Archive for April, 2004

No bacon, please!

Friday, April 30th, 2004 | Jeff Novack
Chee Lee

As a sportswriter for Student Life, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to and interview (in 20 Questions) some of the best athletes the University has to offer. I know that you must be thinking, “Work for nominal pay and get the chance to interview Wash U athletes? Where do I sign up?” but wait, it gets even better.

In today’s sports world, with pampered athletes making millions of dollars, it is easy to forget the magic of sport and competition-of an individual or team just trying to be the best they can be. But then you find athletes-real athletes-like senior Chee Lee and freshman Chris Kuppler, they help you to remember what sports is really about.

Lee and Kuppler are both members of the varsity tennis team, but their tennis skills are not what have vaulted them to the top of the pantheon of Bears athletes. Rather, the duo recently made its mark by successfully completing the Pointersaurus Challenge. In the process, they become only the ninth pair to successfully complete the Challenge out of 500 attempts. The Pointersaurus Challenge is a contest held by Pointers Pizza restaurant where a team of two faces this proposition: eat a 28-inch diameter, 10-pound, 2-meat topping pizza in one hour. Win the contest and earn a cash prize of $500 and the adoration of millions (or at least the Wash U community); lose and go home without the $45 cost of the pizza.

For Lee, this was his second attempt at the Pointersaurus. He tried previously last year with another member of the tennis team, sophomore Tim Fisher. Unfortunately for Lee, he committed the cardinal sin of the Pointersaurus Challenge: he ordered bacon as one of his toppings.

“Bacon is so stupid. It was so greasy,” Lee said. “The grease is what stops you in your tracks. They started to look like scabs to me after a while. So I think I was doomed from the start last time.”

After losing the Challenge, Lee was unsure of whether he would ever be able to complete it. It was only Kuppler’s arrival that convinced Lee otherwise.

“But then Chris came along, my savior,” Lee said. “And I knew I had to give it another shot.”

Inspired by stories and tall tales of Kuppler’s Center Court exploits (Kuppler is know to have eaten nine plates of food at Center Court), Lee knew he had to try again. Lee was able to persuade Kuppler to try the contest after some convincing. Kuppler says it was his Lee’s prior experience that “gave Chee the confidence needed to convince me to try it with him.”

With newfound sense of purpose and armed with the knowledge of bacon’s destructive power, the duo began their training. Training was intense-full of long, hard days and even longer buffet lines. Still, no short-term training can prepare someone for the Pointersaurus. Both Lee and Kuppler credit a lifetime of preparation leading in to the event.

“I’ve been in training my whole life,” Kuppler said. “I’ve always had a really big appetite and have been able to put down a ton of food.”

On the day of the Challenge, the pair readied themselves by eating a small meal of complex carbohydrates early in the day and then starving themselves the rest of the day. Kuppler learned the technique from research online about the dietary habits of professional eaters. During the day, Lee ate only a small cereal before lifting for one and a half hours and running ten miles.

Arriving at Pointers, the pair looked forward to their first bite of the pizza. And while Pointers had gotten the best of Lee last time and had humbled countless others before him, this time Lee would have the last laugh. Ordering a pizza with turkey and chicken and cheered on by a gallery of onlookers, Lee and Kuppler made it through the ordeal without incident and were awarded the prize of $500. The aftereffects of the pizza were not as kind to the duo, however, as the two had little time to savor the sweet taste of victory before they began to vomit heavily.

Lighter in stomach if not in wallet, the teammates have different plans for their winnings. Lee plans on using the money to buy plenty of laxatives before spending the remainder on a trip to Europe. Kuppler, a bodybuilder, will use the money to buy supplements.

Both Lee and Kuppler have some advice for would-be Pointersaurus contestants.

“It’s harder then it looks,” Lee said. “Choose lean meats.”

“To those who think they can do it: you better find a really really good partner, who can go through a lot of pain,” Kuppler said. “If you don’t respect that pizza, it will kill you.”

In the wake of their achievement, neither said they would attempt another pizza eating contest ever again- or for Lee, at least until school gets out. Lee has no plans to attempt the Talayna’s Restaurant challenge of eating a 30-inch, 20 pound pizza. Lee belies it to be an impossible feat. Despite his apprehensions about future pizza challenges, Lee has no such concerns when it comes to ice cream. He may try to eat the Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong, a 10 scoop ice cream dish with all the toppings offered in Ames, Iowa. The Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong offers no cash prize, just a plaque.

