Archive for May, 2004

Sigma Chi brothers evicted from house

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004 | Liz Neukirch

Though their recognition as a chapter will not be revoked, brothers of Washington University’s Sigma Chi fraternity will not be allowed to live in their house next year.

“As a result of the most recent violations and Sigma Chi’s probationary status for the past two years, it has been determined that members of Sigma Chi will not occupy the Sigma Chi fraternity house for a period of at least two years,” said a press release from the University’s Office of Public Affairs.

During this time, staff of Sigma Chi International fraternity, committee members of the Sigma Chi Alumni Advisory Board, and staff of the Greek Life Office will mentor and educate each undergraduate member of Sigma Chi to “be exemplary leaders in the Greek community at Washington University [and] in their lives after college,” according to the released statement.

The decision, announced last week, was made via the collaborative efforts of the Greek Life Office, Sigma Chi Alumni Advisory Board and Sigma Chi International Office. The groups determined that the fraternity violated the University Judicial Code and Sigma Chi International Policy.

Former chapter president Adam Wood said he is “disappointed” with not only this decision, but also the manner in which it was announced.

“I’m very disappointed in the outcome, and I was disappointed that the first that I heard of it was from the Post-Dispatch,” he said, referring to a story that ran in Wednesdays’s online edition of the paper. “I think it’s very irresponsible.”

Wood added that he believes losing their house will not hinder the fraternity’s recruitment of new members next year.

“It will probably take more effort, but I don’t think it will be impossible. At the end of the day I think people choose a frat for the people…and I still think the people we’re putting forward are good people,” he said.

Wood also noted that he is still looking forward to Sigma Chi having a “positive presence on campus.”

Current chapter president Justin Thompson could not be reached for comments.

According to Rob Wild, associate director of Residential Life, the University is guaranteeing on-campus housing for all of the brothers who had opted to live in the Sigma Chi house next year.

“They are going to have access to any of the remaining open spaces in our upperclassmen housing areas. Each Sigma Chi [brother] is getting a letter describing that, and off-campus housing options as well. I know that Greek Life has worked hard to make sure nobody is denied housing,” Wild said.

Director of Greek Life Karin Johnes and Director of Campus Life Jill Carnaghi could not be reached for comments regarding which of the fraternity’s actions were in violation of University and Sigma Chi International regulations. However, the decision to evict the Sigma Chi brothers from their house took into account events on the evening of March 18, when two pledges were transported to the hospital, and April 22, when students were videotaped and photographed performing in sexually charged skits and engaging in other behaviors the Greek Life Office deemed “inappropriate” and “unacceptable.”

Though the fraternity was barred from pledging and initiating members, holding social events and participating in intramural sports after the events of April 22, the current agreement will allow the fraternity to resume those activities.

Freshman year: Presidential debate and protests

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004 | Allison Barrett
Margaret Bauer

Small Group Housing made its way onto campus, though progress was slowed because of strikes by concrete workers, inclement weather, and an alleged $11 million budget increase. The Chemistry Lab building and the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center progressed in their construction, and contractors broke ground on the Biomedical Engineering building by Brookings. New building in the works for the near future include three additional engineering buildings, an Earth and Planetary Sciences building, the Visual Arts and Design Center, a new art museum, and the new University Center. Olin Library began renovations in the spring.

Issues involving parking and trees sparked debates in the fall, as university administrators suggested uprooting trees for above-ground and underground parking lots of fulfill the needs of the student body and the city’s parking regulations. Student Union and the campus community fought back, requesting that the university find a new solution to the parking problems and leave the trees on Oak Alley standing.

Changes at Health Services altered the state of health insurance coverage, as students were informed that in the following years they would have to pay a fee of $400 for mandatory university-based insurance. The University School of Law was forced to allow military recruiters on its campus for the first time in ten years, after an amendment to a federal bill spelled the retraction of all federal funding from the university if the law school maintained its policy. The recruiters’ visits were met with student rallies opposing their presence.

Former cherry-bombing suspect, fugitive, and student radical Howard Mechanic was sentenced in September to four months in federal prison for his alleged role in the 1970 bombing of the University’s ROTC building. Mechanic was released from prison in December on probation and was pardoned by President Clinton in January.

October saw an influx of police and security as the Athletic Complex was transformed into a debate hall to host the third and final debate of the Presidential campaign. Al Gore and George W. Bush brought their entourages to campus, along with Secret Service officers and police surveillance. Ralph Nader spoke before a throng of students and community members at Northmoor Park before twice attempting-and failing-to make his way onto campus. Student protests during and after the debate resulted in pepper-sprayed victims and five arrests. Following months of preparation and construction, just a few days were sufficient enough to erase all signs of the debate.

The results of November elections showed an almost even division between Democrats and Republicans statewide as Bush received 51 percent of the popular vote and Gore 47 percent. Jean Carnahan replaced her husband Mel Carnahan in his race for U.S. Senate following his death in a plane crash just weeks before the election. Mrs. Carnahan, a Democrat, narrowly beat Republican John Ashcroft for the seat, though President Bush later appointed Ashcroft U.S. Attorney General after heated debate in Congress. Republican Jim Talent lost to Bob Holden in a close race for Missouri governor. Talent went on to teach a spring course at the University entitled “Thinking Like a Congressman.”

