Archive for November, 2004

Rec. Swim is finished…

Friday, November 19th, 2004 | Harry Kang

Swimmers, take your mark:

The Washington University swim team is already off to a spectacular start as the winter season gets under way. The Bears opened their season against Division I cross-town rival Saint Louis University with a dramatic 153-140 win. Despite falling to Truman State following a three-week layoff, the women’s team bounced back strong by crushing DePauw University by 43 points. Both the men’s and the women’s squads followed this performance by finishing second and first respectively at the University of Chicago Invitational. The Bears are scheduled to host the Washington University Thanksgiving Invitational next Saturday.

This year, like all others, the Bears are in the running for the University Athletic Association Championship. The teams look forward to capturing the title as they face off against powerful division foes such as Carnegie Mellon and Emory.

Diving in:

The Bears are led by head coach Brad Shively and assistant coaches Brian Hindman and Meg Dierkes. In just his fifth year as head coach of the Bears, Coach Shively has turned the swim team into a conference favorite year after year. Under his leadership, the Bears find themselves placing consistently within the top fifteen in the NCAA Championships.

“Brad is simply awesome, because he never stops encouraging you to succeed,” says freshman Geoff Hart Cooper.

Captains for the women’s squad are seniors Brianna Krull, Sarah Goldberg, and Su Wang. For the men’s squad, seniors Mike Hernandez and Stephen Dilorenzo lead the team and its three returning seniors. Most recently, junior Mike Slavik was awarded NCAA Division III Swimmer of the Week accolades for his efforts in defeating Saint Louis University.

In addition, the Bears boast fourteen All-UAA swimmers, seven from each squad. Equally impressive, seventeen swimmers in all qualified to become a part of the UAA-All Academic Team.

Despite these amazing talents, coach Shively assures that everyone’s contributions are equally important,

“Honestly, we need everybody to step up in order to be successful. We have no single superstar to lead the way. There are too many different types of races and hopefully, we’ll have somebody step up in every position.”


Under the leadership of coach Shively and with the guidance of both assistant coaches, a Bear usually averages between six to eight practices every week. Team members often find themselves waking up at 6:00 in the morning to prepare for an upcoming meet. Despite their rigorous schedules, both teams have developed their own unique personalities and rituals.

“We’re just quirky,” said Junior Alex Antilla when asked about the personality of the team.

For instance, before every meet the team shouts “Sausage!” in unison. When asked about the reasoning behind the abnormal chant choice, Antilla responded, “I don’t even know why we do that and we’ve been doing that since my freshman year.”

Nicknames also tend to be quite unusual. Freshman Andrew McGregor for example is also known as “Hurricane.” After further investigation, it was discovered that McGregor acquired this nickname not for his hurricane-like abilities in the pool, but because he happens to be a big Miami Hurricane football fan from Florida and because there was another “hurricane” in the past also named Andrew.

The Bears are firm believers in reciting random chants before meets to establish their presence. For example, before every dual meet the men’s team collectively asks, “What do we eat?” which is then answered by the women’s team in unison, “We eat SpaghettiOs.”

“I think we just do it because we liked the commercial,” said Antilla, trying to explain the meaning of the peculiar tradition.

Although we may never understand the quirky customs and rituals of the University swim teams, what is undoubtable is their power and potential in the upcoming season.

Pocket Rockets: Straight beats Flush, Wolff beats Dems

Friday, November 19th, 2004 | Justin Davidson
Margaret Bauer

Wolff, a St. Louis native, recently won the University Democrats’ poker tournament, adding another notch in his gambling belt. Wolff came off his first University tournament with a $157.50 victory.

“It’s especially nice to have a Republican come in and win a Democrat’s tournament. I mean, it’s my first tournament, so I’m batting .1000 right now. I’ll like to keep it at that,” commented Wolff.

Coming into the tournament, he was determined to join the Mile High Club of poker players. His solid, like-a-rock strategy paid off.

“My strategy coming in was to win. No, just kidding. I wanted to play tight and aggressive. You know, get rid of the cards when you don’t have them, and play them hard when you do.”

Myth has it that Jon Wolff’s impeccable strategy and skill were taught to him directly by the great Mr. Miyagi, of “Karate Kid” fame. Others believe he developed his style after being inspired by the Budweiser frogs of the 1990s Superbowl commercial. Jon, however, modestly credits his skill to the experience he has acquired over the years.

