Archive for January, 2004

Nickname nonsense

Friday, January 30th, 2004 | Jeff Novack

A few weeks ago I was watching the Patriots play and lamenting the lack of quality nicknames in sports today. Certainly the days of Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Earl “the Pearl” Monroe are long gone. For every “The Big Unit,” there are a thousand T.O.’s and T.D.’s, K-Mart’s and C-Webb’s. Has the creativity of this great sports-loving nation sunk so far that we are reduced to branding most players with simple initials or name-surname combinations? I surely hope not. Rather, I believe that we may simply be too cavalier in giving out nicknames. The sports community is at a crossroads of sorts now. If we continue to keep giving out nicknames with such wanton disregard, do we run the risk of nicknames losing their meaning altogether? Do we stop giving out nicknames? No!!! Instead, we must redouble our efforts and one player, one nickname at a time, we can reshape the very fabric of the sports world. And what better way to start our efforts with this week’s Super Bowl combatants-the Patriots and the Panthers, two teams of mostly nameless players? If we can give them good nicknames, we can give anyone good nicknames.

While most fans are not familiar with the roster of the Panthers, they are a team full of intriguing nickname possibilities. At right tackle, Jordan “girls are” Gross anchors the offensive line. The primary running back for the Panthers is Stephen “Good King Wenceslas” Davis. Leading the way for Davis is fullback Brad “Cross Dressing FBI Chief” Hoover. On the defensive side, linebacker Greg “Sexual” Favors is always in hot pursuit of the ballcarrier. The most explosive player on defense is defensive end “Orange” Julius “Red Hot” Peppers.

Meanwhile, the equally nameless Patriots also present excellent nicknaming opportunities. Of course, the Patriots are led by Tom Brady “Bill” at quarterback (because frankly quarterbacks buying handbags should be made illegal). One player that has symbolized the Patriots team oriented philosophy is Larry “H to the” Izzo who mostly contributes on special teams. And we cannot forget the all time leader in receptions by a running back, Larry “Self” Centers. Opening ground for the running game and buying time for the quarterback is a no-name offensive line which includes left guard Russ “possibly Jewish” Hochstein. At kick returner and wide receiver, “Temple” Bethel Johnson possesses breakaway speed. Also at wide receiver is J.J. “diff’rnt” Stokes. On defense, cornerback Ty “my shoe” Law captains the secondary.

The possibilities for nicknames are endless-even with teams lacking serious star power like the Panthers and Patriots. And these new, more creative nicknames could open up a whole new range of expressions for commentators. A simple “Touchdown!!!” could be replaced by “Mazel Tov!” when “Temple” Bethel Johnson scores. Or if Johnson escapes the defense on a kick return, previously inaccessible expressions like, “Johnson just said Shabbat Shalom to the defense,” would now be available for use. This is clearly an improvement for formerly linguistically stymied commentators and fans alike.

Remember to do your part this weekend to better the state of sports nicknames. As you meet the players of the Panthers and Patriots, carefully study their play on the field, watch them give media interviews, learn their personal history. Then come up with a ridiculously stupid nickname. With your help, one day we may hear these words from a commentator on an NFL broadcast, “Hochstein delivers a textbook potato pancake block – he’s possibly Jewish!”

No. 1 Rochester next up for Bears

Friday, January 30th, 2004 | Jeff Novack
Bernell Dorrough

Riding high on a three game winning streak, the Washington University men’s basketball team will complete its four game road trip this weekend against University of Rochester and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). The Bears play Rochester on Friday and CMU on Sunday. Both teams are part of the University Athletic Association (UAA) with the Bears.

Rochester, currently ranked no. 1 in the nation, enters the game against the Bears with a perfect 16-0 record. They are 5-0 in UAA play. Leading the way for Rochester is Seth Hauben who averages 14.8 points per game. Hauben also leads the team in rebounding, collecting 10.1 per game to average a double-double. Andy Larkin is second in scoring and rebounding with 11.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Gabe Perez leads the team in assists with 6.6 a game. Rochester averages 74.5 points per game with 49.7 percent shooting while limiting its opponents to a meager 36 percent shooting. On the way to its perfect record, Rochester has out-rebounded its opponents by 12.1 boards a game.

