Archive for May, 2006

How many times have you changed your major?

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 | Indu Chandrasekhar
Matt Rubin

Project Runway designer to visit St. Louis

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 | Indu Chandrasekhar
Courtesy of Jennifer Gray

If you are one of the many Washington University students devoted to Bravo’s Project Runway, if your Wednesday nights from 8 to 9 were spent heckling Santino Rice or imitating Andra‚ Gonzalo, then you will be pleased to know that on May 20th, you have a chance to meet Project Runway finalist Kara Janx, see her new current spring collections for men and women and get the inside scoop on Project Runway.

You may remember Janx as the talented South African designer with long, dark hair and a unique design style.

A native of Johannesburg, Janx came to the United States eight years ago to study architecture. She began studying fashion four years ago through night classes, and in that short amount of time she has established herself as an up-and-coming designer.

“Project Runway happened at a time that was perfect for me,” said Janx.

The show’s success has been an incredible jumping point, resulting in appearances, trunk shows and meet-and-greets across the country.

As a Project Runway contestant, Janx had to find inspiration according to the challenges presented every week. From the clothes off their backs to the wares of New York’s flower shops, the designers had to create the beautiful and original under severe time constraints and a limited budget.

One of Janx’s standout pieces – and her personal favorite – was created for the Garden Party challenge, in which contestants were required to forge a dress from actual leaves, flowers and moss. The dress, made entirely of flowers, leaves and twine, earned the judges’ respect for its innovation and beauty.

While the flower dress may not be the easiest to mass-produce, Janx has a slew of other pieces, both one-of-a-kind and mass-produced, on display at her shows.

Her kimono dress, a favorite of Project Runway judge Michael Kors, is on sale for $210 in a variety of colors.

Janx is passionate about making her clothing available to everyone, while also setting trends and continuing to grow as a respected designer.

Her fashion inspirations include both designers and architects, but her sister is also a great source of ideas.

“She is an amazing dresser, with a great design sensibility,” said Janx.

Despite the recent skyrocket in Janx’s career, she has still remained very close to her family. Janx is also engaged and plans to start a family.

Throughout the long and sometimes ridiculous process of filming Project Runway and getting her collection off the ground, Janx has continually found help and inspiration from her siblings, and especially her mother.

“She’s just an amazing woman. She had six kids, and she’s an incredible positive inspiration in my life,” said Janx.

For a chance to meet Kara Janx and see her collection first-hand, take a trip to TheTime, a new boutique in downtown Maplewood at 7298 Manchester Road, on May 20th.

And if you’re lucky, she might elaborate on the accents and antics of Andra‚, whom she confirmed to be as “cuckoo and quirky” as he seems on reality television.

The jury is still out on Santino, however; you will have to ask Kara about him.

A Fun-Seeking Human’s Guide to St. Louis

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 | Sarah Klein
Matt Rubin

For those who don’t think St. Louis is a real city, read on, you skeptics. There is so much to do over the summer here, your eyes will pop, and then, of course, you’ll look vaguely like a surprised cartoon character.

For one thing, there is a big fair every month. For the liberal among us, St. Louis Pridefest is a sight worth seeing. Part rally for gay rights, part party, the carousing occurs June 24-26 in Tower Grove Park with food, beverages, merchandise booths and local and national acts celebrating gay awareness.

In July, of course, we celebrate our country’s birthday. Fair St. Louis takes place July 1-4 in downtown St. Louis and comes with a full package of amusement rides, air shows, fireworks, food and drink and riverboat cruises.

The beginning of August 2006 brings Strassenfest. On August 4-6, on 1200 Market Street and in Memorial Park, St. Louis gets its fill of German fun with bratwursts, beer, potato pancakes, music, dancing, carnival rides and more. There are also crafts and an Annual Volkswagen Car Show.