Student governments suffered losses of several high-ranking officials during the fall as both the President of the Council of Students in Arts & Sciences Paul Michalski and SU Attorney General Jeremy Brenner resigned. Maiko Kusano and Christiana Shourshtari replaced them to carry the organizations through the remainder of the year.

As predicted, University students received word of a tuition increase in January. A 4.9 percent increase in tuition-putting the grand total at $25,700-was sufficient to surpass the rate of inflation and also corresponding tuition increases at many Ivy League schools.

In sports, the Bears’ women’s basketball team won a fourth straight title as NCAA Division III Champions after breaking their 81-game winning streak in a January loss to Fontbonne.

Campus activists and listeners gathered several times during the spring at Strong Brew and 7th Hour events. Highlighting topics of religion, freedom, and the environment, the events sparked debate between students and faculty members who held expertise on those specific issues as well as politics and philosophy.

Stemming from the 7th Hour concerning the environment, a six-person group researched the environmental sustainability of the university, passed out petitions, and drafted a report on their findings, including suggestions for the future. The report was presented to the Chancellor and other high-ranking university officials in April.

In volunteer efforts, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Point Out Hunger raised an unprecedented $42,000 for Operation Food Search, while Dance Marathon nearly doubled its total from last year by raising $50,753.17 for the Children’s Miracle Network. Center Court Sharing brought in dozens of homeless people monthly to Center Court for free using student flex points.

Administrators altered campus food plans to accommodate new eating establishments, overhead costs, and Bon App‚tit’s monetary loss. Students opposed the increasing number of points and flexes offered by each plan, the increases in food price, the lack of point exchange, and the requirement that off-campus students buy a meal plan. In response to the changes, SU passed a resolution asking that the administration lower the additional cost that would be required for Kosher meal plans and tack on $10 to every students’ meal plan to cover the Kosher charges. Bon App‚tit’s overhead costs increased this year and were set to increase the next year with the addition of new eating establishments such as Ursa’s, Taco Bell, and Small Group Housing Dining Services.

Throughout the year, SU passed several other resolutions concerning parking and trees, the law school’s stance on discriminatory recruiters, and the environmental sustainability of the university.

SU also created an umbrella organization called the Social Programming Board (SPB), incorporating Filmboard, Team 31, the Garoyle Committee, and the Campus Programming Council. The concept for the SPB stemmed from difficulties in booking acts in advance because of short-term funding. By creating the SPB, SU would offer year-long advance funding to groups to aid them in planning programs.

In March, Greek Life put all campus sororities on indefinite probation for alleged hazing violations. The term of probation lasted until March 19.

The Eliot Residential Hall saga continued as administrators promised that the building would be demolished during the summer of 2001. Though the addition of Small Group Housing and non-Greek living in fraternity houses added several hundred beds, the incoming freshman class and the desire of rising sophomores to remain on campus posed problems. The administration informed the campus in April that Eliot would remain for at least another year.

The University received 21,000 applications for the Class of 2005, more than the university had ever received before and more than any college its size. April brought prospective students to campus, along with a 12-foot tall bronze statue of a thinking rabbit.

Sophomore year: Overcoming international tragedy

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004 | Rachel Streitfeld
Margaret Bauer

This year marked not only the largest number of available rooms on campus, but also the highest number of students, nearly 4,000, living on campus in university history. The increase in students was due largely to more upperclassmen applying to live on campus, as opposed to moving to off-campus apartments, as was the trend in the past.

As a result of resident complaints concerning vandalism and noise, the University City Police Department increased the number of police patrolling the area between Washington University and the Delmar Loop. This patrol increase prompted uneasy relations between residents and police for the rest of the year.

For the first time, medical school applicants could apply to 116 medical schools for the 2002 academic year through an online program created by the American Medical College Application Service, though lack of server capacity and increased usage posed serious problems for online appliers.

The University basked in the glow of rising rankings in the media. Princeton Review ranked Washington University Dining Services number two in the nation, based upon student feedback, diversity of cuisine, new policies, and student-administrator meetings. The university also moved up in U.S. News and World Report rankings to #14, the highest ranking the University had ever received to that point.

When hijacked airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. on Sept. 11, the ripple effect at the University saddened and motivated the university community towards discussion and change. The university immediately responded to the terrorist attack by placing televisions, professors and counselors in common rooms across campus to comfort distraught students.

Students’ regular routines were fundamentally disrupted that Tuesday, with the cancellation of classes, constant activity on cell phones, and numerous incidental and planned campus gatherings. The University community offered support to New York victims through letters and donations-400 people were turned away from an emergency blood drive on campus because of overwhelming interest. Team 31 decided to add an extra “D” for Donations to the fall WILD and transform the event into a keg-free benefit concert, with funds going to East Coast relief efforts.

Following isolated acts of violence and threats against American Muslims, including a harassing phone call at the University, administrators shut down the university’s online directory. University students and faculty members joined together to form the September 11 Committee to discuss their concerns with planned U.S. military response to the terrorist attacks.

With more original programming, increased student involvement and a new selection process for videos, Washington University Television (WUTV) attracted more viewers with new shows like “Missionary Positions” and “WU Cribs.” University religious leaders gathered with students on “Missionary Positions” to discuss differing religious views, both official and individual, on sex, love, and sexuality.

