Archive for December, 2002

International players excel in the NBA

Friday, December 6th, 2002 | Lesley McCullough

Washington University is a campus rich in diversity with students hailing from all across the nation and many foreign countries as well.

The NBA, too, has grown increasingly diverse in recent years, making the league more of an international playground than ever.

While the emergence of international basketball players has threatened the U.S.’s stranglehold on the sport, it has led to a larger pool of quality basketball players for the NBA to draw from and exciting new players entering the NBA scene.

One need not look further than Texas for evidence of the success of the international players in the NBA. The Dallas Mavericks, led by 7-foot German Dirk Nowitzki, have taken the league by storm, racing off to an incredible 17-1 start.

While the Mavs have played surprisingly well on the defensive end of the floor, they have relied extensively on zone defenses. No matter how effective the zone defense has appeared in the early going, that style of defense is not a viable long-term defensive solution in NBA. Last year, the Timberwolves similarly employed the zone defense to success in the beginning of the season. At the NBA level, however, players and coaches are quick to adjust to the zone schemes, and the ‘Wolves zone was busted in the middle of the season, forcing the team to return to man-to-man defense.

Unless Big D can learn to play solid man-to-man D, the Mavs will fall short of their title aspirations and leave owner Mark Cuban with one sour kraut to deal with.

Just across the state in San Antonio, the Spurs’ hopes for a second title may hinge on their all-international backcourt of Frenchman point guard Tony Parker and Argentine shooting guard Emmanuel Ginobili. Ginobili, whose slashing style and youth are supposed to add much needed athleticism to the Spurs backcourt, looks like the real deal. Sadly for Spurs fans, his three-point stroke, a necessity for the Spurs’ inside-outside game, appears to be as steady as his native Argentina’s currency.

The biggest buzz around the NBA, though, can be found in Houston with the recent strong play of Chinese center Yao Ming. Ming’s excellent play forced loudmouth commentator and former loudmouth player Charles Barkley to kiss fellow colleague Kenny Smith’s “ass” after Barkley agreed that he would do just that should Ming score 19 points in a game. Thankfully, for all parties involved (and the viewing public), Smith had the sense to borrow a donkey and allowed Sir Charles the opportunity to substitute the donkey for Smith’s own posterior.

“Anything less would be uncivilized.”

International players in the NBA may be more numerous and talented than ever, but the path to the NBA title still goes through Los Angeles despite the Lakers’ early season struggles.

With Shaq shaking off the rust in his return from big toe surgery, there is a good chance this season will end the same as the last three-with Mark Madsen displaying his signature dance moves at the victory parade.

The Sacramento Kings remain a threat to derail the Lakers’ title run with a talented team loaded with Eastern Europeans who seem to have left their razor blades back in Europe.

With plenty of interesting storylines and the new international flare of the NBA, this season promises plenty of entertainment and excitement.

Winning is “fun”-damental

Friday, December 6th, 2002 | Lesley McCullough

After countless summer workouts and endless weeks of practice, the Washington University women’s basketball team finally began its season two weeks ago… and it was definitely worth the wait. The Bears are 5-0 and ranked number one in the national Division III poll.

This year’s campaign began on the road when the Bears traveled to Rockford, Illinois for the Rockford College Tip-Off Tournament. On Friday, Nov. 22, WU defeated Wheaton College, 65-53. Freshman transfer-student Kelly Manning came off the bench to lead all scorers with 20 points. She also added seven rebounds in her 24 minutes of play.

Commenting on her first official WU game, Manning said, “I was really excited to have the opportunity to play and be a part of the WU team.”

Senior guard Laura Crowley and sophomore transfer Terri Lakowski added 10 points each. While the teams found themselves tied at halftime, 31-31, the Bears came out shooting well in the second half to secure their first victory of the season.

WU overwhelmed host Rockford College 80-50 on Saturday, Nov. 23 to win the tournament. In fact, 17 different WU players saw playing time during this game. WU led 45-15 at the half and never looked back. Four Bears finished scoring in double-digits. Sophomore Hallie Hutchens led the way with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while junior guard Lesley Hawley had 11 points, and seniors Danielle Battle and Crowley netted 10 points. Although the Bears came away with two solid wins, several areas of their game showed obvious need of improvement.

“Two things that coach emphasizes in practice are turnovers and free throws. Ideally, she would like us to have 15 turnovers or less and shoot 80 percent from the line,” said sophomore guard Leslie Berger.