If you’ve always wanted to eat dinner while watching or participating in a play, St. Louis has an absurd number of dinner theater options this summer. The Dapper Flappers are playing at the Bissell Mansion Mystery Dinner Theatre until June 30, and you can get a full course meal while watching (and helping) a crime be solved. For more info, check out Want to see a dentist drill the killer? Go see Gunsmoke at The Lemp Mansion Restaurant and Inn by July 1 (

Want food and more food? St. Louis can feed your cravings this summer. Second Street will be closed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and to 4 p.m. on weekends so that you can eat and enjoy St. Louis humidity outside with Lunch on the Landing. The Kirkwood Farmers’ Market on 150 East Argonne is also only open through September, so take advantage of all the yummy healthy produce on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays this summer.

If music is your interest, St. Louis has a wide variety of candy for your ears. Especially for blues enthusiasts, St. Louis and the surrounding area have the beat bouncing all summer. At the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site, there are monthly concerts, yet to be determined, in June, July and August, celebrating the “King of Ragtime.” To stay updated with the dates, check out or call (314) 340-5790. Some of St. Louis’ best blues music can be heard this summer at BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups seven nights a week and you can find blues, jazz, Cajun and zydeco music at Broadway Oyster Bar, 736 S. Broadway most of the day and night, all week long. You can cruise to blues on a boat on the Mississippi with the Gateway Arch Riverboats Blues Cruise on Thursdays from June 1 through October 26, for only 15 dollars. Check out for more.

If blues isn’t your thing, other melodious options abound as well. If you enjoy hilarity and musicals, Menopause, The Musical is playing at the The Playhouse at Westport Plaza through March 8, 2007; The Barber of Seville is playing on June 1 through Opera Theatre of St. Louis at the Virginia Jackson Browning Theater, Loretto-Hilton Center at Webster University; and Jesus Christ Superstar is playing at the ArtLoft Theatre from June 1 through June 24 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

If you like country, the Kenny Rogers will be playing at the UMB Bank Pavilion in the nearby Maryland Heights on June 18 and the Rascal Flatts will be playing there on June 24. A Tribute to Motown will be playing at Fine Music and Dining in Clayton on June 30. For people with other tastes, the Pageant brings Guitars and Saxes 2006 to St. Louis on July 14, and, for a take-off on southern rock, Mama’s Pride comes to the Pageant June 24. For a variety of blues, oldies and classical, St. Louis parks have free concerts in the parks going on all summer. (Check out or (636) 532-3399 for more info).

For more active fun, you can make yourself sick on roller coasters at Six Flags or you can pet some animals and see the Budweiser Clydesdale horses at Grant’s Farm. At the Magic House, you can join the kiddies and act like an explorer in the Lewis and Clark Adventure Exhibit. On August 1, check out the National Night Out at Spanish Lake Park, where you can canoe and ride hay wagons for free.

If you are aching for some art, St. Louis has your back on that too. Every third Friday of the month from 6-10 p.m. you can watch artists manipulate liquid glass into works of art at the Third Degree Glass Factory. June 2 is the last First Friday Downtown Gallery Walk, where visitors can amble around the newly renovated Washington Ave. and see 16 of downtown’s modern art galleries offering paintings, sculptures, photography and more. The Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park is open every day except Monday and has a number of special exhibits going on this summer as well.

As you can see, St. Louis has a plethora of pleasurable events to offer during summertime. So it’s not so bad to be stuck in St. Louis. For more information on these events and a listing of many more, check out

Summer Edition: Threats to U-City families indicate possible hate crimes

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 | Mandy Silver

June 25, 2006 – Police continue to send additional patrol cars to a University City neighborhood after four families found threatening letters on their car windshields. One family that received the threatening letters was also targeted by homemade bombs.

The neighborhood is home to a number of Orthodox Jewish families and is located north of Delmar Blvd. between Old Bonhomme and North and South roads.

Major Ernest Green of the University City Police Department said that the four letters were placed on car windshields late June 6 or in the early morning hours of June 7. The photo-copied letters were signed “The People,” and stated, “We are the people your mother warned you about.” Below the signature appeared the number 666. Of the families targeted, three were Jewish and one was Catholic.