But for Lee and Kuppler, it was never about the money anyway. And despite his achievement, Kuppler is still haunted by the memories of that fateful day. Just recently, Kuppler had the opportunity to enjoy free pizza, but unable to get the “smell out of his head” could not bring himself to eat even a single bite. Lee and Kuppler knew the perils they would face eating the Pointersaurus, the potential phantom pizza pains they would experience even years later, the long restless nights of wondering if they would ever be able to eat pizza again… and yet they persevered.

Truly, these are courageous athletes.

Bears near season’s close

Friday, April 30th, 2004 | Joe Ciolli
Margaret Bauer

Entering their game this past Tuesday against Webster University, the Washington University baseball team was looking to improve its overall season record to .500 (16-16). Having split a doubleheader with Webster earlier in the year, the Bears needed a victory to capture the season series.

The game got off to a slow start as Webster took a 1-0 lead into the fourth inning before jumping ahead 4-1 going into the fifth. Fueled by senior Ryan Argo’s grand slam, the Bears racked up six runs in the fifth inning. This offensive explosion began when sophomore catcher Andrew Evenson reached base on an error. Fellow sophomore Ryan Corning and senior Steve Schmidt loaded the bases with a pair of singles before Argo drove them home. With the home run, Argo pushed his season batting average to .379 and improved his team-leading total to nine.

Holding a 7-5 lead going into the sixth inning, senior pitcher Steve Schmidt looked primed to put the game away as he kept Webster scoreless through the seventh inning. But it was in the bottom of the eighth when things fell apart for the Bears. Following a barrage of hits, Webster put up four runs to go ahead 9-7.

With one last chance to bring things even going into the ninth inning, the Bears managed to load the bases with two outs. This came courtesy of a Joel Farrell double and a pair of walks. With three on base, Evenson came to the plate once again only to fly out to the shortstop to end the game.

With the exception of the fifth inning, the Bears struggled offensively all day against Webster. Posting a team batting average of .267, the Bears failed to put together many solid rallies. One of the few bright spots for the team was Argo, who went 3 for 5 on the day with four runs batted in (RBI).

Having lost in frustrating fashion to Webster, the Bears looked to concentrate their efforts on their Thursday evening match-up against Maryville University. Apparently bitter over the close loss on Tuesday, the Bears came out and snagged a win, moving their season mark to 16-17.

The Bears will look to carry this momentum into next week’s doubleheader against Greenville College, which will be the team’s last games of the season. The last time the two teams met they combined for a whopping 37 runs and 36 hits as the Bears fell by a score of 19-18. If the team is able to rekindle some of that offensive firepower while playing a little tougher defensively, they should be in a good position to end the season on a winning note.

WUTV positions new host for ‘Positions’

Friday, April 30th, 2004 | Liz Neukirch

Faithful “Missionary Positions” viewers may be in for new perspectives on sex if freshman Vanessa Heil-Chapdelaine has her way. As the new student host of the show, she hopes to include more guest panelists on the risqu‚ Washington University TV headliner.

“I like the atmosphere of the show, the discussion that happens, and the live questions,” said Heil-Chapdelaine of the show’s current format, adding that next year’s season might include “a taped intro, some taped segments…and more guest panelists.”

Senior Alison Small, the current host and executive producer of “Missionary Positions,” said she chose Heil-Chapdelaine to be the next host because of her personality and professionalism.

“[Vanessa] has just the right combination of charm, intelligence, and on-the-ball humor that a good host needs,” said Small. “She came prepared, handled the other panelists well and most of all was comfortable in front of the camera.”

Small went on to explain that Heil-Chapdelaine’s level of comfort translated well into a “balanced on-screen personality.” While she wasn’t afraid to make jokes about the sexually explicit material discussed on the show, she respected the questions that were fielded.

Though Heil-Chapdelaine watches “Missionary Positions” every week, she said her decision to audition for the host position was largely due to her friendship with freshman Jessica Black, who lives on her floor and who will take over as the show’s executive producer next year.

“[Jessica] mentioned they were looking for a new host, [and] I thought it would be fun and that I could do a good job,” she said.

Small said Black and Heil-Chapdelaine will be working very closely together next year because of their positions on the show. Her final decision to cast Heil-Chapdelaine as the host, however, was not an easy one.