Following their Thanksgiving feasts, the Bears returned to the comforts of their home court on Saturday, Nov. 30 when they hosted the 2nd Annual McWilliams Basketball Classic. WU crushed the visiting Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by a score of 94-38. Several key factors in the win for the Bears were 82 percent free throw shooting and only 10 turnovers.

“Our first tournament wasn’t that great. We have been playing much better recently,” said Hutchens.

“The goal is to keep improving and take one game at a time. Right now we are a good team, but with the talent of these players we have the potential to be a great team. Each game we get better,” said Berger.

On Sunday, Dec. 1, WU took on Carthage College in the WU Field House. The Bears scored over 90 points for the second consecutive game when they handily defeated Carthage 90-49. The Bears limited themselves to 16 turnovers and shot 70 percent from the free throw line.

For the third time this season, Hutchens led the way in scoring with 18 points. She also grabbed eight rebounds.

“We have a deep bench. On any given night, any one of us can have a great game-it is hard for the other team to guard every one of us all the time,” said Berger.

Because of their success to begin the season, the Bears find themselves alone atop the Division III rankings.

“We are more concerned with the competitiveness during daily practices than with any outside ranking,” Manning said.

“I haven’t been at WU when we weren’t ranked No. 1, so it’s the same pressures as last year. But I think this year we want it more since we didn’t go all the way last season,” said Hutchens.

This week, the Bears are gearing up for yet another tournament, the Washington University Division III Shootout, when they will host Illinois Wesleyan, DePauw and Illinois College.

“Now that scouting films are out on us, we have been refining certain aspects of our offense in order to hopefully catch teams off guard,” said Berger.

So happy together…

Friday, December 6th, 2002 | Pankaj Chhabra
Jeff Kahntroff

If people believe that the men’s and women’s basketball teams only share the number one ranking in Division III, they would be mistaken. In addition to claiming the top spots, the squads also share time together off the court, helping them form a special bond.

Since the teams travel together for games, the men and women serve as rooting sections for each other at away games. This was most evident in January 2001, when the women broke the all-time record for consecutive wins.

“It’s neat to have them on the road because a lot of times they’re our only fans,” senior forward Meg Sullivan said of her team’s counterparts. “I remember a specific incident when we broke the record up in Pittsburgh, and everyone in the gym was rooting against us. After the game, they all came onto the court and hugged us. They’ve all been very supportive even though they haven’t been as successful at winning national titles.”

When the teams interact, they are able to blend other topics into their conversations. But, naturally, the players talk a lot about the game.

“I talk to quite a few of the girls about basketball,” senior forward Chris Jeffries said. “We talk about each other’s team, who’s doing well, who’s not, and what we expect to see in the next game.”

In fact, men’s coach Mark Edwards and women’s coach Nancy Fahey spend enough time together to help each other out.

“Sometimes they’ll swap plays and see if they can be applied to their team,” junior center Suzy Digby said. “Our coaching staffs work together a lot, but they don’t tell us how to play, and we don’t tell them how to play. When the coaches talk about the teams, it can only help.”

Socially, the teams interact at the start of the school year so that new team members get to know each other.

“We have a couple of outside-sports things to get to know each other,” junior guard Lindsy Williamson said. “We have mixers, and we try to get the freshmen to know each other on the team. We’re kind of like one big family all together.”

Although the teams are similar socially, their style of play is vastly different, making it hard to give each other pointers.

“It seems like what they run is a lot more disciplined,” Jeffries said. “In our system, within the discipline we are given, we are permitted a lot of freedom. They’ll run their plays tight and to the end, whereas when we find an opening anywhere, we’ll take it.

“Even though we’ll try to give tips to each other, we don’t overstep the boundaries of the different systems we run.”

Both teams are coming of NCAA tournament disappointments, ending great seasons prematurely. They use those upsets as motivational tools.

“We both have bitter tastes in our mouths after being knocked off and being so close last year,” Digby said. “If we both work hard and stick to our goals, I think it’s entirely possible that both teams could end the year at the top.”

Perfect start no walk in the park

Friday, December 6th, 2002 | Pankaj Chhabra By Pankaj Chhabra

Starting the season ranked number one in the country, the Washington University men’s basketball team figured that this season would be similar to driving on Shepley Drive: just when the going gets smooth, another speed bump presents itself.

