Katherine Vaughn, Suzanne Vaughn, Aaron Vick, Jacob Walker, Lindsey Wallace, Emily Weinzetl, Gerri Anna Wilson, Casey Woodard, Camille Woods

SPORTS Page 5 | February 25, 2011

Trio of record setters look toward OVC Track Indoor Championships BY ASHLEY SMITH Staff Writer

Sports Information

Messer and Hayes look on during a win against E. Kentucky.

Women’s basketball has chance to clinch OVC title Golden Eagles are just three games away from earning NCAA tournament bid BY ROSS HARVEY Asst. Sports Editor

With one game left in the regular season, the Tech women’s basketball team has a chance to clinch an Ohio Valley Conferencerecord 16th regular-season title Saturday at home against Jacksonville State. Tech (21-6, 14-3 OVC) beat JSU 79-63 in their last meeting in December and holds an 11-3 lead on the all-time series record. Tech continues to be led by junior guard Tacarra Hayes, who had 31 points and 10 rebounds in the last game against JSU. Hayes leads Tech in four statistical categories: points per game, rebounds, assists, and steals. She also has a team-high nine games where she has led the team in both points and rebounds. In OVC play this year, Hayes is sixth in scoring and fourth in rebounding and assists. Combine those numbers with the efforts of freshmen Molly Heady and Briana Jordan and junior newcomer Brittany Darling, and second-year head coach Sytia Messer’s squad is looking good headed into March’s OVC Tournament. Tech has only lost in conference to Morehead State, UT-Martin and Austin Peay. With each team, Tech has also beaten them once, making the season series with each team tied at 1-1. Tech is also 7-1 at home in conference, with that lone loss coming in its last conference game against Austin Peay. Despite that loss, Tech still has a 12-2 record in its last 14 games. Coach Messer also foreshadowed lateseason success way back in September. “It’s quite a strong stretch of [early-season] opponents,” Messer said. “But I’d rather face challenges early in December, so that we can finish strong in February and March.” Because Tech is a relatively young team with no seniors on the roster, coach Messer

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said early in the season that a big focal point was to allow the team to develop for the future. The young players have grown as the season has progressed as Messer thought, but the team has done so well that they are experiencing immediate success. Before the season began, Messer referenced a tough schedule as something that would challenge the team early but allow them to finish strong. After four losses in nine games toward the beginning or the season, including losses to Middle Tennessee State and Kentucky, Tech went on a 10-game winning streak. “This schedule will be a great opportunity to challenge our young players and help us to get to the next level,” Messer said. “We feel like we’ve put together a competitive schedule that can help get us to the NCAA Tournament.” Tech is ranked 17th in this week’s MidMajor poll, its third straight week at that spot. Tech is the only OVC-team ranked in the poll. If the season ended on Wednesday, the OVC seeds, one through eight, would be as follows: Tech, Morehead State, UT-Martin, Eastern Illinois, Austin Peay, Jacksonville State, Southeast Missouri State, and Tennessee State, respectively. The top two teams in the OVC receive two byes in the conference tournament, which begins Wednesday and lasts four days. The OVC tournament is held in Nashville at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. The winner of the tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Tech’s last championship came in 2005-06 when it shared the title with Southeast Missouri. SEMO later had to forfeit its share of the title due to rules violations. For more information on all of Tech Athletics, visit


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The Tech track team will compete in the 2011 Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships in Charleston, Ill today and tomorrow. Three Golden Eagles have had record-breaking seasons so far this year. Seniors Ashley Mayhew and Katherine Lynn along with sophomore Katie Lowery have rewritten the Tech record books. “I just feel so blessed to have been able to have the career I have had at Tech,” Mayhew said. “I truly believe that God has just helped me throughout this whole experience.” Mayhew, a psychology major from Athens, Tenn., won the weight throw at the Tennessee State University In-

