Archive for January, 2006

Women’s track and field wins two straight to kick off indoor season

Monday, January 30th, 2006 | Justin Davidson

The Washington University men’s track and field team kicked off their indoor season on Saturday, Jan. 21 with brilliant success, as they won the Rose-Hulman Quad in Terre Haute, Ind. The men’s squad took third place in the event. This past weekend the teams followed up their strong showings in Terre Haute as they traveled to Jacksonville, Ill., for the Illinois College Early Bird. Once again, the women placed in the top spot while the men came in third.

In the four-team event at Rose Hulman, the Washington University women tallied up 165 points, ousting Illinois College by a 31-point margin. Out of 15 events in the meet, the University had a representative win the event eight times, and in 13 of 15 events the University had a runner place in at least the top three.

Senior Julie McDermitt started the Bears off strong early in the event by winning the women’s 55-meter dash with a time of 7.69 seconds. She also finished second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.58. Sophomore Abbey Hartmann and freshman Lyuda Shemyakina paced the Bears with the top two positions in the women’s 800-meter run with times of 2:28.01 and 2:31.83, respectively.

Equal success came in the 3,000-meter run as three Bears runners placed in the top three spots of the race. Junior Beth Herndon, senior Stephanie Felz, and senior Ginny Griffin clocked in with times of 10:39.70, 10:52.75, and 10:53.60, respectively. In the same fashion, the top three slots in the women’s pole vault were owned by the University; sophomore Morgen Leonard-Fleckman came in first with her jump of 3.20 m, junior Nicole Fatigati placed second with a jump of 2.90 m, and freshman Jessica Lane tied Fatigati for second with the same jump of 2.90 m.

The men struggled in the competition, placing third in the overall meet. Highlights came in the men’s 400-meter dash, where freshman Nate Koslof (52.04), junior Robert Clopton (52.92), and sophomore Marcus Woods (53.06) placed in the top three. Ryan Lester won the men’s one-mile run with a time of 4:39.30, while senior captain Brennan Bonner and sophomore Jesse McDaniel came in first and second, respectively, in the 3,000-meter run. Senior David Skiba was the last Bear to place first in an event when he ran the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 7.92, good for first place.

Coming off their first meet of the season, the teams hoped to continue their success in Jacksonville. In the 10-team contest, the women’s squad prevailed once again as they edged out home team Greenville College with 171 total points; Greenville scored 113 points. The men’s squad placed third out of eight teams with 90.5 points.

It truly was a stellar day for the Bears women, as they set a number of marks and walked away with their second straight victory. Senior Laura Ehret won the 800-meter run, clocking a time of 2:25.24. Sophomore Danielle Wadlington won the 55-meter hurdles with her time of 9.02 in the finals, Leonard-Fleckman matched her winning score from Rose-Hulman in the pole vault with a jump of 3.20m, 10-6), and freshman Erika Wade placed first in the triple jump (10.18m, 33-4 3/4).

This day was clearly dominated by the women’s field teams, and no better performance came but at the hands of junior Delaina Martin, who broke the school record in the weight throw. Martin registered a throw of 16.66 meters (54-8), which is .07 meters better than the old mark. Her throw also is an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

The men’s and women’s squads will compete next at the Illinois Wesleyan Titan Open in Bloomington, Ill., on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Men’s b-ball falls to 13-5 on season following tough UAA weekend battles

Monday, January 30th, 2006 | Andrei Berman
Jason Hubert

The Washington University men’s basketball team escaped a late University of Rochester comeback bid and held on to defeat the Yellow Jackets 67-62 before a sizable crowd at the Washington University Field House Friday night.

On the backs of senior Scott Stone’s sharp outside shooting and tough inside play by sophomore Troy Ruths, the 13-5 Bears knocked off the defending University Athletic Association (UAA) champions and last year’s national runner-up.

Rochester hung tight with the Bears early, trailing just 31-28 with 2:30 remaining in the first half. The University then went on an 11-2 scoring burst over the final 2:05 and took a 42-30 lead into the locker room.

The run was capped by a Mike Grunst three-point play with just two seconds remaining on the clock. The seven-foot senior center put back his own miss and was fouled in the process, giving the Bears momentum heading into the second half.

The University opened the second half just where it had left off. The Bears went on a 9-2 run over the first 3:30 to take what seemed to be a commanding 51-34 lead.

Rochester battled back, however, taking advantage of a stagnant University offense and cutting the lead to 57-48 with seven minutes to go. The teams traded baskets over the next few minutes, with the lead fluctuating only minimally.

Then, over a stretch of just over two minutes, Rochester guard Mike Goia lit up the University defense, scoring the Yellow Jackets’ next eleven points and cutting the Bears’ lead down to four at 63-59.

Rochester narrowed the lead down to three, with 50 seconds to go, but tremendous free-throw shooting by the Bears down the stretch solidified the hard-earned win.