After opening the season by pummeling Wesleyan and Pamona-Pitzer in the Lopata Classic, the two games in the Trinity Classic in San Antonio turned out to be much closer affairs as WU ran its record to 5-0.

The Bears barely eked out their fourth win against Southwestern, 70-64, thanks to senior forward Chris Jeffries’s 17 points. Next, against Trinity, Jeffries scored 20 as WU pulled out a 68-65 victory over host Trinity. Coach Mark Edwards isn’t worried about the tightly contested games due to the strength of the opponents.

“The two games in the Trinity classic were definitely against higher level competition, and they were also our first two road games of the year,” he said. “There are always things you have to work on, but they were two good teams that we played better than and beat. I’ll take it.”

One main reason the Bears were able to emerge triumphant from the Alamo city was the athleticism and all-around ability of Jeffries. He is able to create match-up problems with his 6’6″ frame and can dominate games, as his 17.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game indicate.

“Jeffries has picked up where he left off last year and played extremely well, but I don’t think he has carried the team,” Edwards said. “One of our strengths is that we have different guys step up every game, which is the benefit of having experience. Jeffries has been a catalyst for our success, but our entire lineup is capable of a lot, individually and collectively.”

Solid squads pose multiple threats for opponents, and WU is no different. Senior center Jarriot Rook leads the team in rebounding and senior guards Joel Parrott and Dustin Tylka chip in with 10 points per game apiece. Also, senior guard Matt Tabash’s play is critical to the flow of the offense.

“A good example of our depth is how Matt Tabash played during the Trinity game,” Edwards said. “He didn’t score a lot, but he got everybody else involved and allowed us to play our style of basketball. After that game, he was named MVP of the entire tournament.”

The bench is also playing a prominent role for the Bears, as it is using much valued experience gained last season. For this reason, Edwards believes the team will only get stronger throughout the course of the year.

“Over the summer we felt that if the bench got better, we would be better, and that’s exactly what happened,” Edwards said. “We know we can play our reserves and feel good about the job they’re going to do.”

“The one guy off the bench who has made the most progress would have to be Anthony Hollins. He was a guy who kept getting better and better last season, and continued through the summer and into this season. He has played some big minutes for us when the starters get tired or get into foul trouble.”

With the emergence of the reserves, it is possible that WU will continue to improve, wreaking havoc on opponents. While some believe that championship-caliber teams learn from losses, Edwards prefers the taste of victory.

“The only time a loss is good is in retrospect,” Edwards said. “We’re going in to win every game that we play. Are we going to be undefeated at the end of the year? That’s everybody’s goal regardless of how good you are. But right now our goal is just to win the next game.”

Bears gear up for Final Four showdown

Friday, December 6th, 2002 | Jessica Hahn
Jeff Kahntroff

The second-ranked Washington University volleyball team will compete in the 2002 Division III Volleyball Tournament Final Four on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7, at the Williams Center in Whitewater, Wisconsin.

The Bears will take on fourth-ranked Trinity University (Texas) in one semifinal at 4:30 p.m. on Friday while fifth-ranked Juniata College and sixth-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater will meet in the other semifinal at 7 p.m. The two losers will meet in the third place match at 4:30 p.m., and the two winners will meet in the national championship match on Saturday at 7 p.m.

WU (40-1) advanced to the Final Four for the 11th time in school history after posting a 3-1 victory over top-ranked California State University Hayward in front of 1,100 fans at the Field House on Saturday, Nov. 23. With the win, WU tied UC-San Diego for second all-time in Division III history with 54 NCAA Tournament victories.

WU and CSUH split the first two games as WU won game one 30-21 and CSUH won game two 30-25. Game three was the turning point in the match for the Bears. With CSUH leading 29-25, WU went on a 5-0 run to take a 30-29 lead. The two teams exchanged points numerous times before the Bears escaped with a 36-34 win. WU hit .421 in game four, winning the match with by a 30-25 margin.

Junior Amy Brand led the Bears with a match-high 18 kills while juniors Cindy McPeak and Katie Quinn had 12 kills apiece. Senior Rebecca Rotello added 55 assists, 14 digs and a stellar rendition of the national anthem. Sophomore Colleen Winter had 24 digs in the victory.

Ivone Aleman led Cal State Hayward (32-2) with 17 kills and 16 digs. Kari Van Fleet had 63 assists and Toni-Ann Merendino added 27 digs in the loss.

