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ORBIS Amplifying Vanderbilt’s Progressive Voices

Vol. 10/No. 8/April/2011

Vanderbilt Garden Initiative: Page 3

Klein scales, pg. 10

Seedy attempts to limit college voting: page 10

In THis Issue

a note from the editor

It’s nearly the end of the semester, but Vanderbilt students have kept busy with some inspiring projects on and off campus in spite of the rising workload and the scramble to schedule their summers. There are different ways to engage life outside our cozy campus. Andri Alexandrou reports on Dambisa Moyo’s talk at the Model United Nations’ Spring Gala, which criticized the practice of providing nonstop aid for African nations, on page 9. Aimee Sobhani writes about efforts to make it more difficult for college students to vote on page 10. And Lily Sturmann reports on the phenomenon of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, a kind of faithbased pregnancy counseling center which neither provides nor refers abortions, and the perils they present to unexpectedly pregnant mothers. Here at Vanderbilt, Maria Ochoa writes about breaking down boundaries between campus cliques on page 4. Dylan Thomas spotlights the Vanderbilt Garden Initiative on page 3, and Sarah O’Brien recommends some vegan lifestyle products on page 7. Tricia Lebkuecher writes about her effort to change Vanderbilt’s “Amnesty” policy, which protects students who summon the police in a dangerous alcohol- or drug-related incident, in order to apply to more situations on page 5. I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done this year at ORBIS. Congratulations to next year’s editor-in-chief, Andri Alexandrou, and good luck to next year’s staff.

April 2011

co n t en t s

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-Jon Christian

03. Spotlight: Vanderbilt Garden Initiative By Dylan Thomas

04. Diversity suffers in the Vandy Bubble By Maria Ochoa

05. Letter to the Editor: A Call for Help By Tricia Lebkuecher

06. “Arthur” fulfills comedy expectations By Meghan O’Neill

07. The Edgy Vedgy: summer veganism By Sarah O’Brien

08. Anti-abortion clinics mislead youth By Lily Sturmann

09. Aid keeps Africa dependent

Published with support from the Center for American Progress/Campus Progress Online at


10. Legislation stifles the college vote By Aimee Sobhani

11. WRVU not pushing hard enough

Amplifying Vanderbilt's Progressive Voices April 2011

By Andri Alexandrou

By Jon Christian

Volume 10, Number 8

Jon Christian Editor-in-Chief

Carol Chen

Associate Editor

Aimee Sobhani

Commentary Editor

Andri Alexandrou

“The Flip Side” Editor

Meghan O’Neil Features Editor

Thomas Shattuck

Distribution Director

Erika Hyde


number of American military deaths in Iraq since March 2003 Cover design: Jon Christian/Andri Alexandrou

Editor Emeritus

What is ORBIS?

Questions, comments, concerns? E-mail us at E-mail submissions to the address listed above, or send to Box 1669, Station B, Nashville, TN, 37235. Letters must be received one week prior to publication and must include the writer's name, year, school and telephone number. All submissions will be verified. Unsigned letters will not be published. ORBIS reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. All submissions become property of ORBIS and must conform to the legal standards of Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc., of which ORBIS is a division.

ORBIS aspires to change the atmosphere on Vanderbilt's campus and provides a voice for liberal, multicultural and minority viewpoints. This publication strives to inform the public about issues that these groups face as well as to promote diversity and unity within our community. It is a forum for discussion of social, political and religious commentary relevant to Vanderbilt, the nation and the world. ORBIS was founded by a coalition of students seeking to raise consciousness about diverse ideas, cultures and backgrounds in our society. We hope to challenge the existing social atmosphere at Vanderbilt and promote a rebirth of acceptance.

Editorials represent the policy of ORBIS as determined by the editorial board. Letters and commentary pieces represent the opinions of the writers. Please recycle.

April 2011


ORBIS • Page 3

Vanderbilt Garden Initiative takes root on campus By Dylan Thomas Staff Writer

Vanderbilt University just got a little greener. On April 5, an enthusiastic group of over forty Vanderbilt undergraduates, graduate students and professors met in Buttrick Hall to discuss plans for the Vanderbilt Garden Initiative, a 105 by 30 foot community vegetable garden located off Natchez Trace. “Something about being able to provide food for yourself really empowers you as an individual,” said sophomore Sebastian Rogers. At the forefront of the Vanderbilt Garden Initiative is Bruce Spencer, a junior in the School of Engineering. Last summer, Spencer and a handful of McGill Project and Vanderbilt Initiative for Vegetarian Awareness (VIVA) members crafted the idea of a campus garden which would be independently maintained and harvested by Vanderbilt students. After spending months last semester unsuccessfully trying to work with Plant Operations, Spencer joined forces with the Office of the Dean of Students’ Andrea Wall, now the garden’s advisor, to make the garden a reality. Since then, students from many corners of Vanderbilt have come together to help Spencer and Wall put the garden initiative into action. VIVA, Students Promoting Environmental Awareness and Responsibility (SPEAR), and the Office of the Dean of Students have worked alongside Spencer this semester to take the project off the ground. Over the past