Green said there are currently no leads in the case linking an individual or individuals to the letters. The homemade bombs were submitted to the county criminal lab and are currently undergoing testing for further analysis.

Community leaders, residents, and the local media have suggested this activity is anti-Semitic but Karen Aroesty, regional directior of the Anti-Defamation League, has cautioned the community to gather more evidence before concluding that the threats intentionally targeted Jewish residents.

“The nature of hate crimes and biased activity is anxiety provoking, not just for the people who receive the letters, but for the whole community. The reverberations can be significant,” Aroesty said. “University City is a diverse place. Just because it happened to be on a street where there are more Jewish families, doesn’t mean Jews were intentionally targeted.”

Questions as to the nature of the crime aside, a larger and perhaps more unsettling question remains: Why did the community and media learn of these incidences over a week after they occurred? Rabbi Yosef Landa, chairmen of the St. Louis Rabbinical Council, expressed concern that the police only increased patrolling of the neighborhood after the story broke in local newspapers.

“I was somewhat surprised that the incidences took place the sixth of June and that the leadership of the community didn’t become aware of it until ten days later,” said Landa. “This is of concern to me because if you are not aware, you can’t be vigilant-people need to be informed.”
For Aroesty though, providing the information demanded by the community does not look like a simple task.

“People want these crimes to be solved; communities don’t want to feel unsettled. There is urgency about wrapping it up into a nice neat package, and that’s not always possible.”

While mystery may still surround the threats, Aroesty thinks that the message that must come out of the incidents is quite clear.

“This is about community building,” she said. “We have to teach our children not to commit these acts, not to regard certain cultures or religions as other, to understand the impact of what their actions and words.”

Summer Edition: Larger than expected freshman class pushes upperclassmen off campus

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 | Brad Nelson

June 25, 2006 – A record number of freshmen have enrolled in Washington University for the fall, causing celebrations in Brookings Hall and headaches on the South 40.

The admissions office expects 1,470 freshmen will arrive on campus for orientation on Aug. 24.

Nannette Tarbouni, the director of undergraduate admissions, says her office was shooting for a class size of 1,350 students when it mailed out acceptance letters last April.

“We had more students accept our offer than we expected,” she said via email. “I think because the admitted students had such great visits during April Welcome and Celebrations Weekend.”

She added, “It’s no secret that our own WU students and their friendly, welcoming nature are the reason that prospective students choose to join us – when so many other factors are equal.”

Even though they haven’t moved in yet, the students of the Class of 2010 are already putting a strain on the University’s housing stock.

Since all first year students are guaranteed housing on campus, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) has been forced to find a place to live for the upperclassmen that will be displaced by the freshmen.

In response, the University has made arrangements with Front Door St. Louis, a local leasing and property management company, to provide student housing at Front Door’s newest building, the Loop Lofts.

“They were already planning on opening this property and hadn’t filled it when we were faced” with the housing crunch, said Rob Wild, the associate director of ResLife.
Under an agreement the two sides reached, the University will pay Front Door the monthly rent of each apartment filled by a student. The University will then charge students rent through their University account, just as they would for University-owned off campus housing.

To entice upperclassmen to move into the building, which located on 1019 Skinker Ave. just north of the Loop, the University has offered residents free basic cable and high speed internet, a free off-campus meal plan, and a free campus parking permit, among other incentives. Wild said the University is subsidizing the frills and will not pass the additional cost along to students.

So far, Wild said the response was positive. “We have more requests than we have space up there,” he said. The Lofts, which will house 105 upperclassmen, feature modern, fully furnished one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Wild said the room rearranging for upperclassmen has caused a delay in room assignments for freshmen, who will be receiving their assignments at the beginning of August, a month later than usual.

When those assignments are complete, all freshmen will have rooms on the South 40.

Summer Edition: Guster to play fall WILD

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 | Mandy Silver
Courtesy of Creative Arts Agency

June 21, 2006 – Acoustic-pop band Guster will headline the 2006 fall WILD, as confirmed by the band’s public relations agency, Creative Arts Agency, and concert Web site Pollstar. Guster will take the stage on Saturday, Oct. 7 for Team 31’s annual fall concert.