The Bears, who are making their 16th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, rank second all-time in Division III with eleven Final Four Appearances.

Trinity (37-4) advanced to the Final Four for the second time in school history with a 3-1 come from behind win at Nazareth College in the Quarterfinals. The Tigers are making their 11th trip to the NCAA Tournament in school history.

WU, who owns an all-time record of 11-1 against Trinity, has met the Tigers four times previously in the NCAA Tournament with the Bears prevailing each time. WU beat Trinity 3-0 in the Elite Eight in 1994, 3-0 in the Sweet Sixteen in 1995, 3-1 in the first round in 1997 and 3-0 in the Sweet Sixteen in 1998.

Courtesy of

Support Israel at WU

Friday, December 6th, 2002 | Jessica Hahn

Recently, WU Solidarity for Israel (WSI) has been circulating a petition. It reads, “We, the undersigned, members of the Washington University community, support Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and we promote the continuation of the strong US-Israel relationship.”

The purpose of this petition is straightforward: it is meant to reaffirm that a Jewish state has a right to exist and that the U.S. should maintain close ties with Israel. The biased, anti-Israel media and a general ignorance about Israel and the situation there has made people afraid of making commitment to that country. I hope that this fear does not deter people from signing WSI’s petition. By signing this petition, members of the WU community support democracy and the right of the Jewish people to live in their own land.

The main reason that there is so much controversy surrounding Israel’s right to exist is because it involves the Jewish people. It involves the same Jewish people who, over the generations, lived as sub-citizens and were scapegoated by their host countries. Although this anti-Semitism is more latent now, it has instead manifested itself in the form of anti-Zionism. Anti-Zionism is another means of bringing Jews back to their accepted status of victim in their host countries.

Martin Luther King, Jr. clearly explains the relationship between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in his “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend.” He writes, “Driven from their homeland, their nation in ashes, forced to wander the globe, the Jewish people time and again suffered the lash of whichever tyrant happened to rule over them… And what is anti-Zionism? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-Semitism.”

While we are constantly questioning Israel’s right to exist, the statehoods of Argentina, Germany, or even Iraq are inherently understood. As King suggests, we question Israel’s right to exist because it is equivalent to the Jewish people’s right to exist.

Although much anti-Zionism in the United States is a result of anti-Semitism, it also stems directly from the anti-Israeli media that portrays Israel as the big bad giant. Across the nation, newspapers and magazines write articles and print photos that are biased against Israel. For example, the Chicago Tribune consistently prints photographs that depict Israel as aggressive and violent. Unfortunately, people do not question the veracity of this type of depiction or attempt to learn about the situation the photo represents. It is no wonder that too many U.S. citizens feel that the existence of a state of Israel is a threat. The truth is that Israel is not a threat. We should not be afraid to support Israel.

By supporting Israel we are supporting democracy. In a sea of oppressive governments, Israel stands as the only democracy in the Middle East. This common value of democracy, among others, has allied us with Israel since its statehood in 1948. It should continue to do so. By maintaining a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, the United States does not necessarily need to condone and support all of the actions taken by Israel. For example, President Bush has denounced various Israeli military action throughout the past two years of conflict. Nonetheless, the U.S.-Israel relationship must exist. While we still remain allies with other democracies, with whose policies we do not always agree, we are constantly questioning our relationship with Israel. There should be no question here. We must continue it.

Now, we have the opportunity to voice our support for both the existence of Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship. This opportunity is WSI’s petition.

Unemployed and loving it

Friday, December 6th, 2002 | Daphne Drohobyczer

In certain circles, it’s actually become cool to be out of college and jobless. Sure, everybody wants to rule the world, but to say, “I’m unemployed” has a certain cache that “I work as an administrative assistant” doesn’t.

The reason why it is cool to be unemployed stems from a few factors. One, you didn’t look for jobs while you were in college; two, you didn’t get any job offers; and three, you’re just not willing to settle for a position as busboy at your local deli. Your parents are probably paying for your food and rent, so you really don’t have any motivation to seek employment, and you feel that you’re entitled to a year or two away from brainwork.

Let’s face it: it’s cool to be lazy, and if you’re not lazy, the job market is still terrible, so it doesn’t matter. It’s not cool to look for a job while you’re in school. And it’s cool not to have a job when you’re out of school… at least for a while. I’ve looked into this, and I’ve found that the only problem is that you cannot start getting unemployment checks until after you’ve been employed for a while. It’s like a Catch-22. If you have a job out of college, it’s either because you actually sent out your resumes early in your last semester, or because your dad got you a job. Your peers see both avenues as lame. So, if you want to be cool, don’t look for a job-ever. Just sit in your apartment, play Sims, and order in Chinese food.

