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When Derek Mason packed for his initial interview with Vanderbilt University, he brought a black suit with a black-and-gold tie. He wore that same combination when he was introduced as the Commodores’ 28th head coach Saturday morning. According to Williams, more than 65 candidates reached out to Vanderbilt from all sorts of backgrounds, including head coaches and assistants from college programs and the NFL, along with one computer analyst. Ultimately, the university felt Mason was the best candidate and the best fit for the academics,

Asst. sports editor --------------------

Commodores bring in Stanford’s defensive guru, Derek Mason, and his ‘intellectual brutality’ to jumpstart the program



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A record of the best and most important stories at Vanderbilt of this past year: From the best athletes and teams to our ongoing coverage of sexual assault, this is a look back at the biggest issues of the past year.

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InsideVandy Director -------------------A version of this article originally ran on Sept. 10, 2013. Vanderbilt University has again been ranked 17 by U.S. News and World Report. This ranking marks the fifth year in a row that the university has held that position in the Best Colleges report from U.S. News. While Vanderbilt has tied for the 17 spot with Rice University and the University of Notre Dame in past years, Vanderbilt is the sole school ranked at 17 in the 2014 report, which was released at midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Among national universities that offer the best value, Vanderbilt jumped five spots, moving from 16th to 11th in the “great school at a great price” category. U.S. News estimated that the average student paid $21,313 to attend Vanderbilt after receiving grants based on need. U.S. News also noted that Vanderbilt graduates have some of the least debt among graduates of national universities, with an average debt of $17,349. Vanderbilt was ranked 12th among national universities favored by high school counselors. The high school counselors rating is a separate indicator in the formula for establishing national reputation, which also considers ratings by college admission deans, provosts and presidents. Vanderbilt School of Engineering tied seven other schools at No. 35 on the list of undergraduate engineering schools whose highest degree is a doctorate. The best national university rankings were determined by weighted measures of quality, including undergraduate academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, finances, graduation rates and alumni giving. Vanderbilt follows Cornell University, which is ranked 16. Princeton, Harvard and Yale this year are ranked one, two and three, respectively.

QUOTE OF THE YEAR “Do I think sexual assaults are underreported on our Vanderbilt campus? Yes, I do. That’s a national trend that unfortunately we are part of too.” HONEY PIKE, ASSISTANT CHIELF OF POLICE FOR VUPD



This year in student government saw the creation of a new branch, a firstever veto, and a close election New Judicial Branch established

Versions of this article orgininally ran on Oct. 16 and 27, 2013. A new VSG Judicial Branch, composed of a Judicial Court, Office of Legal Counsel and Elections Commission, was created in the fall semester. The VSG Senate initially passed a resolution in October establishing the new branch, and the initiative was subsequently approved in a student body referendum with 88.46 percent of the vote. The Judicial Court is designed to consist of three to five members, and currently has five justices, including a Chief Justice. The role of the court is to oversee government procedures and elections. By establishing this branch, VSG President Isaac Escamilla and members of his cabinet hoped to create judicial oversight over VSG Senate and Executive Board members. “As long as I’ve been in VSG there’s been talk of creating a judicial branch,” said Chief of Staff Michael Floyd in October, following the Senate approval of the Judicial Branch resolution. After the House and Senate were consolidated last year, Floyd added, it became even more imperative to put a system in place that would keep VSG accountable to the rules it has put in place for itself. Justices, who hold a “lifelong” term in their positions, will themselves nominate candidates, chosen from application pools, to replace any graduating or resigning justice. These nominations are subjected to confirmation by the Senate. The new Elections Commission’s role is to oversee VSG elections. Previously, this fell under the responsibility of the Attorney General. Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, the commission will consist of three members.


Tanner Owen and Fletcher Young celebrate after being announced as the winners of the VSG election.

President Escamilla issues first veto

A version of this article originally ran on Feb. 26, 2013. In VSG President Isaac Escamilla’s first and only presidential veto, a VSG resolution supporting OUR

vanderbilthustler STAFF


Vanderbilt’s efforts to achieve a living wage for dining workers was vetoed earlier this spring. It was the first time a president had ever vetoed a bill in VSG history. The resolution, passed in November 2013, was to function as a student-sanctioned call to action for Vanderbilt administrators. Following passage of the bill, Escamilla said “mutual concern” over the accuracy of many of the bill’s items led him to meet with Vanderbilt administrators Laura Nairon, director of Business Services, and Camp Howard, director of Dining Services. Several inaccuracies were identified by Escamilla as a result, and contributed to his decision to veto the bill. Werner called these inaccuracies “subjective,” and Ben Eagles, a representative from OUR Vanderbilt, stated that one point of contention was accurate in practice, if not in the written record. According to Escamilla, discussion of the bill’s inaccuracies came about because “I think the administrators at the time (were) unaware of this being an issue for the senators or a certain group of students and them really reaching out to me and asking, ‘Can we just discuss this?’” “From their perspective, they just want to be kept in the conversation,” Escamilla said of the administration. Nairon and Howard also expressed concerns to Escamilla regarding the way in which administrators were solicited for information during the drafting of the bill. Escamilla explained that of concern was Werner’s apparent misleading of administrators concerning the purpose of his inquiries and his role in student government.



“There’s really no fear of symbolically what this bill was saying. Why I vetoed it was an issue of, this is not how we conduct ourselves as an organization,” he said. “That’s not true. I did not tell them I was working on a resolution … I did say that I was a VSG senator,” Werner insisted. Regardless, he said, many administrators, including Howard, “dodged every question.” In addition, Werner said, “I would like to also make a promise to Vanderbilt, VSG and The Hustler that when I return from abroad I will be taking on this issue once.”

Owen and Young win closest VSG election ever

A version of this article originally ran on March 19, 2014. After a campaign that saw two qualified teams work to persuade voters they were the best choice, Tanner Owen and Fletcher Young were announced as the winners of the VSG presidential and vice presidential election on March 19. In an election separated by only 79 total votes — the closest in VSG history — Owen and Young received 50.92 percent of the total vote, while opponents Ryan McKenney and Hannah Gacke received 48.91 percent. 3,960 students voted in the election, which was a turnout of 59.98 percent, up more than 10 percent from last year’s turnout. ­ By Chelsea Mihelich, Hannah Sills and Tyler — Bishop















Changes for the individual chapters of Greek life from this academic year By Hannah Sills and André Rouillard

The Vanderbilt chapter of Alpha Tau Omega was suspended following the circulation of an email sent to potential new members on Sept. 22 that contained references to “multiple violations of university and Interfraternity Council policies,” according to a university statement. Those violations were the grounds of the suspension, according to Director of Greek Life Kristin Shorter. According to the national chapter of ATO, the student responsible for the email has been suspended from the Vanderbilt chapter. The national chapter also stated that it finds the email “abhorrent” and that the Vanderbilt ATO chapter has issued an apology to the message’s original recipients and to the campus community. According to Shorter, ATO will return in the fall of 2014 and will move back into their chapter facility at that time.




The national headquarters of Sigma Alpha Epsilon announced that, as of March 9, the fraternity will no longer have a “pledging” period for new members. Instead, within 96 hours of receiving their bids, new members will be initiated as fully-fledged brothers into the fraternity. “Our Supreme Council decided to enact this change between conventions in order to protect Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s future and to eliminate a class structure between our new members and our active members,” said the fraternity’s national organization in the announcement of the change. The desire to eliminate instances of hazing was also mentioned as one of the motivations behind the new policy. While the change in policy is a first for SAE, it is not the only Interfraternity Council group to eliminate the pledging period. Zeta Beta Tau, which returned to campus this semester, eliminated pledging practices nationally in 1989.


Zeta Beta Tau fraternity officially returned to campus this semester following the suspension of its operations in February 2012. ZBT’s operations were suspended by the fraternity’s national governing council following “a pattern of continued violations over the course of several years of both Vanderbilt University and Zeta Beta Tau policies,” according to the national organization. None of the brothers associated with ZBT from the 2012 period are currently involved with the new group of Founding Fathers, according to Dan Aronskind, president of ZBT at Vanderbilt. ZBT plans to move back into its old house, currently occupied by Sigma Alpha Epsilon, in the fall of 2014.



The operations of the Vanderbilt chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha were suspended in November 2013. As of Sunday, Nov. 10, chapter members have been prohibited from representing the fraternity, displaying any of the organization’s emblems or symbols and gathering in the name of Lambda Chi Alpha. Lambda Chi was previously under probation as a result of hazing allegations and alcohol-related violations that came to light in February earlier in the year. According to Shorter, Lambda Chi will return to campus no earlier than 2018. Delta Tau Delta will move into the house previously occupied by Lambda Chi on a temporary basis in the fall of 2014.




Administrative departures for fall 2014 Bomb threat on campus Provost McCarty

Versions of this article originally ran on Dec. 3, 2013 and Feb. 12, 2014. Richard McCarty, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, will step down in June, according to the university. McCarty plans to take a year off before rejoining the faculty as a professor. As provost and vice chancellor since 2008, McCarty has overseen academic programs, student life, admissions, financial aid and research. His accomplishments include recruitment of top faculty, growth in application rates, increased diversity and developments in financial aid, digital learning and residential learning programs. A search committee has been formed to conduct a national search for McCarty’s replacement.

Dean Dever

A version of this article originally ran on Jan. 9, 2014. Dean of the College of Arts and Science Carolyn Dever will leave Vanderbilt to become the provost of

Dartmouth College beginning July 1. She has served as dean for six years. As dean of Vanderbilt’s largest school, with nearly 4,200 students, Dever has made many accomplishments, including reorganizing premajor advising, recruiting a director and associated faculty for the Center for Medicine, Health and Society, securing and directing several large grant projects, and strengthening Vanderbilt’s connections to its partners abroad. Since joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 2000, Dever has taught classes in both English and Women’s and Gender Studies. Additionally, she has directed graduate studies in English, co-directed two faculty fellows programs at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and served as acting director of the program in Women’s and Gender Studies. Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos has appointed John M. Sloop, senior associate dean for faculty and professor of communication studies, as interim dean beginning July 1, 2014.

Dean Dowell

A version of this article originally ran on April 13, 2014

Connie Vinita Dowell, Vanderbilt University’s first dean of libraries, who worked to expand the library system’s mission, modernize its facilities and services and create a welcoming and engaging environment, will retire July 31. During her nearly six years at Vanderbilt, Dowell oversaw an extensive $6 million renovation of the Central Library, the implementation of an iPad2 loan program for students and the arrival of frequent public exhibits and panel discussions. Also during Dowell’s tenure, the library’s Special Collections acquired significant donations, including the pre-Senate papers of former Tennessee governor and now-Sen. Lamar Alexander, as well as those of former senator and ambassador to China Jim Sasser and civil rights leader James Lawson. Jody Combs, associate dean of libraries, will serve as interim dean of libraries from Aug. 1 through June 30, 2015. A search for Dowell’s successor will be launched during the fall 2014 semester.

A version of this article originally ran on Oct. 8, 2013. Shortly after 2 p.m. on Oct. 7, the WSMV Channel 4 newsroom received a phone call from a person who claimed that he was coming to the Vanderbilt campus with a grenade. WSMV reports that they immediately notified Metro Nashville Police and the Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) about the caller. According to Assistant Vice Chancellor for News and Communications Liz Latt, VUPD then assessed the credibility of the threat, after which it was decided that the campus should be notified. Once the decision was made to notify members of the Vanderbilt community about the bomb threat, AlertVU sent students, staff and faculty an emergency message just after 3 p.m. The campus, however, was not put on lockdown or evacuated. Several students described the campus atmosphere as calm but confused after the initial notification about the threat. At 4:26 p.m. an official university alert to the campus community announced that a suspect had been apprehended and that there was no further threat to the university. That suspect was twenty-six-yearold Anthony Pedigo, apprehended at a

BP gas station on Eighth Avenue South near Wedgewood. His father was taking him to Vanderbilt to seek treatment for what is believed to have been an intentional drug overdose and had stopped at the gas station after his son became ill, according to police. When Pedigo told ambulance responders that he had a grenade in his pocket, Metro Police became involved. After being searched, Pedigo was only found to possess a toy plastic grenade. After he was apprehended by police, Pedigo was transported to Metro General Hospital for treatment of the overdose and a mental evaluation. At the time, Metro Police was not able to definitively confirm that Pedigo was the same person who had threatened the university. However, WSMV reported that Metro Police Public Affairs Manager Don Aaron said there is a “stark potential correlation” between comments Pedigo made regarding the plastic grenade and the earlier phone call specifying Vanderbilt as the target of a bomb threat. At the time, police were not investigating any other possible suspects behind the threatening phone call. Bomb threats and similar situations are not common to Vanderbilt’s campus, according to Latt. —By Tyler Bishop and Hannah Sills



Bathroom binaries By ANDRÉ ROUILLARD

Editor-in-chief -------------------A version of this article originally ran on April 9, 2014. On March 26, VSG passed a resolution urging administrators and Plant Operations to begin converting campus single-stall restrooms into a gender-inclusive setup. Blair Council President Roo GeorgeWarren drafted the gender-inclusive resolution that recently passed. The proposal was brought to the Senate floor, passing 27-2. “I drafted the VSG resolution after attending a Vanderbilt Lambda Association meeting and hearing Lambda members speaking about the lack of gender-inclusive restrooms and the very real effect it had on their life and well-being,” George-Warren said. He worked with Lambda member Adrian England on the proposal. The resolution mandates that VSG — in cooperation with Lambda, LGBTQI Life and Plant Operations — complete a survey of restrooms on campus to determine which ones are gender-inclusive, which ones are available to be gender-inclusive and what their occupancy capacities are. The resolution also urges Lambda and the Office of LGBTQI Life to begin dialogue with Plant Ops about converting specific restrooms. “We have since had some dialogue with a couple of administrators, and they have been extremely supportive and have even offered their assistance with things like documentation of restrooms in certain buildings,” England said. The resolution also has the support of McGill Hall, according to McGill program coordinator Luke Nantz. The renovations required for conversion, according to GeorgeWarren, will be minimal.