“It was an extremely hard decision,” said Small. “The other finalist (Emily Schultz) was also very good and had a lot to offer. In general I thought the auditions went surprisingly well. I would have hoped for more initial auditionees, but honestly I think I still would have chosen Vanessa and Emily as the two finalists-they were just that good.”

Heil-Chapdelaine described her experience auditioning as “a little bit shocking.”

“It was what I expected, but we had to pretend to be the host and they asked us some pretty risqu‚ questions,” she said.

Small said she wants Heil-Chapdelaine to “add her own flare and technique to the show,” and for this reason she will not go through any training for next year. Small has given her tapes of past shows, however, to give her a general feel for what the show has been like, and intends to “fill her in on the basics” of hosting the show.

“She’ll also need to get a good idea for what the show’s history has been like, and I’ve saved all the articles and interviews for that!” said Small.

Heil-Chapdelaine is looking forward to both the experience and recognition she will obtain from hosting the show next year.

“I’m looking forward to the fame and fortune, [and] I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to take a really good idea a little bit further by adding personal touches, ” she said.

It ain’t all whips and chains-club shows new side of BDSM

Friday, April 30th, 2004 | David Tabor

Alternative sexual acts such as bondage/discipline and dominance/submission have commonly been considered risky and dangerous sexual acts-but a new student group on campus hopes to dispel such generalizations.

The recent formation of a “Bondage and discipline, Dominance and submission, and Sadomasochism” (BDSM) interest group is giving students on Washington University’s campus both a forum for open sexual discussion and a place to become educated on safe sexual practices.

The Alternative Lifestyle Association (ALA), which promoted its first meeting with flyers carrying the slogan “Wash U Spank,” was formed this semester by three University students who are hoping to support and educate those interested in BDSM.

As described by a founding member who wished to remain anonymous, the ALA seeks to “provide emotional support to those coming to grips with their sexuality.”

She explained that the group does not intend for its meetings to provide therapy, but rather to provide a setting in which students can feel comfortable discussing BDSM. The group will also serve to provide information to members so that they may explore their interests safely.

Because there is often significant overlap in the activities that BDSM encompasses, the ALA will function to support all of them.

Each activity, however, has a clear definition. Bondage and discipline refers to physical restraint of one sexual partner by the other. Dominance and submission involves one partner giving control to the other for the duration of the sexual act. Sadomasochism is an interest in pain to heighten sexual pleasure.

Often, BDSM enthusiasts identify with one of the two roles in each scenario, and thus refer to themselves as either a “dominant/top” or “submissive/bottom.” A person who enjoys both roles is referred to as a “switch.” The actual sexual encounter, during which each partner assumes one of the roles, is called a “scene.”

The aforementioned founding member said that most people tend to have misconceptions regarding BDSM.

“I think that people see images in popular culture of power exchange, and it’s presented to them as something freaky and amusing, not a genuine sexual practice shared by many normal, successful people,” she said.

She and the club’s other founding members hope that the ALA will be able to promote informed awareness of BDSM and correct common misconceptions. She noted, for instance, that most people are unaware that “safe, sane and consensual” is a primary tenet of BDSM practice.

She explained that being accurately informed is critical to a safe BDSM scene.

“If you want to play with bondage, fine, but know something about circulation before you do it!” she said. “ALA will be a beneficial resource, especially to novices-safe BDSM requires knowledge and skill.”

The ALA has held two meetings so far. Attendees of the first meeting discussed their experiences with BDSM and answered questions from those who attended with the intent of learning more. Future meetings will consist of icebreakers, open discussion, Q&A sessions and other activities.

Freshman Hubert Cheung, who attended the group’s first meeting, said the founders made people comfortable at the meeting by doing most of the talking. They stressed the importance of respecting members of the group and taking meetings seriously.

“They made it very clear that there would be no demonstrations, [and] reiterated that [the club] is for people who want more information, [not to] meet people to hook up,” he said.

Cheung went on to say that he believes curiosity was the driving force behind the students who have shown up at the meetings thus far.

“I think most people seem to go because they’re curious about the group [and] curious about the subject,” he said. “Some people go just to see if the group actually exists, and some go to [learn more] about the subject. I think I fit into both categories.”

The other founding members of the group could not be reached for comments.

While the club currently does not receive funding from Student Union, it will apply for a position as an official student group in the coming academic year. With funding, the ALA hopes to organize events and invite guest speakers. A Halloween costume ball and BDSM-themed movie nights have been discussed as potential activities.