few months, SPEAR and the Dean of Students successfully raised and allocated enough money to supply the garden with a shed, gardening tools and enough seed for a season of planting. The garden initiative is currently recruiting interested gardeners for the summer as well as for the 2011-2012 academic year. Ideally, faculty and students staying in Nashville this summer will plant warm weather crops, such as peppers and beans, to sustain the garden until students arrive for the fall semester. After warm crops are harvested in late summer, the garden will open to all undergraduates interested in planting cool weather crops, like broccoli, carrots and potatoes. The garden is accessible to anyone at Vanderbilt interested in tending to vegetable crops, regardless of experience. “We’re looking for all the volunteers we can get who want to be a part of a change at Vanderbilt,” Spencer said. As crops are harvested in the autumn and spring seasons, all community gardeners will have access to the ripe vegetables, but in the true spirit of a community garden, extra crops will be donated to Nashville Mobile Market, a community initiative which provides fresh fruits and vegetables in food deserts throughout urban Nashville. The community garden offers students the opportunity to reap not only vegetables, but important lessons. Several present at the interest meeting for the garden expressed excitement not about the crops

themselves, but about learning a new skill and gaining practical knowledge from gardening. Despite its youth, the garden initiative already has plans for expansion and improvement. Leadership positions within the garden project will become available in fall 2011 when the project expects to commence regular meetings. Additionally, students and faculty have discussed the creation of an internship opportunity in conjunction with the garden, with credit awarded for various related majors such as Earth and Environmental Sciences and Medicine, Health and Society. Many Vanderbilt students see the garden as one manifestation of the green-friendly attitude growing on campus. This semester, while the community garden initiative flourished, Vanderbilt Green Fund gained $75,000 in grants to award to campus sustainability projects, and Vanderbilt took its first steps toward a major in sustainability within the College of Arts and Science. Katie Ullmann, co-president of SPEAR, believes the garden stands as proof that Vanderbilt students have the power to initiate environmentally friendly change on campus. “Students need to keep talking about sustainability and need to support the growth of these projects. The administration will respond,” Ullmann said. If you’re interested in getting involved with the community vegetable garden, contact Bruce Spencer at or visit the Vanderbilt Garden Initiative page on Facebook.

Graphic: Google Maps


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April 2011

Pop your “Vandybubble” A statistically diverse student body does not equal open-mindedness By Maria Ochoa Staff writer

During my seven months at Vanderbilt, there has not been a week during which I have not heard the term “Vandybubble.” Professors, staff, publications (including ORBIS) and other students constantly encourage us to get out of it. But what exactly is the Vandybubble, and how are we to break out? When I think of the Vandybubble, the first thing that comes to mind is sorority t-shirts. Where else would it be cool to be wearing the exact same t-shirt that another fifty girls are wearing at the exact same time? I also think of a rather creepy obsession with frozen yogurt, an overabundance of bleach-blonde straight hair and a general sense that conflicts occurring within Vanderbilt are as big as conflicts get. But these stereotypes do not come close to describing my Vanderbilt experience. I have never chemically induced the color of my hair, I really dislike any sort of frozen dessert and I have never had a desire to wear Greek letters. So am I really in the Vandybubble? The Vanderbilt Interest Project’s Bridging the Gap program organized an open dialogue at the end of March to discuss “Bubbles within the Bubble,” or the self-segregation of Vanderbilt students due to stereo-

typed perceptions of others. I have to admit, I have been guilty of this self-segregation in the past. So my failure to fulfill the typical image of a Vandybubble resident does not exempt me from being trapped in

Breaking out of the Vandybubble is not just about experiencing the real Nashville. It is also about breaking out of our comfort zones here on campus. it: it just makes me further locked in as I create my own bubble. These bubbles within bubbles arise everywhere in Vanderbilt. There are Greek brothers and sisters, the engineering crowd, the Blair students, the Black Student Association kids, the McGillites, the student athletes, the McTyeirites, the Malaysian engineers and many more. If you do not find yourself guilty of classifying people into at least one of these categories, you are either lying to yourself or you are too absorbed in other matters to observe the social behavior around you once in a while. Bridging the Gap’s mission statement is “to open dialogue among all students on campus about their place in the Vanderbilt community and their interactions with different groups and organizations on campus.” So during their “Bubbles within the Bubble” event, the Vanderbilt Interest Project organizers made sure to be as straightforward as possible with their questions to make sure that students were as sincere with their answers. Students that attended the dialogue were asked to move to an “agree,” “disagree” or “neutral” section when presented with Graphic: Andri Alexandrou a statement or a scenario.

The statements ranged from “I feel that athletes are perceived as less motivated” to “I feel that races interact frequently at Vanderbilt.” When students explained their position on each one of them, they raised some rarely-discussed realities of Vanderbilt, such as what a student called Rand’s “Black Island.” Although I had seen most of the issues discussed in the dialogue during my time at Vanderbilt, I had never been so bold as to bring them up so I applaud the effort to put them on the table. Yes, Vanderbilt is, in the kindest words, “cliquey.” People get used to a certain group and tend to stick with it. It is also a school that prides itself in its diversity, but when it comes to its application in social life, it is rare to find groups of friends with obvious differences between them. Breaking out of the Vandybubble is not just about experiencing the real Nashville. It is also about breaking out of our comfort zones here on campus. Although on the surface people you may see people as what their labels brand them, upon interaction, you will often be surprised of who they really are. Sorority-clad, bleach-blonde girls often contribute insightful observations on any given topic in