While CMU does not possess the perfect record of Rochester, it currently stands at a solid 10-6. Three of its six losses have come in UAA play though. Michael Divens leads CMU in scoring with 17.1 points per game. He is also the leader in rebounding with 6.9 boards per game. In addition to Divens, CMU has three other players averaging double figures in scoring. Matt Kaitz, one of the three, is also the leader in assists with 4.3 per game and second in rebounding with 6.6 per game. While CMU’s offense is certainly potent with four players averaging double figures and averaging a total of 77.2 points per game, their defense is equally giving. On average, the CMU defense surrenders 74.4 points per game.

The Bears enter this weekend’s match-ups boasting the most potent offense of the three teams. The team has averaged 78.4 points per game. In terms of defense, the Bears fall in between Rochester and CMU, allowing 67.6 points per game. Senior Barry Bryant currently leads the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game. Bryant also leads the team in assists with 4.3 dimes a game. Junior Rob Keller is second in scoring with 11.8 points per game. Junior Anthony Hollins leads the team in rebounding per game with 7.5. Senior Ryan DeBoer is second in rebounding with 7.1. Sophomore Scott Stone leads the team in both three-point field goals and three point field goal attempts. The Bears are currently 12-4 for the season and 4-1 in UAA play.

Following the road trip, the Bears will return home to play Rochester and CMU next Friday and Sunday respectively as part of the home series.

Bears take on fourth-ranked Rochester

Friday, January 30th, 2004 | Chris Dart
Bernell Dorrough

A slide in the polls was expected after Washington University’s snag against 22nd ranked New York University (NYU). Thanks to the team’s strong performance over the course of the season, however, the Bears fell only two places in the polls- from 5th to 7th.

Spirits were high for the team during the week – especially after the team’s win against Brandeis on Sunday in which the Bears’ prolific offense and stingy defense returned to form. Players were especially excited about this weekend’s upcoming games against conference rivals Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the University of Rochester.

Rochester recently lost its first game of the season this past Sunday in double-overtime, 82 to 78. Case Western Reserve, Rochester, and the Bears are all tied atop the University Athletic Association (UAA) standings. Rochester was ranked first in the nation in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA DIVISION III Coaches’ Poll but fell to 4th after Sunday’s loss.

While Rochester is no doubt “a big game,” according to Head Coach Nancy Fahey, its significance is somewhat lessened due to the strength of the UAA Conference. The remaining games of the season are all against conference teams, including two more games against Rochester in the coming weeks. Nevertheless, a sweep of this weekend’s inter-conference games would be a step in the right direction, pulling the team ahead in the tightly contested and highly competitive UAA Conference. The top three teams each are tied at 4 – 1, with NYU and Brandeis nipping at their heels at 3 – 2. Should the Bears wish to prove that its setback against NYU was an anomaly, a win is crucial against Rochester, especially if the team hopes to stake an early claim as the best team in the country.

“We’re not going to deny [that] we know the importance of the game,” said the Bears’ leading scorer Senior Lesley Hawley. “It’s a real challenge . . . We’re excited to see how we stack up [against Rochester].”

With only two players averaging double digits in scoring and a field goal percentage at 41 percent, Rochester’s offense does not appear particularly potent at first glance. The offense is deceptively effective though and averages a healthy 69.1 points per game. Their surprisingly strong offense is complemented by a defense that is just as stingy as the Bears’. While both Rochester and the Bears will count on their strong defenses, the outcome of the game may depend on which team’s offense is best able to withstand the opposition’s suffocating defense.

For Fahey, it has been her job this week to develop a strategy to slow down Rochester’s two stars: Erika Smith and Kelly Wescott. Fahey noted the difficulty of stopping an offense that features multiple players who can attack and are offensive threats. Smith, a 5’6″ guard out of Sherman, NY, is averaging nearly fifteen points and just under six rebounds a game. Wescott, a 5’11” forward from Burke, NY, is averaging 12.6 points per game, while snagging seven-and-a-half rebounds and a ferocious 2.4 steals per game. It will certainly be a challenge for the Bears to stop Rochester’s two pronged offensive attack.