Although he started playing the game with friends in his freshman year of high school, he soon dominated the high school scene and started moving up to higher buy-ins of $50 or more by the time junior year rolled around.

Quoting poker legend Doyle Brunson, Jon states, “There’s no substitution for experience. That’s what’ll set you apart from the rest.”

Jon’s philosophy is that “any two cards can win. I’ve seen a two-four combination crack pocket rockets before. You just have to be smart,” and he lives and dies by those words.

Demonstrating his poker aptitude, Jon cautions, “Sometimes it’s really hard to fold pocket rockets, but you’ve got to swallow your pride and do what you know is smart.”

His philosophy has undoubtedly been an economic gain, for he has made a hefty penny from playing poker.

“The biggest single pot I’ve ever won was about $380, while the most I’ve ever walked away with [was] $428 after buying in with $7,” claims Jon modestly. “On the tournament side, the most I’ve finished out with was $355. A little luck, but once you’re over 100 [dollars], you’ve got to play smart.”

However, it’s important to note that Jon doesn’t play just for the money.

“It’s a nice little bonus, but the fact of it is that I really play for the social aspect of it. It’s a fun game that your friends can relate to. When you’re playing for higher buy-ins, you have to be more focused because of the risks, while when you’re just playing something small with friends, it’s looser and not as demanding. Poker is not a source of income for me, and I don’t intend it to be. Otherwise, it’ll take away from the fun of the game.”

So who is this man and what drives him? There is an aura about Jon Wolff that cannot easily be understood by the untrained observer. There is much more to this man than a great poker face and Tom Cruise-like resemblance.

Jon is quite the political buff who prides himself on his Republicanism (although, interestingly enough, he did not vote for George W. Bush because “I just don’t think he did his job”) and is an active member of College Libertarians, College Republicans, and Model U.N. He is thinking about a major in political science or finance, although he’s hesitant to rush into anything.

In high school he was a member of the International Model U.N., saying it was “probably the one coolest thing I’ve ever done.” He wrote a resolution on agricultural subsidies at a conference in The Hague, Netherlands, that was sent on for consideration by the real U.N. Quite an accomplishment indeed.

Other than politics, his interests include “fast cars, rock and roll, and women, though not limited to,” he says jokingly. One of his quirkiest and most unusual interests is his prodigious collection of vintage baseball cards.

“My whole family is collectors, and I just got into baseball cards for some reason. Right now I’m working on getting a complete mint set of 1965-1966 Topps cards.”

Of course we all remember Topps when it was in its heyday in the late 80s and early 90s when we youngsters would trade them with each other in elementary school like it was crack-cocaine.

For the time being, Jon is focusing on “getting his grades up,” he says bashfully in jest, and entering in more University tournaments. He planned on entering Alpha Epsilon Pi’s poker tournament on Nov. 18, but the tournament was cancelled-most likely when organizers fled in terror after hearing that Jon might be playing.

So, reader, until that fateful day when you meet Jonathan Samuel Wolff at the final table of a poker tournament, pray that you can hold on to your pride, integrity, and soul after he takes all your money.

Police Beat

Friday, November 19th, 2004 | Erin Harkless and Liz Neukirch

Thursday, November 11

1:00 p.m. LARCENY-THEFT, SOUTH BROOKINGS – Person(s) unknown stole an Olympus Stylus 300 digital silver camera with black carrying case from the above location. Disposition: Under investigation.

5:12 p.m. MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT, PARKING LOT #59 – Student reported his car had been stolen from Wohl Garage. Vehicle was later found to have been moved to the AC lot by friends. Disposition: Unfounded.

7:11 p.m. INFORMATION, UNDESIGNATED AREA OFF CAMPUS – Student residing off-campus was having a harassment problem with a subject she had previously dated. Disposition: Cleared.

Friday, November 12

2:43 p.m. LARCENY-THEFT, WOHL CENTER – Investigation into theft of money from the daily bank deposit. Disposition: Under investigation.

8:44 p.m. TRAFFIC, UNDESIGNATED AREA OFF CAMPUS – Officer attempted to contact a suspicious subject who was driving a dark GM model vehicle with Indiana tags. The subject eluded the police officer. Disposition: Investigation.