The key to breaking these barriers between us is not to deny the stereotypes, but to catch ourselves when we are judging someone on the basis of them. class. Engineering kids are often also interested in politics and history. The key to breaking these barriers between us is not to deny the stereotypes, but to catch ourselves when we are judging someone on the basis of them. So the next time you encounter a person and immediately judge them on the image associated with the clothes that they are wearing, do not feel guilty because we have all done it at some point in our lives. Rather, take a small step in breaking these “bubbles” by catching yourself when making such an immediate assumption about behavior based on looks. When you do, you may find yourself seeing everyone around you in a different light and thus acquiring a much more multidimensional perspective as you interact with people you may have hindered yourself from interacting with in the past.

letter to the editor

April 2011

ORBIS • Page 5

Amnesty policy endangers students calling for help Most students at Vanderbilt have been told that in emergency situations, calling for help is always the right thing to do. It is for this reason that Vanderbilt has included an “Emergency Treatment” clause in the student handbook, allowing amnesty for students’ alcohol and other drug violations if someone has overdosed and called for help. The immunity rule states that “no student seeking medical attention for intoxication or overdose shall be formally disciplined for the simple illegal use or underage possession of alcohol or other drugs...” However, the phrase “simple illegal use or underage possession” is key in determining the legitimacy of this policy. The use and possession seem to be the only conduct code one would be violating if she were drinking or using other drugs so most students do not find fault in the policy. One thing that is not covered, however, is distribution of substances. This distinction seems to make sense, as “distribution” usually refers to selling drugs, which rarely applies to students at Vanderbilt. However, the term “distribution” is never clearly defined in the handbook. The only clarification provided is that “The term distribution includes ‘sharing’ of any drug and does not require any exchange of money.” Thus, anyone who is doing drugs in a social setting (which is far less dangerous than drinking or doing other drugs alone) might be charged with distribution. Giving your frat brother a sip of your beer, smoking a joint with your friends, borrowing an Adderall to finish a paper or giving your

roommate an Ambien when she can’t sleep could all be considered “distribution” by administration, which is not covered under the amnesty policy and is punishable on first offense by suspension or expulsion. Sharing drugs is a convention of social drug use; nonsocial drug use is usually drug abuse. If you are using alcohol or other drugs alone, you may want to consider seeking help. If you are using drugs with your friends

The “distribution” loophole in the policy exists to give Vanderbilt the final authority, while giving students a false sense of security when calling for help. (and I know you all haven’t purchased alcohol specifically for your consumption only), then you put yourself and your friends at risk of disciplinary action simply by calling for help when you need it. Many would argue that the simplest solution to this problem is to not do any drugs, ever. In fact, intoxication on any drug, even those which are legal for certain students, is technically against policy. The handbook states: “Again, due to the danger that intoxicated persons pose

to themselves and to others, as well as to the disruption that intoxication can bring to the living/learning community, intoxication is prohibited.” Though this is part of the policy we all agreed to uphold, very obvious violations of this policy run rampant on campus every night of the week, most notably Thursday through Saturday. The amnesty policy is in place because Vanderbilt recognizes (as it should) that alcohol and other drug experimentation is going to happen on its campus regardless of policies against it and that those students experimenting with substances should not be afraid to call for help. However, the “distribution” loophole in the policy exists to give Vanderbilt the final authority, while giving students a false sense of security when calling for help. Unfortunately, I know this from experience. As a caring member of the Vanderbilt community, I am writing to inform you that you can get into trouble when you call for help. Ideally, this wouldn’t deter students from seeking help, but if you are worried (like I am) that it will, or if you are appalled at Vanderbilt for this apparent trickery, then we as a student body should act against it. I am organizing a campaign against this policy on Facebook titled “A Call for Help,” but if the Internet isn’t your thing, call the Office of Student Conduct & Academic Integrity at 615-322-7868 or write VU Station B # 351598. You can also email Assistant Dean Daniel Swinton at daniel.c.swinton@ Tricia Lebkuecher

Campus Progress’ annual National Conference in Washington, D.C. brings together 1,000 students and dozens of leading speakers (including past keynote speakers Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) for issue discussions, skills trainings and networking. We also hold DC, regional, and campus trainings on journalism, media skills and grassroots organizing. Visit national_conference/ for more.

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April 2011

Russel Brand carries comedy, emotion in “Arthur” By Meghan O’Neill features editor

On Friday, “Arthur,” directed by Jason Winer (Modern Family) and starring Russell Brand, opened to mainly negative reviews. Many derided the film as a less-than-stellar copy of the 1981 original, and others suggested that Russell Brand does not possess the acting chops to carry the film. However, I disagree. Though some aspects of the film are lacking, the movie as a whole was a hilarious, touching work. The movie tells the story of Arthur Bach, the sole heir to a large fortune, who, in typical Russell Brand fashion, loves to party and act generally immature. He is looked after by his witty and caring nanny Hobson, played by the fantastic Helen Mirren. Due to his lack of responsibility, Arthur ’s mother threatens to cut him off from the family fortune if he does not marry Susanne, who she believes will be able to keep Arthur in line and take over the family business. Arthur, however, who Hobson describes as “merely the shape of a man” with a child’s personality, is a hopeless romantic, and falls in love with a poor woman, Naomi (Greta Gerwig) who gives tours of Manhattan for a living. Hilarity ensues as Arthur attempts to choose between wealth and true love. The first half of the movie was nonstop laughter, in a Get Him to the Greek kind of way: Russell

pected turn to more sensitive subjects, becoming sentimental and inspirational (I teared up, and I’m not usually emotional in movies). There are some parts, however, that were lessthan-perfect, the most glaring of which was the