Jobs are so uncool. If you have a job, that means you’re, like, old or something. You might as well start listening to Phil Collins and drinking decaffeinated coffee from International House. Su, Su, Sudia…you catch my drift. So what can you do? How about grad school? You can just go to a university where all of the undergrads will think you’re lame for not having found an incredible career path straight out of college that you wanted to stick to forever. You could go abroad and do the whole backpacking across Europe thing and get hit on by tons of Greek and Spanish men in techno clubs and drink black coffee all day, Malibu and Fanta all night.

But why look beyond the confines of your own apartment? You can order DVDs online and begin to explore the cinematic world while eating Orville whatever 97 percent fat-free popcorn. You can read Cosmo and Maxim, while playing Quake, or even Wario. The list goes on and on. But don’t take my word for it-talk to recently unemployed WU students. In fact, there really should be a panel of them to speak at an Assembly Series. In addition to the Career Center, we should have an “Unemployed Center,” because unemployed is what a lot of recent WU grads are right now.

The Unemployed Center could have daily group sessions where unemployed grads get together and discuss how to find free refreshments around town, the best way to approach your parents about sending you money, and computer hacking. Instead of holding an “Etiquette Dinner,” they could hold an “Etiquette for Continuous Snacking.” Also, you could have the chance to network with other unemployed WU graduates. The business cards would look a little different, since they would be made of mainly napkins (maybe with sweet and sour sauce stains) and the backs of receipts. Why not just embrace unemployment?

The sarcastic tone of this column is meant to convey that something needs to be done about the fact that WU students who have worked their butts off for the duration of their education are not finding jobs in their fields of interest. Here’s one suggestion that could contribute to remedying the situation: in addition to looking for jobs, people can start being their own bosses and embark on some sort of individual projects, or entrepreneurship in conjunction with other graduates-it’s good for us, and it will help create more jobs. It would be even better if there were a board created by WU of people who were willing to invest in recently graduated WU students. There would be a careful process in which they filter the feasible ideas from the absolutely ludicrous ones that are obviously jokes (like most of this column), so there would be very little risk factor. That way, instead of playing Minesweeper all day, we could be designing the inner workings of the next great video game for future generations.

Online dating is better than you’d think

Friday, December 6th, 2002 | Brian Schroeder

All of my adoring fans out there, and those “haters” who christened me “that porn guy,” will probably remember the prediction I made at the beginning of the year in my column about online file sharing. The restrictions on it prevented me from finding digital companionship (read: porn) and I was pretty lonely.

I predicted that the odds of me finding female companionship before Christ-mas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa vacation were about the same as my hometown heroes, the Kansas City Chiefs, have of making the Super Bowl. As of today, the Chiefs are 6-6 and are ranked last in the AFC West. Well, I can only wish I had 50-50 luck with the fine fine ladies here.

As we all know, dating at WU is practically non-existent. Most people here consider themselves too busy to invest time in a relationship with another person. I consider Thanksgiving the two-minute warning of the fall semester, and I decided that I needed to kick it up a notch and find a girl. When I need advice, I always turn to Student Life because it’s cool like that. I picked up a copy and saw an article on online dating. (“Students shy away from online dating,” Nov. 22). When I read what freshman Ethan Arpi said, I knew that I was gonna score. “If someone can’t get a date normally, it seems to me they will go online to get one.” Good advice from a true pimp.

When I got back to my crib, I poured myself some Remy Martin XO, put on some Easy E, and started lookin’ for a shorty. The first place I checked out was I clicked the buttons indicating that I was a “male,” looking for a “female” aged 18-22, near the zip code 63105. I made sure I checked the “Photos Only” box so I could get a good look at my future honey because postage stamp size photos really give people a good idea of how hot you are.

Shakespeare once said: “O! learn to read what silent love hath writ.” I wonder what he would say in response to the following topic sentences that I ran across. These are 100 percent real, not even in my worst drunken stupor-of which there have been many-could I have written this whack:

“if you like ghetto im your girl”

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, when used as an adjective, “ghetto” means “something that resembles the restriction or isolation of a city ghetto.” I guess if you are dirty, scary, and dangerous to enter at night, you could call yourself “ghetto.” I think I’ll pass.

