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The Signal has been a part of my life since the very beginning of freshman year. As time passed, it devoured more and more of my time every week.
This semester, I've probably spent an average of 14 hours in our office each Monday and Tuesday. Add that to the significant amount of time spent here on Sundays and Wednesdays, and I realize that an entire day of every week is spent in the dungeon, whose defining characteristics include no windows, a squishy couch, slow computers and days-old Italian food strewn about everywhere.
Working for The Signal is like smoking cigarettes: It's an unhealthy habit, but you just can't stop. My digestive system hates me once a week as I eat pizza and mozzarella sticks for dinner and then survive on cookies and coffee for the remaining 12 hours that I am awake.
Some weeks I'm in such a good mood as I cross out headlines and listen to "Centerfield" on the radio that I foolishly decide to go out to the diner at 7 a.m. when the newspaper is finally finished.
During other production nights, all I can think about is finishing up and going to sleep. Yet somehow, no matter how angry I would get at a writer for not getting any quotes or at an editor for making ridiculous spelling errors, I kept coming back for more.
Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through the insomnia each week for a stupid paper that many people say doesn't matter; afer all, I'm not even a journalism major (physics is so much more exciting). Then I remember that I love journalism and everything that goes along with it: the thrill of getting the big scoop, the camaraderie among the staff, the feeling when you see your name in print.
Last spring, when the campus community went through some trying times, I essentially lived in the Signal office, constantly making calls and writing up stories to inform people of the objective facts. The stress level was at an all-time high, but the experience I gained and the lessons I learned will always stay with me in my future endeavors.
When I look back at my time here, I will always think of the people on staff. This is a group of hard-working, dedicated individuals who truly care about every word that goes into print. We have an eclectic mix of personalities, which leads to sooo many memories, sooo many laughs and, of course, sooo many ladies.
Some people who come down to the office to write for the first time are intimidated and think the Signal community is a clique that won't welcome new members. My response is this: If you spent 20 hours a week with the same people, wouldn't you become good friends with them?
However, I appeal to you to not let that scare you; a newspaper runs smoothest when there is a big staff, and we are always looking to add to our family. I am proud that this year we have welcomed a lot of new faces, many of whom became my good friends.
As I move on to life in the city next year (that's New York for all you South Jersey folk), I know I am leaving The Signal in good hands with Lauren, Michelle and the rest of this talented staff. Lauren and I argue over pretty much everything and insult each other every five seconds or so, but I have no doubt in my mind that she will be a fantastic leader of this organization.
It's been a fun ride, and I have some fantastic memories. (Is it sad that my favorite article I ever wrote was my Senior Week story in The Singal?) This is hard to leave behind, but I'm thankful for every moment I spent dedicated to this newspaper.
Nearly one year after the disappearance of freshman John Fiocco Jr., the case is still unsolved and seemingly no closer to resolution than months ago.
"There are no new developments at this point," Lt. Gerald Lewis of New Jersey State Police said.
He said the case is still considered open, and investigators will continue listening and following up on any leads they receive.
The last significant development in the investigation took place in November, when police received a tip about a possible hide-and-seek game that Lewis said was later found to be "unsubstantiated."
College President R. Barbara Gitenstein said she has not been informed of any new developments.
"The last update I got was about four or five months ago and it was basically, 'There is no update,'" she said, adding that police "have been very responsive to any questions I've asked."
According to Gitenstein, the College has also not received any further information on a lawsuit on behalf of the Fiocco family. Last summer, the family filed a legal notice, that indicated their possible intent to sue the College for more than $5 million.
In an interview with The Signal, Gitenstein reflected on the incident and the effect on the College.
"I remember every minute of it ... and not happily," she said. However, she emphasized that despite the challenges facing the campus, "I never felt prouder of this community."
Gitenstein said she was impressed by the kindness exhibited by members of the campus when so many people needed it the most.
"I think we felt that people off the campus weren't that sensitive to us, so we knew we had to help each other, and we did," she said.
Gitenstein said that despite the tragedy, she has noticed some positive changes in the school since last spring.
"People are more attentive to one another," she said. "I think faculty and staff are more attentive to students who might be in some type of distress."
In terms of the campus' reputation, Gitenstein said she thinks people were pleased that the College community faced the problem and never tried to ignore it.
"There were posters all over campus with (Fiocco's) face on them," she said. "We were certainly not trying to hide it."
This issue of The Signal means a lot to me as an editor, a member of this campus and a human being.
It's hard to believe that it's been a year since the disappearance of John Fiocco Jr. In some ways, it feels like it happened decades ago; on the other hand, the feelings remain ingrained in all of us as if it just happened yesterday.
When the staff decided to publish a pullout about Fiocco, I knew we were undertaking an enormous challenge. As journalists, it is our job to inform the public about significant news and events - and the coverage of one of the most significant, albeit horrible, events that ever happened on this campus certainly qualifies. But on the other hand, we knew that thrusting the events of last year back into the spotlight would bring back considerable pain for the many on this campus who knew him. I hope that after reading the center pullout section, you will feel we were both objective and respectful in our coverage.
This careful balancing act as a journalist is what I remember most about the events of last spring. I remember the onslaught of media outlets on our campus, and the shoddy reporting that plagued both newspaper and television reports. The memories that stick in my mind are reporters stalking students to get good quotes, College President R. Barbara Gitenstein speaking into 20 microphones at a press conference and Nancy Grace throwing out unfounded accusations on her CNN show.
I remember stressing out because I wanted people both on and off the campus to get the real story of what was happening. After all, I could not imagine how friends and relatives of Fiocco were feeling when reading and watching the reports about the person they cared for so much. I was also disturbed that the media used this terrible incident as a reason to attack the College's reputation and our way of life. They questioned the College's security policies and accused students of being a bunch of drunks.
But as a testament to our community, we persevered and moved forward.
There were prayer sessions and support groups to help get through the difficult times. Students discouraged each other from talking to reporters, not wishing to hear another report about how terrified students were to live on campus.
Here we are one year later, and I wonder what impact the events of last spring have had on the campus community. As the letters in the pullout will show, those who knew Fiocco will certainly never forget the terrible sequence of events last year. But what about everyone else? Do most freshmen even know the details of what happened?
As this story comes back to the forefront for this week, some people may be angry, sad or just eager to put the memories aside. I've experienced all these emotions in the past few weeks, but what has stayed in my mind all along is that a year ago we lost one of our own.
That is something none of us should ever forget.
College President R. Barbara Gitenstein expressed some concerns but focused on the positives when addressing the governor's budget proposal at the Feb. 27 meeting of the Board of Trustees.
According to Gitenstein, Gov. Jon S. Corzine's proposal, which includes a $49 million increase in funding to higher education and a $1.6 million rise in the College's base appropriation, is encouraging but is still far from what is required to support the state's colleges and universities.
"Higher education has gone without necessary and reliable support for more than a decade, and our colleges and universities will undoubtedly diminish in quality if they do not receive consistent and predictable funding going forward," she said.
There was also some non-budget related activity at the meeting, including announcements about a new major and the future of dining services at the College.