vitational two weeks ago with a throw of 50 feet, 11 inches. She holds the school record of 54 feet, 11.25 inches, setting that bar earlier this season, also at TSU. “I am just so thankful for my supportive family, teammates and coach,” Mayhew said. Lynn, an accounting major from Cookeville, now owns the school record in the high jump after her leap of 5 feet, 7 inches at the TSU meet. The previous Tech record was 5 feet, 6 inches set back in 2004. “I was so excited when I set the school record,” Lynn said. “I have lots of family and friends that have been supporting me and have made this opportunity possible.” Lowery, a nursing major from Andersonville, Tenn., was named OVC Field Athlete of the Week twice this season

while setting the school record for pole vault. Her vault of 10 feet at Middle Tennessee State on Feb. 12 broke the previous record of 9 feet, 7.25 inches. Wrapping up their careers at Tech, Mayhew and Lynn look to perform well at this week’s Championships. “I hope that it is a great weekend for everyone on the team,” Mayhew said. “We have trained hard all year.” “I am hoping to win conference in the high jump this weekend,” Lynn said. “I am ranked first in the conference going into this meet, so I know I have a really great chance at claiming the indoor championship title.” The Championship kicks off at 3 p.m. today and continues through tomorrow afternoon. For a full schedule and more information on the meet, visit


Sports Editor

Let’s get touchy: Racism in sports and on campus Racism is alive and well [cue the gasp]. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of sports. To begin with, let’s flash back to Dec. 13, 2008. This is the date on which Gene Chizik was hired as the head football coach at the University of Auburn. Former basketball star and current blabbermouth Charles Barkley spoke out openly against his alma mater for hiring a white coach over Buffalo’s Turner Gill. Barkley made the following comments after the hire: “I think race was the number one factor. I’m just very disappointed. I just thought Turner Gill would be the perfect choice for two reasons: He’s a terrific coach, and we needed to make a splash. I thought we had to do something spectacular to bring attention to the program. Clearly, if we’d hired a black coach, it would have created a buzz.” Really Charles? Well how does a 14-0 season, national championship and a Heisman Trophy sound? Is that buzzing enough for you? Maybe he was right. After all, Gill went 39 at Kansas this year. That would’ve created a big buzz. The idea of Black History Month is ridiculous. There is no White History Month. By now, you’re probably calling me a racist. Those statements, however, were made by Oscar Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. When it comes to racism, I agree entirely with the words flowing from the golden pipes of Freeman. Black history is American history. Why should they be separated? Barkley has been quoted saying that racism is the greatest cancer of his lifetime. Wrong again, Chuck. I’m quite certain that cancer is the greatest cancer of your lifetime. How dare you compare something like cancer, which killed over 500,000 Americans in 2007, to hate crimes with just nine killed. Have you ever heard of Esteban Bellán,

Harry Kingman or Guy Zinn? No, but you probably know who Jackie Robinson was. Bellán, Kingman and Zinn were the first Hispanic, Asian and Jewish Major League Baseball players, respectively. Even on our campus, racism is evident. There are six fraternities/sororities on campus that are listed as ‘black’ organizations. Why not just call them organizations? In the Tech Minority Affairs Office, there is the Black Cultural Center. Why? I understand some minorities may be underrepresented on this campus, so why not just have a Multicultural Center? Minority Affairs offers tutoring services, but only to certain minorities. The mission statement from their website: “The mission of the Minority Affairs Tutoring Program is to improve the academic performance of the minority (African-American and Hispanic) students at TTU.” What about the other races? What about those who aren’t a minority? Where can a white student go to receive free, personalized tutoring without having to run all over campus? Why are there scholarships designed specifically for minority students? You can’t tell race from a resume or application. Why are there schools like Tennessee State that promote racism by calling themselves “historically black”? I met a white student once who was born in South Africa. He was denied African-American scholarships because he was white. This is the epitome of ridiculousness. Until we remove these labels of white and black, or any other color, racism will flourish. Morgan Freeman said, “I am going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.” Amen, Mr. Freeman. Amen. Have something to say about this column? Send your responses to or visit our website at