In October, the opening of the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center complemented the Olin School of Business’ $500,000 makeover and the school’s state-of-the-art program in China in an effort to increase the school’s international reputation. The University welcomed these additions despite a financial blow. Following downturns in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other economic indicators, the University’s endowment fell from $4.3 billion to $4 billion in 2000-2001.

Greek Life expanded this year to include the Mu Alpha Gamma fraternity for women and welcome back the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. After serving a two-year suspension issued by its national board of directors in 1999, the SAM fraternity returned to Washington University this fall. The fraternity’s suspension came on the heels of a rocky year that, according to the director of Greek Life, included poor leadership, financial woes, troubling behavior and alcohol abuse, culminating in accusations of hazing stemming from SAM’s spring pledge events.

The University raised undergraduate tuition in the spring by $1,200 to $26,900, a 4.7 percent increase from the previous year’s tuition rates. Administrators cited reasons for the increase including the need to attract and keep faculty members, costs of construction of new facilities, and the implementation of the new Arts & Sciences undergraduate curriculum. This new curriculum, however, was met with mixed reviews, as many students and advisors were confused by the complexities of the new curricular model.

Student Union’s Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) announced their proposal for a revised SU constitution that would go into effect the next year. Some of the most significant changes included the adoption of a bicameral legislature, composed of a senate and a treasury. The senate would be responsible for representing the interests of the student body, while the treasury would manage the allocation of the student activities fee to the University’s student groups.

Olympic officials chose Francis Field, the site of the 1904 Olympic Games, as a stop on the flame’s route to Salt Lake City, Utah. Students tuned into the winter Olympics for comfort and friendly competition after the fall’s tragic events.

The university introduced a Loan Repayment Assistance Program to provide financial assistance for students from the School of Law who enter public interest law with tuition debt. Initially, University faculty voted not to aid students entering the military, explaining that the military’s anti-homosexuality stance does not comply with the school’s non-discriminatory policies. Dean Seligman of the Law School, however, overturned the hotly debated vote to provide equal treatment to all University law students.

Following a national trend, the School of Law decided to inflate the grades of its graduating students. The decision, prompted primarily by grade inflation at peer schools as well as an increase in the quality of the School of Law’s student body, was aimed at giving more of a competitive edge to WUSL graduates. This new scale was intended to run closer to grades students receive at similar institutions.

Anthony Whittington, a senior in the School of Engineering, accused Professor Robert Morley of racial discrimination and considered filing a lawsuit against Washington University. Whittington alleged that his professor harassed him and gave him an unfairly low grade. School of Engineering Dean Christopher Byrnes convened two committees and in fact offered to let the student retake his class. Byrnes stated, however, that the committee was satisfied by Morley’s explanation for his conduct.

In March, the university’s Committee on Alcohol proposed changes addressing the University’s closed-container alcohol policy. Specifically, the proposed changes would increase policing of underage possession of closed containers of alcohol on campus. Though minors’ possession of closed containers has always been illegal under Missouri law and university policy, this rule had previously not been enforced.

Fraternities came under fire in March when members of Sigma Chi offended three visiting women’s tennis teams and the University administration, allegedly yelling sexually explicit epithets and throwing a dead squirrel onto the courts during a tennis match.

Scandal struck the university when members of the University’s Progressive Action Coalition (PAC) and the Missouri Democratic Party said that the university implicitly contributed to the political campaign of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Talent by paying him a unusually high salary. Talent received $90,000 to teach two courses at the University.

Drawing comparisons to Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh, Adam Shapiro, a humanitarian aid worker and 1994 University graduate, was one of the individuals barricaded in Yasser Arafat’s compound on the first day of the Israeli siege of the West Bank Town, Ramallah this spring. Shapiro is a member of the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian group that uses non-violence to end Israeli occupation.

University students gave back to the St. Louis community with events like Empty Bowls, an open microphone night to increase awareness of homelessness, and Thurtene Carnival, which moved back to the law school parking lot this year. Senior Jay Swoboda started What’s Up St. Louis, a magazine both chronicling and benefiting the homeless.

Seniors frantically searched for post-graduation jobs, encountering few opportunities due to what the Associated Press called the highest unemployment rate in almost eight years-a rate of 6 percent. Many students decided to stay on at the University as TAs or as admissions officers.

Junior year: Jews for Jesus, MetroLink, and war

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004 | Molly Antos
Margaret Bauer

This school year saw improvement in many areas for Washington University. The overall undergraduate program rose from the 14th to the 12th-highest ranking in U.S. News and World Report, which also ranked 19 graduate programs among the top 10 in their respective categories. Highlights of these rankings include the School of Medicine’s rise to become the second-best medical school focused on research, the Olin Graduate School of Business’s rise to 29 from its previous position of 31 and the School of Art’s new position of 21. The University also improved in its food rankings, offering the best food of any college in the country, according to The Princeton Review.

In response to student complaints that there was not enough security for off-campus housing, the University Police Department began patrolling surrounding neighborhoods of university-owned property. The other goal of this new program was to help improve the relationship between students and other members of the neighborhoods.

Students this year were given the option of taking new “themed” English composition courses to fit their interests. The different options included Technology and Society, Journey and Quest, Language and Identities and the traditional English composition class, Writing and Critical Thinking.