The University shot a lights-out 87 percent from the charity stripe, going 21-of-24 on the night and a perfect eight-for-eight over the final five minutes.

Ruths finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds on the night, while Stone added 21 points of his own, including an impressive yet characteristic five-for-11 from three-point land. He also added five assists. Grunst chipped in with 13 points.

The Red Alert-led crowd remained on its feet for much of the second half, giving the game a big-time feel and making things difficult for Rochester throughout the evening. The win brought the Bears’ record to 13-4 overall and 5-1 in conference play. Rochester fell to 12-5 overall and 3-3 in the UAA.

Unfortunately, the University failed to carry momentum into Sunday’s afternoon tilt with the No. 14 nationally-ranked Tartans of Carnegie Mellon University. CMU had four players score more than 14 points, en route to a key league victory, 86-80.

Perhaps frustrated with themselves after Friday’s upset loss at the hands of the University of Chicago, the Tartans, which earlier this season shocked the college basketball world by beating Division I Princeton University, opened the game clicking on all cylinders.

After an even first few minutes, CMU rattled off 12 unanswered points and eventually went into halftime with a 46-33 lead.

The Bears managed to cut the lead late in the second half, narrowing the deficit all the way down to two (78-76) with just over three minutes to play. The Tartans proved too tough on this day, however, as A.J. Straub answered with a three and CMU came away from the Field House with a huge league win.

Ruths led four Bears in double figures, scoring a career high 27 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Junior point guard Neal Griffin also had a career day, scoring 13 points. Stone also had 13 with freshman Tyler Nading adding 11 to pace the University.

Had the University won, it would have found itself alone in first place in the highly-competitive UAA. With the loss, though, the Bears fell to 5-2 in league play and remain tied with the Tartans, as well as New York University in first place.

The University, which dropped to 13-5 overall with the loss, has a chance to avenge Sunday’s loss next Friday when it faces this same CMU club on the road in Pittsburgh at 8 p.m.

Stepping Out: Modesto

Monday, January 30th, 2006 | Jake Levitas and Chris Kudelka

5257 Shaw Ave.
Price Range: $10-$30

The journey begins at the Italian district known as “The Hill.” Il Hill (for the Italian/gangsta reader) is known to many as a quiet place, troubled only by the occasional hair gel shortage or episode of emphysema due to inhaling a lifetime of cheap cologne. Some theorize that this historical district may be home to a graveyard of millions of life-sized ceramic Chinese warriors. You might be asking yourself why the Chinese built a tomb underneath fabulous Italian eateries, but we’ll leave scientific inquiry to those crazy Confucians. Maybe they erected Modesto as their Italian-defiant monument, something to really stir things up.make things out of sorts if you will. Jake, Chris, et al. think otherwise.

When we arrived at Modesto we were welcomed by the charm of a Spanish guitarist and an authentic flamenco dancer who was shaking it como un foto Polaroid. The sound of her shoes on the hardwood floor sounded something like a horde of rhythmic bulls all charging at us, the proverbial Matadors (ole!). Once we took our seats, we ogled our newfound menus.

Before we describe all of the delish, let it be known that Modesto is renowned for its tapas. Tapas are small, traditional Spanish dishes similar to appetizers, but Spanish culture fanatics tend to enjoy them both eaten as a side or several together as a meal. Imagine them as mini entr‚es without any veggies, fries or onion rings. Tapas are served both calientes (hot) or frias (cold) or Connery style (with hot sauce and scotch). Prices range from $5 to $8 a piece, varying in selection between vegetarian dishes, carnivorous delights or one might venture into the ultra-diet domain and hunt for “water with ice” – risky. The tapas selections were outstanding and crazily delectable. Like el Zorro and his whip, everything had a hint of mystery, spice and next-morning C. Zeta J, the good kind. If the idea of side dishes for a meal isn’t floating thy boat, there are a few pricey meals on the backside of the menu. But we recommend you suck it up and give tapas a shot.

With five people in our par-tay, we decided to use our recommended, patented tapas-ordering formula in which you multiply the number of people in your party by 1.5 to decide how much to order. You math majors will realize that this left us with 7.5 tapas to order. Instead of hassling our kind waiter with half-orders, however, we just decided to load up on the awesome free bread to account for the phantom half-tapa.

Typically once you’ve ordered, the tapas will come one or two at a time with a good portion of bread and olive tapenade. Heed our warning: some of them are extremely hot temperature-wise and you’re likely to burn down your house if you don’t take heed. Please heed. But don’t wait to dig it, spread the word of the flavor lord and share your tasty wealth with your friends. Or be greedy, you heathen, todo es bueno. Take in the atmosphere – indulge in the rhythmic heel thumping, the aromatic air and the Hallmarkr moment. If Modesto made greeting cards and we loved people, we’d send them to someone we loved.