Sunday, November 14

8:50 a.m. LARCENY-THEFT, RUBELMAN DORM – Subject was seen during surveillance taking a laptop. Subject was arrested and laptop was recovered. Disposition: Cleared.

Monday, November 15

11:32 a.m. INFORMATION, HOLMES LOUNGE – Reporting party stated that student was verbally abusive toward him. Disposition: Under investigation.

2:57 p.m. PARKING VIOLATION, PARKING LOT #2 – Vehicle with a fraudulent permit was located and towed. Disposition: Cleared.

4:03 p.m. LARCENY-THEFT, LIGGETT DORM – Backpack containing various items was stolen from Liggett kitchen area when left unattended. Disposition: Under investigation.

4:37 p.m. LARCENY-THEFT, LIGGETT DORM – A student in Liggett stated she fell asleep on the couch in the common room while watching television, and while sleeping some unknown person or persons took her billfold which was lying on the floor next to the couch. Disposition: Under investigation.

Tuesday, November 16

12:37 p.m. LARCENY-THEFT, ATHLETIC COMPLEX – Officer found a black backpack in Snow Way Garage on Nov. 16 while on patrol. After contact was made with the owner, he indicated that the backpack was stolen from the above location, by unknown person(s) on Nov. 11. Disposition: Under investigation.

Wednesday, November 17

6:48 p.m. LARCENY-THEFT, ATHLETIC COMPLEX – While in the AC, student left clothes and wallet in a locked locker. Upon return, the locker was still secure but wallet was missing from clothes. Student reported that his locker can be opened without taking the lock off. Disposition: Under investigation.

Freshmen highlight Chechnya crisis

Friday, November 19th, 2004 | Erin Harkless and Liz Neukirch
Margaret Bauer

In response to continued warfare between the Russian military and Chechen militants fighting for independence, freshmen in Washington University’s International Leadership Program sponsored Chechnya Awareness Week this week to make students more conscious of the situation.

Freshman Lawrence Wiseman said “Prisoner of the Mountain,” a movie about Russian soldiers in Chechnya that the group watched as a kick-off for the week, changed his opinion of the Chechens’ struggle.

“It made me reassess what I knew about Chechnya … I had sort of grouped it with extremist groups, but it’s not. It’s literally people fighting for their existence. It’s not just fundamentalists fighting against the government,” Wiseman said.

Landen Romei, another participant in the program, noted that the group has attempted to provide objective information for students.

“This isn’t necessarily a Pro-Chechnya or Pro-Russia event. … It’s just to make people more aware,” Romei said.

Participants in the International Leadership Program, Wiseman and Romei explained, attempt to educate other students about international issues. They chose the crisis in Chechnya because of its obscurity in comparison with other events.

Thus far, 2004 has been a tumultuous year in Chechnya, as violence has continued in the republic with militants becoming more aggressive and resourceful in their campaigns.

In May the Russian-backed leader of Chechnya was killed in a bombing, which took the lives of six others. A prominent warlord took responsibility for the attack, which further undermined the Russian government’s attempts to maintain control of the region.

Throughout August, a series of bombings and attacks in subways created even more instability-but one of the most tragic events of the entire war occurred in September, when armed guerillas took control of a school in Beslan. Over 1000 young children and teachers where held hostage. After bombs were detonated and hostages attempted to flee the scene, militants opened gunfire. Over 300 were killed, roughly half of them children.

History of the conflict

Chechnya, a republic heavily populated by Sunni Muslims, has long strived to maintain its independence from Russia.

The Soviets controlled Chechnya until the fall of the USSR in 1991. Chechens elected Dzhokhar Dudayev as president and he again declared the republic independent. Then Russian president Boris Yeltsin refused to recognize Chechnya as an independent republic and sent troops to the region.

By 1994, the Russians had invaded Chechnya and war continued for roughly two years until Russian troops withdrew after rebels launched a massive offensive attack. Close to 70,000 were killed on both sides.

Chechen rebels entered neighboring Dagestan in 1999, an area that was often considered more stable and sympathetic to Moscow, hoping to aid Islamic fundamentalists in that country. Eventually, Yeltsin sent over 100,000 troops into Chechnya, occupying the capital of Grozny. Rebels were pushed into the mountains surrounding the city and close to 250,000 were left as refugees. Around this time, the United Nations and other groups began to consider investigating potential human rights violations in the region.