The ALA follows the lead of similar organizations at other universities, such as Columbia University’s Conversio Virium and the University of Washington’s Society for Human Sexuality.

University students interested in joining the ALA or learning more about BDSM can contact the group at [email protected].

In spite of concealed-carry law, University promotes weapons-free campus

Friday, April 30th, 2004 | Kristen McGrath
Margaret Bauer

With Missouri’s concealed weapons law recently deemed constitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court, permit holders will be allowed to carry concealed weapons throughout the state. Despite this decision regarding what is called the “concealed-carry” law, Washington University has resolved to preserve an environment free of concealed weapons.

“Certainly we are concerned about the overall safety of the campus community, and we don’t think it was consistent with the University’s mission to allow concealed weapons and weapons in general on campus,” said Chief of Police Don Strom.

Although it is unlawful under the concealed-carry law to carry a concealed firearm into an educational institution without the consent of the institution’s governing body, the law allows a permit holder to stow a weapon in a vehicle, providing that it is not removed from the vehicle while on the premises. The University, however, as a private institution, will prohibit stowing firearms in vehicles parked in University-owned parking facilities.

“The University has made a policy that says we will not allow firearms to be in the car,” said Strom. “Even if a person has a license that states it is okay to have [a weapon] in their car in a university setting, our policy is that you can’t have it [at] our institution.”

In light of the concealed-carry law, universal no-gun symbol decals will be placed on University-owned meters and University shuttles.

“We are simply making an effort to inform people who visit campus that the University is still off-limits to concealed weapons and weapons of any kind,” said Fred Volkmann, vice chancellor of public affairs. “[The signs are not] so much for students in our own community. [They are] mostly for people who may be coming to visit or who may be using our facilities.”

Similar signs will be posted on off-campus buildings, including University-owned apartments and the Lewis Center. Other properties leased from the University, such as Kayak’s Coffee, can post decals should the leaseholder choose to display them.

“It’s a matter of education,” said Volkmann. “If a person who receives a permit [to carry a weapon] is properly trained as the state requires, they will know that there are areas that have the right to deny them the privilege of carrying that weapon. By notifying people that these are University structures, although they may not be on the campus itself, it informs them that they would not be acting appropriately if they were to carry the weapon inside and would be subject to some further action.”

Sophomore Katie Hosack does not expect the concealed-carry law to have a major impact on campus safety.

“Generally, I don’t feel there is much of a threat here, and I don’t see that changing,” said Hosack.

Sophomore Laura Robb feels that the ability to defend oneself with a concealed weapon, which some view as a right, is not necessary on the University’s campus.

“[The University’s weapons policy] applies to everyone on campus, which will universally keep the threat posed by weapons down,” said Robb. “I would hope that, because of [these measures], self-defense with a weapon wouldn’t be necessary.”

Senior Kelley Mesa, founder of On Target, a campus group promoting firearms education and safety, believes that the University’s response is reasonable given the law’s provisions regarding educational institutions.

“Since we are a private institution the school has every right to come to its own decision regarding this issue,” said Mesa. “Perhaps my own opinion regarding any danger posed by a law-abiding citizen carrying a firearm onto a campus differs from the school’s, but I completely respect their decision.”

Mesa emphasized that the University’s decision to prohibit concealed weapons does not infringe on the right to defend oneself.

“The boundaries set by the University do not prohibit self-defense, only certain methods of self-defense,” said Mesa. “I think it’s the personal responsibility of the students here to learn how to best protect themselves, given the boundaries set by the school. In my case, I’ve taken a personal defense course for women, carry pepper spray and, most importantly, am constantly aware of my surroundings. But once I have graduated, I do plan to carry a concealed firearm for personal defense, which, I might add, I already have a permit for.”

Return of remaining Nicaraguan workers uncertain

Friday, April 30th, 2004 | Sarah Kliff
Student Life Archives

While eight Nicaraguan workers have returned to Washington University in the past week to work for Top Care, Inc., the rearrival of the remaining 28 workers now looks extremely doubtful.

Although most believed they would be coming back to St. Louis, Top Care did not contact these remaining workers when the company met with select employees in Nicaragua’s capital city of Managua last week.