While Gitenstein applauded the funding increases allotted for the College and need-based financial aid programs, she said she is worried that the additional support to higher education will still not be enough to cover costs from labor contracts and other mandatory expenditures.
These mandatory costs hurt the College last year, when it had to pay for a roughly 8 percent rise in salaries with no additional money from the state.
Gitenstein also said she was disappointed by the absence of the Outstanding Scholar Recruitment Program.
She said the College community should be active in appealing to the State Legislature and governor's office for financial support.
"In the next year, we must focus a great deal of attention on articulating in crisp and forceful detail just how successful our college has been in realizing its mission and serving the citizens of the state of New Jersey," Gitenstein said.
According to Gitenstein, the number of applications is ahead of last year's pace by 10 percent.
She said next year's incoming class has a strong academic profile and a large presence of under-represented groups. Out-of-state applications have risen by 35 percent, despite the 15 percent rise in out-of-state tuition.
During committee reports, the board voted to create a major in civil engineering, effective for the Class of 2007. It had previously been a concentration within the School of Engineering.
In the report of the TCNJ Foundation, board member Robert Kaye said alumni donations are 11 percent ahead of last year's pace. The Foundation has collected $7.2 million this academic year, with a goal of $7.8 million by June 30. This figure includes the $5 million donated by the Loser family in the fall.
Gitenstein introduced Jack Kirnan, the recently hired interim dean of the School of Business. He comes to the College from Rutgers University and has experience at several major financial firms on Wall Street.
Gitenstein also announced that of the 14 tenure-track searches for professors, six people have already been hired, all of whom are women.
Board chair Stacy Holland praised the campus community for its determination in overcoming the obstacles of last year's state budget.
"Last year's budget process was what it was," she said. "This community has rallied in a way that's exemplary."
Holland also praised Gitenstein's performance.
"We are extremely proud, and we very much endorse, the service Dr. Gitenstein provides to this institution," she said.
Christopher Gibson, board secretary, said major construction projects are progressing well in his report of the Building and Grounds Committee. The committee has reviewed a plan for future construction on an art and interactive multimedia building.
The board's next meeting, scheduled for April 24, will feature the annual tuition and budget hearing. The board hopes to have a clear enough picture of the state budget to be able to set tuition for next year. Last year, tuition was not set until mid-July.
Gitenstein expressed excitement about the College's future, but there is one thing she said she especially looks forward to this spring: the planting of grass where the Pennington Road Apartments used to be.
The College will receive a $1.6 million increase in its base appropriation for fiscal year 2008, according to the state budget plan proposed by Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Thursday.
Corzine's $33.3 billion proposal calls for a $49.3 million increase in total higher education funding from this fiscal year, partially restoring money to a fund that was cut by more than $169 million last year.
According to the Web site of the state Department of the Treasury, the College's base appropriation will go up to $36.6 million, a 4.6 percent increase and a welcome change from the $3 million cut last year.
Other state colleges received a comparable increase to their respective budgets.
College President R. Barbara Gitenstein said that while certain components of the school's subsidy are not yet clear, she likes what she sees so far.
"Right now, we do believe that (Corzine) is proposing additional resources for our base appropriation and for our obligations for mandated salary increases for the coming year," she wrote in an e-mail to The Signal. "That is good news indeed."
However, some casualties of last year's cuts have not been recovered. The proposed budget continues the phasing out of the Outstanding Scholar Recruitment Program (OSRP).
"There will be no OSRP program for students entering (the College) in the fall," Gitenstein said, though she noted that school-funded merit scholarships will continue.
Last year, the cut in OSRP forced the College to spend $1.5 million of its own money to fund incoming freshman scholarships that were promised before the budget announcement. The College revamped its merit scholarship program for next year's freshman class, with the top award consisting of $8,000 renewed annually. When the College received OSRP funding, it was able to offer awards as high as full tuition, room and board.
The base budget increase does not mean the College is out of its financial crunch, as there are still notable omissions as well as many unknowns that will determine the school's financial situation next year.
"It should be understood that the proposed increase will not cover anticipated new obligations from state-negotiated labor contracts or other mandatory cost increases," Gitenstein wrote in a statement on the College's Web site.
According to Gitenstein, the exact amount of the College's obligation for salaries, its biggest expenditure, is in flux because of ongoing labor negotiations between the state and unions that represent faculty and staff.
The union with the biggest representation at the College, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), has come to a tentative agreement that still requires ratification by union members. According to Matt Golden, director of Communications and Media Relations, the contracts of other unions usually reflect that of CWA, but there are some vocal opponents to the proposed agreement because of an increased burden on employees to contribute money toward their health benefits.
An Associated Press (AP) report stated that Corzine's budget plan relies on $40 million in savings from the tentative labor contract.
While it is too early to know the changes in tuition for next year, Golden said a determination should be made a lot earlier than last year, when the decision to raise in-state tuition by 8 percent and out-of-state by 15 percent was made in mid-July.
"Traditionally the tuition hearing is held in April," he said. "We would like to do it at that time (this year) as well."
Like last year, the College set up a page on its Web site dedicated to the state budget. Golden said that updates should be coming in as early as later this week, and notable information will be forwarded to the campus community.
Corzine's proposal is not the final budget that the state will adopt. The State Legislature has until July 1 to reform the budget. Last year's controversial budget was not approved by the deadline, causing a partial government shutdown.
Outside of the higher education category, the highlights of Corzine's budget included property tax relief and sizable increases to school and municipal aid. The proposal was also notable for what it didn't have: tax increases. According to the AP, it was the first budget since 2001 that did not propose any tax hikes.
In addition to outlining his budget proposal, Corzine spent a considerable amount of time on the dire financial situation New Jersey still faces. He highlighted the state's $33 billion debt as well as the essential services the state currently cannot afford to provide.
"It's frustrating to have so few financial resources to invest in our future," he said.
According to Corzine, desperate measures to create revenue could include leasing the New Jersey Turnpike and the lottery to private companies.
Gitenstein said she was happy that Corzine was able to increase funding to higher education amid the state's financial shortfalls.
"Corzine has struggled mightily to respond to a very difficult financial situation," she said, "and I admire his clarity of purpose and thoughtfulness in making hard decisions."
On Feb. 7, the student newspaper of Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), The Recorder, included an article in the opinions section titled "Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It."
In case you haven't read the article, it includes some controversial material (and that's an understatement): "If it weren't for rape, how would (ugly women) ever know the joy of intercourse with a man who isn't drunk?" The writer of the story (and opinions editor of the paper), who began the piece by describing rape as "a magical experience that benefits society as a whole," said that it was meant as a satire.
He may have been the only one who saw it that way. At CCSU, students held protests and town meetings, demanding the resignation of both the opinions editor and the editor in chief of the newspaper. Internet bloggers had a field day criticizing the judgment of the student journalists.
According to NBC 30 Connecticut, CCSU's student council is considering measures to reform the newspaper, including provisions to increase "adult input." Allowing advisors and/or college administrators to censor the press is a scary and unacceptable proposal that threatens the rights of college students.