Humanities in crisis? By ALLIE GROSS

Senior news reporter -------------------A version of this article originally ran on Sept. 10, 2013. In recent years, news outlets ranging from the Chronicle of Higher Education to the Wall Street Journal have been flooded with headlines about the “crisis” of the humanities. Mona Frederick, executive director of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities on Vanderbilt’s campus, said the humanities are and have always been at the core of university life, but become vulnerable to these kind of debates “from time to time.” “I think that we’re in a time of change in terms of education and how we’re thinking about educating young people for the future,” Frederick said. “I think that because the humanities represent the study of what it is to be human rather than the study of a tangible professional trade skill, somehow when we go through periods of change or flux in terms of how we’re thinking about educating young people, the humanities become more of a target for discussion.” While campus administrators assert that the humanities are doing fine at Vanderbilt, data suggests that the number of students majoring in these fields have decreased slightly in the past few years. However, for students graduating from the College of Arts and Science with a single major, 2012 and 2013 marked the lowest percentage of degrees awarded in the humanities since 2002, with 24.8 and 24.9 percent respectively, according to data from the Vanderbilt Institutional Research Group. While the data fluctuates over that 12year period, ranging from 38.2 to 24.8 percent, 2008 marks the last time more than 34 percent of single major Arts and Science students graduated with a degree in the humanities. These numbers lend credibility to the idea that, since the market crash of 2008, students have viewed a single major in the humanities as slightly less desirable. Several students said that humanities majors are often questioned about how they expect to turn their majors into careers, given the national focus on STEM education and a job market that favors STEM students. They also noted that the humanities are often perceived as being “easier” than STEM disciplines on campus. Still, students said the Vanderbilt administration and campus community overall are supportive of the humanities.



Fostering dialogue about diversity This spring, Hidden Dores, a student-led campaign, has worked to increase conversations around campus about the minority experience at Vanderbilt


Hidden Dores organized two photo days at the Wall outside of Rand where students were invited to write about their experiences on campus with diversity issues. Many of the participants chose to document instances of microaggressions they have been exposed to at Vanderbilt. The photos were then posted to Hidden Dores’s Facebook page and Tumblr.

By SAARA ASIKAINEN News reporter --------------------

A version of this article originally ran on April 16, 2014. A student movement that emerged at the end of March, Hidden Dores presently seeks to provoke productive discussion about the minority experience at Vanderbilt. The movement’s goals include addressing issues around race and diversity at the administrative, academic and student life levels. So far, Hidden Dores has organized two photo days in which students were invited to have their photo taken with a message written on a whiteboard. The messages generally address these issues on campus, often through the lens of personal experiences. On Thursday, April 10, Hidden Dores also organized a “speak-out” public event at the Wall. Inspired by conversations with friends and similar movements at other universities such as Harvard and Oxford, senior Jalisia Singleton decided to start a Facebook page titled Hidden Dores to provide a space to talk about shared experiences concerning racial and ethnic minority experience at Vanderbilt. The page quickly gained traction, garenering more than 200 likes in only a few days. Some students involved with Hidden Dores felt the movement‘s momentum was something that had been building for a long time and that the flood of responses testified to that. “We feel like, it’s kind of not talked about at all — people don’t want to address the fact that there are issues of race

in America, and they specifically don’t want to address them here on campus,” Singleton said. “And so it’s really frustrating to be a minority on campus and not have these issues talked about, because these issues are a large part of our experience here on this campus, so we wanted to just raise awareness and allow people to voice their opinions about their experiences.” At the two photo shoots held by Hidden Dores so far, many students documented their personal experiences in being a minority student on campus. Available on the Hidden Dores Facebook page and Tumblr, many of the statements in the photos address hurtful microaggressions that have been directed at minority students. In one photo, a black student holds a sign reading, “‘It’s not going to be hard for you to get into Med School because you are black.’ — white and Asian female classmates”. In another photo, a student wearing a headscarf holds a sign that says, “‘When did you come to America?’ I was born and raised in Kentucky.” “(Microaggressions) make it difficult to live and exist in brown skins on this campus,” said freshman Akaninyene Ruffin, a student involved with Hidden Dores. The students have made it clear, however, that the intent of the movement is not to attack anyone. “The purpose is not to say, ‘Oh, you are such a bad person, white Vandy, we are mad at you,’” Ruffin said. “The purpose is to say, ‘This happened to me. I want you to see that I’m a Vanderbilt student, and this happened to me on Vanderbilt’s campus.’”

Students involved with the movement echoed that idea, saying that the aim of the movement is to allow minority students at Vanderbilt to articulate the ways in which their college experience differs from that of non-minority students. Singleton said that promoting colorblindness, which she feels simply erases minority students’ cultural background and can make them feel “hidden,” is not the solution to the problems that some students face at Vanderbilt. Rather, she thinks that understanding the culture and background of minority students is key to preventing microaggressions. Hidden Dores has sparked discussions in other corners of campus as well. On April 2, a discussion event was held at Crawford House, led by Faculty Head Dr. Paul Lim. The event was also attended by Dean of The Ingram Commons Frank Wcislo, Faculty Head of Hank House Dr. Kyla Terhune and Faculty Head of Gillette House Dr. Frank Dobson. Around 60 students were in attendance and shared their experiences and views on diversity at Vanderbilt. More recently, Hidden Dores organized an event they called a “speak-out” at Rand Wall on April 10. The event featured spoken word poetry, personal testimonies and a statement of goals and speeches by Lim and Dobson. The expressed goals included: increasing conversations about race as part of the first-year experience and Visions, establishing a more culturally challenging curriculum, increasing attendance at cultural and service events, redesigning MOSAIC to address issues of diversity on campus and increasing representation in VSG and the administration.








HAPPINESS & HEARTBREAK More than 2,000 students applied to live in the new College Halls, demonstrating broad campus interest in the dorms opening next fall. But for some, the completion of the buildings brought housing problems. By Hannah Sills and Matt Lieberson Versions of this article originally ran on Feb. 5 and April 16, 2014. By the time the balloting process to apply for residence in the new Warren and Moore Colleges closed on Jan. 22, 2,440 students had applied to live in the new buildings, according to data from the Office of Housing and Residential Education (OHARE). Of those who applied, only 25.5 percent were accepted. Construction of Warren and Moore — known collectively as the College Halls at Kissam — began in the summer of 2012 after the six dormitories located on Kissam Quadrangle had been demolished. The new buildings cost approximately $115 million and will see their first occupants in the fall semester. While sophomores, juniors and seniors will each represent 33 percent of residents in the new dorms by design, the applicant pool was not evenly distributed among the

NUMBER OF APPLICANTS BY CLASS 34.7 percent Rising sophomores

different classes. Of the 2,440 total applicants, 42.4 percent were rising juniors, 34.7 percent were rising sophomores, and only 22.9 percent were rising seniors. “We were a little surprised,” said Jim Kramka, senior director of Housing Operations, regarding the small number of rising senior applicants. The 22.9 percent who applied constituted only two-thirds of the volume of applicants that OHARE was anticipating. “I think that a lot of the sophomore and younger classes were (applying to College Halls), but as a junior I did not see many people looking to apply due to the fact that they would be further away, have to have a meal plan and the (lack of a full) kitchen,” said junior student Mackenzie Lyles. “And the potential to be split up I think was a turn-off for the older classes.” Residence in Warren and Moore will also be divided evenly among genders, a breakdown that was reflected almost perfectly in


36.4 percent

0 percent

Yes, and I got my first choice

Yes, and I got my second choice


total applicants

42.4 percent

Rising juniors

22.9 percent

Rising seniors



people polled

49.4 percent

No, and I’m not happy about it

14.3 percent No, and I’m okay with it

THE VANDERBILT HUSTLER ◆ WWW.INSIDEVANDY.COM the applicant pool. 1,214 women and 1,226 men applied to live in College Halls. Warren and Moore will feature the largest variety of living arrangements of any dorm on campus, with traditional singles and doubles as well as four, five and six-person suites. The suites will be unique compared with other dorms because they will consist of individual bedrooms, rather than traditional doubles. The suite singles and the fact that both dorms will be brand new were among the most common reasons for applying to live in College Halls cited by several students interviewed. Perhaps the most surprising statistic of the balloting process concerns the number of students who received their first choice of living arrangement: 100 percent. While many students were excited about the opening of Warren and Moore colleges in the fall of 2014, others, ranging from rising seniors to sophomores, were frustrated with the effects of the increased bed count. The first point of contention was rising seniors’ off-campus housing registration process. In the past few years, a greater number of seniors than usual had been allowed to live off campus because of the ongoing construction of Warren and Moore — with the beds previously located at Kissam Quadrangle unavailable, there was less space on campus to house students. Although students were aware that Warren and Moore would be opening in the fall, this year’s reduction in off-campus approvals still came as a surprise to many seniors. After the decisions were announced, an online petition was circulated asking for more seniors to be allowed to live off campus. The petition had more than 700 signatures from members of all classes as of April 15. Associate Director of Housing Assignments Alison Matarese made it clear that the off-campus approvals of recent years were an aberration.



Coal plant conversion Versions of this article originally ran on Sept. 18, 2013 and Jan. 29, 2014.


A view of the new College Halls at Kissam, which will open in the fall of 2014. 2,440 students applied to live in the new dorm rooms, which cost approximately $115 million to build. “A common misconception is that there was a change in the policy,” Matarese said. “Vanderbilt has a residential requirement that people live on campus. The difference in bed space and people on campus is the amount of people that we allow off campus.” The early deadline for Warren and Moore may have also contributed to housing problems, as some students applied for the new buildings simply because it was the first application opportunity, which meant that others who actually wanted to live there had less of a chance. The housing effects of Warren and Moore’s opening weren’t limited to the senior class. Rising juniors, who traditionally would have a better chance at getting suite-style living in dorms like Carmichael Towers, Morgan or Lewis, were

less likely to be accepted to those areas because more seniors needed on-campus housing options. Subsequently, when rising sophomores filled out ballots, the online system said that no sophomores would be afforded singles. Senior Director of Housing Operations Jim Kramka says he understands some of the commotion. “People hear things from the classes before them,” Kramka said. “Everyone forgets the process is fluid. It’s never the same each year, so what one person got one year is never the same as what is available the next year.”

Vanderbilt began work in October 2013 to convert its power plant to an all-natural gas-powered facility. The decision to convert was announced in April 2013, following approval by the Board of Trust, and the project was allocated $27 million. Since 1988, the on-campus power plant, now personified by the smokestack and conglomeration of buildings that rise behind Rand and Buttrick Halls, has been powered by both coal and natural gas. This academic year, renovations have been ongoing to eliminate the university’s remaining coal-powered infrastructure and replace it with a system that runs completely on natural gas. In pursuing this project, Vanderbilt will both eliminate its entire coal infrastructure and replace parts of the plant that are already using natural gas. The natural gas infrastructure is old enough that updates to the plant would soon be necessary to maintain efficiency. Instead of making these updates later, the university decided to completely modernize its system now. The university’s move to a completely natural gas-powered system will also have aesthetic effects on the university. As the university’s coal infrastructure is removed, with it go the looming smokestack, coal hoppers, coal silo and baghouse, a three-story pollution control device that catches exhaust from burning coal. The additions to the plant will include a “shell,” said Andrea George, director of the Vanderbilt Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management, which will enclose the plant to give it the best aesthetics possible. Additionally, conversion to natural gas will eliminate the need for the semitrailers that bring loads of coal to campus seven to eight times each day. Instead, gas is piped into campus through subterranean pipes that duck underground near the Student Recreation Center and end at the plant, allowing the university to generate the same power it always has with less noise pollution and a more appealing facade. Vanderbilt is projected to officially stop using coal as a fuel source by November 2014, and the demolition of the smoke stack behind Rand and Buttrick halls should occur by June 2015.