ENTERTAINMENT Page 6 | February 25, 2011

Let’s Talk About Movies: Academy Awards promise surprises By CHUCK ACHESON Entertainment Editor It’s that time of the year again, when Hollywood gets together for a night of celebration and commemoration. Heading into this year’s show, three movies, “The Social Network,” “The King’s Speech” and “Black Swan” have separated themselves from the pack. Following major wins at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts ceremony earlier this month, “The King’s Speech” appears to be the appointed one going into the weekend. Despite “The King’s Speech” status, I think this year’s show will be full of surprises ranging from the winners to whether Banksy appears for the ceremony. Best Picture Conventional wisdom suggests that picking “The King’s Speech” is the smart money, as it took home the BAFTA equivalent. However, I am going to stick to my guns and continue to support “The Social Net-

work” for a couple of reasons. Normally, when praise lauded onto a film includes the line ‘this movie defines a generation,’ it can be written off as schlock. With “The Social Network,” however, this line couldn’t be truer. As a generation that becomes more technologically adept every day, we experienced these changes as they happened. Where were you when poking started? I know where I was. As “The Social Network” defines my generation, it offers connections to previous and future generations as well. In the final scene, when Mark Zuckerberg attempts to friend his ex-girlfriend, we have all had that moment. Whether it was via Facebook or trying to call that special other only to hang up at the sound of their voice, we see a bit of ourselves in Zuckerberg even if we would rather not. Add in the flawless technical elements of the movie, pacing, sound and camera work, and you have just a few of the reasons why this movie was the best of last year. Unfortunately, “The Social Network” is still an outside shot to take home the big one, although we could see the

American voters rally to the American film as the British did for “The King’s Speech.” Leading Actor Even if “The Social Network” can pull off and Arcade Fire-like upset, I don’t think there is any doubt that Colin Firth will taking home this award. Firth did an excellent job as George VI and again has the BAFTA bump. Winning in back-to-back years is quite rare, so Jeff Bridges doesn’t seem that likely. In addition, “True Grit” really lacked making a big splash in the Oscars pool despite being another great Coen Brothers movie. I would really like to see Jesse Eisenberg win this prize, as he managed to really define himself in the role of Zuckerberg, breaking away from being ‘that other Michael Cera.’ Supporting Actor Even though most times the supporting role awards are decided by party-line voting, I would look

Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld both have a chance at Oscars for their performances in the Coen Brothers remake of “True Grit.” for Christian Bale to take this one away from Geoffrey Rush. Bale’s impeccable job as the drug addicted Dicky Eklund echoed through the industry especially when you contrast this role with the fact most people only know him as Batman. Leading Actress The final movie of the big three contenders will get its first win here with Natalie Portman for her work in “Black Swan.” Playing the troubled Nina Sayers, Portman makes her descent into becoming the Black Swan palpable. The whole way throughout the movie, her demeanor changes sublimely in both overt and covert fashions. While the other contenders offered great performances, the paled in comparison to Portman who also had the benefit of playing a role favorable for the Oscars.

Photo Courtesy of Columbia Pictures and The Weinstein Company

Jesse Eisenberg delivered a powerful performance as the world’s youngest billionaire, but it doesn’t seem like that is enough to derail Colin Firth from taking home ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role.’

Supporting Actress Despite not making a big splash in the pool, “True Grit” did enough

to make Hailee Steinfeld the favorite for this category. Once again, I think the Academy will break away from party-line voting, despite the status of “The King’s Speech” as the chosen one. Steinfeld did an exceptional job often taking over scenes with a commanding performance. Plus, the Academy likes to look outside the box with this award. Best Animated Feature Film “Toy Story 3.” Is there really any debate needed? When is the Academy just going to change this category to ‘Best Pixar Film?’ Directing As numerous movie pundits have pointed out, Tom Hooper won the Director’s Guild Award for “The King’s Speech,” so he should be the obvious choice by the Academy. David Fincher did an outstanding job with “The Social Network,” but this award is nearly as sure of a lock as “Best Animated Feature Film.”

CORRECTION In “Open Mic Night returns to the Playhouse...,” in the 2/18/11 edition, names of performers Brooke Mayo and Kory Wheeler were misspelled. The next Open Mic Night is April 28. The Oracle regrets the error.

O By MATT KNIELING | Matt Knieling is a stunningly prompt and professional illustrator, who had this comic done months before yesterday. Find more of his comics at or on Facebook at

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The Oracle - Feb. 25, 2011  

The Oracle, Tennessee Tech University. Feb. 25, 2011