I want to make it perfectly clear that had I been editor in chief of that paper, I never would have allowed that article to be published. But the actions of CCSU's editorial board, though inexcusable, should not be interpreted as proof that students do not have sufficient judgment to run effective newspapers.
College is meant to serve as a forum for sharing ideas and challenging authority. A free college press allows us to voice our concerns, whether they are about Sodexho, Senior Week or Liberal Learning. Any system of prior restraint by college administrators - even if it is designed to filter out stories like the one at CCSU - will surely result in the removal of material with meaningful messages.
The student journalists for The Signal, The Recorder and other college newspapers around the country are just that: students. They volunteer as reporters and editors because they are interested in journalism and want to learn and improve. And when students are learning, it is inevitable that mistakes will be made. The problem is that while an error on a calculus problem results in points off on a test, a mistake by a newspaper editor gets scrutinized by the entire campus community.
The mistakes made by student journalists are also a lot more complex than they seem. A newspaper full of spelling and grammatical errors is one thing, but here we are talking about errors in judgment - which, no matter how much it is taught in classes, the only way to learn it is through experience.
Some stories are blatantly offensive with no journalistic value; they say rape only hurts if you fight back. These stories deserve no place in a newspaper - but these are the minority. Most fall somewhere in between. These are the stories in which editors must undertake the unenviable task of weighing writers' First Amendment rights against the possible harm created by the content.
Should those responsible for publishing the rape story lose their jobs? Probably. But let's not allow the poor judgment of a few individuals to sway us toward censoring students' most effective public forum.
The orchestra filled the Kendall Hall main stage auditorium with the brilliant sounds of strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion and . the accordion?
On Nov. 18, the College's orchestra held its biannual concert and played five pieces, including the Concerto for Accordion & Orchestra, which featured Robert Young McMahan, professor of music, on the accordion.
The concerto, composed by Paul Creston, had the unusual combination of an accordion with the typical instruments of an orchestra.
This piece defied the stereotypical view of the accordion: It certainly didn't sound like the instrument that's played to set the mood at a French restaurant. In the third movement in particular, McMahan's hands flew across the keyboard of the accordion to keep up with the lively tempo of the piece.
The piece had extra significance because Carmen Carrozza, who premiered the concerto with the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1960, was in attendance.
While the night was certainly remembered for the accordion performance, the second half of the evening had a distinctive Spanish flavor. After playing the composition "Danza del Trigo" by Alberto Ginastera, the concert concluded with Scenes and Dances from "The Three Cornered Hat" by Manuel de Falla.
In the first movement, senior music major Melissa Gonzalez performed a soprano vocal solo as the orchestra clapped and chanted "Ol?!" The remaining four movements provided a nice variation in mood until the energetic ending to close the concert.
The audience was noticeably impressed with the performance, giving the performers standing ovations both before intermission and at the end of the night.
Philip Tate, professor of music and the conductor of the orchestra, was proud of the performers, which included students (music and non-music majors) and a few alumni.
"The students did excellent," Tate said. "The music was very challenging, especially the accordion concerto, but (the students) always rise to the occasion."
Greg Marsh, senior music education major and principal clarinetist in the orchestra, agreed with Tate's sentiments.
"It seems that with each performance, the orchestra brings the music to a whole new level," he said.
According to Marsh, the accordion concerto was especially taxing because it took intense concentration to keep up with the music.
"In the last movement, if you took your eyes off of the music for one second, that's all it took for you to lose your place," he said.
Tate said that he especially enjoyed the accordion concerto and "Scherzo in D Minor," a short piece written by Edouard Lalo. Designed to create a feeling of tension, the composition is made up of a calm middle section surrounded by a more agitated melody.
The evening began with "Finlandia," a majestic anthem-like tune, by Jean Sibelius.
After the show, McMahan praised Tate and the orchestra for doing so well with such an unusual piece as the accordion concerto.
"It is rarely done," he said. "Dr. Tate was very brave to take on this piece."
However, McMahan made sure to emphasize that there are hundreds of classical works that include the accordion, virtually all of which were composed after World War II. He said that the accordion is a relatively new instrument, having first been used in the 1820s.
McMahan, who serves as an officer for the American Accordionists' Association, is the coordinator of theoretical studies and composition at the College and is responsible for the creation of the accordion major.
When asked about the typical audience response to a classical piece featuring the accordion, McMahan said that the reaction is always the same:
"Gee whiz, I didn't know it could do that!"
When Tom McCarthy entered Trenton State College in 1986, he wanted to play baseball. When that didn't work out, he decided to be a baseball broadcaster instead.
That turned out to be a very wise switch in career goals.
McCarthy, a 1990 graduate of the College, has reached his dream job, having just completed his first season as the radio voice for the New York Mets on WFAN 660 AM in New York.
"I was a big Mets fan growing up," McCarthy said, making note of the Mets hats and the bobblehead of the great Mets broadcaster Bob Murphy that decorate his radio studio.
He said that he struggled through the tough years of the late 1970s and early '80s before the Mets finally pulled through during his freshman year at the College. McCarthy vividly remembers being on campus when the most famous of plays took place in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
"When the ball went between (Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner's) legs, the campus erupted," he said. "I was outside Cromwell because I was so mad about what was going on."
The Mets were losing 5-3 entering the bottom of the 10th inning before scoring three runs to win, helped by Buckner's infamous error.
Interestingly, McCarthy began his college career as a biology major. He changed his major to communications during his junior year, when he was already writing sports articles for the Times of Trenton.
While McCarthy's dream was to go into the sports broadcasting business, he still went back to the College to go for his master's in science education, hoping to perhaps land a teaching job that would allow him to coach baseball.
"I always wanted to be a major league broadcaster," he said, "but I didn't think it was a realistic goal."
However, McCarthy never completed the master's program and instead entered a period in which he said he was "bit by the broadcasting bug."
His first radio job came in 1991 as an announcer for the College's Lions football team on WTTM 920 AM. But his big break came when the Babe Ruth League, an amateur baseball league, held its World Series in Ewing. He was able to do the play-by-play for many of those games and get some baseball broadcasting experience.
McCarthy said that his work with the Babe Ruth World Series became his audition tape that helped him land a job as director of public and media relations, as well as the radio voice, for the Trenton Thunder, a minor league baseball team that at the time was the Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.
He was hired in November 1993, and according to McCarthy, "that's where things took off." He remained with the Thunder until the end of the 2000 season, even serving in the front office as assistant general manager from 1996-99.
At the end of the 2000 season, McCarthy finally made it to the professional level by becoming a radio broadcaster for the Philadelphia Phillies. He stayed for five years before the radio job for the New York Mets opened up for the 2006 season.
McCarthy's broadcasting r?sum? goes beyond baseball as well. He has been the radio voice for Rutgers University football and Princeton University basketball and football, and he hosted a talk show on ESPN radio. Currently, he does play-by-play for St. Joseph's University basketball and select games on College Sports Television when he is not busy with Mets broadcasts.