Rochester’s defense will have its hands just as full in defending the Bears’ dynamic trio of shooters and defenders. Leading the team is senior guard Lesley Hawley of Springfield, MO, who leads the team in scoring with 14.7 points per game. Hawley has been pulling double duty on the defensive end as she has snagged a robust 2.6 steals a game. Shooting alongside her are sophomore Kelly Manning and junior Hallie Hutchens, who average 12 and 11 points per game respectively.

The keys to the game, according to Fahey, are to keep Rochester off the foul line and play good team defense, both of which should help ignite the Bears’ offense. Avoiding too many fouls against Rochester may prove to be the most important key. Against NYU, the University was out-shot at the charity stripe 47 to 14, which was easily the biggest contributor in the loss. Hawley, Manning, and Beehler each fouled out in that game. Hawley was the only player to crack double digits on the team.

Despite the foul trouble that plagued the team against NYU, players do not plan on abandoning their defensive intensity in exchange for fewer fouls called against them. Against Brandeis, the Bears were out-shot at the foul line by only 17 to 12.

While the Rochester game is an important step in the Bears’ road to the championship, the players cannot lose focus and forget about CMU, who the Bears will be playing on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. CMU, riding a nine game losing streak coming into tonight’s game against Chicago, has won only three games all year and none within the conference. The team has lost its games by an average margin of 16.6 points per game. The University has won by an average of nearly 23.

“We can’t overlook them,” said Hawley. “We can’t overlook anyone in this conference.”

Hawley, due to her breakout performance this season both on and off the court, has been promoted to captain, After the excitement and season-long anticipation leading up to the game with Rochester, the Bears may seem prime for a letdown, to which CMU would certainly be willing to oblige. But at this junction in the season, says Fahey, the “veteran players” of Washington still follow their coach’s instructions to take each game as it comes. This mantra was repeated by Hawley who is confident there will be no letdown.

“We’ve shown all season that we’re not going to let up on anyone,” Hawley said.

Performace spaces fail to hit high note

Friday, January 30th, 2004 | Liz Neukirch

In a recent edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Classical Music Critic Sarah Miller cited Washington University as having “[an] embarrassing selection of dubious performance spaces.”

The critique was sparked by a performance by the Eliot Trio-a group that includes pianist Seth Carlin, a music professor at the University, and two musicians from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The Trio performed in Steinberg Auditorium this past Saturday.

Steve Givens, assistant to the Chancellor, said the University is often criticized about the room’s lack of adequate acoustics.

“We’re obviously aware that we don’t have any prime performance spaces as far as music goes,” said Givens. “[But] we’re landlocked. There [are] only so many more buildings we’re going to be able to build, and we have to set priorities [for] what we have room to do. We don’t want this [campus] to become so crowded that there’s no grass or places to park.”

According to Music Department Chair Robert Snarrenberg, the number of performance spaces on campus is not as great a problem as the fact that each venue is used for many other things.

“Given the range of student performances, one large performance hall (Edison Theatre) isn’t enough,” said Snarrenberg. “There’s a need for a second performance hall. None of the spaces we have are designed for music performance.”

Of five performances being held on campus next month, three will be in Graham Chapel, with one each in Steinberg Auditorium and Umrath Hall. While Snarrenberg called the acoustics in Graham Chapel acceptable, senior Vivian Park disagreed.

“I’ve been to some of the a cappella concerts in Graham Chapel, and while they’re amazing, the chapel’s acoustics-or lack thereof-can take away from the full effect of their performances,” she said.

Sophomore Amy Schwarz noted the high caliber of the University’s music programs, citing the graduate program in vocal performance as “incredible.” She said that it is time that the University sees the programs’ significance.

“[The University will] never be truly on par with schools such as Yale and Northwestern until it realiz[es] that music is important to both the development of the individual and the development of the university,” said Schwarz.

Givens explained that the lack of adequate performance venues on campus involves a lack of donor interest, not a devaluation of the performing arts.