Pollstar, the leading trade publication on the live concert industry, posted Guster’s Oct. 7 concert date at Washington University on their Web site, Wendy Snyder, Pollstar’s route book editor, commented that the information on tour dates came “directly from [Guster’s] agent.” At time of publication, the Web site had removed the University concert date without explanation.

Senior Matt Jones, president of Team 31 Productions, declined to comment, citing contractual obligations.

Guster, a widely popular acoustic-pop band, began at Tufts University in 1991, after members met during freshman orientation. Typically characterized by their unique style, which combines the acoustic guitar, drum, and percussion with vocal harmonies, Guster has produced over a dozen recordings and released their latest album, “Ganging up on the Sun,” on June 20. They are currently in the midst of their Campus Consciousness Tour, which has hit campuses across the country.

Guster’s appearance at the fall WILD concert will be a break from the traditional. In the past, the fall WILD concert has featured hip-hop and rap artists such as Lil’ Jon & the Eastside Boyz, Nappy Roots, Busta Rhymes, and Jurassic 5, while spring WILD has typically showcased alternative rock artists.

This year will continue the extended celebration of WILD that started last spring, with pre-WILD festivities hosted in Bowles Plaza from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6. Activities will include an ice cream eating contest, a mechanical bull, student group booths, and second stage musical performances. On Saturday, Oct. 7, “doors” will open to the quad at 3:30 p.m. with free BBQ provided until 5:30 p.m.

-With additional reporting by Shweta Murthi and Troy Rumans

WU graduates move on to ‘odd jobs’

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 | Troy Rumans

When one thinks of the opportunities the class of 2006 are about to embark on, a few common answers tend to persist – graduate school and a 9 a.m.-5 p.m. job. But some graduates of Washington University choose to digress from the beaten path. Whether it is Julia Desmond fighting for energy conversation, Miriam Waigand building a section of the Continental Divide trail or Carrie Fuller dressing up in an otter suit, the following three students have taken the road less traveled.

Desmond will be joining the Green Corps in a one-year program designed to create confident leaders for their ongoing campaigns throughout the country. The goal of the Corps is to create grassroots movements throughout the nation and create lasting changes through these campaigns.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting other people who are like minded,” said Desmond. “I’m really looking forward to using what I’ve learned in an undergraduate degree and applying it to a real life situation. Not having everything hypothetical, but more realistic.”

She will first be heading to Boston with 21 others for an “environmentalist boot camp” for three weeks. From there, she will work on any of a number of campaigns throughout the nation, as well as receive additional training down the road.

After working on a number of these campaigns, Desmond will take over an office of her own, starting next summer, where she will be in charge of all of the operations concerning the building and maintaining of a full-scale grassroots campaign.

Waigand, on the other hand, will be working for the environment in a very different capacity. She is soon to be a geologist for the Montana Conservation Corps, an organization dedicated to benefiting the environment and local communities throughout Montana and surrounding states.

The project portfolio for the corps includes trail work, historical restoration, biological research and many community service activities. The program is run through AmeriCorps, a non-profit organization that emphasizes rigorous work ethic, team building and dedication in all of its activities.

Finally, Fuller intends to join the staff of the Monterey Bay Aquarium as a Visitor Programs naturalist. More specifically, she will be working on their 65-foot research sailboat running education programs for the aquarium’s guests.

“I think one of the most important aspects of zoos and aquaria is instilling a sense of knowledge and appreciation for the animals the public encounters in order to ensure their preservation in the future,” said Fuller.

She will also be demonstrating the use of research equipment used at Monterey Bay, as well as explaining the aquarium’s role as a marine life reserve. And yes, she might just be wearing a sea otter costume sometimes. She learned about the opportunity through her involvement at the St. Louis Zoo, which directed her to the American Zoo and Aquarium Association website.

All in all, Desmond, Waigand and Fuller are ready to take on the challenges of their post-University careers.