It is obvious speaking with McCarthy that being in the press box for Mets games is a dream come true, and it didn't hurt that the team made a serious run at the World Series.
"Going to the postseason this year is the one thing that really stood out . Seeing what the postseason is like, that to me was and is the topper of all toppers," he said. "It's the brightest stage."
McCarthy said that his other most notable memories in the broadcast booth were calling his first major-league game and watching Princeton's men's basketball team upset UCLA in the 1996 NCAA tournament. He also noted the thrill of meeting his baseball heroes that he had growing up, including Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, members of the 1986 Mets championship team who currently work as analysts for Mets games on television.
McCarthy described the hard work that goes into each of his major-league broadcasts. "It's a lot of reading, a lot of research, a lot of studying," he said. "You need to have a lot of stuff off the top of your head."
But the perks of the job are just impossible to overlook. McCarthy travels with the team and gets to see great cities and ballparks throughout the country. "To see that many baseball games in a year, it's huge," he said. "It's an awesome job."
As a Mets fan, McCarthy was disappointed with the way the season ended. The Mets, defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, fell one win shy of a trip to the World Series.
"Even with the injuries, I felt that this team really had all the pieces," he said. He predicted that the offseason will bring a lot of changes for the pitching staff, and that the team will have a new second baseman and leftfielder by the start of the 2007 season.
McCarthy, who currently lives in Allentown, N.J., with his wife and four children, has a strong connection to the Trenton area, where he attended college and got the job that catapulted him to the big stage.
In 2003, he had his first book published, "Baseball in Trenton," which contains many photographs and captions depicting the rich history of minor league baseball in the city. He said that a number of baseball greats spent the beginning of their careers playing in Trenton, including Willie Mays, Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra.
"It's the first of a number of books I hope to write," McCarthy said.
McCarthy encouraged students to not be afraid to be ambitious in following their dreams: "When you're young you can be busy because you don't have many responsibilities. Take on more than you think you can handle, because you can handle it."
-- UPDATED 12:00 p.m. OCT. 11
"Tioga County landfill is where Hector, Jr., is found. Or his 'remains' - battered and badly decomposed, his mouth filled with trash."
Thus begins the fictional short story "Landfill," written by Princeton University author Joyce Carol Oates, that appeared in the Oct. 9 issue of The New Yorker magazine. The story has stirred up controversy with some readers, particularly those at the College, for its resemblance to the disappearance of freshman John Fiocco Jr. in March.
The story centers on Hector Campos Jr., a freshman at Michigan State University at Grand Rapids, whose remains are found by police in a landfill after he falls down a trash chute at a fraternity party. In the story, Campos is reported missing by his roommates on the afternoon of Monday, March 27, and was last seen around 2 a.m. on Saturday, March 25.
In an Oct. 11 issue of the Trenton Times, Oates apologized for the story, saying, "I certainly regret the whole thing, that's for sure."
According to the article, both Oates and the fiction editor of The New Yorker offered an apology to those affected by the Fiocco case.
"I'm certainly feeling very apologetic and deeply sorry that I inadvertently ... hurt the feelings of these people and just feel sorry about that," Oates said in the article.
According to reports in The Signal, Fiocco was last seen around 3 a.m. on Saturday, March 25, and was reported missing by his roommate on Sunday afternoon.
Oates, a Princeton resident, has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and is rumored to be a candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature. She appeared at the College on March 20, 2006 as part of the Thornton Wilder celebration.
While some students and faculty at the College have yet to read the story, those who have have expressed strong opinions questioning the appropriateness of Oates' story.
"I don't intend to read it," Chris Stewart, sophomore biology major and former floormate of Fiocco, said. "(Oates) has every right to publish it, but the graphic nature (of the story) just makes it far too disgusting to read."
"I have some reservations about the timing and approach (of the story)," Jess Row, assistant professor of English, said. Row's writing has been featured in "The Kyoto Journal," "The Harvard Review" and "Slate Magazine."
Row said, "(Oates' story) raises a lot of questions about the writer's responsibility to (her) audience and (the) community." He said that the story was a "risky choice" for both her and the magazine to publish.
In an interview with The Times of Trenton, Oates said she could not understand why people would be offended by the story.
"Why would they object to a fiction story, set in Michigan, about fictional people?" Oates asked in an interview with the newspaper.
Oates declined The Signal's request for an interview, and the fiction editor of The New Yorker, Deborah Treisman, was unavailable for comment.
According to the Times article, Oates meant the story to be a "symbolic commentary on the dark side of the college experience," including excessive drinking and fraternity hazing.
In the Times article, Oates acknowledged that Fiocco's case was "among the influences for her story" but says the story is was not meant as a "literal translation of any actual event."
Matt Golden, director of Communications and Media Relations for the College, said, "I feel there are some significant and clear similarities (between the story and the actual event."
While Golden said there are some dissimilarities between the Fiocco tragedy and Oates' story, he said, "I don't think you can deny that there are striking similarities."
In the Times article, Oates says she received an e-mail from College President R. Barbara Gitenstein which was written "with some emotion."
Golden said in a telephone interview that no such e-mail had been sent from the College. Rather, Regina Kenin, a professor emeritus at the College, sent the e-mail. Along with Gitenstein, Elizabeth Paul, interim provost, and Susan Albertine, dean of the school of culture and society, were e-mailed carbon copies of the note.
"I am writing to express my disillusionment at your (Oates') lack of compassion and humanity in writing the story Landfill," Kenin says in the e-mail. "You so flimsily disguised the true . story upon which your fictionalized account is based ... that it can only add to the overwhelming pain the family has already suffered."
Kenin goes on to say, "While I support freedom of speech, I also believe that writers have choices about what they write and a responsibility for exercising those choices in an ethical manner."
In the story, Campos is a pledge for a fraternity and gets into fights with many of the brothers at a party. Eventually, he is "lifted, pushed into an opening in the wall - the trash chute," by one of the people at the party.
Bryan Vale, president of the Inter-Greek Council, had no comment specifically regarding the story but said that there "is a regrettable stereotype that exists (about Greek life), and we do not appreciate it."
Some members of the campus community were not as offended after reading Oates' fictional piece.
"I'm not terribly upset about the story but I would understand why some people are," Glenn Steinberg, associate professor of English, said. However, he added that it was "cheating" to use so much fact in creating a piece of fiction.
The article can be read at: newyorker.com/fiction/content/articles/061009fi_fiction.
Did you know that Diana and Nicole just became friends? How about that Robert just added new photos? And what a shame, Brian and Jen just ended their relationship.
Welcome to the new Facebook.com. Everyone is complaining about it, and many have joined groups like "Stop Stalking Me, Facebook."
But maybe this "News Feed" is a blessing in disguise. It may finally convince people that the negatives of Facebook and other social networking sites outweigh the positives. College students often live their lives like they are in a bubble, a place where the real world does not apply. However, do not forget that people in the real world can look at everything you post about yourself online. Let's be honest - the News Feed doesn't mean people are going to start stalking; it just makes the stalking that has already been going on even easier to do.