“When we build, we do so with the help of donors,” said Givens. “The new Sam Fox Arts Center came [into being] through several generous donations from the community. Many times it’s what other people are willing to help us pay for [that is a deciding factor in] what we build. It’s certainly not that we don’t appreciate the performing arts-up until now we [just] haven’t found it possible to build a premier concert hall.”

Snarrenberg believes the University needs both a large concert hall and smaller recital halls if it intends to match up to the high-caliber institutions it currently aspires to emulate and compete with.

Both Schwarz and freshman Aaron Lewis believe the University’s performance spaces are not only lagging behind other private institutions, but public universities as well. They cited the new Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri in St. Louis as a facility that “puts everything on [the University’s] campus to shame.” Last spring, performances of the University opera “The Most Happy Fella” were forced off campus into the St. Louis Art Museum because of insufficient facilities on campus.

Lewis, who came to the University with a primarily performing arts background, was shocked when he discovered that the facilities at his old high school were better than those on campus.

“My public high school is home to a beautiful, state-of-the-art, 671-seat performing arts center that looks like an Italian opera house,” said Lewis, reflecting on Edison Theatre’s failings. “I miss it, because while the University puts on many wonderful shows each year-and I have had a blast working in the theatre here-our talented vocalists and actors are not being presented in a manner fitting to the caliber of their performances.”

Snarrenberg commented that the acoustics in Edison are so dry that there is no resonance in the hall.

“The performers on stage really can’t hear each other playing, which is one reason [the Music Department] doesn’t use it very often,” he said. “We need something designed for music that can also be used for other things. Unless [a new building] is designed for music, it won’t be much of a change.”

Snarrenberg believes the current state of performance spaces on campus also limits musical groups in their rehearsals.

Lewis, who is a member of the Mosaic Whispers, said that a cappella groups are not allowed to practice in the music buildings while any classes are in session-which often forces them to practice late into the night, after classes have finished for the day.

“I have requests to the administration going back 40 years [that include] plans for music spaces,” Snarrenberg said. “Some of the initial plans for Edison Theatre included those for music spaces, [but they] didn’t make it.”

Givens said that the University is currently commissioning a study of Steinberg Auditorium to determine if it could be made more suitable for music by changing the acoustics of the room so that it more closely resembles a concert hall.

“Just because it’s bad now doesn’t mean it can’t be made better,” said Givens. “Space-wise we think it’s ok, but we realize it needs to be made acoustically and aesthetically better.”

Metzger finds her way home

Friday, January 30th, 2004 | Sarah Baicker

In a lot of ways, Hadas Metzger is a typical Washington University student. A Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies major, she lived in Liggett her freshman year and rushed Delta Gamma.

However, Metzger is not your average 19- or 20-year-old college student. She recently turned 29 and has just returned to St. Louis and the University after an extended time overseas in Israel. Still adjusting to being back in America, she is not even sure whether she is a junior or a senior.

“Technically, I’m a [University] College student this semester,” said Metzger. “I have no idea why, although next semester I should be a senior in [the College of] Arts & Sciences.”

Metzger, who changed her name to Hadas from Laurel, first attended Washington University in 1993. As the date of her graduation neared, it looked as though she might not be permitted to graduate.

“I didn’t take advantage of the opportunities here at all,” she said.

Metzger walked at graduation, but did not receive a diploma.

After graduation, she returned home to Kansas City and tried her luck at entering the work force. Without a degree, though, she found her options extremely limited and was constantly moving from job to job.

“I can’t even count how many jobs I had,” she said. “I was a DJ, worked in retail-you name it, I did it.”

It was not until 2000 that Metzger’s life gained any real direction. When a close friend recommended that she spend some time in Israel, she went online and discovered the Graduate Studies Program at the World Union of Jewish Students in Arad, Israel.

Just months later, Metzger found herself enrolled in the seven-month program, immersed in Zionist Studies, Religious Studies and Hebrew.

After the program ended, in the midst of the intifada, Metzger decided she had not had her fill of Israeli life. She stayed with WUJS for four more months, working for them as a marketer.