Being able to order seven things off the menu gave us a near-telekinetic insight into Modesto’s immodest offerings. One of our favorites was the pork and veal meatball dish, coming with about 6 medium-sized succulent meatballs in a sweet tomato-onion sauce (ideal for dipping free bread into). Also of note were the chicken empanadas, little flaky pockets of heaven which melt in your mouth. Finally, and perhaps most delightful, was the tender hanger steak which literally fell apart when we touched it. Served in small strips with an unbelievable sauce, it was absolutely mouthwatering.

Perfect for dates, Modesto’s combination of atmosphere, flavor and uniqueness makes the restaurant a must for anyone wishing for a taste of Spain, or just a wonderful meal. It is high-quality cuisine at an incredibly affordable price (each person in our group paid $10), and is highly recommended by Jake, Chris, Zorro and Confucius.

Romance 101

Monday, January 30th, 2006 | Laura Alexander

There is something that separates the two groups. It’s rarely spoken about aloud. The two groups seem to coexist peacefully most of the time. Who are these groups, you ask? They are those who get to check the privileged “In a relationship” box on their Facebook profiles and those who wish they could.

But why is there an underlying tension? What has spurred the great divide between couples and singles who want to be in a relationship? In the beginning, we were all single, but have some of us forgotten that important fact?

There are the nights when a single girl calls up her friends to attend a crush’s birthday party to which she just received a last-minute invitation. One friend inevitably answers, “I’m sorry, hon’. I’m just a little too tired tonight to go out.” The single girl of course tells her that it’s fine, but the voice in her head is screaming “Don’t you remember what it’s like to be single? It’s essential that I am surrounded by good supportive friends so I can play hard-to-get at his party.” But the friend, a member of the couple world for months, has apparently already forgotten.

Though people of all romantic statuses are friends, there’s an unspoken idea that those of the same status understand your problems just a little bit better. Silently, the line is drawn and people form battalions. Singles versus couples: the unspoken war continues. But why the fighting feelings?

The Battle of Bad Consolation. We all know what it feels like to be single. Why does someone in a couple suddenly think that telling their single friend everything will work out and that the right person will come along someday is going to make them feel better if it made them want to scream when they were single?

Sophomore Nick Loyal, who’s now in a relationship, said that he would tell a single friend that “he should get out there. It’s important to be outgoing, open and flirty.”

I think many single people spend every weekend night doing just that, but the perfect person isn’t just falling from the sky and landing on the beer pong table.

The Battle of Blatant PDA. A single person may have just finished having one of those “I’m going to die alone” thoughts and then they turn around in Mallinckrodt noticing two people who have their chairs pushed together so they can cuddle and sneak in a few kisses between bites of lunch.

Alumna Lesli Harad (’05) said, “It makes me feel like I want to throw up. It’s like someone rubbing it in your face.”

Why do the rules change for PDA the second a person switches sides? They come off looking like a traitor to the troops of singles.

The Battle of Forgotten Life. Why does entering a relationship result in amnesia of your past life as a single person? Nick Loyal said that he would tell a friend who was envious of his happy relationship that, “they should try and find someone.” A nice thought, though not exactly practical.

Senior Kristi Gu believes that people who have been with someone for awhile suffer from memory loss of the single life.

“They forget what it’s like having to do things by themselves. And what it’s like not always having people to call or having someone to rely on as a date,” she said.

It’s time to find a cure for this offensive illness. As in any war, there must be a treaty to end fighting. What should appear in the treaty that brings peace to these two romantic fronts?

There must be tolerance, understanding and awareness practiced by both sides. If you are single, don’t hold a grudge against a friend who spends the night with their significant other rather than you. They have someone they care for and you should be happy for them. If you are attached, don’t rub your relationship in a single person’s face. You were single once; you should remember how it feels.

We all have to compromise to coexist happily. It’s time to remove the bitterness from the singles and the smugness from the couples. It’s time for the troops to rest. It’s time for the treaty to bridge the great divide and bring peace to the world of romance.

The Facebook’s audience is wider than we think

Monday, January 30th, 2006 | Amanda Ogus
Courtesy of

The Facebook – that virtual community where the possibilities to connect with other students at college or maintain old friendships seem endless.

From showcasing a talented photographer’s pictures of student life, poking old friends to say hi or just looking at the profile of that cute boy someone saw in Mallinckrodt, users have many positive outlets with which to use their own accounts.

In fact, even professors can utilize these positive components to Facebook. Assistant Professor of Accounting Tzachi Zach embraces the ways that he, too, can look at the profiles.

“I look at people’s profiles to see their interests, what clubs to they belong to, do they like soccer, do they like music,” said Zach. “It’s to gauge students’ interests outside the classroom.”

Zach further commented on the many social connections he has made between former students and current ones through the social networking features, as well as the ease of staying up-to-date on the new lives of these former students. The advantages of the Facebook seem limitless.