— By Katie Fuselier and Charlotte Gill








Alleged June incident


Green Dot response


In the midst of developments concerning the alleged June incident, the university announced the day before the football season opener against Ole Miss that the football team would wear “green dots” to support the prevention of sexual violence. VSG and several student organizations also encouraged fans to wear Green Dot stickers at the game. Green Dot can be generally characterized as a program that encourages bystander intervention to prevent instances of sexual violence. While the program has been in place at Vanderbilt since 2009, it received increased attention promotion this year on campus. JAMES TATUM / THE VANDERBILT HUSTLER

Gillette Hall, where the June incident allegedly occurred. On June 23, 2013, a Vanderbilt undergraduate female student was allegedly raped in Gillette House by four members of the football team. VUPD was first made aware of the incident on June 25, after university officials “checking the dorm’s hallway surveillance recordings regarding an unrelated situation observed concerning behavior by the defendants,” according to Metro Police. The campus police contacted the MNPD’s Sex Crimes Unit the following morning. The first public indications that something had occurred came on June 28 when the university announced that four players, unnamed at the time, had been suspended earlier in the week for a violation of team rules. The next day, the university went further and announced that the players had been dismissed from the team and placed on interim suspension from the university. The suspects in the case — Brandon Vandenburg, Jaborian McKenzie, Cory Batey and Brandon Banks — were publically identified by the university on July 15, prior to the start of SEC Media Days. On Aug. 9, the four former players would be indicted on multiple aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery charges, with Vandenburg being additionally charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography. All four subsequently pleaded not guilty to the charges.


The next major development in the case came on Aug. 16 when standout Commodore receiver Chris Boyd was among three additional persons indicted in connection to the incident. Boyd was charged with one felony count of being an accessory after the fact, police said at the time, adding that he was “essentially accused of taking part in an attempted cover up of the sexual assault through his advice to certain defendants who were indicted last week.” The other two individuals indicted on Aug. 16 were acquaintances of Brandon Vandenburg from California, each charged with one felony count of tampering with evidence. Boyd subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of “criminal intent” to be an accessory after the fact, reaching a deal with prosecutors that allowed him to avoid felony conviction. The deal will also require Boyd to testify against the four former football players facing rape charges in trial, according to prosecutor Tom Thurman. Boyd was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days of probation, after which his record will be cleared. On Sept. 17, Boyd was dismissed from the football team, though he remained a student at the university. An August 2014 court date has been set for Vandenburg and Batey; McKenzie and Banks have been separated from the case, though they still face charges.

2012 sex offense data released

Vanderbilt released its Annual Security Report on Sept. 30 providing information and statistics on campus crime for the 2012 calendar year. Included among these statistics were numbers regarding sexual assault on campus. According to one data set provided in the report, 14 incidents classified as “forcible sex offenses” were reported within Vanderbilt’s statistical geography in the 2012 calendar year. Each year, Vanderbilt is required to publish these statistics, along with other information relating to campus crime, in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Tennessee College and University Security Information Act. The Clery Act specifically defines the how the geographical location of an incident, the personnel involved and the nature of the incident affect whether or not it is reported in the set of statistics required by the Clery Act. “Forcible sex offenses,” according to the Clery Act, is a crime category that includes forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object and forcible fondling. In addition to incidents reported directly to Vanderbilt University Police Department, the Clery statistics also include incidents handled by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, incidents reported

anonymously to certain authorities on campus (for example, those reported only to the Women’s Center and not investigated by VUPD) and open investigations. Attempted sex crimes that fall under the “forcible sex offenses” category are also included in the Clery data set. To provide context for last year’s 14 forcible sex offenses, 10 such incidents were reported in 2010 and 11 were reported in 2011. The number of reported incidents in previous years is updated in each new annual report to reflect new victims that may have come forward in the time elapsed from the last annual report. The number of forcible sex offenses recorded for 2010 and 2011 did not change in the 2013 report as compared to the 2012 report. These numbers, however, may not tell the whole story of sexual assault on Vanderbilt’s campus. Statistics from national studies of sexual assault crimes suggest that many of these incidents go unreported. Several administrators on Vanderbilt’s campus confirmed that the university is likely not immune to the pattern of underreporting seen nationally. “Do I think sexual assaults are underreported on our Vanderbilt campus? Yes, I do. That’s a national trend that unfortunately we are part of too,” said Honey Pike, assistant chief of police for VUPD.





This year saw an increased campus-wide dialogue about sexual violence, sparked by the alleged June 2013 rape of a student by members of the football team. Those players were dismissed from the team and suspended from the university, but the case was only the beginning of a conversation that has continued into April. This is a summary of our coverage of these issues throughout the year. By Hannah Sills, André Rouillard and Tyler Bishop



Title IX complaint filed



Shortly after midnight on Nov. 14, senior Sarah O’Brien, joined by three other current students and two former students, filed federal Title IX and Clery Act complaints against Vanderbilt University for the alleged mistreatment of sexual assaults. As of early February, the Office for Civil Rights was continuing to evaluate the allegations to determine if they are appropriate for investigation. The office has not responded to a request for an update on the complaint’s status as of press time. “As a group and as individuals, we decided to file complaints against the university on the grounds that the university created and perpetuated a hostile environment for us as well as the general student body,” O’Brien said in a statement to The Hustler. All others associated with the filing wished to remain anonymous. One complainant’s filing, however, centered

on the issue of stalking. She claims that the university did nothing in response to her reports after being convinced to allow the school to handle the stalking. “That’s a huge part of our complaint as well,” O’Brien said. “We also demonstrate the university’s mistreatment of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual assault cases,” O’Brien said. “It is our hope that filing these complaints will begin to affect change at our university, encourage other survivors to speak out and for respectful and responsible conversations among students about these issues.” The complaint is only the first step in a process that could include an extended investigation and eventually fines for the university if federal officials find that either the Clery Act or Title IX policy was violated or not adequately enforced, according to the Office for Civil Rights. Vanderbilt has said that it will fully cooperate with any review undertaken by the OCR.


Provost’s forums

On Nov. 22, in an email from Dean of Students Mark Bandas, students received their first community-wide communication of the year from the administration regarding sexual misconduct. The message invited students to a forum, held on Monday, Dec. 2, in Furman Hall, featuring a panel of university administrators and designed to provide “information on — and to respond to questions about — the university’s efforts to prevent sexual misconduct, respond to incidents and support victims.” Following this first forum, students were invited in a Feb. 9 email to two additional forums, to be held Feb. 12 and Feb. 19. At each of the forums, issues such as creating a culture of reporting, university initiatives to combat sexual violence and whether or not the greatest responsibility falls on students or the administration were discussed. Panelists often highlighted university initiatives, such as the expansion of Project Safe currently in progress, as efforts to address sexual violence on campus. BOSLEY JARRETT / THE VANDERBILT HUSTLER

University investigating 3 reported campus rapes

Student activism initiatives

On Oct. 30, students, faculty, staff and other members of the community marched together from Alumni Lawn to the Peabody Esplanade in front of the Wyatt Center, as part of this year’s “Take Back the Day, Take Back the Night” event. Speakers shared their stories, Vanderbilt Spoken Word performed and Vanderbilt Green Dot delivered a brief presentation. Take Back the Night is a national organization devoted to ending all forms of sexual and domestic violence by creating safe communities and relationships through awareness events and initiatives. At Vanderbilt, Take Back the Night is an event, now led by students, aimed at increasing awareness and making a tangible positive impact on campus. The title of this year’s march was expanded to “Take Back the Day, Take Back the Night: Violence Can Happen Around the Clock” in an effort to eradicate the common misconception that sexual violence is something that is only a nighttime issue for women. Student athletes this year were encouraged to attend the event by the Vanderbilt Athletics Office, according to Rod Wil-



liamson, director of communications for Vanderbilt Athletics. Vanderbilt Students for Nonviolence (VSN), a campus organization dedicated to working against power-based personal violence, unveiled its installment of the Clothesline Project on Nov. 13. The Clothesline Project, a nationwide effort dedicated to giving a voice to those affected by sexual violence, was chosen by VSN in an effort to draw attention to the prevalence of sexual violence on the Vanderbilt campus. The project involved a display of t-shirts with Vanderbilt survivors’ stories written on them hanging on clotheslines

in the Sarratt Promenade. VSN says that one of the project’s goals was to “bring the discussion of rape and sexual assault into the public sphere.” At the unveiling event, members of VSN presented members of the administration present with a document that highlighted problems with the sexual violence culture on campus and outlined demands for change. Dean Bandas said in a statement that much of what the document recommended was already in place, but that the administration would study the document and “hope to work with (VSN) to address the issues they raise.”

Vanderbilt officials are investigating at least three reported rapes — distinct from the June incident — that allegedly occurred on campus this academic year. Two of the incidents allegedly occurred in Hank Ingram House on the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, while the third allegedly occurred in the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house. Each was publicly documented on Vanderbilt University Police Department’s Crime Log after the department was notified of the incidents. The victims in each case have chosen not to press criminal charges against their alleged aggressors, according to VUPD. Rather, the department was notified by other campus offices, which are required to disclose information about occurrences to campus police, who then, in accordance with provisions of the Clery Act, are required to report the instances to the daily crime log. Because the notifications came from other offices on campus, the addition of the reports to the crime log was delayed, even though the incidents occurred in August, January and February. “The incidents were added to the crime log when VUPD received the reports,” VUPD Captain Kevin Cleveland said in an email to The Hustler. “It’s important to understand that not all crimes are reported to VUPD as soon as they occur.” Details in each case — and in all cases of campus sexual assault — are closely protected so as to ensure the privacy of those involved. As such, Dean of Students Mark Bandas, who’s office oversees Vanderbilt housing and residential education, indicated that he could not discuss specific incidents or cases, explaining that the privacy of students on such matters is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity also declined to comment to The Hustler on the case.




opinion THE

RANT Throughout the year students have been complaining to The Hustler, and we’ve been listening. These are the truest and funniest Rants from this past school year.

Taxes. Death. Leaf running out of avocados. Every. Damn. Day. I can’t date … I’m already married to the School of Engineering. She likes to go all night at least once or twice a week. Can we please stop calling the rape case that happened during the summer the “Vanderbilt Rape Case” like it’s the only one. Stop acting like this case is unusual for any other reason than the university is actually doing something about it. Hey guys, we have earned zero right to complain about limited student seating in Vanderbilt Stadium. Zero. Get over yourself and start acting like football is the most important thing that happens on Saturdays. Freshmen in Gen. Chem, take solace: the Vanderbilt defense fails dramatically, too. Dining has butchered the menu at The Pub. The Philly, Reuben and the onion rings need to come back soon. Chivalry is still alive and well, Hillary, with the Vanderbilt football defense. They’ll hold the door open for anyone. If Music Group was actually concerned with pleasing the greatest number of students, it wouldn’t chose two artists from similar genres. I guess it took someone getting ROBBED AT GUNPOINT for VUPD to add a VUPD Station/Blakemore stop to the Red Route. Do the people that organized “The Clothesline Project” not realize how hard it is for actual victims? I am constantly reminded of my own assault and it’s unfair. People that ask trivial questions and argue with Professor Lachs in Introduction to Ethics: STOP IT! When a professor invites questions for clarification, this doesn’t invite you to waste time and bore the class with your personal arguments and theories.

QUOTE OF THE YEAR “What matters most is the fact that this thread was created to publicly identify, shame and intimidate this victim by a community of which she is a member.”