Metzger then bought an apartment and became an Israeli citizen. She voted in Israeli elections. Soon after leaving her job at WUJS, she was offered a job teaching English at the Wall Street Institute in Beer Shiva.

For two and a half years, she taught English to adults at the Institute. Because the school did not permit any Hebrew to be spoken, she found it difficult to become fluent enough in Hebrew to pursue any other occupation.

After nearly four years in Israel, Metzger decided to return home and complete her college education.

“I know I deserve to be here,” she said of returning to college. “I want my diploma to say ‘Wash U’.”

While Metzger is content to be home and excited to be completing her college education, she passionately misses Israel.

“My worst day in Israel is still better than my best day in America,” she said.

Once she has completed her degree, Metzger intends to apply to a Rabbinical school to become a Conservative rabbi-a future she says she has been running from since she was 13.

Finished running, Metzger has finally accepted her destiny.

Primary battleground

Friday, January 30th, 2004 | Jonathan Greenberger and Erica Price
KRT Campus

Less than 24 hours after the New Hampshire primary ended in a resounding victory for John Kerry, many of the Democratic presidential candidates have turned their attention to a new prize: Missouri and its 88 delegates.

Kerry, John Edwards and Al Sharpton all made stops in St. Louis on Wednesday, with most of the other candidates expected to visit the Show Me State before next Tuesday’s primary. Among those is Howard Dean, who will appear at the Missouri History Museum around 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.

The Missouri primary is one of seven primaries and two caucuses being held next Tuesday and has the most delegates to send to the Democratic National Convention of any of the Feb. 3 contests. Initially, the Missouri race was widely ignored because most analysts expected Dick Gephardt to win his home state. Gephardt’s withdrawal from the race after his fourth place finish in the Iowa caucuses has made the contest much more wide open.

The front-runner

In a quick one-liner, Kerry, fresh off his second upset victory in two weeks, summarized the mantra of all the Democratic candidates while also showing his ability to connect with the voters of Missouri: “This is the Show Me State, and we’re here to show George Bush the door!” As with most of his speech, delivered on Wednesday at Forest Park Community College, this declaration was met with a roar from the capacity crowd.

Standing before an oversized American flag, Kerry reiterated the familiar themes of his candidacy. He spoke about the need for affordable prescription drugs, blasted President Bush for changing clean air and water standards, and pledged to reform the No Child Left Behind Act.

Kerry spoke extensively about the steps he would take during the first 100 days of his administration, promising to ask the United Nations for help in Iraq and to issue an executive order barring government employees from working as lobbyists for five years after they leave the public sector.

David Eisenberg, a Washington University senior, said that Kerry’s speech on Wednesday had its intended effect, as he went from “leaning towards Kerry” to “definitely Kerry.”

“I thought he had a real presence about him, and he was a very good speaker. I felt like he could beat Bush,” said Eisenberg.

For Pam Bookbinder, a sophomore, seeing Kerry in person had the opposite effect.

“He was not as charismatic as I thought he would be. He sounded very scripted and uptight, and it sounded like the same speech he gives everywhere,” said Bookbinder, who plans to vote for Howard Dean on Tuesday. “Kerry just didn’t hit it for me.”

Bookbinder and senior Danny Kohn were both nonplussed by the announcement at Wednesday’s rally that former Senators Jean Carnahan and Thomas Eagleton were endorsing Kerry.

“It’s exciting that everyone’s coming to Missouri now that Congressman Gephardt has dropped out, and it seems like Kerry is doing the best job to get the Missouri politicians to come behind him,” said Kohn. “But to me, endorsements don’t seem to mean much, especially when you consider how many Dean got and where he is now.”

The Southerner

An hour after his scheduled arrival time on Wednesday night, Edwards stepped from a black SUV onto Delmar to greet the large crowd waiting to hear him speak at Blueberry Hill. Members of Edwards’ campaign staff estimated that in addition to the 300 people crowded in the downstairs Duck Room, 500 waited upstairs, with another 1,000 on the street. Edwards briefly addressed the crowd on Delmar using the microphone from a nearby police van before heading downstairs. His speech was broadcast throughout Blueberry Hill and onto the street.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell, who endorsed Edwards after Gephardt dropped out of the race, introduced the presidential candidate. Edwards took the stage to cheers, which grew louder when he expressed his admiration for Gephardt, whom he called “one of the finest human beings I have ever known.”