Yet, even with the ease of this relatively new program, started in 2004 by Harvard graduates, there are bound to be problems when technology moves faster than the rules. The fact that the Facebook seems so centered on the students is deceiving. Most students don’t realize how many people actually have a “.edu” address – the only requirement to have a Facebook account. Rob Wild, Associate Director of Residential Life, worries that students do not realize the possible harm that Facebook can cause.

“I think students just need to be careful, because it is such a public venue,” said Wild. “I can’t emphasize this enough. I think students feel like Facebook is somewhat anonymous and I worry about what people put up there. People in the University, like myself, have access to it, so you have to be prepared for a lot of eyes to see it.”

Wild’s fears about Facebook have been confirmed at other universities around the country. According to the Daily Pennsylvanian, an independent newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania, freshman student elections were delayed in the fall of 2005 due to unauthorized information posted on candidates’ Facebook sites before the proper date. The independent newspaper of the University of New Mexico, The Daily Lobo, reported on events in October 2005 when administrators banned access to the site due to the large amounts of e-mail it produced, which slowed down the school’s server. At Kansas State University, administrators used the Facebook in November 2005 to investigate an honor code violation dealing with message boards about class content, according to the Kansas State Collegian.

Wash. U. currently doesn’t have a specific policy regarding the Facebook, but Residential Life has started to incorporate the site into their work. The Facebook offers another forum in which to learn about events on campus, some of which may violate Residential Life rules.

“If you are publicizing an event in a Residential Life space that looks like it’s going to be a violation of ResLife policy.that individual is going to hear from our staff,” said Wild. “We will address it with those people if it looks like it could be potentially problematic.”

In addition to learning about events, Wild also uses the Facebook when meeting with students over worries of behavioral problems.

“If you are involved in something that causes the University some concern about your behavior and we see something on Facebook,” said Wild, “even though it’s not part of the University computer system, that is still something we will talk to a student about.”

Often, students’ Facebook profiles are not necessarily a positive portrayal of their personalities. Many faculty members, such as Liggett/Koenig Residential College Director Mary Elliott, hold concerns about the way their students are advertising themselves.

“For me, your Facebook image is part of your reputation,” said Elliott. “Yet students really let themselves all hang out. I worry about it, because I think it can send a negative image of what students are and what students are about. I have so many amazing students, but sometimes I’ll look at their Facebook profiles and think, ‘There has to be more to you than that.'”

“Your profile isn’t a complete mirror of who you are,” added Wild, “and you can make assumptions about people based on their pictures or their groups. People misinterpret things.”

These types of assumptions can have severe ramifications now that more and more employers are telling applicants that they do consult applicant’s Facebook profiles as a component of their decision.

Director of Student Activities Julie Thornton recently had a student ask her to judge the decency level of his profile, trying to see what a future employer might see. Thornton analyzed the different parts and tried to help the student adjust certain areas.

“I don’t know what changes, if any, he made; the stuff that was on there wasn’t terribly incriminating,” said Thornton. “But we had that conversation about what potentially it could do, if [future employers] knew certain attitudes and lifestyle choices.”

Another place in which Facebook profiles will be consulted is in the competitive Resident Advisor application process. Similar to Elliott’s view of Facebook as one’s public image, Wild advises applicants to ponder the appropriateness level of the profile.

“I think as an RA candidate, I would be careful what I have up on Facebook,” said Wild. “If there is something up there that gives an impression of you, that’s public knowledge.”

Wash. U. will continue to monitor Facebook and regulations and other programs may continue to change in coming years. According to The New York Times, Tufts University and Texas Christian University have started to offer seminars regarding the Facebook, and Wash. U. is following this trend by looking to include Facebook tips in the materials for new students at Orientation. Elliott sees further changes in the next few years.

“I can see it getting cracked down on in universities,” said Elliott. “I think it’s really easy for people to throw out what their opinion is, and you’ll see more legal sanctions at other schools.”

Elliott added, though, that Wash. U.’s policy has always centered on the First Amendment and she does not see that stance changing.

“We may not like what our students do or say, but we stand apart of that. We believe in it and it is part of our value system,” said Elliott. “I can see that because it’s part of your culture it’s going to become more a part of ours.”

Why do the Facebook haters gotta hate?

Monday, January 30th, 2006 | Sarah Klein
Courtesy of

Since the Black Eyed Peas came out with their song, “Where is the Love?” one might have thought that young people would have ceased hating and started embracing their fellow human beings.

Yet, it seems that even on Facebook, that bastion of sociability, where friends are collectibles and new social groups are a few clicks away, the nasty concept of severe dislike has followed us. Where, you might ask, does hate rear its ugly head? It is in no short supply within widely popular and time-wasting Facebook groups.

Not everyone hates seriously. Many “hate” groups on the Facebook are a joke, such as the “He-man Woman Haters Club” group, which is centered on a joke concerning the Little Rascals movie. Collegiate Squirrel Haters (Wash U Chapter)’s creator Liz Shane, a junior, said that she doesn’t seriously hate squirrels; she’s just occasionally peeved by them.