A final word from the editor


never planned on being editorin-chief of my college newspaper. In fact, I wasn’t even interested in the newspaper to begin with: I only started out writing opinion columns during my sophomore year at the gentle urging of the then-opinion editor who needed to ANDRÉ fill space. I soon found out that there ROUILLARD was a sudden opening for a copy ediis a senior in the tor (the most under-appreciated staff College of Arts position, by the way), applied and and Science and was accepted. I started work the next editor-in-chief of week. It was a halfhearted entrance The Hustler. He can be reached at very in line with my halfhearted first andre.p.rouillard@ few semesters at Vanderbilt. Fast ward 2 1/2 years, and I’m here typing the final words that will be printed in a publication to which I have devoted the better part of my college experience. Over these aforementioned 2 1/2 years, I’ve watched the student body ebb and flow as campus issues arise and fade, often with frustration as the force of these ebbs and flows rarely matched the size of Vanderbilt’s 6,700-strong undergraduate student body. This past week, however,

I watched as campus was finally galvanized over the very real issue of sexual assault at Vanderbilt. For only the second time in my four years, I saw students talking about something important and campus-centric on a large scale. This is something I would really like to see — and think I will see — from Vanderbilt going forward. This isn’t a column, so there isn’t a point to it. I’m just going to conclude with a few final words. To Vanderbilt students: Please find something on campus you care about, and dive headfirst into it. I’m reminded of an issue of The Hustler last year — the planned “Apathy Issue.” The issue was supposed to tackle Vanderbilt students’ perceived apathy regarding anything beyond their academic and social lives, but, comically, it was never published out of a lack of staff motivation to produce it. My college experience has been made very special by my chance discovery of an organization to which I could wholeheartedly devote huge chunks of my time and energy. More importantly (and I hope I’m not being

too hubristic here) it was an organization through which I could say, in some way, that I was making a contribution to campus beyond simply filling its walkways and classrooms. New and creative initiatives this year like the Kefi Project remind me that Vanderbilt is made a better and more beautiful place when students put their weight behind something they care about. Finally, I’d like to thank The Vanderbilt Hustler and my friends and advisors (not mutually exclusive) behind it for making this paper a special place to work. The windowless, brickwalled newsroom in the basement of Sarratt is made an incredible and vibrant place by the brilliant, funny and dedicated people who fill it, day in, day out. I hope we at The Hustler have given the Vanderbilt community cause to pick up the paper every week for the past nine months, and even more cause to continue to pick up the paper when it once again goes to press this coming August. Thank you, Vanderbilt, for reading this year.

Breaking the silence

A rape survivor speaks out about her and others’ thoughts and experiences after becoming victims of sexual assault SARAH BETH O’BRIEN is a senior in the College of Arts and Science and sexual assault activist who works with the Know Your IX campaign. She can be reached at sarah.b.obrien@

GUEST COLUMN A version of this column originally ran on Oct. 2, 2013. his summer, many Vanderbilt students and alumni learned something new about our community: Sexual violence occurs on our campus. But this June was not the first time sexual assault has happened here. The prevalence of rape and sexual assault is an ongoing, systemic problem that occurs within the Vanderbilt community more often than we like to believe. Four and a half years ago, I received my acceptance letter from Vanderbilt. At the time, I had no idea that a majority of my friends would become sexual assault survivors or that I would later dedicate my life to fighting a crime I was personally affected by at this university. While I was happy to see that a case of sexual violence is receiving adequate legal care, I am concerned about all of the survivors whose experiences have not been similar and the survivors who did not even feel comfortable coming forward. Where are the voices of every other survivor of sexual assault on campus? Is justice truly always served? In looking at the recent case, I am left contemplating more questions than I am given answers.


This summer, the nation learned how Vanderbilt deals with sexual assault through the highly publicized football player rape case. As a nation, we have been led to believe that incidents of rape on college campuses are always properly dealt with, that the victims receive the proper care and that the perpetrators are receiving appropriate punishment for their actions. And yet, I know this is not how Vanderbilt deals with all cases of sexual assault, and I question what made Vanderbilt’s response so different in this instance. Here is a story that ended very differently from what happened this summer: A friend of mine who was raped her freshman year in a dorm room by one of her friends reported the incident to the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center. However, after she chose to pursue the investigation, staff from both the Women’s Center and the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Disability Services Department dissuaded her from trying to ensure that her assaulter would receive the punishment he deserved on the grounds that she had more important things to focus on like building her resume, maintaining her GPA and “moving on.” She was a campus leader with an al-

most perfect GPA, but after the incident, her involvement on campus became sporadic and her GPA began to slip. After much deliberation, including conversations with family, friends and private counseling, she decided to drop the charges to start moving forward in her own life. While this is only one incident, it is representative of a larger issue at Vanderbilt. I have heard stories similar to this from numerous women on campus, which further demonstrates the ongoing silence and perpetuation of rape culture that exists within our community. Even after details of the June sexual assault case have been brought to light, my questions remain the same: What has made this instance of rape so different from all the others? Will this be the method our administration will take to deal with every case of sexual assault from this point forward? Did the initial involvement of the Metro Police Department versus just Vanderbilt University Police Department affect how the university handled the situation? Why is this the first time we are hearing of sexual assault happening on campus? As Vanderbilt students, we inhabit an environment that focuses more on developing our resumes than our community. In spring 2010, I joined the major-

THE VANDERBILT HUSTLER ◆ WWW.INSIDEVANDY.COM ity of victims of rape who remain silent about their assault. I could not imagine facing the institutional and communal feelings of betrayal and shame. I had already felt betrayed by my attacker and the smaller community to which I belonged. I could not imagine going through some of the negative experiences others had shared with me after reporting. I am now in my fifth year at Vanderbilt, and last semester alone, I met 30 women through my activist work who had subpar experiences in reporting the crimes to Vanderbilt staff and faculty. The lack of dialogue on our campus directly correlates to the silence of survivors, many of whom, male and female, begin to feel as if they are the only ones fighting this battle. The administration continues to perpetuate this silence by not providing adequate education, prevention and awareness for every student on campus. Though the Women’s Center promotes the Green Dot initiative, I think we must call attention to the ineffectiveness of its application. Sexual violence on Vanderbilt’s campus is more complicated than wearing a green dot. After the renewal of the federal Violence Against Women Act, the administration now requires all incoming freshman to watch educational videos against violence through Vanderbilt University’s Personal Empowerment Through Self Awareness program. Since this is a new program, it is hard to know its effects just yet. Still, the issue, and the reality, remain. Rather than meaningfully confronting the rape culture and sexual violence on our campus, our administration chooses to respond only to the “more serious” cases of rape or the ones that have the potential to directly affect the institution’s reputation.

Sexual assault is not an athletics problem or a Greek problem; it is a campus problem. As a survivor of rape, an undergraduate student, a former athlete, a campus leader and a member of Greek life, I challenge my fellow students to speak up about the atrocities that plague our campus. The only way we can end sexual violence on our campus is to rise in solidarity and take a stand against the injustices that occur within the Vandybubble. We must foster an environment where conversations about sexual violence productively occur. We must transform the debilitating silence into engaging forms of education, prevention and awareness. Victims of sexual violence must feel comfortable reporting and talking about their experiences while also receiving the support they have a right to and need. I encourage students, staff, faculty and alumni to respectfully engage in dialogue about how sexual violence affects each individual person and our community as a whole. The Vanderbilt administration must effectively educate all faculty and staff members, properly make students aware of their rights, support victims through their reporting processes, target education toward not only women but also possible perpetrators and assign experts to handle these matters on staff. We need to encourage each other to shape our community into one that empowers students and prevents sexual violence, a community that supports survivors rather than shaming victims. Rape happens here. What are you going to do about it?

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2014 A version of this originally ran on Jan. 29, 2014.



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Does The Commons give freshmen an accurate impression of the Vanderbilt experience? Nishant Badal, Class of 2016: I think it’s a pretty inaccurate representation. Your friend group becomes your activity, and it becomes difficult to keep in touch with people. I’ve talked to people who say they miss Commons, and just the fact that they say that shows that something’s inaccurate. Rebekah Smith, Class of 2016: The long tables make it seem like everyone sits together all the time in large, wonderful groups. But, you can’t eat together with everyone every day.

JC Elmore, Class of 2016: I would say the biggest difference I’ve noticed is the level of community with random people is not as fostered as it was on Commons. Friend groups from last year can kind of fade away … not totally gone, but not as prominent as in Hank. Renzo Costa, Class of 2016: I guess there’s hidden sides, but that’s because I looked for them. Freshman year was very “To the Frats!” It was very Greek-oriented. This year, I just looked for different outlets, but of course I am in a Frat. Photos by BOSLEY JARRETT / THE VANDERBILT HUSTLER






Franklin, my dear, I don’t give a damn Vanderbilt is better off without Franklin ANONYMOUS This letter was submitted anonymously by a person who told Hustler editorial staff: “I believe that my interests will be hurt” if my identity would be revealed.”




A version of this column originally ran on Jan. 15, 2015. am glad James Franklin is gone. I will admit that he was a great recruiter who brought lots of energy and passion to Vanderbilt football. However, as an Xs and Os coach, he is completely overrated. Of the 24 SEC games he played, he only secured two victories over teams with winning records. His bizarre play calling led to near losses against UMass and Wake Forest and almost led to a Houston comeback in the BBVA Compass Bowl. The average winning percentage of the teams he beat was just slightly over 30 percent. Franklin took advantage of a historically weak time in the SEC, with Kentucky and Tennessee at all-time lows. Although Franklin’s energy and recruiting skills may have allowed us to be competitive in the SEC, I did not believe that we would ever achieve anything other than mediocrity with him at the helm. The biggest problem that I had with Franklin had nothing to do with his knowledge of football — it had to do with his character. Franklin is a liar and a hypocrite. When he came to Vanderbilt, he claimed that this was “a destination and not a stepping stone.” He sold his recruits on the idea that he was here for the long run and was committed to Vanderbilt; when in reality he used his position as a springboard to a bigger program. He misled the administration: According to editor Chris Lee, Franklin claimed that he had not made up his mind, when in fact he had already signed the papers. He got two of our commits to switch allegiances to Penn State, even though in the past he had questioned the integrity of those who had de-committed from

Vandy. Many more commits have opened their recruitment, leaving the incoming class devastated. Franklin left the Vanderbilt football program in a worse condition than he inherited it in. Between 1897 and 1923, Vanderbilt football won 14 conference championships. We only lost to Tennessee twice, beating them 15 times (once by the score of 76-0!). We were regularly known as the best team in the South. Since then we have won zero conference championships and have become known as one of the weakest teams in the SEC. However, we have had some periods of brief success: the late 1940s, 1974-75 and the early 1990s. However, during those periods, our coach usually got hired away, and we returned to being the Same Old Vandy. We must not let that happen again. We need to find someone with a deep knowledge of the game of football, someone who is committed to serving Vanderbilt for the long run, someone who believes that we can return to our past glory and someone who knows the importance of honor and integrity. Coach Franklin was not that man. I believe that such a candidate is out there, and with our resources we should be able to find him.


Getting to know the ‘Boys ’Round Here’ “Backwoods legit. Don’t take no shit. Chew tobacco, chew tobacco, chew tobacco, spit.” A version of this column originally ran on Sept. 18, 2013. he chorus from Blake Shelton’s current hit “Boys ’Round Here” can be called many things, but inconspicuous is not one of them. To those who can’t put the song to the name, this is the track country radio CHARLIE plays hourly with that one part you can’t WOODLIEF miss: “Red, red, red, red, red, red, red, is a sophomore in the College of Arts red, redneck.” Modern country stars like Shelton and Science, and find themselves in a difficult position, a lifelong country music fan. He can reflected well in the reaction to “Boys be reached at ’Round Here.” charles.a.woodlief@ Country music is changing, and, unavoidably, people have opinions about what that change should look like. Some take a traditionalist stance, deploring what they consider a death of tradition in mainstream country radio. George Strait and Alan Jackson’s memorable hit “Murder on Music Row” laments: “The almighty dollar and the lust for worldwide fame Slowly killed tradition and for that someone should hang. They all say not guilty, but the evidence will show That murder was committed down on Music Row.” Again, certainly not inconspicuous. Go to any traditionalist venue in Nashville, and the anti-radio sentiment will make itself clear, with “Boys ’Round Here” probably being first on the list of “the crap they play nowadays.” Older traditionalists denounce the entirety of modern country music, preferring the classic, inimitable croon of legends like Merle Haggard and George Jones. A younger (dare I say, hipper) crowd takes a different approach. This new generation attempts to carry the country tradition forward without the radio, setting up camp under the banner “altcountry.” Their heroes include artists such as Jason Isbell, Ryan Adams and — at least until Darius Rucker’s regrettable cover of the anthemic “Wagon Wheel” — Old Crow Medicine Show. Despite their differences, the old-timer camp and the alternative crowd make up the major-