It has become too simple to learn a bit too much about almost anyone. Your friends may be looking at all your recent activity, but what about those whom you may not want to be looking? For example, you don't want the overly jealous ex looking at photos of you and that girl/guy you hooked up with at the party. Furthermore, remember that there are creepy people out there who may enjoy those bikini pictures way too much.
Facebook may haunt you once you leave college as well. According to a Jan. 12 article from careerjournal.com, a career advice Web site maintained by The Wall Street Journal, "75 percent of recruiters use search engines to uncover information about candidates, and 26 percent of recruiters have eliminated candidates because of information found online." You may have felt cool when you posted pictures from the night you did a keg stand, but you won't feel as proud if it costs you a job in the future.
In addition, networking Web sites are slowly ruining us socially. Between AIM, Facebook and MySpace, it's getting way too easy to have a buzzing social life without actually having to communicate with anyone. Is it better to get 30 "Happy Birthday" messages on your wall or three phone calls? How many of your 327 Facebook buddies are your actual friends away from the computer screen?
This is not meant to get you to rush to your computer and delete your Facebook and MySpace accounts. However, before you join a group protesting the News Feed, think about how the possible harm caused by this new feature is miniscule compared to the information we knowingly and willingly put up all the time.
Keep all this in mind, and then remember to friend me - I'm looking for at least another hundred.
This year's Convocation ceremony welcomed the largest freshman class in nine years to the College.
The event included a presidential welcome presented by College President R. Barbara Gitenstein and a student welcome by Christine Cullen, SGA executive president.
Throughout the event, the freshman class was lauded for its achievements.
Christopher Fisher, assistant professor in the departments of African-American studies and history, praised the class' impressive r?sum?.
Fisher called the freshmen "the best the nation has to offer."
According to Fisher, the freshmen have an average SAT score of 1306, the highest in the College's history. The average ranking is in the top 7 percent of their classes, and 821 were members of the National Honor Society.
In addition, one incoming freshman has already published two full-length novels.
"(The College) faculty has some of this nation's best minds," Fisher said.
He also noted the seven to three ratio of women to men within the class, a fact that drew applause from male students in the audience.
Despite his praise, Fisher warned the freshmen class that "college is tough. It will challenge you."
One of the challenges facing the incoming class is to "understand and appreciate different points of view," Gitenstein said.
Christine Cullen, SGA executive president, encouraged the freshmen class to welcome the start of their college careers as a new beginning.
Cullen said the freshmen should strive to be good citizens of the College campus and endeavor to make decisions that will impact both them and the College community positively.
"Embrace this time of self discovery," Fisher said.
Jonathan Peck, Alumni Association president, spoke of the close bonds forged by students building a community within the College.
"We carry the spirit of this institution with us," Peck said.
"Tomorrow is opening day," Cullen said, "and this is going to be the best film of your life."
The Student Finance Board (SFB) introduced its budget for fiscal year 2007, which includes cuts to certain paid student leadership positions and intramural sports as well as a pay increase for the Student Government Association (SGA) and SFB presidents.
The budget, approved last week by SGA and Elizabeth Paul, interim vice president of Student Life, also creates a club sports council to allocate funds among club teams.
The budget for fiscal year 2007 includes an estimated income from the Student Activities Fund (SAF) of $744,800, the same amount as this year. Jon Borst, administrative director of SFB and next year's executive director, said that Gov. Jon S. Corzine's proposed budget cuts should not affect the amount of SAF money available for student organizations.
While most changes in the budget consisted of reallocating funds, the most significant cuts were to payroll and the intramural program.
SFB allocated $66,682 for payroll in the new budget, a decrease of $5,422 from this year. The reduction comes from cutting hours for some student leaders and removing some positions from payroll altogether, including SFB's management director and SGA's vice president of administration and finance. The executive president is the only person in SGA who will be paid.
However, some student leadership positions will earn raises next year, including SGA's executive president and SFB's executive director. Each will make $7,440 for the year, an increase of $1,360.
Borst explained that these raises of student government and financial board presidents at other colleges. He said that many received full tuition while some even earned room and board.
Borst said that the salaries of SGA's and SFB's presidents were last changed in 2000, and the amount awarded was given as a stipend based on in-state tuition. At the time, in-state tuition was $3,366 - it is currently $4,928. According to Borst, if the stipend remained in proportion to tuition, the presidents of SGA and SFB would make almost $10,000.
Julia Pratt, executive director, defended SFB's decision and said that the removal of certain student leadership positions from the payroll was "not haphazard."
"(SFB) just can't pay every student leader," Pratt said. "It's just not feasible."
According to Pratt, SFB talked with organizations with paid student leaders and discussed the payroll cuts to "critically examine" whether or not certain student leaders needed to be paid.
The highest paid student leader next year will be SFB's financial director, who serves as accountant. Borst said that the $7,680 salary is needed because SFB needs to offer payment that is competitive with accounting firms that often hire accounting students.
The College's intramural program is budgeted for $34,904, a decrease of almost $6,000 from this year. SFB cut funding for equipment in half and only granted $4,300 for awards and weekend programs after an appeal.
Borst said that equipment funding was cut because SFB should not have to pay for the same equipment every year.
"How is it that all equipment needs to be replaced every year?" he said.
Debbie Simpson, intramurals coordinator, was not pleased with SFB's decision.
"I am never happy when the intramural program, which supports nearly two-thirds of the student population, incurs any budget cuts," she wrote in an e-mail interview. "These cuts are devastating to the program."
Simpson added that due to cuts, not all members of intramural championship teams will receive awards and the quality of equipment will suffer.
SFB took a new approach to deal with club sports organizations, which have complained about a lack of funding all year. SFB's conference policy has been to award $50 per person, which is often not enough to send a club team to a tournament.
SFB dealt with this touchy issue by allocating $43,000 to a newly created club sports council, which will consist of representatives from all 16 club sports teams who will distribute money among themselves.
Borst said that the amount was decided by trending the funds given to all clubs sports teams for the last three years. Borst will sit in on the club sports council's meetings to ensure that all SFB policies are followed.
Most changes in the budget were reallocations to more effectively utilize available funds. Funding for the multicultural and conference request lines were cut, while the special appropriations line, which student organizations utilize most, was increased.
SFB's high-volume line, which is used to fund big-name speakers and performers, remained at $100,000 for next year. Pratt has made it a point to encourage the College to recruit big names to the College, and Borst said that trend will continue under his tenure.
"I definitely fall in line with (Pratt's) initiative to increase that line," he said. "It's what the students want."
SFB funding for Celebration of the Arts, which SFB co-sponsors with the College, remained at $50,300 for next year. However, Borst said that the College may not be able to offer its share of funding due to Corzine's budget cuts. If this occurs, SFB will have to reallocate the money, most likely into the high-volume events line.
Borst said that SFB has approved next year's budgets for all student organizations with the exception of All College Theatre and Opera Theatre, who have to submit their performance selections. He said that SFB only budgeted for programs up to Oct. 15.
Pratt said that SFB prefers this method, which will force organizations on campus to present at SFB meetings when they request money.