“They are ridiculously annoying and they make this weird noise like a dying crow,” she imparted with slight passion. But, she confessed, “It’s clearly a joke. It’s just a forum for people to discuss how annoying squirrels are and share funny stories,” explained Shane.

Many other “hate” groups are joking as well. Junior Jason Lewis, the creator of the “I hate humans” Facebook group, does not really hate humans. Rather, there are a lot of things that people do that really piss him and the members of his group off, like walking too slow and chewing gum with mouths open.

“‘I hate humans’ just has a better ring to it than, ‘I hate rude people,'” he said.

And hate is a great way to bring people together. A recent article in Psychology Today notes that new studies have shown that people bond more readily over common dislike, like a feeling of disgust for Britney Spears, than over a love of a teacher or broccoli.

A particular hatred that certainly brings together people on this campus is a hatred of popped collars. There are no less than four Facebook groups on the Wash. U. network that profess disgust for this fashion trend.

Sophomore Jon Wolff, creator of the group “Popped-collar Haterz,” said he created the group because guys who usually pop their collars are guys he considers kind of sleazy. He doesn’t really hate those who pop their collars now, however, and, although he is still listed as the creator, he has taken himself off as a member of his group, because he decided it was kind of stupid.

“I think people create Facebook groups of this nature to get attention,” he said, “and I realized that [in creating the group] I was doing the same thing on some kind of level as the guys who pop their collars.”

In Wolff’s opinion, Facebook groups are often created by freshmen interested in making themselves known. These groups don’t become serious until they become organized movements or groups, with meetings outside of cyberspace.

Yet the cumulative effect of the campus popped-collar hatred – on and off the Facebook – does manage to have consequences in real life.

Junior Jonah Fay-Hurvitz, while not severely affected by these groups in any way, noted that the idea of hating someone for their fashion choice is just ridiculous. Fay-Hurvitz used to pop his collar, but rarely does so anymore.

“I used to do it because I thought it looked better, and in high school nobody else did it,” he said. “But now guys who do it are considered tools or douchebags or jackasses. It has a whole different meaning from what it used to be.”

Pushing past popped collars, there is a point at which the Facebook hate group becomes a little less funny and a little more hateful, even without strong intentions for that message from the creators.

For instance, a Facebook group entitled, “Anti-Feminist.Quit ya Bitchin’, Get Back in the Kitchen,” has a catchy name which encourages even feminists to giggle, but nonetheless is one of the few Facebook groups which actually professes to hate people for the way they think.

Senior Ally D’Alba is a self-proclaimed feminist and the anti-feminist Facebook group does not really surprise her.

“People who dislike feminists just don’t really understand what we believe in,” said D’Alba. “They have an extreme view of us as lesbians who don’t shave their legs and hate men. Most feminists don’t even hate men.”

While D’Alba thinks that Facebook groups should remain outlets for free speech, she recognized the fact that there is a little bit of truth to every joke.

“A lot of jokes are anti-feminist, anti-gay or anti-woman, and you laugh, but they are really not that funny; they’re [slightly] offensive,” she said.

To most students, Facebook hate groups are not really of great concern. The Facebook group is not meant to be taken seriously and students don’t take it seriously. But therein lies a certain weakness: when serious subjects are treated with flippancy, whose opinions can we respect?

“I think [the creation of a Facebook hate group] illustrates cowardice to a certain extent,” said Fay-Hurwitz. “If people really hate something, to express it on Facebook is a little backhanded.and passive-aggressive. They don’t have to deal with the questions. They don’t have to justify their opinions.”

For example, the creator of one serious group was interviewed for this article and then rescinded all his comments. Even when hate is in a public sphere like Facebook, it seems difficult for those used to the protection of the impersonality of the internet to own up for what they put on it.

“If you really hate something, you should put yourself in a position where you should be responsible for what you say,” said Fay-Hurvitz.

Miss Manners: Facebook etiquette

Monday, January 30th, 2006 | Jessica Sommer
Courtesy of

When Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, his ingenious invention instantly connected thousands of college students. Yet for all the possibilities it created, the new Web site also opened a Pandora’s box of online irritation.

Since its inception, Facebook has provided millions of students with wonderful resources to stay in touch with old friends and get a preview of new ones. While there were always a few rogue Facebookers abusing the Web site, the problem has now reached epidemic proportions. Whether the transgressions take the form of inappropriate postings or spontaneous, uncontrollable friending, the truth remains: our beloved Facebook is plagued by uncivilized, unsophisticated and uncultured undergraduates.

In an effort to alleviate this pressing issue, I have compiled propriety guidelines which will hopefully lead our student body into the forefront of Facebook etiquette.

One of the most problematic areas concerns the wall. Sure, everyone loves to see a new message from a friend, but there must be limits. Nobody likes to open their profile and find themselves staring at a seductively posed naked woman composed of asterisks, dashes and money signs.