ity of what can be loosely termed “the opposition” to songs like “Boys ’Round Here.” Generally speaking, their attitude is unforgiving. Both parties view this sort of song as counterfeit — fake hillbilly twang pasted onto a top-40 formula that disrespects the legacy of the artists who devoted their lives to making country music the venerable tradition it is today. An impassioned stance, to say the least. Problematically though, those who could be called “the support” for “Boys ’Round Here” lack the same culturespecific passion. People who find it enjoyable don’t reach that conclusion by accessing it in the context of some rich musical heritage. The song’s fans are casual listeners who probably heard it on the radio and thought it was fun. Arguably, it is a fun song, and it should go without saying that it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy a song simply because it’s fun, but herein lies the crux of the issue, both for Shelton and country music at large. Groups can typically satisfy their divergent tastes through different genres of music, and in this way, they coexist peacefully. Classical music isn’t going to feel threatened by hip-hop. They are distinct artistic frameworks, each with its own idiom and aesthetic criteria. So, under normal circumstances, there should be no tension between different tastes in music, because if someone feels dissatisfied with a genre, they’re always free not to listen. The conflict surrounding “Boys ’Round Here” is then not so much an issue of taste as it is an issue of identity. One group expects its music to be reverent of a longstanding cultural heritage; another demands songs that are catchy and fun. Normally, not a problem, but here they both want to call it “country.” So, big problem. A knee-jerk reaction might be to suggest that artists like Shelton simply rebrand their music and so eliminate the sense of trespass among the traditionalists. Practically though, this kind of re-baptism is impossible. The country music industry depends on the iconog-

raphy of its traditions. Artists like Shelton are in the country industry for the long haul, so songs like “Boys ’Round Here” must be judged in view of the fact that they are borrowing the name “country” from a group that cares deeply about what that word does and does not mean. So while the “there’s nothing wrong with fun” argument is legitimate, some of Shelton’s fun might be coming at the expense of those who don’t use the word “country” as liberally he does. In this sense, the song is somewhat objectionable. On the charge of abusing country stereotypes, Shelton is guilty on all counts. Reading the lyrics from beginning to end, we find (in order) Hank Williams Jr., boots, four-wheel drives, ice-cold beer, trucks, dirt roads, chewing tobacco, rednecks, “keepin’ it country,” “y’all”, southern drawl and a euphemized description of backwoods lovemaking. Of course, a little fun with these tropes is always forgivable and, in fact, often enjoyable. Much of traditional country music’s appeal lies in the very predictability of its content. Even the canonized George Jones once recorded a song called “High-Tech Redneck.” But, listening to “Boys ’Round Here,” it’s difficult to dispute that Shelton has taken the tropes to an excess. This is not a classic drinkin’ ‘n’ cheatin’ song; it’s a firestorm of checklist items shot from the hip to grab as much “hey y’all” credibility as can be crammed into 3 1/2 minutes of airtime. However, we can’t condemn Shelton in the way some traditionalists might. Nothing about “Boys ’Round Here” is meant to be malicious; it’s a party song, intended for fun, not genre warfare. Fans need to face the reality that they’re sharing a word that carries different meanings for different people. Instead of indicting Shelton for murder, country would be better served if we praised his innovative spirit but asked him to tread more carefully around the music that’s so dear to our hearts. And remember: Even Merle Haggard wrote some bad songs.

The Vanderbilt Hustler Opinion page aims to stimulate discussion in the Vanderbilt community. In that spirit, columnists, guest columnists and authors of letters to the editor are expected to provide logical argument to back their views. Unreasonable arguments, arguments in bad faith or arguments in vain between columnists have no place in The Hustler and will not be published. The Hustler welcomes reader viewpoints and offers three methods of expression: letters to the editor, guest columns and feedback on The views expressed in lead editorials reflect the majority of opinion among The Hustler’s editorial board and are not necessarily representative of any individual member. Letters must be submitted either in person by the author to the Hustler office or via email to Letters via email should come from a Vanderbilt email address where the identity of the sender is clear. With rare exception, all letters must be received by 1 p.m. on Tuesday. The editor reserves the right to edit and condense submissions for length as well as clarity.




RANT Kevin Stallings, I will go to a basketball game if Kyle Fuller changes his nickname from “Zoom” to “The Bricklayer.” Pretty sick that James Franklin called my parents and tried to recruit them for Penn State. Haha at the freshmen thinking that Bamboo Bistro would be open at 6.45 p.m. on a Saturday night. Welcome to the food desert that is main campus on weekends. I’m pissed off that the 14 people who voted in the VSG election get to divide the VSG budget among themselves. I don’t know what marketing professor assigned all these damn surveys but s/he should know s/he is the most hated person on campus right now. I find it obnoxious that students use People Finder to look up the values of other students’ houses. But I’m not surprised. The Music Group should learn a thing or two about quality lineups from the Speakers Committee, because IMPACT was effing fantastic. All-Greek white male VSG Exec Board? One Vanderbilt indeed. Loud music, no outlets, and limited food options — is there anything else Vandy can do to make sure we don’t use Rand after lunch hours? I wish people would stop talking about graduation. I’m emotional already, so let’s just all agree to stop saying the g-word.

Lengthy letters that focus on an issue affecting students may be considered for a guest column at the editor’s discretion. All submissions become the property of The Hustler and must conform to the legal standards of Vanderbilt Student Communications, of which The Hustler is a division. The Vanderbilt Hustler (ISSN 0042-2517), the student newspaper of Vanderbilt University, is published every Wednesday during the academic year except during exam periods and vacations. The paper is not printed during summer break. The Vanderbilt Hustler allocates one issue of the newspaper to each student and is available at various points on campus for free. Additional copies are $.50 each. The Vanderbilt Hustler is a division of Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc. Copyright © 2014 Vanderbilt Student Communications.





Speaking up for introverts

Society’s preference for extroverts is unfair and unrepresentative

A version of this column originally ran on Nov. 20, 2013. sit alone, my headphones tamped securely in my ears. Or at least, I pretend like I am sitting alone. The beat of my music mostly drowns out the lunchtime gossip, and my laptop screen creates a small but visible barrier between me and the yapping freshmen who daily descend upon the main dining hall. KARA But I am not sitting alone. Today, I tried — and failed SHERRER — to secure one of the eight two-person tables in the is a sophomore dining hall during the lunch rush, just as I try and fail alin the College of most every weekday. Instead, I’ve been forced to install Arts and Science and the director of myself at the corner of the gargantuan 24-person table. Eating and studying alone doesn’t really bother me. communications for the Vanderbilt In fact, doing things alone in general doesn’t bother chapter of Design me, because as an introvert, I need lots of time alone to for America. She recharge. But this large communal table was not meant can be reached at for singular studying, as the empty chairs around me kara.n.sherrer@ attest. It is as if the seating arrangement itself is saying, “Well, yes, you can elect to go against all social norms by sitting at this 24-person table alone and spreading your books everywhere so it looks like you actually need the entire table, when we both know that the most space you need is a two-person table, max. But the empty seats around you will betray your social rebellion to passersby, thereby revealing you as the outcast that you really are!” Funny the implicit social judgment that a piece of furniture can make. Clearly, those empty seats are meant to be filled with other people. Nowhere in any of the dining halls can I find a seating arrangement for just one person. All of the tables and chairs declare, silently but adamantly, “It is not good for man to eat alone.”


Or at least, that’s what college dining halls would have you believe. These tables, however, are only a symptom of a larger problem: society’s marked preference for extroverts. Extroversion is the generally accepted social norm, while introversion is seen as an “othered,” almost deviant behavior. Yes, you can choose to sit alone at lunch — but as those three open chairs remind you (and everyone else in the vicinity), that’s not the choice you’re supposed to make. However, in college the bias toward extroversion goes beyond wordless social situations like the table configuration in the dining hall. In fact, this favoritism sometimes go so far as to unintentionally punish introverts in the form of participation points. Many professors grade participation based on how often you speak up in class, which gives extroverts an unfair advantage, since they tend to be more talkative than typically reserved introverts. Hate speaking in front of large groups? Prefer to stay quiet until you feel like you have a truly worthwhile comment? Too bad — you’d better get over these introverted tendencies, or your grade is probably going to suffer. You extroverts who are reading may not have thought twice about the communal tables or participation grades until you came across this column. That’s probably because so many of us introverts actually pretend to be extroverts, as writer Susan Cain points out in her book “QUIET.” We introverts take on this facade because “talkative people, for example, are rated as smarter, better-looking, more interesting, and more desirable as friends.” Basically, being an extrovert is considered better than

being an introvert. However, according to the MyersBriggs Type Indicator personality test, about one half of Americans are introverts. That’s a lot of people to marginalize, especially since there have been a number of famous and successful introverts throughout history. For example, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc. and inventor of the breakthrough Apple I and Apple II computers, preferred to work alone. In his memoir “iWoz,” he even explained, “I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has ever been invented by committee … I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone … Not on a committee. Not on a team.” Collegiate situations like the dining hall tables or participation grading can make it seem like introversion is abnormal or even wrong. The social climate of college — which revolves around roommates, classmates, parties and constantly being around lots of people — only further enforces this impression. But as author and journalist Jonathan Rauch explains in his article “Caring for your introvert,” introversion “isn’t antisocial. It isn’t a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: ‘I’m okay, you’re okay — in small doses.’” In other words, just because society is more accepting of extroversion does not mean that introverts are deviants who need to be cured. Introversion may not be the social norm quite yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s strange — and maybe it’s time for the dining hall tables to acknowledge it.





Great expectations

How labels create delinquency and acceptance cures it

A version of this column originally ran on Feb. 5, 2014. eople tend to conform to what is expected of them, and labels are the language of expectations. Others treat you differently when you bear a certain label. You treat yourself differently when you internalize that label. And you behave differently around others when you think they label you. Consider, then, the cumulative damage wrought by labels like “criminal,” “addict” and MICHAEL “disordered.” ZOOROB A famous study of the Ashanti people by Austrian psyis a sophomore chologist Gustav Jahoda illustrates the potency of labels, even in the College of arbitrary ones, in shaping human behavior. The Ashanti, a Arts and Science and online editor West African ethnic group, believed that the day a boy was of the Vanderbilt born affected his temperament; in particular, boys born on Political Review. He Mondays were thought to be peaceful and well-tempered, can be reached at while boys born on Wednesdays were thought to be aggresmichael.j.zoorob@ sive. Moreover, children were given “soul-names” which reflected the days on which they were born, broadcasting their birthday at all times. This strange tradition had the auspicious side effect of creating a natural experiment, a rarity in psychological research. Tracking the court records of the Ashanti region for five years, Dr. Jahoda found that, fascinatingly, 22 percent of violent offences were committed by boys born on Wednesday, more than triple the percentage of violent crimes perpetrated by boys born on Monday. Obviously, nothing intrinsic to a Wednesday birth can turn good people into violent ones. Social expectations, however, do wield such power. This effect is not anomalous. Studies in the United States and elsewhere have shown that randomly labeling children as “gifted” results in significant academic gains. Similar stud-


ies indicate that assigning random labels to employees’ workplace performances leads to actual changes in employee performance consistent with the randomly assigned labels. And there are important public policy implications to this idea of a malleable self, especially with regards to minors who get into legal trouble, about 70,000 of whom are currently incarcerated, according to the Justice Department. As it turns out, forcing delinquent teens to spend time with even more delinquent teens in prisons or inpatient rehab centers results in more, rather than less, delinquent behavior (a phenomenon called “peer deviancy training” in criminology circles). And demeaning kids as “broken,” “criminal” or “alcoholic” in so-called “tough love” therapy makes them worse, not better, writes Maia Szalavitz in Time magazine. In an interview with Szalavitz, Matt Thomas (a pseudonym) described the pernicious feedback loop of his stint in rehab, where he spent seven weeks as a 13-year-old for selling marijuana: “It was (in rehab) that they told me that I was a drug addict and an alcoholic. There was no turning back. The whole event solidified and created this notion in my own mind and in my social status (that) who I was was an alcoholic and drug addict.” Indeed, one study in the Journal of Youth and Society found that kids who are sentenced to juvenile detention are more than three times as likely to go to jail as adults compared to kids who commit the same crimes but receive more lenient sentencing. Why? Kids who are sent to jail think of themselves as criminals. Their social world becomes the criminal justice system, and their ties to their communities are severed. When they get out, they wear the scars of a jail sentence. Employers,

landlords and neighbors discriminate against them. And in important ways, it’s not much different a story from that of the Ashanti boys who happened to be born on Wednesday. A Justice Policy Institute report notes that as many as one-third of teens engage in “delinquent behavior,” and most teens grow out of it as they age. Detention “may actually interrupt and delay the normal pattern of ‘aging out’ since (it) disrupts (teens’) natural engagement with families, school, and work.” The “outcast” label, whatever its form, is a uniquely injurious sanction. A 2004 National Institute of Health report concluded that programs which “aggregate high-risk youth in ways that facilitate contagion” are ineffective in, if not detrimental to, bettering adolescent behavior. Another finding was that “programs that seek to prevent violence through fear and tough treatment appear ineffective.” But the same NIH report found that “programs that aim at developing skills and competencies” in troubled teens can work to prevent future violence. Behind all this unnecessary suffering there is a hopeful story to be told about forgiveness and human decency. Therapy which incorporates the families of teens can be very effective in treating drug problems, for example, with more than half of participants significantly decreasing their drug use in a 2003 study at the University of Miami. In short, when given support, instead of stigma, people get better. The ancient Roman poet Virgil coined the phrase “omnia vincit amor,” or love conquers all. However unexpectedly, contemporary evidence in social science may be proving him right.