Rebels have continued with attacks throughout 2001 and 2002. Officials in Moscow under the government of Vladimir Putin have stepped up efforts to curtail the violence, terrorist acts and sentiments of Islamic extremism, but recent reports show that troops are slated to pull back from the republic.

Still, roughly 70,000 armed forces remain in Chechnya, and the hostage crisis at the school in Beslan points to a precarious situation between the Russian government and Chechen rebels.

“Both groups of people are at fault,” Romei said. “There really is no ‘good guy’ in this. The Russians are still attacking the Chechens and the Chechens are still supposedly promoting terrorism against the Russians.”

One way students in the International Leadership Program plan to take action is through a letter-writing campaign petitioning U.S. policy-makers for peace in Chechnya. The eventwill take place in Mallinckrodt from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

Point Out Hunger pointed out as Bon App‚tit profit sinkhole

Friday, November 19th, 2004 | Lauren Katims
David Brody

This year’s Point Out Hunger meal point drive, an annual philanthropy event sponsored by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity (SAE), has been handed a set of restrictions ensuring that a new 10,000 meal point limit is not surpassed.

Washington University students have been donating meal points to SAE members during the weeklong event. Bon App‚tit will take 10,000 of those points and buy an equivalent amount of food, which SAE will donate to Operation Food Search, a local food bank.

According to senior Greg Robinson, an SAE member, in previous years Point Out Hunger has raised over 35,000 points in a week.

This year, if donations exceed 10,000 points, the extra amount will simply be lost. The extra points are neither given back to the students nor used by Bon App‚tit.

In the past, SAE had been given a $20,000 spending limit, which it frequently exceeded. Now, the food-service provider is cracking down.

“We were getting too much money from Dining Services, and now they are losing money,” said Robinson.

Bon App‚tit makes money from unused meal plan points at the end of each year. Therefore, the unused Point Out Hunger points will actually cause Bon App‚tit to have to deal with more expenses than they are prepared to handle, said Rick Turner, director of operations for Bon App‚tit.

“We have to budget,” said Turner. “A lot more points got donated last year, and it created a lot of expenses.”

SAE brothers are disappointed with this year’s limitation.

According to sophomore Dan Dresner, SAE philanthropy chair, Point Out Hunger is a tradition in the SAE house.

“We have been doing this for eight years, and only recently have there been restrictions put on the amount of money the fraternity collects,” he said.

SAE reached the 10,000-point limit on Monday, the first day of their philanthropy. To make up for the new limitation, SAE brothers began collecting cash from students. Every dollar donated to Operation Food Search allows the charity to buy $19 worth of bulk food.

“Just fifty cents or a dollar can go so far,” said Rodman.

Besides collecting money, Dresner said that SAE is having a canned food drive and a raffle. The winner of the raffle receives 50 percent of the pot, while the other half is donated to Operation Food Search.

The fraternity also plans to sponsor another Point Out Hunger program next semester.

New spring classes unique

Friday, November 19th, 2004 | Laura Geggel

Picking new classes for spring semester can be a time-consuming and engrossing effort, with Washington University students scrambling toward fulfilling prerequisites necessary for graduation.

“First I worry about what courses I need to take for my major,” said sophomore Rachel Bock. “Then I look for cluster requirements. If I’m lucky, I’ll find a class that fits both.”

The College of Arts & Sciences offers a wide variety of classes that encourage student enrollment regardless of major and minor.

“Topics in American Literature: American Crime,” taught by Professor Dan Grausam, will be offered for the first time next semester.

“[Crime] is a popular genre,” said Grausam. “There’s this deep anxiety running through much of it.”

American Crime, which fulfills clusters for the Arts & Sciences, Business and Art Schools, offers students a chance to investigate crime in literature on a metacritical level.

“I think reading about crime opens up a space for refining or rethinking our notions for how complex crime and plot are,” Grausam said.

Students will be reading from a selection that includes, but is not limited to, Poe’s short stories, Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye” and Capote’s “In Cold Blood.” Grausam stressed that crime fiction helps students learn about their own status as readers.

“It’s a reciprocal relationship-it helps reflect on the act of reading itself,” he said, commenting on how crime novels usually integrate high culture and art into their plot. “I don’t think I can overstate how much fun it is.”

A new freshman seminar next semester, Rap of Ages, allows students to delve into the history of rap as an oral tradition that dates back to Homeric times. Taught by Dean Henry Biggs, Rap of Ages will concentrate on how rap is conveyed through rhyme and meter.