Furthermore, for most people, chain letters rightfully ended with the onset of puberty, and posting a picture of “the beautiful truck” on someone’s wall is only reminiscent of these sixth grade annoyances. Certainly there is a better way to tell far-off friends you are thinking of them.

Although slightly more acceptable, your wall should not be a shrine to anyone in particular. It’s nice you are so close with the girl down the hall, but her face does not have to be displayed nine times in a row with a loving message to the right of each picture.

This applies to your better half as well; we all know you are in love, but there is no need to post it with every log-on. If you are feeling particularly emotional one day, send a message or, gasp, use the phone.

While the wall is a beacon for glaring Facebook transgressions, postings on your wall are not always controllable. Conversely, the profile is entirely your domain, but some are taking this luxury too far. Nobody wants to read a novel about your life, so spare the life story under “about me.”

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so to show others who you are, which is the purpose of Facebook, put up an actual picture of yourself and not a picture of you and your 12 other best friends, obscure animals, such as lemurs and bush babies or, by far the worst, the infamous question mark.

Lastly, many otherwise well-behaved Facebookers go awry when it comes to friending. It’s nice to have a lot of friends in the real world, but if this is not the case, please, do not try to overcompensate on Facebook. Running back to your computer to friend someone five minutes after you have first met is not appealing, and is, in fact, creepy. Also, friending someone you don’t know based on their listed interests or because they have the same last name is even less appealing, and is, in fact, really creepy.

Perhaps most importantly, let us not forget that the Facebook does not translate to the real world. When meeting someone new, refrain from confessing that you have definitely seen your newfound friend on Facebook. It’s not endearing.

I understand the temptations are there. You may want to friend that cute guy or sign your best friend’s wall twice a day, but I urge you, for the common good, to just say no this time.

Alternate identities abound on the Facebook

Monday, January 30th, 2006 | Felicia Baskin
Courtesy of

On the Facebook, you can find people with whom you share an interest, catch up with elementary school friends or even talk to God.

Yes, that’s right. God has a Facebook account – and apparently, He attends Washington University.

The Facebook profile allegedly created by God is just one of many floating around in the Wash. U. Facebook web space.

There are dozens of “alternate identity” Facebook profiles, or profiles created under pseudonyms. These profiles represent a wide spectrum of personalities, ranging from the aforementioned religious figure to television characters like Elaine Benes from “Seinfeld” to the entire state of North Dakota.

Clearly, fictional characters and states do not actually attend this fine institution. Rather, several Wash. U. students have discovered a way to manipulate their school e-mail addresses and register multiple Facebook accounts.

The origins of these profiles are typically rooted in inside jokes or entertainment. Senior Pteri Plotnick created the “North Dakota” Facebook accout to help her friend out in a competition for the most Facebook friends.

“I wanted to pick a big, square state that wasn’t heavily populated. South Dakota already has [Mount] Rushmore, so I thought good old North Dakota deserved some [recognition],” said Plotnick.

Sophomore Brian Reale, creator of the “Johnny Bosco” profile, explained that he and his friends, “had a thing where [they would] glorify the Bosco stick.” The Facebook profile seemed like “the most logical thing to do” to honor Bosco sticks and their cheesy goodness, he said. Similarly, sophomore Danny Bravman created the “Nobody” Facebook profile to represent an ongoing joke with his friends.

“Someone made an observation that within a group of friends we had a friend from every state – but nobody was from Wyoming,” recalled Bravman. The fact that “nobody was from Wyoming” turned into a stream of jokes about “Nobody.” For example, Bravman lived in a single room and the joke formed that Nobody was his roommate; Bravman accordingly listed Nobody’s dorm room to be the same as his own.

Indeed, many alternative profiles are very detailed. The profile of “George Oscar Bluth II (G.O.B.),” a character from the television show “Arrested Development,” is completely filled out, thanks to sophomore Elizabeth Hague. Hague created the page “right when course books came out,” so she even went so far as to list courses that she thought G.O.B. would enjoy. Hague began her page as a joke with some friends, including sophomore Jessica Spector (responsible for the “Elaine Benes” profile) and sophomore Blair McNamara (maker of the “God” profile).

“We had fun with the characters we really liked,” explained Spector.

“We really don’t take Facebook that seriously,” qualified McNamara.

Still, McNamara’s fake profile and those of other alternate-profile makers have been embraced by the Facebook community. Fake profiles get an unbelievable amount of friend requests.

The creator of the “Washington University” profile, who wishes to remain anonymous to protect the sanctity (and humor) of the account, noted that he, “stopped friending people at Washington University because they friended [him].”

Bravman agreed, stating that initially he friended his own friends, but he doesn’t actively friend people anymore.

“At one point, Nobody had more friends than [I] did,” he said.