Since the founding of Vanderbilt, secret societies have lurked in the shadows, constituting a rarely acknowledged presence in student life as we know it. By Michael Greshko Kings Among Men was published in three parts on Oct. 2, Oct. 9 and Dec. 4. This article condenses the three installments into one.

On paper, Vanderbilt — at the rich nexus between Ivy League prestige and SEC tradition — looks like a perfect environment for secret societies. Dartmouth College, for instance, has had secret societies since the late 1700s, and schools like the Universities of Alabama and Tennessee have had them since the early 1900s. In fact, some of the societies of Vanderbilt’s peers are alive and quite well: The New York Times recently reported that The Machine, Alabama’s Greek-affiliated secret society, is under fire for allegedly committing voter fraud in a recent Tuscaloosa election. If we take the Order of the Crown at its word, the society offers its members an opportunity for secrecy, prestige and influence in ways that few Vanderbilt students know about and even fewer students come to experience. But how legitimate is this group? According to Peter Blumeyer, Class of 2012, VSG’s former director of Programming, the Order “is comprised

of a small (and) select group of junior and senior men that are selected every year based on the reputation they have developed for themselves on campus and beyond.” Blumeyer, a current Vanderbilt law student, said he has “heard of and interacted with the group known as the Order, and they do seem to be significantly more ‘legitimate’” than “just groups of people joking around with some of their close friends.” The backlogs of Wikipedia provide some interesting Order-related tidbits, as well. The first article, posted sometime in late 2009 or early 2010, gave little in the ways of details and was deleted by Wikipedia administrators in March 2012 for lack of citations. The second one, however, appeared under intriguing circumstances: On Jan. 23, 2013, someone created a Wikipedia account, adopting the username Lkm1889. Within an hour of creating the account, he submitted an article about the Order of the Crown and hasn’t been active on Wikipedia since, leaving the article in an unpublished wiki-limbo that persists to this day. Based on the article’s timing and detail, Lkm1889 seemed prepared to submit and leave, suggesting that whoever created the account may have had some kind of connection to the group. In fact, he offers a tantalizing portrait: “The Order of The Crown is a male secret society at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. The Order of the Crown, known as “The Order”, has come to influence undergraduate life at Vanderbilt and graduate affairs for alumni of the organization. The motto of the organization is “kings among men.” If Lkm1889 is right — which, given the sketchiness of an unpublished Wikipedia article, may be doubtful — the

Order of the Crown aims to influence the direction of student life at Vanderbilt via its apparently creme de la creme membership. The Order of the Crown, in contrast, is unknown to every living scholar who has studied Vanderbilt’s history. Lyle Lankford, Vanderbilt’s in-house historian, knew nothing of its existence before I met with him this summer. Paul Conkin, emeritus history professor and the author of “Gone with the Ivy,” Vanderbilt’s most recent authoritative history, hadn’t heard of it either, asking me, “Is this some kind of joke?” While the Order’s existence is no joke, any claim the Order has to a strong Vanderbilt tradition might as well be. Though Rohan Kedar’s senior source claimed that the group was “a relic from the dominance of an all-male, white secret society,” no evidence has come to light that connects the Order to any known secret societies of yesteryear. (The Raven jumps out as a possible candidate, but again, currently no evidence of such a connection exists.) How old, then, is the Order? No more than six or seven years old, based on circumstantial evidence. The website’s crown seal matches up exactly to a wax stamp sold on by South African company Jax Classics, which only started producing wax stamps in 1994. Moreover, Google Trends reveals that the phrase “Order of the Crown” didn’t appear as a statistically meaningful search term until the summer of 2007, suggesting that the group likely did not exist before then. Like the ivy-seeded facade of Featheringill Hall, the Order of the Crown is trying to look way older than it actually is.

THE VANDERBILT HUSTLER u WWW.INSIDEVANDY.COM At this juncture, these self-appointed monarchs — these “kings among men” — stand uncertainly at the dawn of their society’s existence, quietly operating among a community that knows next to nothing of them. Important questions remain: What do they do, exactly? How, if at all, does the Order wield influence on campus? And what, ultimately, does a secret society’s on-campus presence tell us about ourselves? On Dec. 19, 2012, someone writing under the pseudonym “Hank Moody” — the name of the protagonist of the TV show “Californication”— sent out an email from the address to the presidents of Vanderbilt’s IFC fraternities that read as follows: Dear Vanderbilt Greek Presidents, The Order of the Crown would like two names from each greek organization of members to be considered for the 2012-2013 class of Crownmembers. For each name submission please state their name, greek affiliation, and ONE sentence of why they would be good representatives of the Order of the Crown. You may include yourselves should you feel so worthy. Please have these names in by Wednesday afternoon at 6:09pm. Honorably, H.M. While it’s possible that this communiqué was delivered to student groups other than the IFC fraternities — non-Greek members of VSG, for example, had heard of it as underclassmen — it seems likely that the Order depends largely on this kind of IFC-based recruitment. Such a “two by two” recruitment strategy echoes those employed by inter-fraternity organizations of yesteryear, particularly the Commodore Club and the Owl Club. Interestingly, there are no intra-IFC biases evident among the email’s recipients; even newer chapters


Like the ivy-seeded facade of Featheringill Hall, the Order of the Crown is trying to look way older than it actually is.


like Phi Kappa Psi and Delta Lambda Phi were sent the email, though the broader bias against black fraternities is evident. (I attempted to follow up with the recipients of the email about their interactions with the Order of the Crown, but the only one to respond came back with a quick “No comment.”) Though concluding too much from this all-IFC email list is problematic, one question still lingers: Are we seeing the emergence of a secret society with the unspoken goal of pan-IFC solidarity? In a May 22 response prepared by Dean of Students Mark Bandas and tacitly approved by both the Provost’s Office and the Chancellor’s Office, Bandas said that he has “no knowledge of the existence of any secret societies at Vanderbilt, including the ‘Order of the Crown.’” He went on to add that Vanderbilt “makes a tremendous effort to ensure all of our students feel welcome, empowered and have the opportunity to have a voice in shaping the campus community,” leading him to hope that “no group feels it has (to) operate in secret on our campus.” What Dean Bandas failed to mention in his initial statement was that Vanderbilt was swiftly acting to



distance itself from the Order: Days after I first spoke to him, he contacted Vanderbilt’s Office of the General Counsel and the Office of Trademark Licensing, concerned that the Order’s site “made an illicit use of the Vanderbilt name,” as he recounted in a July 8 follow-up. Vanderbilt’s legal office quickly contacted the Order via, threatening trademark infringement. The Vanderbilt name was scrubbed by May 25. For a group claiming to influence “short-term and long-term activities of Vanderbilt,” the cold shoulder from Vanderbilt’s administration suggests a weak relationship between administrators and the Order of the Crown. While individual members of the group probably know and regularly work with staff members, the Order’s name holds absolutely no cache, leading one to wonder what, precisely, the group plans on doing to influence much of anything. Young and largely irrelevant as its own force, the Order faces a fork in the road as it tries to find purpose. The Order of the Crown has a choice to make. It can either hide in the shadows, selfishly and irrelevantly reenacting the good ol’ boy backrooms of yesteryear, or it can do something meaningful — empowering, even — with its secrecy, leveraging anonymity to do good deeds for others. We should think deeply on the unofficial second motto of Tennessee’s Scarabbean Senior Society, a line delivered in Goethe’s 1773 play “Goetz von Berlichingen”: “There is strong shadow where there is much light.” As the Order hides out in the mysterious, protective dark, though, it is unclear whether or not it has an interest in venturing into the light at all to interact with and ultimately improve this community we call home. For its sake — and ours — I hope it does.






Before discussing sex on campus, our respondents defined what virinity meant to them:

For me, it’s the actual act of intercourse itself that constitutes me losing my virginity. I’m alright with making out with boys. I have. But for me, third base is oral, so I might even consider that technically losing your virginity, but anything before that I think is fair game.

— Nikki*

I mean, the lines of course are muddled with oral sex and all other sorts of sexual acts that exist, but for me, it comes down to vaginal sex. If you haven’t, then you’re still a virgin because once that happens, it’s a whole different monster. I don’t know, I can’t explain it. It’s just what I’ve been raised with. —James*

I define it as sexual intercourse of any kind, whether that’s vaginal, anal, oral, whatever. That’s what virginity is to me. But in terms of purity that’s where it gets very muddled. People are all like, ‘Third base, that’s not technically sex,’ … but I guess when you get past a certain sin, you’re not really pure anymore. So basically virginity means like not having sex, but sexual purity for me is anything that — like losing sexual purity — is anything that is close to like having sex. —Mary*

Thoughts about sex on campus — from those not having it. By JR Mahung, life reporter

A version of this article originally ran on October 2, 2014. For some Vanderbilt students, not having a sex life is as touchy a subject as the act itself. Campus conversations focus largely on those having sex, leaving those who don’t partake in sexual activity with little to say when the subject arises. The Hustler explored the issue of sex on campus from the virgin’s perspective. Our respondents, whose names have been changed for this article, are as follows: Mary, a sophomore heterosexual single female and James and Nikki, two seniors in a relationship together. ‘UNDERSTAND ME, SUGAR’: DEFINING VIRGINITY Nikki: For me, it’s the actual act of intercourse itself that constitutes me losing my virginity. I’m alright with making out with boys. I have. But for me, third base is oral, so I might even consider that technically losing your virginity, but anything before that I think is fair game. Mary: I define it as sexual intercourse of any kind, whether that’s vaginal, anal, oral, whatever. That’s what virginity is to me. But in terms of purity that’s where it gets very muddled. People are all like, ‘Third base, that’s not technically sex,’ … but I guess when you get past a certain sin, you’re not really pure anymore. So basically virginity means like not having sex, but sexual purity for me is anything that — like losing sexual purity — is anything that is close to like having sex. James: I mean, the lines of course are muddled with oral sex and all other sorts of sexual acts that exist, but for me, it comes down to vaginal sex. If you haven’t, then you’re still a virgin because once that happens, it’s a whole different monster. I don’t know, I can’t explain it. It’s just what I’ve been raised with. ‘THERE’S NOTHIN’ WRONG WITH ME’: VIRGIN IDENTITY “I usually get one of two responses when people find out I’m a virgin,” Mary said. “They’ll go, ‘Aww, that’s so cute!’ … (or) ‘Oh, I can’t believe you could hold out for so long. That’s so awesome! You don’t know what you’re missing!’” Still, Mary doesn’t find her virginity as fascinating as others do. James shared this sentiment: “I mean, definitely if you’re talking to some — not all guy friends — but some guy friends, they’ll start to wonder why you’re even together if you’re not doing any of that,” he said, referencing his current relationship. The prevalent idea of sexual intercourse as a requisite to being in a relationship posi-

tions virgins as averse to intimacy. According to James, however, the status of “virgin” isn’t necessarily an indicator of prudishness. “Well, they assume because you’re not having sex that you don’t do other things, said Nikki. “You probably don’t drink, don’t swear a lot, probably (aren’t) very vulgar, probably (don’t) like sexual innuendo, (don’t) find that funny. People try to, I guess, keep that type of language, type of communication from you.” James added, “It’s not a question of whether or not you want it. I mean I’m a human being — I’ve got a pulse of course. But a lot of people think that if you’re a couple and you’re not having sex then you obviously must not want it.” ‘I WON’T PUSH YOU, BABY’: WHY THEY’RE HOLDING OUT The students expressed different reasons for not having sex. Nikki, currently in a relationship with James, cites religious reasons for her celibacy. “As a Christian, you mess up, you sin a lot,” she said, “... and premarital sex is a sin and sometimes I feel that I can compensate for my other sins by not doing this one sin.” “Really, I just think the main reason is that I’m not supposed to, so I try and refrain from that (having sex) just like I’m not supposed to swear or hit old ladies, or things like that.”