Anyone “with a passion for style and structure in all metrical traditions,” would enjoy this class, Biggs said.

Biggs noted that while some people may find the content of certain kinds of modern rap offensive, he is more interested in “teasing out the style that’s rap.”

“The people who appreciate rap can appreciate a lot of the literature that is already out there,” said Biggs.

Students will be reading Homer, medieval troubadours, the Guslars and the Griots. Rap of Ages counts toward the requirement for textual and historical studies in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Other out-of-the-ordinary classes include “American Culture Studies: American Horrors” and St. Louis African-American History.

American Horrors, taught by Professor Bill Paul, is offered only once every three years and involves the study of how horror films reflect changing cultural values and norms. A prerequisite of Film 220 is required.

St. Louis African-American History, taught by Professor Mary Seematter, educates students about black experience in St. Louis over the past 100 years. While students will be assigned primary and secondary readings, Seematter will also invite a wide variety of St. Louis notables to come and speak at lectures. The Arts & Sciences and Art schools both have clusters for the course.

Rub a dub dub, a frat in a tub

Friday, November 19th, 2004 | Lissy Reiman
David Brody

Kappa Sigma’s Hot-Tubathon has transformed the Swamp into a scene of charitable hot-tubing. Until 10 a.m. Saturday, Washington University students can buy thirty minutes in the 50-person hot tub with either five dollars or three canned food items. All proceeds will benefit the St. Louis Foodbank.

“The Hot-Tubathon will be a 24-hour party-everybody will be having a good time in the name of philanthropy,” said junior Seth Goodman, philanthropy chair for Kappa Sigma.

Kappa Sigma last hosted a Hot-Tubathon five years ago. The idea died out due to a lack of interest within the fraternity. To revive the philanthropy event, brothers worked within the University community as well as with local organizations to solicit donations to the event or to the St. Louis Foodbank. The event is especially timely, as the donations will come in right before Thanksgiving and help feed people in St. Louis for the holiday. The fraternity’s goal is to raise at least $5,000 in money and canned goods.

“Before this year it was a matter of brotherhood-there was a lack of interest in the event and in philanthropy beyond just giving donations,” said junior Jason Ruff, president of the fraternity. “We were concerned by this, and hope that that we can start a new tradition with the event since it is already associated with us.”

Kappa Sigma has also included other student groups in the program this year, such as other fraternities and sororities. These groups have reserved the hot tub-which arrived on campus Wednesday-for specific slots of time during the event.

In an effort to attract more participants, Kappa Sigma will be showing a movie at the hot tub tonight, as it did last night. A live band and the Mosaic Whispers will perform at the event as well. Kappa Sigma will also be giving away bagels, Blueberry Hill gift certificates and Fitz’s root beer floats. Goodman believes that these further incentives will make the event more fun.

“We are counting very much on the participation of students,” said Goodman. “People should go to Bear Mart in their bathing suits, buy some canned goods, and go to the Swamp.”

Although shopping at Bear Mart in bathing suits is encouraged, Kappa Sigma is not allowing any female students to wear bikinis in the hot tub. The fraternity took this measure as a precaution against furthering various fraternity stereotypes that exist. By banning bikinis, Ruff hopes to increase participation in the event.

“We want to make sure this event isn’t seen as objectifying women,” said Ruff. “Everyone is welcome, and we want everyone to feel comfortable.”

Even with the dress code, a few students are somewhat concerned about sharing the hot tub with 49 strangers.

“This event sort of seems to be welcoming awkwardness,” said freshman Lisa Goldsmith. “People should take a hot shower instead.”

Goodman noted that the hot tub would be cleaned throughout the event to increase sanitation, and he is hoping that it will be a good time for all involved.

“Everyone is really excited about the event and has shown a lot of interest,” he said. “By going out in the cold weather in our bathing suits, it will remind us of all the people who are hungry and in the cold, and how we are actively participating in fighting this problem.”

Burglaries spread off campus

Friday, November 19th, 2004 | Rachel Streitfeld

A recent spate of burglaries has plagued students living off campus in University City and St. Louis apartments, Washington University Police announced Wednesday. Students have reported missing electronic devices, especially laptops-and in one instance, a student reported being at home and seeing a thief walk out his door with stolen goods.