lack of development in the relationship between Arthur and his mother. There seems to be no real reason for her lack of involvement in his childhood and upbringing, and her personality is not displayed enough for us to even infer her reasoning. Likewise, the character of Bob Johnson, Susanne Johnson’s (played by Jennifer Garner) father, is flat, making him more of a caricature than a tough-love Dad, which seems to have been the original intention. Brand, contrary to some opinions, is the movie’s saving grace. He deftly handled the role of Arthur, no doubt drawing on his own experience with alcoholism and generally ridiculous behavior, managing to be both somewhat annoying and endearing. His high-pitched voice, though somewhat off-putting at the start of the film, perfectly reflects Arthur ’s childish behavior and stinted emotional growth. Overall, the movie seems to be a rather poignant look into the effects of both absent parents and rampant alcoholism. Though a somewhat large portion of the film strayed from the non-stop comedy I expected, it still had me almost crying from laughter, and actually crying from the deep relationships it develops, especially that between a child and their substitute mother. The movie is perfect for fans of ridiculous comedies such as The Hangover and Get Him to the Greek, and I highly recommend it.

Photo: Indie Wire website

Photo: Warner Bros Pictures

Brand spending money in ludicrous ways and boozing around to general laughter and enjoyment. He even makes a joke about the Vanderbilts! About halfway through, the film takes an unex-

[Brand] deftly handled the role of Arthur, no doubt drawing on his own experience with alcoholism and generally ridiculous behavior, managing to be both somewhat annoying and endearing.


April 2011

ORBIS • Page 7

Orbis Recommends: The Perfect Summer Song

Photo: andri alexandrou

Nothing beats a perfect summer song: it’s catchy and upbeat, and it takes away the stress of the school year. So instead of our usual album reviews, we decided to compile a list of some of the best summer songs to help you create the perfect summer playlist. Some of them may be extra cheery, and leave a bit of a too-sweet feeling in your mouth, but it’s summer - just forget what you know and enjoy it.

School’s Out Alice Cooper The Beach All Time Low Love Shack The B52s Surfin’ Safari The Beach Boys Yellow Submarine The Beatles All the Small Things Blink 182 Reckless Abandon Blink 182 Summer of ‘69 Bryan Adams Weekend Warriors A Change of Pace No Particular Place to Go Chuck Berry Train in Vain The Clash Nothing With You Descendants With a Little Help from Sublime Mashup Dj Magnet, The Beatles, Sublime The Boys of Summer Don Henley Up on the Roof The Drifters Under the Boardwalk The Drifters Life in the Fast Lane The Eagles Summertime Blues Eddie Cochran The Way Fastball You Make My Dreams Come True Hall and Oates Finger Poppin Time Hank Ballard and the Midnighters

I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City Harry Nilsson Summer Girls LFO Summer in the City The Lovin Spoonful She’s Got You High Mumm-Ra In the Summertime Mungo Jerry Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer Nat King Cole Scar Tissue Red Hot Chili Peppers Hold On I’m Comin’ Sam and Dave Summer Breeze Seals & Croft Fool for Love Stefy Doin’ Time Sublime What I Got Sublime Into Yesterday Sugar Ray Wipeout The Surfaris Sweet Disposition The Temper Trap Life is a Highway Tom Cochrane American Girl Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers We’ll Be Alright Travie McCoy Friday is Forever We The Kings We Are Young 3OH!3 Double Vision 3OH!3

The Edgy Vedgy: prepare for summer the vegan way By sarah O’Brien LifestYLe COLuMNist

As we finish the academic year, juggling finals, papers and campus music festivals, we’re approaching a perfect time to adopt healthier lifestyles. The freedoms of summer allow for an easy transition into new habits without the pressures of schoolwork or the limits of dormitory kitchens. If you have been considering becoming vegetarian or vegan, I’ve got a cheat sheet from my own personal experience that will allow you to go into this summer with the knowledge of a veteran. Many people are under the impression that veganism is a dietary choice. But many people consider it a lifestyle. The choice to become a vegan is often rooted in the desire to prevent harming animals, but many vegans go above and beyond to make sure that they do not support an industry involved in harming and killing animals for goods or pleasure. When it comes to clothing, a majority of vegans do not wear leather or fur. They make sure that they wear clothing that does not come from companies that exploit animals. For example, Alternative Apparel and Threads for Thought are some popular clothing brands among vegans. Similarly, many vegans like to buy clothing that is made from natural dyes and organic cotton. Vegan shoes are the easiest to shop for. Some popular companies that make vegan shoes include Steve Madden and TOMS shoes. My favorite place to get vegan shoes

online is, which has a variety of cheap vegan shoes including sandals, high heels and boots. Another consideration for vegans concerns personal hygiene products. It isn’t very hard to find products that do not contain animal products and are not tested on animals. Women wear makeup that has not been tested on animals and does not contain any animal byproducts.