With the assistance of 18 University student interns and Chancellor Mark Wrighton, alumnus and balloonist Steve Fossett brought the Bud Light Spirit of Freedom capsule to its final destination at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. The capsule was used in Fossett’s circumnavigation of the globe last summer, which took him four days, 19 hours and 50 minutes.

The one-year anniversary of 9/11 was marked by a candlelight vigil in the Brookings Quadrangle to remember the victims and their families. Almost 1, 000 people sat in silence as students and faculty shared their thoughts, reactions and experiences about the tragic event.

Controversial author of “Step Across This Line” Salman Rushdie spoke at the University on Oct. 3 and 4. Rushdie was invited back this year after his visit last year was cancelled due to security concerns. Rushdie went into hiding after the publication of his work “The Satanic Verses” because Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini placed a death threat, or fatwa, on Rushdie. His appearance on campus marked one of the occasional public appearances Rushdie now makes.

Religious group Jews for Jesus ignited provocative debate on campus about religious boundaries earlier in the year. Sponsored by members of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Jews for Jesus made an effort to spread their beliefs in order to convert “traditional Jews,” or members of the Jewish community who do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, into believers in Jesus.

WUTV came out with a new show that year called “Wake Up Wash U.” This is a daily morning news program that provides students with both campus and national news, as well as entertaining segments.

University College started giving employees free tuition this year, compliments of a new University benefit package which also includes 50 percent remission for graduate courses. The result was a 32 percent increase in University College enrollment, from 2,028 students last fall to 2,681 students this year. The number of university employees enrolled increased by over 500.

The School of Law’s Student Bar Association (SBA) denied funding to the Law Students Pro-Life, but upon LSPL’s appeal, the decision was reversed and funding was granted. Previous to the reversal, this had been the first time in University history that the SBA, the law school’s student government, had denied any group of students the right to become an acknowledged organization on campus.

Senior Arianna Haut represented the Univesity on “Jeopardy!” as part of the college tournament. On her first appearance on the show, Haut came in first, winning $17,200. She lost in the semi-finals, however, winning only $5,000 for advancing that far.

Dr. Larry Shapiro was named Dr. William Peck’s successor as dean of the School of Medicine. Shapiro, along with two of his three children, is a University alumnus. Peck will remain at the university as a professor and researcher.

Undergraduate tuition increased by 5.2 percent, from $26,900 this year to $28,300 for the 2003-2004 school year. The hike came in response to new construction costs and rising faculty salaries. Currently, 60 percent of University undergraduates are receiving some form of financial assistance; this number should increase next year, however, due to the tuition increase.

After an electric pole caught on fire at the corner of Wydown and Big Bend, the South 40 was without power for approximately 12 hours. The after-effects of this event included flooding in Eliot Dormitory as a result of frozen pipes.

The University announced its support of affirmative action in university admissions policies by signing an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court. The University joined 37 other colleges in this endeavor, and studies of student opinion showed that it was largely backed by the student body.

University students and staff watched on television as hundreds of law enforcement officials searched the “debris belt” of the exploded Columbia shuttle for remnants and bodies. The campus mourned after the shuttle broke up over Texas only 16 minutes before it was scheduled to land in Florida.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was announced as the speaker at this year’s spring graduation. Albright received an honorary doctor of humanities degree. Graduation took place on Friday, May 16, in the Brookings Quadrangle.

President George Bush delivered a speech shocking parts of the campus and the nation when which he gave Saddam Hussein and his sons 48 hours to leave Iraq. When these demands were not met, the U.S. invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003. This event was met with anger from segments of the University community; a war protest was held the next day in the Quad.

After three years of meetings, planning, engineering and financial decisions, groundbreaking for the new MetroLink line finally took place. The groundbreaking was marked by a ceremony in the West Campus parking lot. Forest Park Parkway will be closed for more than a year, with the new line opening in March 2006. The new route will run underneath Millbrook Boulevard via a tunnel, surfacing at the intersection of Hoyt Drive and Throop Drive to pick up passengers.

Senior year: 150, construction and Nicaraguans

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004 | Sarah Kliff
Margaret Bauer

Washington University began its 150th year with the announcement that the University had risen in rank to hold a spot as the 9th best undergraduate program in the country according to U.S. News & World Report. This was the University’s first appearance in the top ten. The School of Engineering & Applied Science rose to 38th best in the nation, while the Olin School of Business held its spot at 14th in the rankings.

The Sesquicentennial Celebration, commemorating the University’s 150th anniversary, brought approximately 20,000 students, faculty and community members to campus for over 200 festive events. Chancellor “Magic Mark” Wrighton wowed students and younger children alike with his Magic Show, and University alumnus Ted Drewes created a special “SesQuete”-flavored frozen custard to celebrate the event.

To many students’ dismay, they attended the University’s first keg-free WILD in the fall, watching Busta Rhymes perform. Live was the spring headliner.

An October strike at local grocery stores, including Schnucks, had some students protesting outside, while others crossed picket lines to get their groceries. Student Union provided new shuttle routes that took students to Straub’s for their shopping needs during the 25-day strike.