Top Care, the landscaping company contracted by the University, contacted the eight workers for a meeting regarding their return to St. Louis and their future employment. The rest of the deported workers, who had been employed under the University’s former landscaping contract with G&G Building Services, received no contact from Top Care about this meeting.

On Tuesday, the Student Worker Alliance (SWA) delivered a letter to Chancellor Mark Wrighton stating that they “would like the University to act honorably as an employer and do everything in its power to bring the Nicaraguans back.”

The administration has frequently stated that the contractors, not the University, are responsible for the hiring practices. The letter from the SWA claimed that “the University was directly responsible for bringing these workers to St. Louis in the first place…the University employed these workers as its own employees, despite there being contractors in between.”

In their written statement to the Chancellor, the SWA also included a letter from University Manager of Maintenance Operations William Wiley in which Wiley claimed responsibility for part of the University’s relationship with the workers.

In the letter, dated May 31, 2002, Wiley wrote that “officially members of this group will be employees of a contractor of the University called Spann or Encompass, but I am going to have much control over the use of the workers.”

Wiley declined to comment on the situation, stating that he did not have the authority to at the time.

In a letter of response to the SWA’s statement, Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities Ralph Thaman wrote that the University has kept its promise to assist the displaced workers.

“At the time the workers departed in November 2003…the University agreed to assist the workers who were returning to Nicaragua in obtaining an interview with Top Care so that they could be considered for subsequent employment,” wrote Thaman, adding that the University did arrange for these interviews and that each worker hoping for an interview with Top Care received one.

According to Thaman’s letter, “the University acted in good faith during the interview process…However, the University did not and could not guarantee that Top Care would ultimately hire the Nicaraguan workers, and the University clearly made that point to the workers at the time.”

The SWA’s letter to the Chancellor also demanded a refund of the $275 that workers paid to hold their lease on apartments in St. Louis. According to the SWA, “all 36 workers signed an agreement that relieved them from any and all debts in St. Louis. However, after boarding the plane Mr. William Wiley, maintenance manager for Washington University, collected $275 dollars from every worker-allegedly to pay their apartment leases. The workers were told they were paying this money to have their apartments reserved when they returned.”

In his letter to the SWA, Thaman stated that this sum would be fully refunded.

“The University will arrange to reimburse each worker for the full amount previously collected, plus interest,” he wrote.

While $275 may not seem extremely valuable in the United States, based on the minimum wage in Nicaragua-as reported by La Prensa, the nation’s national newspaper-that amount could support a family for nine months. One worker remaining in Nicaragua, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed the importance of that sum of money.

“The salaries here are very meager,” said the worker. “We’re trying to find out what to do and how to get by. We barely make enough to eat and having been living with the hope to return. Hope is the last thing to lose. But by now all the papers that were signed and commitments that were made have been broken. I believed in the word they gave; they seemed confident. They told us a date, but then moved the date. Now we know the original Top Care workers are back and we are here with nothing. We feel they lied to us and made us a false promise.”

Thaman’s statement expressed that “the University regrets that Top Care has not yet hired these Nicaraguan workers to return to the United States,” adding that workers have already been compensated by the University for lost time and travel expenses.

WU investigation into Sigma Chi set to begin

Friday, April 30th, 2004 | Jonathan Greenberger
Jonathan Lane

The investigation into a series of Sigma Chi videos and photographs is scheduled to begin in earnest this morning.

Yesterday, the fraternity’s national organization suspended the Washington University chapter of Sigma Chi for 45 days. This decision was made by the Sigma Chi Fraternity Chapter Review Subcommittee, which unanimously voted for the suspension in order to allow the national organization’s officials to work with University administrators in investigating the fraternity’s actions.

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Students Jill Carnaghi said the “principals” of the University’s inquiry will convene today to discuss how to proceed in the case and to begin to “put all of the pieces together.”

The investigation will center on approximately 28 videos and 31 photographs of events that allegedly took place at the Sigma Chi house last week.

The videos primarily show groups of students telling jokes and performing in skits. Most were of a sexual nature and revolved around women they know or have had relationships with. During and after many of the skits, the videos depict performers being pelted with beer cans and boxes by members of the audience.

Another fraternity gave the videos and photos to the Greek Life Office on Tuesday. Since that time, the Office has released a statement condemning the actions as “inappropriate” and “unacceptable.”

Carnaghi said that a conscious decision was made to delay the start of the investigation until Friday.

“I didn’t want to make a rash decision in the heat of the moment,” she said. “I wanted to let the dust settle.”