James said, “It’s something that has to be consensual, and of course I want to be having sex right now, but you don’t force the issue.” He also mentioned that, in his view, sexual intercourse should come with emotional intimacy. “I think that’s something that’s very serious; it shouldn’t be taken lightly … up to this point there hasn’t been anybody who I have felt that — there hasn’t been anybody who I felt that I have had that connection with.” ‘TRYIN’ TO HOLD BACK THESE FEELINGS’: RESERVATIONS ABOUT WAITING “I feel behind the curve,” Mary said when asked how she saw herself as compared to other students on campus, regarding her sexuality. She admitted that her self-perceptions, as well as her perceptions of the sex culture at Vanderbilt, stem from what some might consider a conservative upbringing. “I wasn’t allowed to date in high school,” she said. “I still had a boyfriend anyway because — you know — I’m a rebel like that.” Looking to the future, Mary fears that she may be unprepared if she decides to get physical later on. “It’s kind of a scary thought … because it’s like I’ve kind of waited for so long that if I found someone, I don’t know if he would be understanding,” she said. Her fear is tempered by doubt over the social significance of one’s first sexual encounter. “Everyone says the first time is awful,” Mary said, “which makes me wonder why everyone goes back for more — but that’s almost part of the reason why I’m questioning it (celibacy).” Mary maintained that not having sex in college is a decision she made on her own. “Being a virgin is a conscious choice for me.” ‘WE’RE ALL SENSITIVE PEOPLE’: STIGMAS ON CAMPUS Some respondents felt left out of more than just the campus sex dialogue. They also felt isolated from their peers in general. “I can only speak from a guy’s perspective, and there are definitely stigmas against guys who aren’t having sex at all,” James said. “I mean, if you’re a guy and you’re a virgin, then your manhood comes into question,” he said. “A lot of masculinity is tied up in sexual conquest, which of course is a terrible thing to say … but it’s unfortunately the society we live in. And to be a guy and to have not had sex … people start to wonder about your masculinity, about your sexuality.” — Angelica Lasala contributed to this story.




The Kefi Project engages community through art By SAARA ASIKAINEN Life reporter --------------------

A version of this article originally ran on Jan. 22, 2014. The Kefi Project believes in the ability of art to actively engage the viewer. “The mission of Kefi is to alter the everyday actions of a Vanderbilt student by altering the environment through interdisciplinary and interdepartmental partnerships,” said founder and director Kion Sawney. That translates into public art that seeks to have an effect on campus and off. Sawney himself was the leader of the organization’s first two exhibits, “Before I Die” and “pairAsouls.” As part of the “Before I Die” project, Kefi set up chalkboards outside of Rand Hall at the beginning of the fall semester that prompted students to sum up what they want to accomplish in life. Sawney considers the installment a success. “That’s asking people, that’s asking a Vanderbilt student to contemplate what it is to live,” he said. “But it is also actually to contemplate what is to live while being able to see what their peers are saying themselves, just to show a sense of community on this campus, to show a sense of interaction, to kind of break yourself down, to break barriers on a campus that has many walls

up.” The board was full by the end of its first day. If “Before I Die” asked students to engage with one another, the “pairAsouls” display of colorful umbrellas at Sarratt Student Center focused on creating an effect outside. Sawney calls it “the multiplied effect of the organization,” as different Vanderbilt students and groups donated money to support different umbrellas, raising $1,600 in donations. The umbrellas that were used are being donated to The Contributor newspaper to provide concrete shelter for the homeless. The organization was even contacted by a homeless shelter in Toronto about recreating the installment. Sawney sees being involved in Kefi as beneficial for the individual artist because the nature of the installments forces the creators to be more innovative. “We give students an ownership of the campus that’s never existed before, at least when it comes to the public realm,” he said. Kefi’s current project and first of the spring semester, “Trails,” features three paths throughout the campus: “A Pathway to Give Back” from Peabody to main campus, sponsored by the Senior Class Fund, that offers advice from seniors to freshmen; “A Poet’s Path” from Highland to main campus that features two poems from Vanderbilt’s Centennial Professor of English and distinguished poet Mark Jarman; and



The Kefi Project announced their second public art installment, PairASouls on Nov. 8, 2013. The installment aimed to draw awareness to the homeless of Nashville and organizations can sponsor umbrellas, with the proceeds going dircetly to Safe Haven Family Shelter. “Squirrel Crossing,” which involves signs placed all around main campus on the walking paths. These projects are meant to showcase the value of teaching at Vanderbilt and let people interact with them. The focus of “Trails,” for example, is to get people to utilize their education outside of the classroom. Kefi currently has 20-30 active members and is always looking for more people. “Your in-

volvement is what you want it to be; that’s kind of the simplest way for Kefi,” Sawney said. However, the organization is starting to mandate 14 hours of commitment over the semester from its members for operational reasons. “(Installing the art pieces) is a large commitment that can actually be easily absorbed if we divide among our membership,” Sawney said.




TURNING THE Breaking the Cycle LIGHTS BACK ON By EMMETT MCKINNEY Life reporter --------------------

By PRIYANKA ARIBINDI Life reporter --------------------

Last year, Teddy Raskin planned Lights on the Lawn as a one-time event to support fraternity brother Luke Moretti. Now, he’s determined to make the benefit concert a A version of this article originally ran on October 16, 2013. Lights on the Lawn has come a long way from its already impressive beginnings. Last year’s concert, shouldered almost entirely by Teddy Raskin, raised more than $90,000 for the Christopher Reeve Foundation and was successful in bringing to Nashville a LocoMotor training machine, which helps patients with brain or spinal cord injuries walk again. This impetus behind the inaugural Lights on the Lawn, moreover, stemmed from brotherly love — an effort on Raskin’s part to help Alpha Epsilon Pi brother Luke Moretti rehabilitate from a paralyzing spinal chord injury. Though it was wildly successful in fundraising, whether or not the concert would continue was a big question on the collective minds of Raskin, many others in the Greek community and the administration.

— Continued on next page

Senior Whitley O’Connor starts innovative street paper in Oklahoma City A version of this article originally ran on February 5, 2014. Two years ago, senior Whitley O’Connor founded The Curbside Chronicle, a “street magazine” written and sold by homeless vendors in Oklahoma City. Though different publications employ different business models, “street papers” comprise a genre of publications produced and sold by homeless authors. By the most recent count, 125 street papers exist worldwide, and 43 in the United States.


Senior Whitley O’Connor founded The Curbside Chronicle, a street paper written and sold by various homeless vendors in Oklahoma City.

THE VANDERBILT HUSTLER u WWW.INSIDEVANDY.COM “I have a heart for people,” said O’Connor of his endeavor. “Regardless of the situation they’re in, whether it’s domestic violence, or education and equity, or homelessness, I’m about implementing effective solutions to those issues.” The Curbside Chronicle employs a magazine format that features pop culture and local restaurant reviews alongside commentary on homelessness in Oklahoma City. Such a model allows the magazine to appeal to all readers, not just those interested in homelessness. “We knew that we needed a product that would stand alone,” O’Connor said. It’s more empowering that way, we thought.” The unorthodox business model has proved empowering indeed: Using an average of five vendors on a given day, the street magazine has sold about 5,800 copies since it began publishing in August 2013, reaching an audience of roughly 14,000 readers. Vendors buy the magazine for $0.75 per copy, and the suggested donation is $2.


Whether it’s domestic violence, or education and equity, or homelessness, I’m about implementing effective solutions to those issues.

However, vendors often receive more for their wares, averaging between $3.50 and $4 per sale. Each sale may appear small, but the sum total is huge: By O’Connor’s estimation, vendors have raised between $20,000 and $24,000 selling The Curbside Chronicle. Despite the magazine’s early successes, O’Connor has encountered unexpected challenges that come with managing a magazine among the homeless population. The challenge, O’Connor said, is not getting people to buy. Often, it’s getting people to sell.


“I went in very naively thinking that these jobs would come flocking to me,” O’Conner explained. “And it’s not a matter of community acceptance — more of getting the vendors out. Homeless people are often promised minimum wage for single-day construction jobs.” In reality, according to O’Connor, these workers might receive just $40 for a full day’s work: an average of about $4 per hour. Even if the construction firms are mistreating them, the certainty of a paycheck at day’s end makes



recruiting vendors difficult for O’Connor. Altogether, though, selling the magazine makes more sense for the homeless: The Curbside Chronicle guarantees no paycheck, but vendors, on average, pocket $75 per day. Such a substantial profit margin allows O’Connor to make an impressive guarantee to vendors: Sell The Curbside Chronicle consistently for three weeks, and we’ll find you housing. And since vendors began selling, the street magazine has found housing for three vendors and is now in the process of finding housing for two more. By this measurement, The Curbside Chronicle has gone beyond helping the needy to breaking the cycle of homelessness in a realistic way. Altogether, the accomplishments of the magazine are many and diverse. To O’Connor, though, the most important one is simple: “They feel more human doing this.”

“It was a one-off event, and I knew I couldn’t match that kind of effort again this year,” said Raskin, who elected not to chair the event this year. “I wanted it to be an annual thing, but I don’t think anyone really expected this to happen again.” Those sentiments changed over the summer, though. “We didn’t want to continue this if it didn’t have the merit to be continued,” Raskin said. “But once we found out that there were people willing and ready and able to step up and take the reigns, we realized we had the capability and momentum to make this an annual thing.” Before the details of the sexual assault case emerged this summer, some students had already shown interest in continuing the event to fundraise for another charity and expanding its backing from just the Interfraternity Council to all of Greek Life. Shortly after the details were made public, IFC voted to support the East Nashville-based Mary Parrish Center For Victims of Domestic Violence for this year’s fundraising. “It’s frustrating as a student turning on CNN and seeing Vanderbilt’s name shed in such a poor light,” Raskin said. According to co-chair junior Patrick McGee, this year’s Lights on the Lawn will serve as a way to show that the Vanderbilt student body is committed to the issue of sexual abuse. “Walking in there (The Mary Parish Center), you feel like you’re walking into a hug,” McGee said. “(The women there) are running from these horrible situations and they have to leave their lives behind and basically start over. The Mary Parrish Center gives them the space and support and the love to do that.” The new organizational structure put into place for this year’s Lights on the Lawn involves specific committees and representatives from most sorority and fraternity chapters, ensuring that the benefit is a community-wide initiative. Raskin agreed. “I think it’s a cool opportunity to say that I care about something on campus, I’m gonna come together with my community, we’re gonna pick the cause together, and we’re gonna put this on together, and we’re gonna show the world,” he said.

Update: The Curbside Chronicle recently released their fifth issue and housed their fourth vendor.

Update: This year’s Lights on the Lawn raised $49,000 for The Mary Parish Center, almost enough to cover the rent and utilities for The Mary Parrish Center for an entire year.






From a capella concerts to capoeira numbers, Vanderbilt students have participated in countless performances this year. Here’s a look back at Commodores on the stage: CHARLOTTE HOW / THE VANDERBILT HUSTLER








1. Students perform a capoeira number at this year’s Harambee, an annual show presented by Vanderbilt’s Aftican Student Union, celebrating the African continent. 2. Momentum Dance Company perform their Spring show “Say Something.” 3. Harmonic Notion performs at Arch Sing, an a capella concert held underneath the Calhoun arch. 4. The Original Cast performs “Seven,” their spring musical theatre revue. 5. Students peform Soran Bushi at this year’s Asian New Year Festival. FREDDO LIN / THE VANDERBILT HUSTLER








THE BIG STAT Final score for Simin Feng, who led the women’s golf team to an SEC tournament championship last weekend



Sydney Campbell By CALLIE MEISEL Asst. sports editor --------------------



Jordan Matthews By ALLISON MAST Sports editor --------------------

Regardless of the outcome of the NFL Draft on May 8, wide receiver Jordan Matthews will go down as one of the greatest football players in Vanderbilt history. Last year, there were rumors that Matthews would forfeit his last year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft, but he returned for his senior season, leading the team to a 9-4 record. During his four years as a Commodore, he amassed 262 career receptions and 3,759 receiving yards, setting Southeastern Conference records in both categories. Despite changes at the quarterback position, Matthews finished the season strong, totaling 36 catches and 399 receiving yards in victories over Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest.