The Student Worker Alliance (SWA) formed in October in response to the deportation of 36 Nicaraguan grounds workers. While the return of the workers still remains uncertain, the SWA has widened its mission to pursue the implementation of a living wage on campus through events such as the “Boot the Bell” campaign against Taco Bell and a rally on the steps of Brookings Hall that brought in activists from throughout the St. Louis community.

Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) welcomed new Director Alan Glass after former Director Laurie Rietman announced plans to retire. SHCS is also considering plans for a new home on the South 40 in the future. James McLeod, vice chancellor for students and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, announced the possible move to a yet-to-be-decided location closer to student housing.

In November, Chancellor Wrighton announced that the University would host one of the presidential debates during fall 2004. The administration has already started preparing for the debate on Oct. 8, 2004, recruiting student volunteers and laying out plans for the debate on the basis of the University’s experience hosting debates in 1992 and 2000. The Oct. 8 Coalition, a student group created with the goal of shedding light on issues not being discussed in the debate, formed in reaction to the University’s selection as a debate host.

In local politics, two University faculty members announced that they would vie for the seat of former Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt. Jeff Smith, an adjunct professor in University College, and Mark Smith, associate dean of students in the School of Law, are competing for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd District.

Thomas Friedman drew a crowd that filled the University’s Athletic Complex for his speech about the war against Iraq as part of the Assembly Series. Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times, will return to campus this month to give the commencement address for the graduating class of 2004.

Students also had a chance to hear a voice from the political right when the Conservative Leadership Association (CLA) brought author Ann Coulter to campus for the Assembly Series. Earlier in the year the CLA also sponsored a lecture about the hypocrisy of society and the pitfalls of liberalism given by WWF wrestler Ultimate Warrior.

Construction on and off campus has been an inconvenience to many students but yielded many developments. The renovated Olin Library, which has been three years in the making, will open its doors on May 7. Along with more obvious changes to the building’s outer surfaces, changes inside include a new 24-hour caf‚ and the Arc technology center.

As library construction drew to a close, the building of the $56.8 million-dollar Sam Fox Arts Center commenced. The Arts Center, located in the parking lot east of Brookings Hall, is set to open in the spring of 2006 and will serve as a center for fine arts at the University.

Residents of the Village and those living on Washington Avenue woke up daily to early morning construction on the MetroLink expansion. The project, with an expected completion date in 2006, will add MetroLink stops at Forsyth Avenue and Skinker Boulevard.

The University women’s volleyball team captured its eighth national championship this year. The women clinched the title in a 3-0 win over New York University, finishing out their season with a 28-game winning streak.

Tuition increases announced at the beginning of the spring semester will bring the total cost of attending the University to over $40,000 per year. Undergraduate tuition will rise $1,400 (4.9 percent) to $29,700 for the 2004-2005 school year. The cost of living in a double room in a new residence hall with a full meal plan will rise to $10,292, bringing the total cost of attending the University to $40,838.

Direct Connect, a hub-based student file-sharing program, was shut down this semester after the administration became aware of it. Its existence had been largely publicized by an article in the Riverfront Times. Students reacted to the administration’s action by forming an impromptu 4 a.m rally outside of Umrath Residence Hall. The Hatch, a student band, performed until University police intervened to stop its set. Letters regarding student file-sharing activity on Direct Connect and the possible consequences have yet to be distributed.

Revisions to the Ervin Scholar Program, which opened the traditionally African-American scholarship to students of all races, brought controversy to the University’s campus. Many current Ervin Scholars saw this change as an end to the community and support system that the program had traditionally provided. While the University decided to revise the program in response to pressure from the U.S. Department of Education, revisions have yet to be made to the Annika Rodriguez Scholarship program for Latin American students or the Chancellor’s Graduate Fellowship program for African-American graduate students.

The year also ended with controversy, with the surfacing of videotapes and photographs displaying questionable behavior at the Sigma Chi fraternity. The materials, which showed fraternity brothers and pledges dunking their heads in freezing water and throwing beer cans at each other during sexually-charged skits, were published in Student Life. The national Sigma Chi organization has suspended the University chapter for 45 days, although the University itself is still deciding what action it will take. University administrators have said they will consider Sigma Chi’s past misconduct in their final decision.

University to grant honorary degrees to six

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004 | Kelly Donahue

Along with the more than 2,300 Washington University students who will receive degrees at the Commencement ceremonies on May 21, the University will award six accomplished individuals with honorary doctorate degrees.

Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who will deliver the Commencement address, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University.

A doctor of laws degree will also be awarded to Joe Edwards, the co-founder and opener of Blueberry Hill, for his orchestration of the ongoing revitalization of The Loop.

The first of three doctor of science degrees will be presented to David Kipnis, M.D., Distinguished University Professor of Medicine and Distinguished University Professor of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology. Kipnis has been a dedicated contributor to the School of Medicine throughout the past 50 years, and he has conducted groundbreaking research in the areas of diabetes and metabolism.

“I’m very flattered and very appreciative,” Kipnis said of the award, adding that he intends to continue teaching as long as he can recognize who he is.

Kipnis cited the inquisitive nature of medical students as the reason he wants to continue teaching. “The youngest people in the system tend to ask the best questions,” he said. “It keeps me intellectually alert.”

A doctor of science degree will also be offered to the late Robert M. Walker, a former professor of physics in Arts & Sciences. Walker’s numerous accomplishments included his service as the inaugural director of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, his election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1973 and his research involving moon rocks. The late professor’s wife, Ghislaine Crozaz, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University, will accept the doctorate in Walker’s honor.