While most Facebook users get random friend requests every once in a while, such requests are the norm for those who maintain alternate facebook profiles. These requests are not only from Washington University students; profile-keepers receive friend requests from students all over the nation. No one is really sure how students from other schools find the alternate profiles.

Plotnick remarked that, “North Dakota has passively waited to be friended” and though “the results within Washington University aren’t that spectacular.[she is] fairly impressed with North Dakota’s other school friend population.”

There is also a good deal of interaction between students with alternate profiles. “Washington University” itself is married to “Chancellor Mark Wrighton,” according to “Washington University”‘s profile. Likewise, the “Elaine Benes” profile states that Benes is married to “David Puddy” of DePaul University. Puddy was one of Benes’s boyfriends on the actual “Seinfeld” show.

“Washington University”‘s maintainer, as well, received a series of messages from a profile called “Balrog of Moria” at Emory University. The “Balrog” posted multiple messages on “Washington University’s” wall criticizing the University and trying to start a Facebook battle.

Reale noted that many people message him to share their experiences with Bosco sticks; one girl even, “asked how to get a hold of Bosco sticks, and if [Reale] could arrange a UPS delivery” of the sticks to her address.

McNamara’s “God” page undoubtedly receives the oddest responses; she has received confirmation messages for friend detail requests that say things like, “God and I were in a serious relationship.”

One alternate Facebook maker is hoping that the traffic generated by these pages can be used to the advantage of the Wash. U. population.

The student responsible for the “Washington University” profile believes that his profile, “has a purpose, more than comedy,” and that it could really help connect the student body. He has started a corresponding group called “Washington University – the Entire Campus.” His goal is, “to get everyone from Washington University who is on Facebook to join the group.” Anyone who wanted an announcement posted on the page would simply have to message the “Washington University” account and its caretaker would post the message or message group members.

“Johnny Bosco’s” Reale also has a plan for his page – “to engender a certain spirit of brotherhood between people who have consumed Bosco sticks.”

But for most of these alternate Facebook profile managers, simply having fun with the page is enough of a reward.

“I didn’t think North Dakota was an especially brilliant idea at the time,” said Plotnick, “but now I’m glad I did it.I am proud to claim that I was definitely among the very first Washington University people to create a frivolous Facebook profile.”

Ratemyprofs ‘hot,’ evals not

Monday, January 30th, 2006 | Marla Friedman

Washington University’s course evaluations can warn students about the workload in a course – but if a student wants to find out if a professor is “hot” or not, is the place to go.

University course evaluations and are two leading resources students can use to offer feedback on classes and professors and to check other students’ reviews before signing up for a course.

For the third semester in a row, Arts and Sciences has had a 70 percent participation rate for online and paper course evaluations.

“I think the most important thing that is accomplished is feedback for tenure review cases, feedback to the administration to know that professors are doing a good job teaching,” said Dean Henry Biggs. “Something that is a close second is providing as much feedback to students so that they can make an accurate assessment of their classes.” is a popular public Internet grading site students can use to post comments about their professors and evaluate them on a one-to-five rating scale, scoring them on easiness, helpfulness, clarity and rater interest.

Raters can also stipulate if they believe their professor is “hot.” If so, a chili pepper will appear next to the professor’s name in the ratings. As of last night, the site has ratings for 785 University professors.

Biggs believes that course evaluations are much more reliable than

“The problem [with] is that there is one to two percent participation. There are teachers who teach biology who have 500 students in the class, have taught for 15 years and have six comments,” said Biggs. “Also, anybody can go on there – if you didn’t take the class, or if you are the professor and you’d like to pump up your ratings.”

Mark Alford, an assistant professor of physics, also favors the University’s evaluations because they distinguish between different courses.

“A professor might do a good job on senior-level courses but be less suited to freshman classes,” said Alford. “On, you can’t tell why there is a mixture of good and bad comments. The University evaluations database can’t be abused in this way.”

Professor Jami Ake, a lecturer in the humanities, believes that the Web site does not provide enough substance for students at this university.

“I think actually kind of underestimates Wash. U. students in some ways,” said Ake. “Sure, everybody wants a really exciting, engaged professor; everybody wants clarity and wants to know how hard a grader a person is, but I think Wash. U. students actually want more than that. Wash. U. students want more than to be entertained.”

Despite the relative benefits of course evaluations over, Biggs also suggested that there are some perks to the site.

“The one thing that I think is attractive about ratemyprofessor is text comments,” said Biggs. “They are not given to students on course evaluations – it’s a difficult situation because it would be great if you could release the comments, but unfortunately there are a few students who really say personal, hurtful, obscene things, so the solution to that would be that we would just edit those comments. But you don’t want to be editing comments, so the comments are not available to everyone,” said Biggs.

Many students are skeptical about University course evaluations. Archna Eniasivam, a junior biology major, questions their effectiveness.

“You do the evaluations and idealistically you hope they will change the things that are wrong with the class, but in reality I’m not quite sure,” said Eniasivam. “It’s hard to know because you’re already done with the class when you fill out the evaluation.”