I recently had the privilege of viewing the documentary “The Cove” for a second time, and I recommend it in the highest possible terms. Some popular vegan makeup brands include Urban Decay (my personal favorite), Tarte and Ecco Bella. There are also some great vegan and vegetarian face washes and toothpastes that do not contain paraben or artificial flavors. My personal favorite brand of face wash is Yes To Carrots, because it is 96% natural and the brand has face wash for all skin types. Similarly, my favorite toothpaste company is Tom’s of Maine, who

also sell great mouthwash, deodorant and floss. There are also many great companies for household care. Seventh Generation has a great line of environmentally friendly products ranging from cleaning products to baby wipes. Method brand at Target is also a vegan company that has many soap and cleaning products. The key to finding good products that fit within your lifestyle is research. I always look at other vegan blogs and websites for product reviews. A great resource when looking for the best and newest vegan products is Alicia Silverstone’s blog and website, The Kind Life. She has a wide variety of vegan topics on here including food, home products, clothing and beauty. In general, I try to buy a lot of organic products and I make sure I do research on companies when buying big products. Similarly, vegans in general are people who are concerned with personal well-being and the environment. Therefore, many vegans engage in different types of physical activity, often including running and yoga. Many vegans also do their best to recycle and promote the “going green” movement. Don’t let the vegan lifestyle scare you off. If anything, I hope that a lifestyle change is something that excites you. If we all did our part to promote overall human wholeness and reducing our carbon footprints we may find that our society would in general be happier and healthier. So, whether you’re considering make the switch or you are already beginning your vegan journey, make sure you take some of these into consideration. Go Veg!

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April 2011

Crisis Pregnancy Centers preach abstinence

Christian sexual health centers provide incomplete services By Lily Sturmann Staff writer

Not all reproductive health organizations are created equal. Many Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), which are faith-based organizations that emphasize counseling to help women who face an unplanned pregnancy, have sprung up since the 1960s. In the face of political resistance to Planned Parenthood, pregnant women need to be aware of the potential dangers associated with what sort of pregnancy center they visit, including CPCs. “I believe we have a lot more counseling services available [than Planned Parenthood], which are extremely helpful in a crisis situation to help a client beyond their immediate care,” said Renee Rizzo, CEO of Nashville CPC Hope Clinic for Women. “In the end, if women know about a place like theirs and about Hope Clinic, then they can make an informed choice about where they want to receive care.” CPCs operate under a conservative Christian reproductive ideology. They do not offer abortions or abortion referrals — and typically do not dispense any form of birth control. Often listed under “abortion alternatives” in the Yellow Pages, they can offer free pregnancy and STD tests, ultrasounds, parenting classes or relationship counseling, as well as material items like diapers for new and expectant mothers. While many do claim to educate about birth control, this education is heavily or entirely abstinencefocused. They are often affiliated with pro-life organizations like CareNet, Heartbeat International or even Focus on the Family. According to a report from Legal Momentum, some do get governmental funding through grants for abstinence-only education — noticeably without the uproar that now surrounds Planned Parenthood. The concern raised by organizations like the Feminist Majority Foundation is that these centers, which are unflinchingly pro-life, do not give women an unbiased chance to explore their full range of options following an unplanned pregnancy. While many CPCs emphasize choice, abortion is not on the table as a healthy and advisable decision that the center will support. Furthermore, CPCs have gotten negative media attention recently as “fake clinics” that use “deceptive tactics” to persuade women not to have an abortion, according to CPC Watch. Pro-choice organizations are concerned that women who visit CPCs may be intimidated or misinformed into carrying their pregnancy to term, which can lead to physical complications, emotional distress, financial problems and constrained life choices for some women — not to mention a lifetime of hardship for the child. For women who ultimately choose to abort, spending time at a CPC delays abortion services and may delay the procedure and make it more costly and

complicated. To their credit, many CPCs do offer a wide range of services for women and couples that go beyond whether or not to have an abortion. The Hope Clinic

[T]hese centers, which are unflinchingly pro-life, do not give women an unbiased chance to explore their full range of options following an unplanned pregnancy. for Women, for example, was invited to a round table discussion on infant mortality along with Vanderbilt Hospital and Belmont University and has been recognized for its achievements in providing the best holistic care for pregnant women, as well as for including fathers in their programs. “We [see ourselves as] a human services organization for women and men focusing on unplanned preg-

Photo: Lily Sturmann nancies, prevention, pregnancy loss and postpartum depression,” Rizzo said. Some who have turned to these centers report a comforting atmosphere and an ongoing positive experience. “People at the CPC will hold your hand through your pregnancy, let you cry on their shoulder,” said Morgan Moss, who visited the Columbia Pregnancy Resource Center in Columbia, TN when she found herself pregnant at 16. CPCs in the Nashville area are often forthright about their pro-life stance. Their websites indicate, often in bold print, that they do not perform or refer for abortions. They mention on their websites that they are faith-based organizations, or like the Columbia Pregnancy Resource Center, talk extensively about abstinence and “God’s plan” for sex. It would be difficult to mistake these CPCs for abortion clinics. While these CPCs are straightforward about their goals, though, an unexpectedly pregnant mother may not be in a state of mind to confront her options critically. CPCs vary widely in quality and some will be more helpful and accurate than others. A representative at one CPC in Tennessee explained that while she could agree that the inclusion of birth control in sex educa-

Continued on page 9

April 2011


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Aid in Africa stifles nationality, independence By Andri Alexandrou editorial staff

“We all want Africa to be an equal partner on the global stage,” said Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian-born economist who was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009. “This culture of giving aid to Africa is making it more and more separate from the rest of the world.” Moyo spoke at the Vanderbilt Model United Nations at their fourth annual Spring Gala on March 29 . She came to campus in the wake of a book tour promoting her “Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa.”