The third doctor of science degree will be presented to Edith Waldman Wolff, a generous supporter of the School of Medicine. Wolff has funded research on diabetic, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, among others.

The University will also award a doctor of humanities degree to Theodore McMillian, a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. McMillian was the first African-American appointed to the federal bench in the 8th district, and many of his opinions have greatly influenced U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Three-year library project comes to an end

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004 | David Tabor
Margaret Bauer

Washington University celebrated the completion of its three-year Olin Library renovation project in style on May 7 with a fitting grand-scale rededication ceremony. Held beneath a pavilion erected in front of the library entrance, the ceremony featured a number of distinguished speakers, including Chancellor Mark Wrighton and keynote speaker Neil Rudenstine, former president of Harvard University.

The assembled crowd of several hundred faculty, staff, students, and financial contributors was also treated to a tour of the facilities following the ceremony with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and chilled champagne.

Speakers at the ceremony included Executive Vice Chancellor Edward Macias, English Professor Wayne Fields, Board of Trustees Chairman John McDonnell, Chancellor Emeritus William Danforth, and Vice Chancellor for Information and Technology Shirley Baker. Each reflected on the grand scope of the renovation project and Olin’s successful transformation into a state-of-the-art facility.

Olin Library was first opened in 1963 to wide approval, yet, as Chancellor Wrighton explained, was in need of an update before the current renovations began in May 2001.

Macias, who served as master of ceremonies for the rededication, agreed with the Chancellor’s remarks about the necessity of the renovation.

“Learning and scholarship are what we do here at the University, so it is important to have a strong library to serve our distinguished faculty and students,” said Macias.

Outside the library’s entrance, a new statue of George Washington stands as a reminder of the University’s namesake and the principles for which he stood. Macias formally dedicated the statue to former Board of Trustees Chairman William Van Cleve, for the leadership he provided for the University during his long tenure. Van Cleve passed away in February of last year.

In his keynote address, Rudenstine described the Olin renovation as “a symbol to all institutions of higher education of what can and should be done.” Rudenstine also explained that modern research libraries comprise a critical element of a university’s academic environment.

“The lines between teaching, studying, and research have been blurred,” he said. “Now we have a much more dynamic vision of learning that would not be possible without the expansion of research libraries.”

Rudenstine lauded the University for its ambition and commitment to this vision, noting the difficulty of attracting donations for unglamorous projects such as building renovations. In good humor, he noted that not many donors’ hearts race at the chance to have their name on the library’s shiny new storage shelves.

Rudenstine also discussed the nature of the modern library. Many of the improvements to Olin were intended to modernize the facility, but he noted that traditional resources were not neglected in the process. He spoke with passion on the necessity of libraries as storehouses of print materials, stating that “books are our best, and ultimately only, custodians of the entire human record.”

Fields placed the ceremony in perspective by relating the values that George Washington held to the academic goals of the University community.

The University was founded, Fields noted, during a period of great political tension. With Southern states speaking of secession and racial tension threatening to tear the country apart, the University’s founders chose a figure of singular national respect for their namesake. Despite the name’s geographic ambiguity, Washington was chosen for the unity and leadership he embodied, in hopes of “borrowing his ambition to assert his values as a statement of our own.”

Macias said it was fitting that a statue of our University’s namesake should be featured so prominently at the entrance of the literal and figurative heart of the academic campus.

Baker, who led the renovation project, thanked those who had contributed financially to the project and the library staff for their good nature during the sometimes-trying renovations.

Baker explained that Olin Library houses some 1.2 million books, and each was moved to a new location in the updated organizational scheme. Some books were moved two or even three times, and computer records had to be updated following each move so that the library could remain open and functional during the renovation. Library staff were at times forced to navigate construction areas or work under noisy conditions, yet dealt admirably with the difficulties, Baker said.

During the rededication, representatives from the Student Worker Alliance stood beside the pavilion holding signs that called for workers to receive a “living wage now.” After the ceremony, they handed out flyers explaining their cause.

The tour following the formal ceremony allowed the general public into the newly created Whispers Caf‚ area. The caf‚ is one of the major additions to the library, giving students a place to socialize, relax and buy food or coffee.

Other highlights of the renovation project include the addition of 17,000 square feet of user space, many new windows and improved lighting, new furnishings and 50 percent more seating.

The modernized library also boasts twice as many public-access computers as it previously had. Wireless Internet access is now available in most areas of the library, and network jacks provide access at most tables and desks. Even book storage has been improved, with mechanized shelving on levels A and B. Aisles between shelves squeeze closed to save space when not in use, but can be opened by patrons when access is needed.

The new Help Center centralizes previously scattered circulation, reference, interlibrary loan and shelving services. The Arc, another new facility, serves as the library’s new technology center, featuring large plasma screen monitors, two classrooms with ceiling-mounted projectors and movable partitions, and a general computing area where students can either receive instruction or work individually.

New grads face tough but improving job market

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004 | Nadee Gunasena and Liz Neukirch
Margaret Bauer

For this year’s graduating class, finding a job may not be as difficult a task as it has been in the past.