"It's better for the student body if base budgets are small," Pratt said. She said that SFB wants to avoid allocating "blanket amounts of money" that clubs can use in any way they choose without SFB approval.
The Child Care Center will receive $2,000 from SFB next year, a sharp decrease from the $10,000 it received this year. Borst said that while many SFB board members wanted to zero-fund the center, they decided that it was fairer to decrease, but not totally eliminate, funding.
On March 22, Connie Danser, coordinator for the Child Care Center, told The Signal that only three of the 16 children enrolled at the center are children of students at the College. This, according to Pratt, was another reason to reduce the center's funding.
Borst emphasized training student leaders to effectively program events and use SAF money wisely. As a result, SFB will require that two members, including one executive board member, from every student organization attend Passport to Programming on Sept. 9. The program trains student leaders, particularly in the use of student funds.
"Because of the amount of large organizations, it is absolutely necessary that they go through at least some training in order to effectively program," Borst said. "This will ensure that organizations that best program have the money to do that."
- Michelle McGuinness, News Assistant, contributed to this story
In recent weeks, students were surprised to hear that instead of taking a set of unrelated courses to fulfill their liberal learning requirements, they had two other options. Now, the coordinators of the liberal learning program want to clear up any misconceptions students have.
Instead of Option C, which the majority of students choose, students can do an interdisciplinary concentration (Option A) of six to eight courses or create their own concentration (Option B).
However, according to Robert Anderson, director of Liberal Learning, and Richard Kamber, coordinator for interdisciplinary concentrations, students who wish they could have chosen a different option may not have been able to anyway.
"It would have been difficult," Kamber said.
While the three-option program was officially adopted in 2003, Kamber said the first of the concentrations for Option A were not formally approved until March 2005.
Therefore, the students most able to benefit were the incoming freshmen, but Anderson said they were not informed about Options A and B during their orientation in June.
As a result, Anderson and Kamber said the current focus is on letting the incoming Class of 2010 understand the benefits of choosing Options A and B.
"We're putting forth a full-court press," Anderson said.
Kamber said that he plans on discussing liberal learning with prospective students during Accepted Students Day on April 2.
He said that he hopes some students will declare an interdisciplinary concentration during orientation in June.
A major benefit in choosing Option A, Anderson said, is that the mandatory freshman seminar class can count as a required course for the concentration.
There are currently 15 concentrations under Option A, with at least two more likely to be approved by the end of the semester, and Anderson said he believes it is time for students to only use Option C as a last resort.
"Instead of a mindless group of nine courses (in Option C)," he said, "you get a focused concentration."
Kamber also praised Options A and B.
He said that these options allow students to focus on areas of interest. In addition, the concentration is listed on students' transcripts just like a minor.
While Anderson said that it is probably too late for most students to change to Options A or B, Kamber said that current freshmen and even a few sophomores may still have an opportunity to switch.
Students can e-mail Kamber at email@example.com to explore the opportunity of choosing Options A or B.
Anderson and Kamber said that advising is a major obstacle in the successful implementation of the program.
"Advising has always been a weak point (at the College)," Kamber said.
Anderson said that faculty is under a lot of pressure between classes and their own research, so advising sometimes takes a back seat.
"You need a core of good advisors, and that hasn't happened yet," he said.
Kamber stressed that with the multitude of options in the liberal learning program, good advising is a necessity.
"This was as uncomplicated as we could make it, but it's still complicated," he said. "It's all the more important to have good advising."
Anderson is working to make Options A and B more visible to the student body.
He proposed new program planners for the 2006-07 academic year, in which all three options are more clearly presented in the first column.
He also worked to update the liberal learning Web site. A revamped version was put online on Feb. 17.
"We've gone to extraordinary lengths to get everything up on the Web site as clearly as possible," Kamber said. "The place to begin . is just to go to the liberal learning page."
Interested students can access the site at www.tcnj.edu/~liberal.
Kamber encouraged students to embrace the program, which is the only one of its kind in the nation.
"This is an unusual, exciting program that has not caught on the way it should," he said.
Overall, Anderson said he hopes that students utilize the liberal learning program to round out their education and gain a love of knowledge.
"I want (students) to have a love of the life of the mind, no matter what else they do," he said. "I want them to have a broad and coherent understanding of the world at large."
Students expecting a normal dinner at Eickhoff Dining Hall Monday night were less than pleased when the dining hall was closed due to a water main break.
The break occurred outside the Marketplace Convenience Store and was reported just before 5 p.m. Water saturated the lawn and flowed out into the street.
Jim Heisler, the College's plumbing supervisor, said that water main breaks usually result from alternating warm and cold weather, which puts stress on the pipes.
The dining hall was closed once the leak was reported. At around 7 p.m., the water was shut off, much to the dismay of Eickhoff residents.
"I'm really (explicit) pissed off," Mike Pfirrmann, junior computer science major, said. "I was right about to get into the (explicit) shower."
Other students were also noticeably angry when they walked into Eickhoff to find that the dining hall was closed.
A sign on the door of the dining hall directed students to the Travers/Wolfe Dining Hall, which is open until midnight. The convenience store was also closed until the repairs were completed.
Workers from Waters & Bugbee, a general contracting company based in Trenton, were on hand to help seal the broken pipe. They had to dig a sizeable hole to reach the pipe. "We're going to expose the line and put a repair clamp on," Heisler said. "It should be simple."
Heisler said that the College kept the water on until workers started digging so that people in Eickhoff could still use water.
Workers continued to fix the problem throughout the night, and water was restored to most rooms in Eickhoff by around 11:30 p.m. However, there were reports of toilets overflowing once water was restored.
John Higgins, general manager of Dining Services, said that Travers/Wolfe and the Student Center Food Court could hold all the extra students who would normally have eaten at Eickhoff.
"We're handling it," Higgins said. He said that staff was moved from Eickhoff to the student center and Travers/Wolfe to handle the extra customers.
Students who went to Travers/Wolfe had to use their points to pay for food, causing an inconvenience for those with the Carte Blanche meal plan.
Higgins said that dining services would try to do something for students after spring break. He suggested an upscale meal or special dessert bar at Eickhoff.
At the Jan. 25 meeting of the Student Finance Board (SFB), a motion was unanimously passed to give the College Union Board (CUB) full funding of $1,059.40 to bring its advisor, Tim Asher, to a campus activities conference.
This transaction might seem like a normal issue on the docket of an SFB meeting. But because Asher is also the advisor of SFB, it raised some eyebrows.
Is there a conflict of interest when the advisor of the club that receives the most money of any organization from the Student Activities Fund also advises the group that allocates the money?
According to Asher and representatives from CUB and SFB, the answer is an absolute no.
"There is no hidden agenda on my part," Asher said.
"This is not some conspiracy," Caitlin Gaughan, director of CUB, said.
"There is nothing improper going on," Julia Pratt, executive director of SFB, said.
Asher, Gaughan and Pratt emphasized that Asher, who also serves as associate director of Campus Activities and interim advisor of the Leadership Development Program, only advises CUB out of necessity.