When such large sums of money come from external sources, these leaders see no need to legitimize themselves in the eyes of their people. Moyo believes that since the end of colonialism, the independence of African nations has never been completely fulfilled because of the tradition of giving aid to nations who appear needy. What began as an honorable desire on the part of developed nations to mend a century of colonial abuse has morphed into a system that only encourages African leaders to “behave badly” by maintaining poor economies and

neglecting their populations. When such large sums of money come from external sources, these leaders see no need to legitimize themselves in the eyes of their people. Rather, power conflicts and corruption run amok as the state officials vie to make their own lives luxurious. Aid is a broad term, she explained. The humanitarian aid that goes to populations recently hit by natural disasters or other crises certainly benefits victims in need of emergency food and shelter. Nongovernmental organizations, too, can do good on a small scale that locals need — such as constructing wells, or providing scholarships for girls to go to school. It’s the aid given to governments, ostensibly for purposes of national improvement, that proves problematic. Some similar complaints have been voiced against organizations that operate under the heading of providing aid to needy communities, such as the popular shoe brand TOMS. If free items are entering the community, the stimulus for local markets to grow disappears. The items that get sent — shoes, say, or shirts — are not items that are particularly lacking in these communities. Indeed, local markets provide just these types of items which are produced locally. Shoes and shirts are just the kind of products that stimulate local economy and allow individuals to make a living decent and improve their personal well-being. Therefore, the argument goes, the current obsession with providing “aid” actually becomes detrimental. Yet this kind of systemic abuse is not present everywhere in Africa. Moyo recounted a conversation she had with an unnamed African president. “Any country that relies on aid has not had a genocide,” she said.

The correlation is significant, she argued. Through the process, those countries that experienced tragic events learned to be self-sufficient because in times of need, the world powers stood aside. Moyo left room for optimism, however. While at the moment we may treat the leaders of African nations like children by giving and giving and expecting nothing in return, even as their populations are neither the poorest nor most needy in comparison to those in India or China, if we transition to holding them more accountable to their own populations there may come a change. Something as simple as establishing a tax base in a country, which would create a contract between citizen and representative, could fundamentally alter the current bad behavior of officials. Introducing microfinance into a community would encourage local markets to grow, which creates culture of borrowing, lending and repaying that is critical to the survival of a healthy local market. “I really do believe change is possible,” Moyo said. “We can start today to move in the right direction.”

Christian pregnancy centers give biased treatment - from page 8: tion “may cut down” on teen pregnancy and STDs, her organization remains unwaveringly focused on abstinence. A young woman who visits this center can expect that her choice to be sexually active before marriage will earn her a recommendation for counseling, even if she is satisfied with her choice and her pregnancy test comes back negative. Accessibility is a significant issue in reproductive health, especially in politically conservative areas. The National Abortion Federation’s website states that there are over 4,000 CPCs in the country while abortion clinics number half of that at most. Vanderbilt alumnus Alysha Tribbett, who grew up in the town of Kingman, AZ, expressed concern about this skewed ratio. “The CPC [in my town] was right near the high school, on a main corner, with a big parking lot, pink sign and obvious advertisement. We had no abortion clinics,” Tribbett said. The EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, KY, is according to their website the only abortion provider in the state of Kentucky, while in Tennessee

these services are clustered only in the major cities. Even access to useful sex education and contraceptives can be difficult. “I think we need more local Planned Parenthoods,

The very existence of these centers seems to admit that their abstinence-only approach does not work, yet still they won’t demonstrate how to use a condom. simply because they offer free birth control education and options for sexually active teens,” said Moss. “Very few CPCs offer the services that Planned

Parenthood offers [services like birth control and sex education],“ said Skye Bacus, a junior in the School of Engineering. Planned Parenthood has received a lot of heated political attention because it receives federal funding. Opponents want to suggest that Planned Parenthood clinics are abortion warehouses, when in fact they provide much-needed education at a time when realistic sex education in public schools is painfully lacking. CPCs, on the other hand, can be found near high schools all across the country. Their unwaveringly pro-life stance and predominantly Christian ideology raises questions about what kinds of support they do and do not provide. The very existence of these centers seems to admit that their abstinenceonly approach does not work, yet still they won’t demonstrate how to use a condom. We cannot take a passive stance when it comes to reproductive and sexual health. We must pay attention to who runs the institutions for sexual health and be wary of dogmatic institutions.


Page 10 • ORBIS

April 2011

Conservatives don’t want you to vote By Aimee Sobhani Opinion Editor

It looks like cutting funding to NPR and trying to take away women’s rights is only the tip of the iceberg for conservatives. Now, they want to hinder college students’ ability to vote as well. According to Campus Progress, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has drafted and distributed legislation that would limit the ability of college students to vote by narrowing the definition of “identification card” in such a way that college ID’s could not be used to establish proof of residence. Campus Progress alleges that the model legislation distributed by ALEC has inspired several state bills concerning voting. Clearly, forbidding college students to register to vote in the state that is their home away from home is problematic. Rather than having the ease of physically voting at a polling place, college students would instead be forced to vote absentee in their home state. The problem is, of course, that voting absentee requires a lot more work on the part of the individual voter than physically voting.