“There are two Americas,” Edwards began. “People who can afford health care and those who can’t.” The dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots became the theme for Edward’s speech, in which he also juxtaposed “two economies”-the economy of those who are financially secure and that of those who are not-and “two governments” -one made up of political insiders working for interest groups, and the other made up of “anything left.”

Edwards moved on to discuss his memories of growing up in Georgia with “whites only” signs, speaking of his sixth grade teacher, who refused to teach in an integrated school, explaining that this impacted his view of civil rights. “This is not an African-American issue,” Edwards noted, “This is an American issue.”

Throughout his speech Edwards spoke of the political pundits on TV and mentioned the strategy involved in picking a candidate who has the potential to beat President Bush. One of the strengths of his campaign, Edwards claimed, is that he can beat Bush everywhere, even in the Republican-dominated South. “The South is not George Bush’s backyard-it is my backyard, and I will beat Bush in my backyard,” he asserted, jokingly attributing his ability to win Southern votes to his North Carolina accent.

Junior Katie Koecheler, who was unable to get into Blue Hill due to the 21-and-up age restriction imposed at night, listened to Edwards from the street. “Well, he’s done really well in the past two weeks, and if he continues to do well in the coming primaries, especially those in the South, I think he has the potential to win the nomination,” she said.

The Reverend

Sharpton also appeared in St. Louis on Wednesday, beginning his day at the University of Missouri at St. Louis and ending it at the Gateway Classic Center. Sharpton was in St. Louis back in August to protest the MetroLink’s tenth anniversary. Sharpton claimed at the time that Metro, which operates MetroLink, had not hired enough minority contractors to work on the MetroLink extensions.

additional reporting by Justin Choi

Editorial Cartoon

Friday, January 30th, 2004 | Brian Sotak
Bernell Dorrough

No room for exoticism in activism

Friday, January 30th, 2004 | Ojuigo Uzoma

Exoticism. It’s a word that few people are familiar with. Exoticism in the Oxford English Dictionary is listed as a tendency to adopt what is exotic or foreign. It’s a pretty vague definition so I’ll make an attempt to give it more depth. Someone who “exoticizes” a culture finds a particular interest in that culture sometimes to the point of imitating it. Exoticism can also be seen in personal relationships where people prefer to associate with others of a different culture because they find something striking in the other’s background.

I’m not here to criticize people who “exoticize.” I am here, however, to talk about how exoticism affects social projects and activism. I am talking about people who prefer to go to foreign countries, by that I mean developing nations, to participate in social activism or aide organizations simply because they are intrigued by the peoples. I experienced the negative effects of this first hand in my involvement in the recent Nicaraguan workers situation and the following workers’ rights campaign.

I found it interesting that when the Nicaraguan workers disappeared there was an outpouring of concern on the part of many Washington University students. I was overjoyed that so many people (many of these including Spanish students, Anthropology students and even pre-med students) were willing to take part in our efforts to bring the workers back to the U.S. However, when we realized that there were other injustices on this campus in regards to other service employees, we decided to form the Student-Worker Alliance (SWA). Our purpose is to look into these injustices and work on making the University a real community by ensuring the first-class treatment of the forgotten part of our community: the workers.

This is where I became even more disillusioned than I already am with students at this school. As it became clearer that SWA was expanding its mission beyond just the Nicaraguan workers, its membership decreased drastically. The only possible way I can interpret this is that once the group decided to help local workers, people lost interest. This is a phenomenon that has continuously baffled me. I always wonder why a lot of Americans who are concerned about human rights seem more interested fighting them abroad.

As I look around me, I have come to the conclusion that those who live in comfort in America generalize their good fortune to the nation in general. Maybe that is why people choose to do humanitarian projects overseas. I can understand the general desire to help people who are less fortunate than we are; however, it seems that people want to forget or are unwilling to recognize that there are people who are underprivileged in the United States.