"No one in their sane mind would choose to advise two organizations like this," Gaughan said.
Asher had previously served as director of Campus Programs, and with that came the job of CUB advisor. But when he was promoted to associate director of Campus Activities, he left his post as CUB advisor and became the advisor of SFB.
Kevin Maldonado took the job of director of Campus Programs and CUB advisor. However, he resigned last summer and CUB was left without an advisor.
With CUB desperately seeking an advisor, Asher stepped in because of his past experience and knowledge needed for the job. Pratt pointed out that the CUB advisor must have knowledge of laws and insurance for dealing with big contracts and performers.
Asher, Gaughan and Pratt also stressed that Asher works extremely hard and would have no time to push his own agenda even if he wanted to.
"No one has enough hours in the day to advise all the clubs that he does," Gaughan said. She noted that Asher sometimes comes back to the College from his house at night if there is an urgent CUB matter.
Asher said that he does realize that his involvement in both CUB and SFB could be construed as a conflict of interest, which played a major role in his last-minute decision not to attend the campus activities conference in Boston on Feb. 18.
Asher said that it is SFB policy that if members of an organization invite their advisor to a conference and he accepts, SFB will fund the advisor.
According to Pratt, when CUB asked SFB to fund Asher's expenses for the conference, SFB board members asked Asher to leave during the deliberations and vote so as to not cause any possible bias.
SFB unanimously approved funding and Asher was all set to go.
However, three days before the conference, Asher picked up the Feb. 15 issue of The Signal and saw a letter to the editor questioning the ethics of Asher going to a CUB conference funded by SFB.
In the letter, Thomas Simons, treasurer of the Bowling Club, criticized SFB for using more than $1,000 in students' money to send a College employee to a conference. "How is it justifiable . to send an employee to a conference while so many student organizations struggle to get any cent they can out of the same fund?" he wrote.
Asher said that the letter made him second-guess his decision to attend the conference. "I thought (Simons) had a good point," he said. "I had not considered it from that point of view."
Asher ultimately decided not to go to the conference. "As SFB advisor, I should set a higher standard for myself," he said, although he noted that he had followed all the rules in obtaining funding.
It was too late to recover his registration fee, so Asher absorbed the $275 fee himself. "I didn't spend any student money," Asher said.
Pratt and Gaughan said that CUB does get a lot of money from SFB, but that is because of the popularity of its events.
Pratt said that while most clubs are reaching out to a relatively small audience, "CUB is reaching out to 2,000 students at a time." CUB brings in a major comedian and concert each year, she said, which benefits all students at the College.
SFB approved CUB's $29,280 proposal on Sept. 14 to bring singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw to the College, forked over $28,580 for filmmaker Kevin Smith on Oct. 19 and supported CUB's bid on Feb. 1 for the College to host comedian Pablo Francisco.
Feb. 25, 2006. Madison Square Garden. Section 233, Row E, Seat 1. Those figures have been in my head for the past three months.
Needless to say, I was extremely excited to see Billy Joel in concert. I love many of his songs, and who knows how much longer the 56-year-old will be able to perform?
After attending the sold-out show, I can easily say that it was the best concert I have ever attended. The concert also helped me realize that Joel is a lot more than just a talented musician with a lot of good songs.
Joel's music is timeless. Some of the lyrics of his 1974 song "The Entertainer" include, "Today I am your champion/ I may have won your hearts, but I know the game/ You'll forget my name/ and I won't be here in another year/ if I don't stay on the charts."
These lines are accurate for most of music's big stars, but Joel's music has survived the test of time.
His popularity is obvious even nowadays, considering he sold out all 12 shows at Madison Square Garden.
The cheapest T-shirts were sold for $35. Vendors walked around selling cups of champagne so audience members could enjoy the show in style.
As the concert kicked off, I kept on looking around and was amazed at the crowd around me.
There was not an empty seat in the house, and every single person there was full of energy and ready to go crazy for every song.
Even more significant was the range of age groups.
I saw little kids with their parents, teenagers with their friends and senior citizens all standing and singing along to "Movin' Out." How many other musicians can attract such a wide range of people?
Joel knew how to appeal to this diverse crowd.
After his first song, he thanked people for buying tickets in the nosebleed section because he needs the money for his car insurance.
During "Big Shot," he sported a backward cap and walked around the stage like a teenager who wants to act cool but just isn't.
As Joel began to sing hit after hit, I began to think about how many great songs he has.
I am not the biggest Billy Joel fan, yet I was still familiar with every song he played over the two-and-a-half hour concert.
He started the concert by showing off his piano skills with "Angry Young Man." He gave the New York City crowd a thrill with "New York State of Mind."
He then went to some other classics like "River of Dreams," "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "Captain Jack." And of course, he finished things off with "Piano Man," his most famous song.
The next thing I knew, the concert was almost over. Joel walked off the stage before returning to play three final songs.
As I stood in the dark waiting for him to come out for the encore, I looked around and saw the whole crowd standing and holding cellular phones up in the air to create a candlelight effect. It was a powerful moment.
When he started singing "Piano Man," he might as well have just played the piano and harmonica and let the audience do the singing.
The crowd reacted especially strongly to one verse, which sums up the power of Joel's music perfectly: "It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday/ and the manager gives me a smile/ 'Cause he knows that it's me they've been comin' to see/ to forget about life for a while."
Twenty thousand people packed in Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, each with their own problems, but for the duration of the concert all they could think about was enjoying the greatest entertainer of our time.
The College's dining facilities all received satisfactory ratings from the Ewing Township Department of Health in its latest inspection.
The inspection, performed Feb. 3 by W. Allen Lee, Ewing Township health officer, revealed only minor violations that presented no danger to public health.
A rating of satisfactory is the highest possible grade for a health inspection. Conditional satisfactory means that there are violations that can be dangerous and need to be fixed, while a grade of unsatisfactory forces the shutdown of the facility.
Lee said that health inspectors especially examine the temperatures for the refrigeration and heating of food. All of the College's dining facilities were satisfactory concerning food temperatures, he said, although the freezer in the Rathskeller was keeping food at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a bit high.
Lee's report of Eickhoff noted some minor violations. He said that water was leaking from the ceiling in the area where the dishwashers are kept. Facilities workers had to come and fix the problem.
Lee also requested that the College install sneeze guards for the selection of baked goods.
In the food court at Brower Student Center, Lee found that the temperature of the water coming from the sink in the kitchen fluctuated, a problem for the proper washing of dishes. Sodexho assured him that the problem would be fixed.
Lee said that the College's main problem, although minor, is the smoothness of surfaces in the areas where food and waste are kept. He found that some floor tiles were rough in parts of Eickhoff and the Rathskeller, which could lead to food getting stuck on the floor and eventually to pest problems.
However, Lee said that he has not received any complaints about pest problems in any College building "within the last three or four years."
"Cooper does a good exterminating job," he said, referring to Cooper Pest Control Inc., the College's exterminator. Lee found no evidence of rats, mice or fruit flies during his inspection.