Facts: College students overwhelmingly vote liberal. A conservative organization is trying to limit the means by which a college student can vote. Does that sound a little shady to anyone? For those who have never voted absentee, let me walk you through the process. Each state has its own absentee voting laws. Let’s use Tennessee’s absentee voting process as an example. First, the absentee voter must fill out a form that requires typical biographical information and must include an explanation of why the person wishes to vote absentee. Then, the voter sends in the form, waits for it to be reviewed, and waits for an absentee ballot to be mailed to them. After receiving the ballot, he or she fills out the ballot and sends it back to their state of residence. Now, let’s look at the process for voting in a physical location: (1) Show up and present identification and voter registration card, (2) stand in line for five or ten minutes, (3) vote on a computer, and (4) receive an “I Voted!” sticker. Both methods require a little effort on the part of the voter, but option two obviously requires less effort than option one. The average lazy college student, who will passively register at a “get out the vote” event on campus, can passively board a shuttle to the nearest polling state to vote while option one requires you to do a little

more work. The onus is on the individual to figure out how to request an absentee ballot. This information isn’t impossible to find, but it does require one to actually care enough about voting to take the time to find answers. Facts: College students overwhelmingly vote liberal. A conservative organization is trying to limit the means by which a college student can vote. Does that sound a little shady to anyone? Ostensibly, bills discounting college IDs as valid determinants of residence make it more difficult for voter fraud to occur, which is of course one of conservatives’ many pet peeves. I’m not saying that voter fraud isn’t a problem, but conservative news organizations like FOX make it appear much more of a problem than it actually is. After all, we don’t live in Iraq; we live in the United States, the oldest democracy in the world. Our system of voting isn’t perfect (as anyone who remembers the 2000 presidential election will state), but the process is largely free from fraud and corruption. ALEC and other conservative groups want to shut college students up and with good reason. President Obama was extremely popular on campuses in 2008, and though the magic has worn off, college students will disproportionally support Obama over the Republican candidate. ALEC’s shadowy legislation is not a mere threat looming in the near future. In the past six years, seven states have passed laws that have hindered students’ ability to vote. However, currently, 18 additional states are considering legislation that would limit student voting in a variety of ways. Some states want to require an in-state driver’s license while others are banning college ID’s. In some more extreme measures, first-time voters

would be prevented from voting by absentee ballot. The motives are clear. A state representative from New Hampshire, William O’Brien, wants to more narrowly define what it means to be a New Hampshire state resident. He believes the laws are necessary because col-

People in the Middle East have been dying to gain the right to vote; college students should take threats to their voting rights seriously. lege students are “voting liberal, voting their feelings, with no life experience.” Glossing over the fact that O’Brien’s statement implies that only stupid, emotional people vote liberal, it is obvious that the conservative resurgence in this country is threatening young people’s voting rights. ALEC’s actions shouldn’t just concern liberal students, though. The legislation threatens the right of ALL college students to vote. As this situation continues to change, it is important for all college students to come together and oppose the disintegration of their voting rights. People in the Middle East have been dying to gain the right to vote; college students should take threats to their voting rights seriously.

Photo: Jeremy L. Grisham

April 2011


ORBIS • Page 11

WRVU unable to utilize community support By Jon Christian editor-in-chief

I do not support the possible sale of WRVU’s broadcast license. I believe that if Vanderbilt Student Communications lets our student radio station go, they will have abandoned an invaluable media asset with deep historical and contemporary value. But there is no getting around the fact that WRVU’s executive staff have handled the proposed sale poorly. When the sale was announced in September, I assumed they would use the opportunity to ally with other organizations and to network with students and alumni in an effort to launch a concerted anti-sale effort. It breaks my heart to say it because there are a lot of great people involved with WRVU, but that’s not how it has played out. Certain things have been done well. An open letter signed by Blair School of Music faculty and students speaks about the importance of maintaining WRVU’s broadcast license, which stands in contrast to Chancellor Zeppos’ policy of silence. A Facebook page with more than 6000 members and a petition with over 1000 signatures demonstrate that the radio station has an eager audience. But the execution of their antisale campaign reveals an inability or unwillingness to mobilize these supporters. Even more mortifying than the half-truths a n d i n n u e n d o a g a i n s t Va n d e r b i l t S t u d e n t

Certain things have been done well. An open letter signed by Blair School of Music faculty and students speaks about the importance of maintaining WRVU’s broadcast license, which stands in contrast to Chancellor Zeppos’ silence. Communications have been the communication problems. As ORBIS has tried to talk with WRVU leadership, relations with the executive staff and disc jockeys have alternated between i n c o m p e t e n c e a n d b l a t a n t d i s re s p e c t . A f e w non-Vanderbilt community DJs have been helpful, but they are unwilling to go on the record

because they are afraid their shows will be canceled. For a sense of perspective, the ORBIS office is located on the same hallway as WRVU. Their door is a few paces from ours. But phone calls aren’t returned and the students we flag down

So what gives? Sometimes I’ve wondered if they actually want the station to be sold, that their opposition is some kind of meta-performance art on how not to run a protest. in the hallway all have excuses not to comment. Emailing the executive staff is like emailing a black hole. Nobody could appreciate the laziness that permeates WRVU better than ORBIS’ infinitely patient features editor Meghan O’Neill, who has worked dutifully to cover the anti-sale movement for the duration of this academic year, starting at the press conference in September at which Mark Wollaeger confirmed the rumors. The behavior O’Neill has dealt with from WRVU staffers has spanned from the baffling (the only time I am aware of the executive staff taking initiative was when somebody crinkled up a sloppy handwritten note and pushed it under our door) to the downright rude. So what gives? Sometimes I’ve wondered if they actually want the station to be sold, that their opposition is some kind of meta-performance art on how not to run a protest. But what’s closer to the truth, I think, is that they are just woefully unprepared. The leadership’s rock and roll mentality hasn’t prepared them to run a protest, never mind while running a radio station. It’s a reality that WRVU general manager Victor Clarke acknowledges. He took the position when Mikil Taylor stepped down, he explained to me, because there simply was nobody else to do the job. And while he’s tried his best, he’s found that the apathetic, party-style atmosphere at the station makes it difficult to strong-arm anybody into taking responsibility. WRVU is staffed by children playing a grownups’ game. And even if there were not a potential sale to fight against, that is an unacceptable situation for our storied Music City radio station. Vanderbilt Student Communications hasn’t