The United States Census Bureau reports that the official poverty rate in 2002 was 12.1 percent, up from 11.7 percent in 2001. Also in 2002, people below the official poverty thresholds numbered 34.6 million and the number of children in poverty increased to 12.1 million in 2002, up from 11.7 million in 2001. Similarly, the number of elderly in poverty increased from 3.4 million in 2001 to 3.6 million in 2002. These numbers can only be worse now with the economy as bad as it is. Surprised? I know I was. Don’t these people need help as well?

I am not saying that we shouldn’t go out and help other people in developing nations nor am I, by any means, demonizing the work of people who do humanitarian work in developing nations. I am simply asking that we consider what our intentions are. If there’s exoticism involved then there’s a problem. People who care about human rights and inequality should be willing to fight for anyone who is experiencing injustice, even local people. It is not fair to choose to fight for a people simply because you find their culture more interesting.

Analysis of primary reveals polling fallacy

Friday, January 30th, 2004 | Jason M. Roberts

Voters in the New Hampshire Democratic primary gave Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts a commanding victory on Tuesday. Kerry secured 38 percent of the vote to former Vermont Governor Howard Dean’s 26 percent, with former General Wesley Clark and Senator John Edwards coming in a distant third and fourth respectively at 12 percent, and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman in fifth with 9 percent of the vote. Kerry’s New Hampshire victory combined with his victory in the Iowa caucuses has cemented his status as the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, while Senator Lieberman’s poor showing likely means that his campaign will soon be ending.

Kerry’s victories in Iowa and New Hampshire highlight the fallacy that political pundits and polls taken well in advance of an election are accurate predictors of actual voter behavior. Many members of the national media had written off Kerry’s campaign in late December and portrayed Howard Dean’s nomination as all but inevitable based at least in part on early polls that showed Dean with large leads in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Now Dean’s campaign is struggling to explain why it did worse than “expected” in Iowa and New Hampshire, while the media (and Kerry himself) continue to talk about Kerry’s amazing “come from behind” victories. Yet, these expectations that the actual results are compared to by the national media, were shaped for the most part by the national media.

Why did the polls and the national media get it wrong? According to interviews with voters leaving the polls, more than half of the voters in the New Hampshire primary waited until the last week of the campaign to determine who to support, and more of these late deciders voted for Kerry than any other candidate. These exit polls also reveal that many of Dean’s voters reported deciding to support Dean well in advance of the primary. Polls taken in December and early January obviously would not have been able to pick up the late deciding Kerry supporters, and would have overestimated Dean’s support.

Electability has also proved to be a major issue favoring Senator Kerry. Some voters report having initially supported Dean’s candidacy only to later decide that Kerry had a better chance of winning in November. In New Hampshire, of the voters who cited “can defeat George W. Bush” as the main factor influencing their vote, Kerry outpolled Dean 62 percent to 10 percent. Anecdotally, the campaign button reading, “Flirted with Dean, married Kerry” appears to have become quite popular since the actual voting has started.

Now the campaign shifts to the South and West, with seven states, including Missouri, holding primaries or caucuses next Tuesday. This will force the remaining candidates to compete over a large geographic region simultaneously, and to rely more on advertising and brief campaign stops than on meeting voters one on one. A more national campaign favors the frontrunner Kerry, who is sure to benefit from the free national media attention he is receiving as a result of his Iowa and New Hampshire victories. If Kerry can score multiple victories on Feb. 3, he may prove to be unstoppable.

A Kerry stumble in the South, however, could open the door for other candidates. Senator John Edwards would likely be the primary beneficiary of a Kerry stumble. His southern roots and Clintonesque charm will appeal to large blocs of voters. Wesley Clark shares Edwards’s southern roots and his military experience will surely resonate with southerners, but to date, Clark, has struggled to connect with voters. Howard Dean has raised the most funds of any Democratic candidate, but his failure to win in Iowa or New Hampshire despite large investments of campaign funds and time make it unlikely that Dean’s campaign will be able to present a strong challenge to Kerry. Dean’s campaign will be fighting an uphill battle to find a state, any state, in which he can secure a victory.