Recent reports about the job market for the class of 2004 have been quite positive. The nonprofit National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) measured the potential jobs available for grads by polling its company members on four separate occasions during the academic year. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, a NACE survey last month indicated that employers plan to hire 11.2 percent more college graduates from the class of 2004 than the previous class. Marilyn Mackes, the executive director of NACE, noted in the article that this is the first time since 2001 that they have seen “an increase from employers for college hiring.”

Unfortunately, some feel the NACE survey is a little too optimistic, especially for this early in the employment cycle.

Amanda Matheu, director of Engineering Career Services at Washington University, cited the Recruiting Trends Report from the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI) as reason for doubting NACE’s results.

“The database of employers that the CERI surveys is larger than the NACE,” said Matheu of the report, which is used at Michigan State University. “They showed that the job market was a little better, but [they] weren’t quite as confident as the NACE.”

However, this slight increase in job opportunities for 2004 graduates is consistent with what she has seen for the University’s engineering students.

“In my opinion, [employment] is picking up a little bit,” said Matheu. “We’ve seen more employers on campus this year, and I think students have gotten more interviews than last year. But it’s not as good as it used to be when the economy was much stronger.”

Georgia Binnington, associate dean of the School of Art, echoed Matheu’s sentiments. Although students in art often take many different paths after graduation, their jobs are still affected by the rise and fall of the economy, especially in what she calls the “applied arts,” namely fashion design, graphic design and other applied media.

“Our graduates in these areas have found positions relatively quickly after Commencement,” Binnington said of previous classes.

Though she has not noticed any difference over the past couple of years, Bennington said that this year “things are looking up.”

“I’m hearing from more students that they are having more success [whether looking] for grants, graduate programs, or jobs,” she said. “Based on word from students and faculty…we’ve got everyone placed.”

Other University faculty members believe that there is a pronounced increase in this year’s employment opportunities. Jill Murphy, manager of business development at the School of Business Career Center, voiced her agreement with the NACE’s findings.

“From what we’ve seen, there’s been a 50 percent improvement over the past year in terms of the number of companies that have visited campus for recruiting opportunities,” said Murphy.

Matheu cited Accenture Ltd. (a consulting firm) and Saint Jude Medical (a medical device manufacturer) as two companies that have already made offers to students after recruiting on campus. The Wall Street Journal reported that Accenture plans to hire 1,600 graduating college seniors this year, up from 750 last year.

Increased company visits, however, are not the only reason behind Murphy’s excitement for this year’s potential graduate employment.

“This year, the number of people who’ve already reported full-time job offers is 23 percent,” she said. “That’s a 16 percent increase from last year.”

Senior Erik Trooien said the career center at the School of Business helped him land a job with LaSalle Bank in Chicago. He accepted the job offer in November after interviewing with representatives on campus.

“It’s tough to take time away from your schedule to go do first-round interviews everywhere,” Trooien said, noting that University career resources enable students to work interviews into their daily routines by bringing potential employers to campus. “When [businesses] come to campus they know about Washington University and are interested in the students. It helps you get exposure to a lot of different companies.”

Lea Luchetti, the former director of the Career Center, said earlier in the semester that she was optimistic about the potential range of opportunities for University graduates.

“We are very encouraged by the recent news that the entry-level job market is much better than it had been in recent years,” she said. “Students can only benefit from these recent announcements as [they] affect a variety of job categories around the country.”

A recent press release from, which advertises itself as the number one entry-level job site, stated that “for the first time in four years, the tide has truly turned as employers are again singing the praises of entry level college grad hires.” The site reports more than 120,000 jobs for 2004 grads, with a 12.8 percent increase in hiring compared to last year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a Boston company called Experience Inc. that provides recruiting software to more than 500 schools has claimed that approximately 440,000 jobs have been posted on its system during the 2003-04 recruiting season, a 13 percent increase from last year.

Murphy maintains that there is no cause for celebration just yet.

“We’re anxious to see the trend continue as the economy grows. We’re excited to see that we’re ahead of where we were last year,” she said. “However, right now we’re cautiously optimistic.”

Matheu said that while the employers’ market is always competitive, she expects job opportunities to continue to improve for 2005 graduates.

“Everybody’s experience is different. Students have different things to offer to employers, and they need to highlight those things and target them that way,” Matheu said, citing the career centers on campus as good resources for seniors who are still looking for jobs.

Although job opportunities for 2004 graduates are on the rise, the trend has affected some industries more than others, and those students willing to put in extra effort may have an easier time finding employment.

As President Brian Krueger said recently, “the jobs are there to be found for those who take the time to do the research.”

Graduating seniors await Commencement

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004 | Kelly Donahue
Margaret Bauer

With Washington University preparing to celebrate its 143rd Commencement ceremony on May 21, another class of seniors will soon see their undergraduate careers at the University come to an end. The Chancellor will confer awards upon the class of 2004 and degree candidates in the University’s graduate programs during Friday’s ceremony.

According to Sue Hosack, director of the Office of Student Records, the Office has recommended 2,934 degrees for distribution at Commencement. Not all of these recommended diplomas will be awarded, however, as some students fail to meet graduation requirements or make a last-minute decision to return for an additional semester.

Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, a best-selling author and foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times, will return to the University to deliver the Commencement address. Friedman visited the campus in September to deliver the inaugural Assembly Series Sesquicentennial lecture, and his speech on international borders in the 21st century received a great deal of positive attention from the University community.