At the same time, she made it clear that she has already reached some conclusions about the content of the videos.

“This behavior cannot and will not be tolerated,” she said.

Later, talking specifically about some of the sexual material and the disparaging references to a handful of female students, she added that “some of those derogatory comments are also unacceptable.”

Although the investigation is set to get underway today, Carnaghi said decisions about the shape and schedule of the inquiry have yet to be made.

“We have no timeline right now, but we’ve got be sensitive to the time of the year,” she said, alluding to the upcoming departure of most students for the summer. “You want to be thorough, but you also want to expedite things, especially with so many concerned individuals.”

Carnaghi refused to discuss the potential sanctions that may come out of the investigation, but did say “anything’s possible.” In the press release distributed by the Greek Life Office earlier this week, revocation of the University’s recognition of the Sigma Chi chapter was mentioned as a possibility.

Late in the day on Wednesday, Sigma Chi distributed a written statement to the local media that said the brothers and pledges of the chapter “take total responsibility for their actions” as depicted in the videos.

“We recognize that our actions do not meet the expectations of the campus community,” the release said. “We realize that what we thought was good-natured college hi jinx has been interpreted as ‘distasteful’ and ‘inappropriate,’ and we are working…to insure [sic] that we never cross that line again.”

The statement also mentions that the videos showed only one part of life at Sigma Chi.

“Unfortunately, no videos have been distributed displaying our more positive activities,” the release said, pointing to the chapter’s philanthropy events and high GPA. According to statistics released by the Greek Life Office earlier this semester, Sigma Chi had the fifth highest GPA of all fraternities-3.353-during the fall 2003 semester, which was near the 3.40 average for all Washington University undergraduates.

Director of Greek Life Karin Johnes said she had a positive reaction to Sigma Chi’s statement.

“I was pleased in that I think they are taking an appropriate amount of responsibility,” she said. “I felt like it was a good step.”

The videos came out on the same day that the University imposed sanctions on the fraternity for an incident on March 18 when two pledges were transported to the hospital. Multiple administrators have said that the events of March 18, along with other incidents in Sigma Chi’s history, will be taken into account during this new investigation.

History serves life

Friday, April 30th, 2004 | Shawn Redden

I came to Washington University a completely different person than I am today. I was not particularly political then, though my background in history naturally predisposed me to some interest in politics.

But two things-the Internet and global events-changed my life forever. Access to the Net enabled me to see how the rest of the world interpreted crises-the 2000 electoral coup d’etat, 9-11 and the naked aggression against Iraq, in particular. It also showed to me that I could no longer keep silent, that I had no choice but to put to use my knowledge of history in the service of life, rather than allowing the study of history to reduce life to an insipid footnote.

So with no regrets and no apologies, I’ve decided to leave Washington University. Before I do, I want to say a few things about three groups.

The first is SAKINA, the Palestinian advocacy group: keep up the good work; you’re doing an amazing job. Washington University is a ferociously racist, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian campus. Your tireless effort to unmask the lies about Israel’s terrorist occupation, about the Jewish-only ‘Jim Crow’ settlements, about the apartheid wall, IDF demolitions, IDF checkpoints and IDF attacks on civilians, media and medical workers is profoundly praiseworthy.

The mendacious liars who write on these pages calling the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem frauds, who erase from history events like Israel’s reprehensible sneak attack against Egypt in 1967, and who vilify brave people like Adam Shapiro and Allison Weir aren’t going anywhere. But their defense of the indefensible is growing shriller and less sustainable. Every day, more people see what’s happening in the Bantustans of Gaza and the West Bank; time and justice are on your side. I only wish I could have done more to help you.

Secondly, I want to address the new leadership of the CLA and the Washington Witness. Despite the Stalinist predilections of the President/Editor and his Atkins-addled sidekick, I respect the work you are doing. You are wrong about virtually everything, obviously, but I have sincerely enjoyed getting to know each of you. Thanks for keeping the left looking good by offering the diametric opposition to truth… in color!

Despite all you get wrong, at least you reject the demented ravings of that foolish ignoramus and apologist for mass murder, Ludwig von Mises! Certain of your antecedents evidently had a library consisting of this one author alone, thus replicating Mises’s own narrow-minded obliviousness as a consequence. I’m glad to see that changing. Some Michel Foucault, Edward Said, Cornell West, Arundhati Roy, Friedrich Nietzsche and Judith Butler would really do your clique some good.