Emily Boardman, a freshman majoring in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology, also worries about the usefulness of the evaluations.

“I would not have filled the course evaluations out had I not been given point incentives by my instructors,” said Boardman. “I don’t have very much faith that they are effective,” she said.

Nick Mulvihill, a sophomore majoring in entrepreneurship and marketing, feels that incentives offered by the professor might skew the types of comments on course evaluations.

“For courses like psychology, you will get an extra point if you fill out the evaluations whereas on, everyone filling it out is doing it because they want to do it,” said Mulvihill. “It’s people’s more honest opinions, not people who are being bribed to fill out an evaluation.”

Dean Biggs responded to these worries by assuring students that their comments do in fact affect professors.

“I think the frustrating part is that the process in all universities is slow and somebody who is not good is given every chance to try and improve themselves,” said Biggs. “So when you have four years at school, and the process is going to take six to seven years, you don’t see the resolution in your time. But I can assure you that they matter,” he said.

Biggs also explained that there is a new system in place where professors can check their rating and compare them to the average in the professor’s department.

“I know that administrators are looking at those averages and it gives them a much better sense than they’ve ever had before of where professors stand relative to the whole intellectual community and relative to their department, so that they can make improvements or not,” said Biggs.

Although he is hesitant about evaluations, Mulvihill is aware that some professors do change based on student comments.

“I’ve been in a few classes where halfway through the class the teacher will give out an evaluation, look at the results and start showing more videos in class, giving less lecture, giving less homework, just doing things where they have made some changes,” said Mulvihill.

Both the University’s evaluations and might have something to offer, depending on a student’s expectations while looking for courses, said Ake.

“If you want a course that’s fun but you have no guarantees that anything else major is going to happen, take a look at the categories they have on, and that’s what you can expect,” said Ake. “If you want something that’s going to push you, challenge you, that might not always be fun but you might learn something that’s going to change you, you might want to consider the evaluations we have.”

Donating seven drops can save a life

Monday, January 30th, 2006 | Jon Bremer

Registering as a bone marrow donor has never been easier, as students will find during this year’s registration drive.

The Washington University Marrow Registry (WUMR), the student group that organizes the annual event, will cover all costs for students for the first time in its four-year history.

The drive will be held today and tomorrow in Friedman Lounge from 4-9 p.m. and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Lopata Gallery and the undergraduate lounge in Simon Hall.

This year, WUMR has worked with sponsors to make the drive free for everyone for the first time in WUMR’s history.

Previously, donors had to pay $65 to join the registry, a cost that covered the complex tests necessary to determine bone marrow type.

The group has also worked to alleviate students’ fears about marrow donation.

“I know how students approach this and why they are afraid of it and I want to attack it from that angle,” said Brayden Yellman, president of WUMR. “The more publicity we get the better. The more people who know about it the better, even if you are afraid of needles. You can always encourage your friends to do it. Sometimes it is helpful to have some peer pressure so you can all do it together.”

Although a needle is one way of obtaining a blood sample, a finger prick is also an option, since only seven drops are required for testing. The samples are tested for the six antibodies that determine your bone marrow type.

After the marrow has been typed, the donor’s name is added to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) registry alongside the names of over 5.5 million other donors.

This registry can then be searched by doctors for perfect matches for patients requiring life-saving bone marrow transplants. A donor’s chances of being matched are slim, but if one is found, donation is completely optional.

“A lot of people either don’t understand what it is or don’t want to take the time [to register],” said Marla Esser, a University alum and recipient of the 2005 Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic of Service award for her work with WUMR and registry drives throughout the St. Louis area.

Esser’s neighbors have two children, Alex and Matt, who were diagnosed with the rare, life-threatening disease Fanconi Anemia. A bone marrow transplant is the only cure for their condition.

Defying great odds, Alex found her perfect match and received a successful transplant in May of 2001. Matt has yet to find a potential donor, and his condition has recently worsened. He is currently receiving blood transfusions and, without a transplant, might die within a year.

Although Matt’s chances of finding a match in the University community are slim, WUMR hopes to achieve a “moral victory” for him and to expand the registry for the more than 35,000 other people in the United States with diseases that require marrow transplants for a cure.

Registration at WUMR’s drives has been steadily increasing since their start in 2001, and Esser hopes the trend will continue.

“If we could get over 500 donors registered, I would be elated,” said Esser.

In order to encourage freshmen to get involved, WUMR will be throwing a pizza party for the freshman floor who registers the most people.

Sophomore Dave Zeman, a recruiter for WUMR, will be helping at the drive. Zeman was diagnosed with leukemia in April of 1994 and, after the failure of chemotherapy, received a life saving bone marrow transplant from his sister.

“It’s an opportunity to allow anyone to save a child’s life, something you can’t do on a regular basis, and it only takes seven drops of blood,” says Zeman.