WUPD Chief Don Strom said that, while in some cases thieves have forcibly entered residences, many students who reported burglaries said they had left apartment doors or windows unlocked.

“Certainly one of the things we see occur on too regular a basis is where people had their windows unlocked or their doors unlocked and the student has either left or is actually still in the house,” said Strom.

He said several students had reported seeing suspicious persons in the vicinity prior to the burglaries. In fact, the day after WUPD issued a crime advisory to students living off campus, several residents of 6627 University Drive decided to call the police about a suspicious individual who refused to leave the area.

Senior Rumana Hussain said a man rang the bell at her apartment building around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. When Hussain opened the door a crack, a man told her he needed to be let into the building to deliver phone books. Hussain asked him to leave the books outside.

“I probably would have let him in if it weren’t for the email,” said Hussain. “The email made me cautious.”

Hussain said the man refused to leave, and launched into a loud and aggressive attempt to enter the building. Standing in the hallway, some students debated about what to do. Farah Tejpar, a senior, said her roommate decided to call University City Police.

“I was scared to leave my apartment because there was this scary guy glaring at me through the window because I wouldn’t let him in,” said Tejpar.

Eventually the police came and the man was subdued, said residents. University City Police did not return numerous calls yesterday.

Now, students say they are closely following the suggestions made in the crime advisory.

“We normally left our doors unlocked until we got that email,” said Tejpar.

Students living on-campus have also been warned to keep their doors locked and to be cautious. However, Strom said he does not believe the robberies were related to the string of laptop thefts on the South 40, and that laptop theft is simply a growing problem nationwide.

“Laptops are one of the number-one stolen items in the U.S.,” said Strom. “Who thinks anything about somebody walking down the street with a laptop these days?”

The crime advisory that WUPD sent out to students living in off-campus apartments informs them how to avoid burglary. Most importantly, said Strom, students should keep all apartment doors and windows locked even if they are at home. Strom asked students to call the police immediately to report a theft or a suspicious person in the area.

“There are steps that people can take,” said Strom. “They can focus on locking their apartments and on calling police about any suspicious activity they see in the area.”

The WUPD advisory also suggested that students ask for identification before allowing a maintenance person to enter their apartment and to leave on all interior lights when not at home.

We’ve got spirit, yes we do!

Friday, November 19th, 2004 | Nick Loyal
Margaret Bauer

Last Saturday 107,501 people came together at the University of Michigan to watch the Wolverines play Northwestern in a gridiron battle. On that same day at Francis Field, a crowd numbering barely four digits watched Washington University football take on the powerhouse that is Greenville College. Needless to say, we weren’t on ESPN.

Throughout its existence, the University has never been an institution known for its athletic prowess, which is honestly a shame. The Bears’ basketball and volleyball teams have won numerous national championships, football has remained competitive in the conference and soccer has pulled off a season that is nothing short of magnificent. You could think that this lack of recognition is due to the spectacle of IM sports (magic happens on Mudd Field every Sunday morning, folks), but until the Chargers pick up your flag football captain to return punts, athletics will always be overshadowed by the intellectual behemoth of our friendly neighborhood research university.

A few years ago, when Red Alert was formed on campus, the goal was simple: get people to show up to games. Through a strange combination of advertising, bribery and good ol’ fashioned yelling, Red Alert has been a moderate success, but we’re still not going to get 30,000 attendees at the next basketball game (although if we did, the Field House staff would probably have a collective stroke). Wash. U. students have lived up to their reputation of not having the greatest opinion of their athletic teams. But don’t ever think that doesn’t mean they don’t have spirit.

This last weekend, 14 University students voluntarily woke up at 5:30 a.m. to take a trip to the beautiful state of Nebraska. Keep in mind this is November, and the most exciting thing going on in the Cornhusker State is the fact that your spit freezes before it hits the ground. On this particular weekend, though, 29 schools from across the Midwest arrived in Kearney, Nebraska. And something amazing happened.

The conference held on that weekend, MACURH, is primarily a conference on residential life; but some schools, like South Dakota State and the University of Northern Iowa, spent 11 hours in a van to get there. They were pumped, and they showed it. These people from places half of our campus didn’t even know existed chanted, cheered and performed bizarre circular dances that could probably keep the Anthro department busy for a semester or two. They spent half of a day in a van to go to a place that smelled vaguely of fried ass-so, dammit, SDSU was going to represent.