The Chancellor’s Office had already chosen Friedman to speak at Friday’s Commencement before his Assembly Series lecture last fall, but Assistant to the Chancellor Steve Givens said that the campus and community reaction to Friedman’s presence supported the decision.

“We decided to begin and end the sesquicentennial year with the same speaker,” said Givens. “Based on the reception [Friedman] got in the fall, he was a great choice for Commencement.”

Commencement speakers must be approved by the University’s Board of Trustees to receive an honorary degree. The Chancellor’s Office then looks at the list of degree recipients and chooses which of them would be the best speaker for the ceremony.

Friedman, who will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University, is a highly accomplished journalist and author. His non-fiction writing has won him multiple literary awards, and he has been awarded the much-coveted Pulitzer Prize on three separate occasions. His international reporting in Lebanon and Israel earned him the award in both 1983 and 1988, and he also won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2002. According to the Pulitzer organization’s Web site, Friedman was selected to win the prize in 2002 for his “clarity of vision, based on extensive reporting, in commenting on the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat.”

In his 23 years at The New York Times, Friedman has served in a multitude of positions, including chief White House correspondent and bureau chief in Beirut and Israel.

“He’s one of the best at communicating the big problems and big issues,” said Givens. “He’s a good voice for our time.”

As Friedman speaks at the Commencement ceremony, a crowd filled with degree-earning students will listen eagerly while they reflect on their years spent at the University and what changes await them after graduation.

Senior Class Treasurer Joya Deutsch will earn a degree for her work in psychology and philosophy-neuroscience-psychology (PNP). Her after-graduation plans include serving the San Francisco community through the Teach for America program.

“Graduation will be a chance to celebrate my own success as well as the accomplishments of all the friends I’ve made here over the past four years,” said Deutsch.

Senior Justin Buszin, a double major in history and international studies, will go on to graduate school at Brown University, where he will study sociology and demography.

“It’ll be good to see everyone from my freshman floor again [at graduation],” said Buszin. “I look forward to keeping in touch with everyone while at the same time meeting new people [after I leave the University].”

Senior Erin McQuirter, a Spanish and psychology double major, will also continue her education at the graduate level, but she will remain at the University as a student in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

“I think it’s going to be really great to see all my classmates reunited [at Commencement],” said McQuirter. “I feel like this is the culmination of all our hard work over the past four years, and it’s an honor to have made it this far.”

Undergraduate Commencement Schedule

Thursday, May 20

  • 10:30 a.m.-Eliot Honors Convocation
  • 1:30 p.m.-School of Engineering & Applied Science Recognition Ceremony
  • 4:30 p.m.-College of Arts & Sciences Recognition Ceremony
  • 8:00 p.m.-School of Art Recognition Ceremony

Friday, May 21

  • 8:30 a.m.-All-University Ceremony
  • Following the All-University Ceremony-College of Arts & Sciences Diploma Distribution and Reception in the Sally E. Strain Courtyard; School of Architecture Diploma Ceremony on Brookings Drive Mall; School of Art Diploma Distribution and Reception on Steinberg Hall Terrace; Olin School of Business Diploma and Awards Ceremony in the Field House; School of Engineering & Applied Science Undergraduate Diploma Distribution in Lopata Hall, Room 324

Uncertainty and life after college

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004 | Robert McManmon
Margaret Bauer

Four years ago, at the Freshman Convocation, Professor Lee Epstein told us, “I am, you are, we all are-profoundly uncertain.” Now four years later those words seem to have greater meaning and greater relavence.

Life as an undergraduate had a comfortable level of certainty. We knew what classes we had to take to graduate, we created cozy circles of friends, and we padded our r‚sum‚s with neat extracurricular activivities and summer jobs. About the biggest unknown for many of us was where we were going to live next year-the 40, Small Group Housing, or off-campus?

But now as we are recognized for our undergraduate achievements, for many of us this celebration is overcast by clouds of uncertainty. Some of us are going to graduate school, others are looking for jobs or transitional programs, but almost everyone I know is leaving St. Louis.

Thus in addition to the uncertainty surrounding our career ambitions, we feel the somewhat unique pressure of ending friendships and relationships as we dissipate to the various corners of the country, and abroad. We will be moving to new cities, doing different things, and making new friends-and that is a lot scarier at 22 than it is at 18.

A third layer of uneasiness exists in the unpredictability of life after college. More and more, academic concepts like interest rates and job creation plans will affect our everyday lives. And as we graduate in an election year, the philosophy of our government on important issues such as the war in Iraq, taxes, and health care remains highly uncertain. On an international level, Thomas Friedman will no doubt articulate the perils of our foreign policy.

Despite these uncertainties I am extremely excited about life after college. I have had wonderful times at Washington University writing for this newspaper, studying abroad, hanging out with my friends and fraternity brothers, but I do not think graduation is so much a time to reflect as it is an opportunity to look ahead. It is not so much an end as a new beginning. There is nothing wrong with being profoundly uncertain, especially when we have equipped ourselves, these last four years, with the tools to be successful in many facets of life.

There is a Chinese proverb that goes, “To be uncertain is uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous.” As far as I’m concerned, the only thing that should be ridiculous should be our senior week.