“thick lil mama from da stl”

F. Scott Fitzgerald said that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” While trying to comprehend a “thick,” “little” person, I blew a fuse and decided to get a beer and watch “The Simpsons.” I quickly recovered.

“Good Woman Looking”

I think it’s my duty as an abuser of the English language to offer this girl some advice. Just by switching the order of the words and, therefore, not really lying, she could become a “Good Looking Woman.” I’m sure she’d get a lot more favorable responses.

“Psych Student wants to Shrink Your…”

I’m a little bit intrigued, but my little bit is a lot scared. (Don’t worry, ladies, it’s actually quite large, but if I had written that the pun wouldn’t have worked).

“Id Rather Be a Lesbian :)”

My favorite one.

“*** ArE U THaT SPeciAL SoMeOnE THat…”

That what? That can fix your keyboard? I’ve got a friend who is big into computers and could probably help you, but unless you’re an animated Japanese cartoon character in a sailor’s outfit, he probably wouldn’t be interested in you.

After about an hour of pretty much the same stuff, I became quite depressed. Thank God I hadn’t bet on myself in Vegas, though winning a bet that you’re a dork isn’t as comforting as I had thought. Not to worry, loyal readers: I just received an e-mail informing me that Russian women want to meet me. Kick ass.

Police treated students wrongfully

Friday, December 6th, 2002 | Joshua Iselin

Why do police officers in University City treat students so unfairly? Being from the east coast, I thought cops couldn’t get any more unreasonable; evidently I was wrong. A recent encounter a friend of mine had with the fuzz made me quiver with powerlessness.

On Oct. 26, he had a few people over-by no means a party. No blaring music was playing on that Saturday night: just some 21 year-olds exercising their God-given right to enjoy a few cold ones. Approximately 20 people were in attendance. The police showed up, and instructed everyone to leave due to noise complaints. I had no problem with leaving: it was getting a bit late and the night was winding down anyway.

Yet Jesse Blanner, the tenant of the apartment, did. He started trying to reason with the police officer, asking why they entered the apartment without permission. After some exchange of words (notably the officer’s “What the fuck you gonna do about it,” according to Jesse) the police left and the problem seemed resolved.

But the policeman was evidently left unsatisfied with his position of power in the proceedings. Some 30 minutes later, after the “party” was completely extinguished, a group of police revisited the building apparently with the sole intention of teaching a punk student a lesson. Jesse’s apartment is on the third floor of the building, which the police had obviously forgotten as they walked uninvited into the apartment below. Opening up bedroom doors in this seemingly abandoned apartment (behind the second one stood a completely naked Tricia Fessler), the police demanded to know where Jesse was.

After learning that Jesse lived upstairs, the police knocked and demanded he come out. They promptly put him in handcuffs, claiming that someone made another complaint about the noise. Jesse maintains that after asking if he was being arrested and why he hadn’t been read his rights, one officer mentioned he hadn’t asked Jesse any questions, and therefore didn’t need to read him “shit.” This is not standard operating procedure for a well-trained, professional police force.

Jesse was brought to jail, at which point he was finally told why he was being arrested. It is clear there were no more noise complaints, as the police had entered a completely empty apartment searching for Jesse. The charge brought against him was disturbing the peace, and he was held in jail for approximately two hours.

How is this possible, you ask?

As students, we have no political pull. We have little disposable income, are temporary residents, and are therefore powerless in the eyes of the community, and subsequently in the eyes of the police. School isn’t reality. In reality everyone is held to the same standards. By no means am I claiming reality is fair, but perhaps this view of school as a fantasy world leads to our apathetic and helpless attitude, which the police are able to capitalize upon.

I explained this story to a friend, whose response was that of indifference. “We do lots of illegal stuff, and the cops leave us alone most of the time. Why should we get all upset over one pissed-off cop?” I encourage readers not to take this point of view, which propagates an air of laziness to the community. Jesse has been in contact with the American Civil Liberty Union, in conjunction with similar cases drawn against the U City Police Department. He is drawing a line in the sand and not allowing himself to become another listless victim.

Does this sort of problem happen often? Though I don’t expect to go out and wake up in a cell, I do recognize that I will have to deal with the police each and every weekend night. In the area between campus and the loop, I believe, WUPD drive around looking for parties. When they find one, they call U-City cops, who come to break them up. I have seen this happen. Why this tension? Why are parties constantly broken up when nobody is even complaining? And why are the WU students constantly at the crux of the conflict?