We, on the other hand, flew on Southwest, moved on the ground for only three hours, and rejoiced in the fact that some of us had grown up within sight of a body of water. We had no real reason to chant, no reason to perform the strange rituals and absolutely no reason to make fools of ourselves. We’re 11th in the country after all. We’re above that kind of thing.

But the funniest thing happened: we chanted, we cheered, we held our own with half of Kansas and we showed what we were about. For a few days this November Wash U wasn’t known for its genome research, but for the pride its students held.

In the end, it’s all about making a fool out of yourself. As a whole, campus is pretty uptight. And the only way anyone is ever going to know that our school isn’t in the northwest or in the nation’s capital is if you stand up, flaunt your colors and make sure that everyone within the sound of your voice knows where you’re from. Go ahead, be that obnoxious guy who always heckles the competition. Go to games and make up the most vile, offensive cheers that the other team has ever heard-and then bring your friends. You don’t have to make it on Sportscenter; just make sure you’re heard.

Washington University might not be an athletic powerhouse, but we know what we’re about. So raise the banners, learn the alma mater, and yell the names of the starting defensive line so loud your lungs burn in the November air. Do it because you miss it. Do it because you want it. Do it because we’ve got spirit-yes we do.

Proposals to cut AS funding misguided

Friday, November 19th, 2004 | Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld and Lauren Kreps

The recent staff editorial endorsing a cut in the funding for the Assembly Series is sorely misguided and calls into question the editorial board’s values and those of the student body, or at least the Student Union Treasury, of Washington University.

The Assembly Series is one of our most important institutions. Sure, it does give the administration great publicity, as you claim, but why must you deride this? As a student, I want my university to be well-viewed by others, whoever they may be. Having famous people-Susan Sontag, Arianna Huffington, and William Kristol, for example-speak at our university is integral to our reputation.

Cutting the Assembly Series sends the message that we are not interested in hearing the opinions of esteemed people, whatever those opinions may be. A university education is supposed to continue outside the classroom, and the Assembly Series is a great way to expose students to diverse viewpoints from esteemed people. With all the jokes published in Student Life about Washington University’s bubble, why exacerbate the problem by cutting us off from outside opinions?

Student Life claims that roughly $100,000 goes to the Assembly Series, and this is a fair assessment, but it again misses the point. The value of the Assembly Series is unquantifiable. It is learning for learning’s sake; we are a university, that is what we do. Further, this $100,000 is not a large sum of money; it is only 5.7 percent of the budget for SU, and it definitely has one of the broadest reaches of any SU program. I understand there are budget problems, but cutting the Assembly Series is not a panacea. Instead, SU, which has every right to want to represent students, should ask for allocations from University administration. Surely they can part with some of their $3.5 billion.

The editorial then claims that these are events that “students don’t attend.” I understand that this is a generalization (at least it better be meant as one), but it is still grossly mistaken. I know several kids, including myself, who attend these events regularly. Sure, this number fluctuates, but there is still a sizeable group of dedicated students who attend these events.

The Treasury feels there is an attendance problem, so they are going to check it out; unfortunately, their ignorance makes them unaware that the Assembly Series has finished for the semester, so they will not be able to tabulate attendance until January. Thus, it seems that uneducated treasury representatives have decided to find some big number and get rid of it without considering its implications, which are enormous.

Lastly, the lack of student participation people cite is attacking a symptom, not a problem. The Assembly Series is woefully publicized. There is more advertisement for bar hopping than for nationally recognized speakers. All the Assembly Series gets is a flyer at the beginning of the year. Free sushi, free alcohol and free sex advice get more advertisement.

Perhaps this is a reflection of our values, but it is also a reflection of the poor advertisement done for these events. Whenever I tell my friends about this, they always show up for a speaker and enjoy it; they are then sorry they have class scheduled at that time because they were not told about the Assembly Series originally! When this event, which does receive a large amount of funding, gets a flyer and a banner while other, often trivial events get blanket advertising, there is a problem. Advertise the Assembly Series better, and I guarantee that triple the number of kids will show up.

It is understandable that SU wants to fund programs that will benefit the student body. I understand there may be some problems with the Assembly Series’ administration. Nonetheless, this is not enough of a reason to cut funding and rob us of the unique opportunity the Assembly Series provides.