“I don’t think I could have possibly found a better fit for me and can’t wait to start,” said Fuller.

Job prospects are up for class of ’06

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 | Josh Hantz

Employers are hiring nearly 14 percent more college graduates this year than last, according to a National Association of Colleges and Employers study released in April.

And the numbers are even better at Washington University.

More than half of the University’s Olin School of Business 2006 graduates have reported job offers, up 30 percent from the same time last year. Jim Beirne, associate dean and director of the Weston Career Center at Olin, expects this number to grow to 80 percent by graduation.

The $52,000 median starting salary for Olin graduates is also up 11 percent from last year, a “huge” increase according to Beirne.

The biggest increases are in the service and manufacturing industries, but 60 percent of all polled employers noted at least some growth. Beirne says the two main reasons for the improved job market are a better economy and better recognition of student quality at the University.

“The hiring world is starting to identify Wash. U. as a great source of talent on par with other prestigious institutions,” Beirne said. “Even if the economy tanks, we’ll still see a rise of the Wash. U. profile in the business world.”

Beirne also believes that an undergraduate degree is much more valuable and respected than it used to be. He specifically notes the change in strategy of the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which switched from hiring 75 percent MBAs to 75 percent undergraduates.

“There’s now a substitute of good undergraduates for MBAs,” he said. “They have less grandiose expectations and a better work ethic. MBAs have a higher self-perception.”

The number of recruiters at Olin is also higher, up 19 percent from last year. The largest ones this year include Deloitte & Touche, JP Morgan and Bank of America Securities. Motorola and General Mills are two firms new to the University also seeking undergraduates.

“We have a good balance of consultants, financial institutions and manufacturers,” said Beirne.

Mark Smith, director of career planning and placement at the University Career Center, has also noticed a significant increase in the number of the recruiters who take the time to stop by this campus. The Career Center held its first-ever spring career fair this year which hosted 100 companies, 80 of which had not presented at the University before. The Career Center had to turn some companies down due to lack of room.

Smith has seen a similar trend regarding internships too.

“There are more postings even this late in the year in April and May,” he said.

He agrees with Beirne that the main reasons for these opportunities are a stronger economy and increased targeting of University students.

While the job opportunities may be out there, taking advantage of them is another matter. One of Olin’s weak point is its small size, which discourages recruiters from making the trip to St. Louis. Olin’s entire program contains about 700 students, compared to 1,800 at bigger schools like the University of Pennsylvania.

However, Olin attracts companies with qualities other than size.

“We do viral marketing of the quality of out students,” said Beirne.

Over the summer, the business school plans on revamping the way it markets students to the business world, making it the top priority according to Beirne.

But students must also do their part. Beirne and Smith’s best advice is to visit the career center early and often.

“Get to know us, the people in our offices,” said Beirne. “There’s a direct correlation between the time people spend with us and being successful.”

“The best way is to engage,” said Smith. “Come in and talk to somebody.”

The biggest mistake students make is waiting until their senior year to start searching for jobs, by which point they are far behind.

“The earlier the better,” said Beirne. “If you wait until senior year, you’ve lost your big runway.”

Even when students do start on time, they will have trouble.

“This is a lot of work,” said Beirne. “You’ve got to get doors slammed in your face. There can be 25 ‘no’s before a ‘yes.'”

Beirne expects this hiring trend to continue, but not at the double-digit rates it has this year. Beirne prefers that students stick it out with Weston, though, so that they can learn from experience.

“We have fabulous people,” he said. “If we do our jobs right, students will make mistakes with us. Finding a job is tough. But I’d rather they have the tough time with us so they can be more successful earlier.”

Freshman Year: Jews for Jesus, Metrolink and war

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 | Molly Antos

This school year saw improvement in many areas for Washington University. The overall undergraduate program rose from the 14 to the 12 in the 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.

The 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 this 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 University 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.

Larry Shapiro was named 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.

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.

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.

Sophomore Year: 150 years, construction, and Nicaraguans

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 | Sarah Kliff

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.