If Kerry’s good fortunes continue, the most interesting part of the campaign will be his choice of a running mate. However, as the results in Iowa and New Hampshire have shown us, electoral politics is often difficult to predict.

Worth the wait

Friday, January 30th, 2004 | Craig Pirner

The old Olin Library had its charms: an almost museum-like quality to the mismatched Sixties furniture, generations of bathroom graffiti, a lack of study spaces that made one revel in claiming one. This semester has brought the premiere of the new Olin Library, and-even though some of the paradoxical joys of the old Olin are long gone-the University Libraries deserve praise for the redesign. Though I did plenty of grumbling about books at West Campus, that awful plywood construction wall, and the absurdity of ear plugs in a library, the inconvenience was understandable given the magnitude of the project. Indeed, the new Olin was well worth the wait.

While some students have complained that Olin looks no different on the outside, that’s really not the case: while the building still is an architectural anomaly given Washington University’s “collegiate gothic” aesthetic, the new windows, entry plaza, and roofing represent a significant improvement over the old exterior. Plus, the upcoming attention of George Washington’s statue will hopefully clear up our name’s origin.

Inside, Olin is now among the most pleasing buildings on campus. The design is consistent floor-to-floor, and a coherent “look” has been created from floor to ceiling, shelving to furniture. The additions of windows to levels 2 and 3 have considerably brightened the library, making it a pleasing place to spend an hour or two reading in between classes.

Most impressive, however, is the attention to student needs that is evident in the renovation’s results. In this regard, Olin’s renovation should serve as a model for future renovations on campus. Thoughtful elements include numerous types of seating (tables, individual carrels, plush chairs and ottomans); group study rooms; seating at computer stations; lights, power outlets and Ethernet connections on tables; copiers in well-planned spaces instead of randomly placed in lobbies. And the Arc, the new technology center, has numerous thoughtful features, from adjustable computer tables to the booths with swinging monitors that facilitate group work (the only thing that mystifies me is why the University invested in two plasma screens simply to explain that the Arc’s name comes from its curved wall). Additionally, the relocation of library services-circulation, the help-desk, ILL, etc.-to one central counter on the first floor makes understanding and navigating library resources easier. As administrators and student leaders know, ascertaining the needs and wants of students is not an easy task; the University Libraries deserve praise for seeking and incorporating sensible student feedback.

Hopefully, Olin’s renovation will not only serve to make it a nice place to be, but a place to be used: evident in the redesign are elements that should increase the use of Olin’s resources. The new signage, both directional and on the stacks, is an enormous aid in finding resources. The “new books” shelving on the first floor easily alerts students to new holdings that may meet their needs. The journals-now shelved so patrons can easily see their cover and flip through them-are more accessible. The Arc’s technology training resources are an important addition to an increasingly-wired campus. Individual offices for subject librarians should facilitate student contact with these knowledgeable stuff members. Most importantly, the relocation of the special collections unit, and the addition of classroom space within the unit, should encourage professors to take advantage of some of Olin’s unique holdings.

Now that Olin is renovated, the University Libraries should play careful attention to maintaining the facilities. Part of the problem with the old Olin, it seemed, was that everyone decided quite early that the building was weird and ugly, and treated it as such. Already, I’ve seen some troubling signs in the new Olin, especially dirty restrooms (although, since ABM left campus over break, dirty restrooms seem to be a trend across campus). As the improved conditions bring more students to Olin, the upkeep needs to match the rise in traffic: light bulbs in study carrels need to be replaced, restrooms need to be stocked and maintained, copiers need to be serviced regularly, furniture needs to be reupholstered when it wears out. Such attention-to-detail will ensure that the thorough (and costly) Olin renovations will be of long-term benefit.

Congratulations to the construction firms and the University Libraries for a great update to our campus. When Olin is rededicated in May, cybercafe in place and all books in order, all those responsible for the long-term project deserve a pat on the back and a big “thank you” from students. Keep up the good work!