acknowledged it, but there is no question in my mind that the profound incompetence of the station’s leadership played a role in the decision to nix the broadcast license. Now, I deeply disagree with director of student media Chris Carroll’s vision for consolidated student media at Vanderbilt. I feel that there are too many unanswered questions about the budget for the station to be sold and that the lack of transparency that has characterized the potential sale has shamed Vanderbilt’s relationship with its students. But unless WRVU is taken over by a coalition of competent, musicloving students, they don’t have a chance.

Graphic: Save WRVU website image modified

Page 12 • ORBIS

The flip side

April 2011


With the end of the semester fast approaching, the last thing on our minds is getting to know Nashville. However, the end of the spring semester also means we can head outside to study for finals. We’ll kill two birds with one stone and find some good study—and study break—spots for this last month in Nashville. AJA Centennial Park 2600 West End Avenue On those outright sunny days when you can’t imagine going inside, your best bet will probably be to head over to Centennial Park. The huge lawn that lies between the Parthenon and West End is great for laying out to study, tan or sleep. Frisbee players have been known to frequent the lawn as well, so if you need a break you’ll be able to jump in. Nashvillians are friendly and eager to meet new people. The pond in front of the Parthenon is encompassed by a walkway. Sometimes if it gets too hot I like to make the rounds and maybe even feed the ducks. You can occasionally feel the spray of the fountains, which when matched by the cool breezes just becomes the perfect springtime weather. When you come back from summer, watch out for the Shakespeare in the Park program. It takes place here at Centennial. It’s a time-honored tradition and a great way to spend a late summer evening.

Las Palmas on 19th Ave 1905 Hayes St If you’re of drinking age, you need to know about this place. Located not far off campus, and therefore perfect for some walking-distance afternoon drinks, this place could easily be the perfect destination for a weekly outing. Their happy hour jumbo margaritas—priced at a criminal $2.50—merit the trip alone. The casual atmosphere and fine, affordable Mexican cuisine Photo: Andri Alexandrou make this restaurant an all-around winner. Careful about your happy hour visits, though. That five page paper you’d planned on writing after Fido a quick trip to Las Palmas might have to wait until 1812 21st Ave S tomorrow. Caught in the middle of Hillsboro Village, Fido is another Bongo Java production placed midway J & J’s Market and Cafe between Belmont and Vanderbilt. You’re sure to run 1912 Broadway into all types of people here. Their inside space has I’ve been coming to J & J’s since I went to high plenty of tables for the college crowd, and quite a school, perusing their aisles of magazines and exfew tables sit right out on the sidewalk where you pensive of chocolates before settling down to work can soak up the rays and people watch as passers-by on a paper while sipping hot cups of chai tea. I wish pass by. I had kept up that trend coming to college, because Fido is a café first, but their eclectic menu means I remember fondly the sways of the music over the you’ll find something a little different here than intercom that seemed to interject perfectly into my you would elsewhere. I’m thinking of the hangstudying. over bomb, which is cream cheese and a breakfast At J & J’s, nearly everyone has their nose buried in meat of choice on a bagel, or the “fideau,” which is their laptop, and those who don’t are busy whisperbrie, granny smith apple, garlic mayonnaise, greens, ing to their partner across the table. This is a study and a champagne vinaigrette on any bread of your place for many local schools, as well as Vanderbilt, so choice. if you strike up a conversation with someone nearThe quiet and welcoming atmosphere of Fido by they’re likely to provide a different perspective means it’s perfect for a group study session or just a on something philosophy (as of course they must, casual cup of coffee with a friend. we’re in an old-style coffee house after all). The Villager Tavern 1719 21st Ave S When you need a study break, just walk across the street from Fido. This tiny hole in the wall pubstyle bar, complete with photographs from years past and hole-worn dartboards, will take you back to the college years of yore. It’s a smokefest inside, so I wouldn’t head there unless you’re okay walking away smelling like the place afterward. It’s known especially for its dog bowls. If you go on your birthday you get treated a ratty old dog bowl filled with beer, which you get for free if you manage to drink the whole thing. I didn’t dare do this on my birthday, but from what I hear the hardest part is losing your dignity as you try to lap up the foamy beer out of the bowl.

San Antonio Taco Company 416 21st Ave S If you haven’t already discovered Satco, then you might as well not call yourself a Vandy student. For the sake of visitors, though, I’ll just say that this is the place to be any time of day. The patio at Satco is larger than the interior space, so you know this Mexican restaurant was meant to be enjoyed outside. The food isn’t the best Mexican cuisine you’ll ever have, but that’s all right because Satco is an experience. The food is just the beginning of your meal. The laid back atmosphere allows you to lounge around in those lazy summer moments while Nashville buzzes around you.

Vol X No 8  

Spring 2011 May Issue

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