The third group I want to recognize are my students. To the first group of History 101 students I ever taught during that historic semester of Fall 2001, to the amazing ‘Cracks in the Republic’ class, to the wonderful India seminar, to my ‘African-American Experience’ section, to last semester’s ‘Poverty and Progress’ class: thank you from the bottom of my heart. I entered graduate school to work with students like each of you, and I will always consider our shared experiences the high point of my time here.

Finally, I reserve special consideration for the History 102 students with whom I’m currently working because, whether you know it or not, you were instrumental in my decision (in a good way, of course!). During our best discussion of the year, a discussion about Nietzsche, you forced me to ask myself whether I cared about his work from the perspective of a disinterested historian who dispassionately surveys his writings, or whether I cared about Nietzsche from the perspective of one who takes to heart what he says in my own life.

After our discussion, I read another of his essays entitled “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life.” In the opening paragraph, Nietzsche writes, “We need history . . . for reasons different from those for which the idler in the garden of knowledge needs it…. We need it for the sake of life and action, not to turn comfortably away from life and action… We want to serve history to the extent that history serves life: for it becomes possible to value the study of history to such a degree that life becomes stunted and degenerate.”

For me, degeneration set in four years ago. Now I’m escaping to New York with the woman I love to grow again – straight out of a Bruce Springsteen song!


Vote ENVIRONMENT in 2004

Friday, April 30th, 2004 | Teresa Sullivan

In honor of Earth Day, I ask you to consider the broader context of this week’s celebrations on campus. After attending the environmental forum Wednesday in Whitaker Hall, I felt it necessary to point out the more global context of today’s forum topic. Conference participants discussed the state of environmental responsibility on our campus with Chancellor Wrighton, and I believe there was a great deal of progress made in our understanding of the importance of setting a standard as an institution of higher education with regards to our stance on the environment. The presenters from various universities were well spoken and provided a context for the goal of sustainability at the university level as a model for the societal level.

I had the opportunity to register voters for Project Democracy with a friend of mine outside the lecture hall before and after the event, and I want to call attention to the essential link between voting and the state of the environment. According to a speaker I heard at the Project Democracy Alternative Spring Break, most people, when asked, will say that they are environmentalists, or that they are pro-environment. Yet, politicians continue to strip away and ignore so many of the advances that were made in environmental policy during the 1970s.

Why is this? Is it because they think their constituents don’t care enough about the environment to make it a priority when they vote? Probably. And they are right. Hardly anyone makes their decision on this issue. Or people who care about the environment, such as our generation, have dismally low turnout rates at the polls on election days. Yet, if we were to consider any number of the salient issues battled in the environmental arena today, more of us might vote, and we might vote pro-environment.

Consider the recent attacks on the Clean Air Act with regards to the high mercury levels in our waterways. According to the League of Conservation Voters, mercury from coal-fired power plants makes its way into our air and waterways, and ultimately into the fish we eat. Mercury is a hazardous neurotoxin that causes brain damage and interferes with development in fetuses, infants and small children. The Clean Air Act requires that the most effective technology be used to reduce these high levels of mercury, and such technology could reduce mercury levels by approximately 90 percent by 2008. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the current administration are thwarting the Clean Air Act and not demanding this kind of reduction. The current proposal favors business concerns over environmental responsibility. This is unacceptable, and it is just one of the many attacks on the environment we have seen in recent years.

If we were to use our votes, we could show our representatives that we do, indeed, care about our children and our health. Environmental protection is a responsibility we all share. As a voter, I am concerned that my elected officials are not representing me when it comes to my concerns about the environment. So, I will definitely be voting in November, and I will be using that vote to show my elected officials that their policies should reflect my concerns. I hope you will do the same. If we don’t vote, our issues do not become priorities. As we continue to strive for better protection of the environment on this campus, I believe we can strive on a more global level by voting and making our voices heard.

If you are unsure about the way your elected officials are voting, or you want to know that your pro-environment candidate is also leaning the right way on other issues that matter to you, you might want to check out Project Vote Smart at This amazing project has compiled a great deal of useful information about elected officials so that all of us can be more informed when we go out to the polls on August 3 for the Missouri primaries and on November 2.

Editorial Cartoon

Friday, April 30th, 2004 | Brian Sotak
Margaret Bauer