Although she’s just a freshman, Sydney Campbell cannot be stopped on the tennis court. She has moved around throughout the ranks on the team, but she usually plays No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles with her partner, Ashleigh Antal. Campbell currently boasts a national ranking at 68, thanks to her winning record in both singles (16-8) and doubles (7-2) match play. Most notably, Campbell clinched the Commodores’ win against the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs. She played singles against her highest-ranked opponent yet, No. 21 Maho Kowase. At two singles, Campbell lost the first set 2-6, and it initially appeared as though the second set was headed in the same direction, as Campbell was down 2-4. Campbell, however, would not go down so easily. She managed to work her way back into the match, tying the set 5-all. She quickly won the match 7-5 and prepared to battle it out in a third set. Campbell held her momentum from winning the second set to help her cruise through the third set and defeat Kowase 6-3. Thanks to this freshman, Vanderbilt upset Georgia for the first time since 2006. For Campbell, however, the sky is the limit. She recently had her first career win at No. 1 singles against Kentucky, when she beat No. 65 Nadia Ravita in a three-set grind. Campbell’s hard work and commitment to the team paid dividends and earned here the honor of Female Athlete of the Year in The Hustler’s book.

Damian Jones By KATIE WALDEN Sports writer --------------------

Perhaps Matthews’ best performance came against the season closer against the Demon Deacons. In the fourth quarter, on fourth-and-11, Matthews pulled in a pass for a gain of 25 yards. Despite being flanked by two Demon Deacons, Matthews made the catch, keeping the drive alive. “I don’t know how he made that catch,” said James Franklin, former head coach. “We probably shouldn’t have thrown it, we probably shouldn’t have caught it, but we did.” This would become the winning drive, as kicker Carey Spear hit a 38-yard line to give the Commodores a 23-21 lead. In his career as a Commodore, Matthews embodied the blue-collar mentality instilled by Franklin. He exceeded expectations and helped bring attention to the Vanderbilt football program. BOSLEY JARRETT / THE VANDERBILT HUSTLER

A 6-9 post player from Baton Rouge, La., Damian Jones is a four-star forward who turned down offers from LSU, Florida, Georgia, Kansas State, Oklahoma, St. John’s and Stanford, according to Rivals. com. He stepped into the limelight after junior center Josh Henderson suffered a season-ending injury in early December. On a Commodore squad with only seven scholarship players, Jones played early and often, averaging 25.9 minutes and 11.3 points over 31 games. Despite averaging 3.4 personal fouls per game, he scored double figures in 20 games, recording five double-doubles

on the year. He posted a season-best 19 points in his first collegiate appearance against Georgia State and then again facing Missouri. Jones finishes the season with .543 field goal and .545 free throw percentages and 176 total rebounds. An electrical engineering major, Jones picked up SEC Freshman of the Week honors in February after averaging 16.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in road games at Missouri and Auburn. He had 41 minutes of playing time in an overtime win over Texas A&M, and his dunk from the 64-60 win against Tennessee was featured on ESPN Sports Center’s Top 10 on February 5. Jones was named to the SEC All-Freshman team.



Steve Keith


By CALLIE MEISEL Asst. sports editor --------------------


In February of 2012, track and cross-country head coach Steve Keith took his track team to Arkansas to compete in the SEC Indoor Track Championships. Shortly after the team arrived, however, Keith had to be flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center because he was experiencing severe symptoms, which doctors diagnosed as Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). MDS is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells; consequently, Coach Keith underwent a bone-marrow transplant. The surgery went well, and Coach

Keith was back to running earlier than anyone had predicted. Keith resumed his job at Vanderbilt this past January, and his teams have flourished under his leadership. Numerous players set personal records, and some even set school records. For instance, Senior Liz Anderson set a school record for the 10K, running the course in 33.44.76. The women’s cross-country team was also recently rewarded with the honor of being the All-Academic Team. Coach Keith’s inspirational recovery from MDS and impressive leadership in guiding his teams to success have surely earned him the honor of being The Vanderbilt Hustler’s Coach of the Year.


Women’s Tennis By JOSH HAMBURGER Asst. sports editor --------------------

While Vanderbilt had a fairly successful year in athletics across the board, the women’s tennis team flew under the radar. Over the course of the season, which still has the NCAA Regional and Championships left to be played, the Commodores have amassed

a 19-6 record (11-2 SEC). Entering the season as the No. 16 team in the country, Vanderbilt, currently No. 11, has found themselves as high as No. 5. Led by freshman phenom Sydney Campbell, the team’s dominant performance relies much on every starter to perform their best in both singles and doubles matches. With several starters ranked nationally in the top 100 in both categories, Vanderbilt

Dansby Swanson By MATT LIEBERSON Sports writer --------------------

TEAM OF THE YEAR boasts a mix of depth and talent that competes with any top program across the country. With wins over some of the nation’s best collegiate teams, including No. 3 Georgia and No. 6 Alabama, the team established themselves as worthy of the distinction of Vanderbilt Hustler Team of the Year. Already having accomplished so much, the players look to progress even further during the team and individual championships in May. With only one senior on the roster, the women’s tennis team has a promising future, as the added experience will help push them up the national rankings.



After an unlucky freshman season marred by multiple injuries, second baseman Dansby Swanson picked up his game in 2014. Following a 2013 campaign with only 11 at bats, Swanson has started all 40 games this season, leading the team with a .355 batting average. He also leads the team with 55 hits and 33 runs as of April 21. Swanson stretched a 34-game on base streak from the beginning of the season until April 11. He’s batted all over the top of the lineup, showing a versatile skill set of speed and power exhibited by his team-leading .503 slugging percentage and 14 stolen bases. Though he hasn’t been perfect in the field, Swanson has been involved in turning 27 double plays and is fielding 97% of the balls hit his way. Swanson credits his upstart season to a loose attitude in the dugout. “I’m mainly just having fun playing with my boys,” Swanson shared. “When I’m with them, I don’t worry at all and I can just play freely.” Staying healthy has also allowed Swanson to create a level of consistency in his play that could never get off the ground last year. “I never got in a groove last season. It’s been way more enjoyable this year for sure.”






Football vs. Georgia By BEN WEINRIB Asst. sports editor --------------------

The Commodores win in Gainesville over Florida was their most dominant victory, and their win in Knoxville over Tennessee was the most exciting, but the most important game of the year for Vanderbilt was the 31-27 victory over No. 15 Georgia. At the time, Vanderbilt’s season looked dead in the water.  They had already lost a heartbreaker to Ole Miss and were blown out the week before by Missouri during homecoming weekend — two teams they beat the year before — and had to win three of their last six to make a bowl game. With three games against ranked teams — a type of team then-head coach James Franklin had yet to beat — and rival Tennessee left, that was very much up in the air.  Vanderbilt kept it close in the first half, thanks to Carey Spear’s 3-yard fake field goal run, but when starting quarterback Austyn

Carta-Samuels went down with a knee injury late in the second quarter, things looked bleak. Georgia took a 27-14 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter, but then Vanderbilt finally took control, capitalizing on Georgia’s mistakes.  Damian Swann muffed a punt that Vanderbilt’s Torren McGaster recovered on the Georgia 36, and new quarterback Patton Robinette ran in a 2-yard touchdown nine plays later.  After Spear connected on a 40-yard field goal, Georgia went three-and-out, and the ball was snapped over the head of punter Collin Barber. With Vanderbilt taking over at the UGA 13-yard line, Jerron Seymour only needed one run to score and take the lead for good, 31-27.  Vanderbilt’s defense was stifling in the fourth quarter, holding Georgia to just 13 yards and forcing three turnovers. It was an emotional win for everyone, including Franklin, who even teared up at the postgame press conference.


Above: Quarterback Patton Robinette, who came into the game against Georgia in the second quarter for an injured Austin Carta-Samuels, celebrates his fourth-quarter touchdown. Below: Kicker Carey Spear runs the ball to the endzone after a fake field goal attempt.








A version of this article originally ran on Jan. 22, 2014.

By BEN WEINRIB Asst. sports editor --------------------

When Derek Mason packed for his initial interview with Vanderbilt University, he brought a black suit with a black-and-

gold tie. He wore that same combination when he was introduced as the Commodores’ 28th head coach on Jan. 18. According to Williams, more than 65 candidates reached out to Vanderbilt from all sorts of backgrounds, including head coaches and assistants from college programs and the NFL, along with one computer analyst. Ultimately, the

university felt Mason was the best candidate and the best fit for the academics, athletics and community of Vanderbilt. “This job means everything to me,” Mason said in his introductory news conference on Saturday. “This is where I want to be. This is where I plan on spending the rest of my career. We will win. Make no doubts about that.”

Mason becomes just the fifth AfricanAmerican head coach in SEC history, following in the footsteps of Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, along with former coaches James Franklin, Joker Phillips (Kentucky) and Sylvester Croom (Mississippi State). Mason is already a more distinguished — Continued on PAGE 30 BOSLEY JARRETT / THE VANDERBILT HUSTLER





The ‘Goldfather’ gets his coach — Continued from PAGE 29 hire than his predecessor, Franklin. The former Stanford defensive coordinator was named a finalist for the 2012 Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in college football. One of the defensive guru’s most impressive qualities is his ability to stop the read option, so much so that NFL coaches come to him for advice. This expertise helped his Stanford defense rank third in the NCAA in rushing defense, 10th in scoring defense and 16th in total defense in 2013. Additionally, Mason held high-powered Oregon to an average of 17 points per game the past two years, despite the Ducks’ being second in the nation in scoring in that time span at 47.6 points per game. Mason, who coached various defensive positions for the Cardinal and was named defensive coordinator in 2010, often likened Vanderbilt to Stanford during the press conference. “What Jim (Harbaugh) did was he made it respectable to talk about Stanford,” Mason said. “What David (Shaw) did was David made it chic.” Similar to what Franklin did at Vanderbilt, Harbaugh inherited a team that went 1-11 in the previous season and went 29-21 in four years, culminating in a 12-1 Orange Bowl-winning season. Shaw took over and has gone 34-7 with

consecutive Rose Bowl berths. Maybe Mason could be Vanderbilt’s Shaw. Through Shaw’s “intellectual brutality” mantra, Mason hopes to bring Harbaugh’s blue-collar mentality to Vanderbilt, resembling what Franklin did in his three years in Nashville. But at the same time, he’s not going to try to replicate any coach, even the one who just left West End. “David never tried to be Jim Harbaugh,” Mason said. “I’m never going to try to be James Franklin. I’m Derek Mason; I’m your new head coach.” One of the biggest challenges for Mason is going to be filling up a near-empty coaching staff. With special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Charles Bankins as the only assistant left from Franklin’s staff listed on the team’s official roster, Mason has quite a few positions to fill. Already, according to, Mason has brought two assistants with him from Stanford — inside linebackers coach David Kotulski will be the defensive coordinator and defensive assistant Vavae Tata will be the defensive line coach. Additionally, three coaches from Ohio University are expected to join Mason’s staff — Gerry Gdowski (wide receivers coach), Jason Grooms (football operations) and Keven Lightner (offensive line coach). Perhaps even more pressing for Mason is trying to salvage what is left of the Commodores’


recruiting class. After Franklin’s departure, just nine commitments remain, according to, with several players decommitting or committing to other schools with just under two weeks until National Signing Day. While Mason hasn’t contacted any recruits directly, as of Saturday’s press conference, he spent all of Friday studying Vanderbilt’s original recruiting class and feels confident fans will “like what (they) see on Signing Day.” Although Franklin has already flipped five former Commodore commits to Penn State, fans shouldn’t expect Mason to go down that same avenue with Stanford recruits. “I believe those young men decided on the process long ago, which was to go to Stanford,” Mason said. “I think in doing so, you have to be

what you say you are. If you have character, then you look to change halfway through that process because a coach leaves, then that means you were never committed to the process.” Mason, an especially strong recruiter in the South, recruited several current Vanderbilt players in his time at Stanford. “I’ve been in Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana. It’s been my territory,” he said. “We’re going to continue to open those doors in the South, but we’re going to make sure we take the Vanderbilt brand nationwide.” The charismatic coach will be tasked with improving on consecutive 9-4 seasons, even with the loss of 13 seniors. But Vanderbilt is confident moving forward with its coach signed to a “multi-year deal,” Williams told The Tennessean. “When Derek got through meeting us,” said Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos, “we (Williams, Zeppos and booster John Ingram) just looked at each other, and we said, ‘This is our coach. This is our leader.’ I want a leader who’s a coach, not a coach who’s a leader. I think of great athletes and great performances, and I said, ‘This was like Secretariat. Where was second place in this process?’ And there was Derek. There was Derek.” “We look forward to making sure we do two things here at Vanderbilt,” Mason said. “We graduate and educate young men who are going to change the world. The second thing when we talk about football: SEC East title, here we come. Make no bones about it. If you can’t talk about it, you can’t be about it.”









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The Vanderbilt Hustler 04-23-14  

The Vanderbilt Hustler: student newspaper at Vanderbilt University

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