The police force of U-City faces a conflict of interests every weekend. While attempting to protect and serve one group of people, they are ostracizing another. We as “temporary” members of the community must recognize that people do sleep during prime party hours. But when nobody complains, what gives anyone the right to stop a gathering? There must be a happy medium, where the treatment described earlier holds no place. WU students: stand up for yourselves. Learn and know your rights. You too can get arrested for insulting someone’s ego.

Essays kill brain cells

Friday, December 6th, 2002 | Alex Fak

You would think people like to talk about themselves. Yet for many applicants to colleges or graduate schools, writing a personal essay is the most painful part of the process. Colleges know this, and they feel it is beneficial for the applicants to sit down and write one. In fact, in the long run it may be harmful, unless the question is phrased carefully. Some questions lead applicants to construct a restrictive theory of their own lives and generalize their identity.

In theory, the personal statement has been an enlightened addition to the application process. It keeps opening doors for students who are bright and eager to attend college but who, for one reason or another, had not done well in high school. Colleges spend notable resources, particularly in terms of their faculties’ time, to give these students the chance to sell themselves in personal statements. Of course, colleges benefit, too: essays may help distinguish a zealous grade-grubber from a truly thoughtful applicant and complement the sometimes misleading (and biased, some say) standardized exams. They may also do just what so many college applications say they want them to do: “help us learn more about you.” But more often than not, they won’t.

I’m x, you’re y

Colleges are quite right to think that the application form, transcripts and even letters of recommendation ultimately give them a shallow picture of candidates. So admission officers ask for something more personal in an essay. Instead of gaining a deeper understanding of the person, however, certain essay questions invite a cause-and-effect analysis that, like some overarching theory long since sent into history’s dustbin, traces the applicant’s totality as a person to one predominant factor. It sidelines a thousand little accidents, coincidences and intentions in favor of a few fat generalizations. For admission officers, it makes applicants, each a bundle of surprises and contradictions, easier to classify and judge.

Forced to present themselves in 500 to 1,000 words, many students pick one quality or experience and then generalize their whole identity in its terms. It seems essays that ask student to contemplate their cultural background, or to muse on some hardship they had faced, would be especially prone to broad, abstract, and often tenuous conclusions. For example, students often talk about their race as if it had been a major force in their lives. With all the other things going on, such a simplifying theory is suspect. Even when such students are right, however-for instance, if they grew up as the only Russian in an all-American neighborhood and feel that this has left them with some unique sense of themselves or others-writing a short, simple essay would lead them to hang on to this cultural curiosity as if it were important to their future lives. In fact, it will likely impede a broader understanding of who they are.

To its credit, WU, in its freshman application, does not explicitly solicit such responses. For the main essay, it asks about a creative work the student found significant, or an ethical dilemma he or she has faced. The only bad question comes in the section devoted to short answers. “Choose three adjectives to describe yourself,” it asks. Like a fairy-tale magical incantation, then: one, two, three and poof! you’ve got a person.

Back in high school, a class peer wrote a college application essay that focused on her great-grandfather’s death in the Holocaust. The starvation and cold that the old man had experienced 50 years ago, she wrote, made her angry at injustices accorded to Jews throughout time, and sensitive to her own “precarious” burden as a Jewish woman.

Sympathy is one thing. But it’s hard to see how this girl, born into soft disposable diapers, raised in luxury, with the prick of dentist’s needle of Novocain the most acute physical discomfort she’s ever had, could interpret the suffering she never experienced of people she never knew as a topic sentence to her own life and sense of herself.

But then, she did have to have a topic sentence of some sort. Heather Dubrow, an English professor at University of Wisconsin, noted something interest in the Chronicle of Higher Education recently. In some of her students’ papers, she wrote, the thesis tends to adumbrate the book. The students grasp the argument before they know the material well and then, later in the reading, simply ignore whatever does not fit the thesis. They pick “a single, narrowly defined point about the text,” often a stark, obvious or uncompromising one. The thesis ruins an insightful understanding of the text.

Some personal statements, in essence, ask students to pick a thesis to their lives, and then write a short essay on it. The danger is that the applicants might latch on to a superficial detail, then proceed to see the world largely in reference to this detail. This would make them more shallow people-the last thing colleges want.