Lee's final recommendation for the College was to purchase concrete pads to go under the dumpsters throughout the campus. Without these pads, he said, trash can scatter on the ground and end up near storm drains that filter into the lakes on campus.
As for dining options off campus, Lee said that restaurants in Ewing consistently comply with the New Jersey State Sanitary Code.
"All in all, you can't go wrong," he said.
He said that the only restaurants that have had health violations are IHOP, located on Olden Avenue, and Vino's Pizza, located on Prospect Street.
IHOP was given a rating of conditional satisfactory after problems with grease and plumbing. Lee called it a place he "tends to be at more than others."
Vino's Pizza has had problems with a leaking sewage line and dirty bathrooms.
Various members of the College's fraternities and sororities, along with the executive boards of the Inter-Greek Council (IGC) and Panhellenic Association, participated in the first-ever Greek Intimate Partner Violence Summit last weekend.
The event was organized by Jackie Deitch-Stackhouse, coordinator in the office of Anti-Violence Initiatives. Representatives from the offices of Campus Activities, Student Life, Residence Life and Campus Wellness provided additional support.
The summit of 60 students began Friday night at the Marriott Hotel in Trenton and continued until around 8 p.m. Saturday night.
Deitch-Stackhouse said that the students came out of the summit with action plans on how to prevent intimate partner violence on campus. Ideas included additional Welcome Week programming, mini-workshops for new members of Greek organizations.
Deitch-Stackhouse hopes that these plans will be actively implemented on campus.
"Our ultimate goal is to bring about some serious change on campus," she said.
Deitch-Stackhouse said that the program was the first of its kind for the College and that it should be promoted for use at colleges throughout the nation.
During the summit, men and women were separated and guided through different exercises.
"You need to appraoch (men and women) from different angles," Deitch-Stackhouse said.
She said that the men focused on being pro-active in preventing partner violence. They talked about male socialization and how it leads to the objectification of women.
The female students went through self-esteem exercises and learned about asserting themselves rather than the traditional idea of "acting like a lady."
Both the male and female students performed an exercise in which they closed their eyes and were asked questions about how they feel about themselves and the opposite sex.
For example, the men were asked to raise their hands if they ever "made a comment in public about a women's body."
Later in the summit, they were asked similar questions, except this time with their eyes open. "Eventually everybody was more comfortable to admit things," Deitch-Stackhouse said.
She said that an IGC task force will overview the progress of the implementation of the students' action plans on campus.
Although Deitch-Stackhouse admitted that the summit was only a start in preventing intimate partner violence, she said that it can still pay immediate dividends. "(If someone) steps up once and people recognize it," Deitch-Stackhouse said, "it will have a nice ripple effect."
An agreement with a Japanese university has made it a lot easier for the College's students to experience life in the Far East.
Beginning in the fall, the College will revive an exchange program with Kansai Gaidai University, located in Hirakata, Japan.
The previously arranged agreement had been inactive for a while, according to Karen Jenkins, director of the office of Undergraduate Global Programs.
Two undergraduates from the College will go to Japan to take part in the Japanese university's Asian studies program. According to the university's Web site, this program accommodates international students wishing to pursue the Japanese language in addition to Japanese and Asian studies. The one-semester or one-year program currently attracts about 600 students annually.
Knowledge of the Japanese language is recommended but not required for the program.
The price for the semester or year abroad will not differ significantly from staying at the College. Through the tuition exchange agreement between the two schools, students from the College who go to Japan will pay their normal tuition amount to the College. They will be responsible for paying room and board fees to Kansai Gaidai University.
Kansai Gaidai University offers three housing options for study abroad students, including homestay, dormitory and off-campus housing.
Jenkins was impressed by the program's focus on international students while also offering the opportunity to associate with Japanese students.
"It is a good structure that integrates (Kansai) students with foreign students," she said.
Tim Martin, a senior psychology major who spent a semester at Kansai Gaidai University through the New Jersey State Consortium for International Studies (NJSCIS), agreed.
"It's a great school," he said. "I was surprised at how easy it was to make friends."
Martin expressed satisfaction with the Japanese language classes as well as the university's location in Japan.
"I like the Kansai area better than Tokyo," he said. The city of Hirakata is midway between Osaka, Japan's second largest industrial metropolis, and Kyoto and Nara, the ancient capitals of Japan.
Some of the College's students have already expressed interest in the program. Joseph Susnick, sophomore international studies major, applied to study at Kansai for the next academic year.
"I want to teach English in Japan as a career," he said. "The program will let me dispel any myths I have before moving there."
Susnick said that he started out studying the Japanese language with an independent study and is currently enrolled in a 300-level Japanese class. He said that he knows enough Japanese to learn the language in a Japanese-speaking class.
As part of the exchange, the College will welcome two Japanese students from Kansai Gaidai University. They will be at or above the minimum English proficiency admission level set by the College.
According to Satoshi Hashimoto, assistant professor of modern languages, having native Japanese students at the College will benefit students taking Japanese language courses.
"Students have to know different people at different ages" that speak the language, he said. He added that students also need to be acclimated to different accents and speaking styles in order to effectively learn the language.
The effect on Japanese language courses at the College is especially important because of the national initiative on the teaching of critical foreign languages, announced by President George W. Bush on Jan. 5.
According to the U.S. Department of Education Web site, the federal government "will focus resources toward educating students, teachers and government workers in critical need foreign languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean."
Hashimoto believes that welcoming students from Japan will allow the College's students to learn firsthand about a different culture.
"I think that (the College) should be more globalized," he said, noting that very few of the College's students come from other countries.
According to the Kansai Gaidai University Web site, the university is associated with 280 institutions in 50 countries and regions, sending 1,400 Japanese students abroad each year. Any students that are interested in the Japan program can do research online through the office of Undergraduate Global Programs Web site or by visiting the Kansai Gaidai University Asian studies site at kansaigaidai.ac.jp/asp.
Baseball. The word brings different thoughts to mind for different people.
To purists, baseball is the sights, the smells and the sounds of the wonderful game that we call our national pastime. To millions of kids, baseball is the game that they play to have some fun, forget about the stress in their lives and dream of becoming professional ballplayers.
When the Major League Baseball (MLB) season wrapped up in October, everyone was still shocked over the Boston Red Sox's first World Series title in 86 years. New York Yankees fans were still trying to figure out how the Yanks could have ever coughed up a three-games-to-none lead to their most hated rivals.
Unfortunately, when people hear the word baseball now, they do not think of the sights and sounds, their childhood memories or the most exciting postseason in recent memory. Instead, baseball is synonymous with steroids.
The MLB received far more attention in the offseason for its steroid use than it did during the season for its games. Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Mark McGwire have rapidly deteriorated from heroes to goats. Recent hearings attacked the league's drug policies and Congress threatened to intervene if the steroid problems continue.
On Sunday, the baseball season finally kicked off with a contest between the Yankees and the Red Sox. The season openers went pretty much according to plan - the Yankees won easily and the Mets suffered a late-inning breakdown.
Major league officials hoped that the start of the season would take the attention away from the steroid scandal. However, those hopes faded quickly when one major leaguer and 38 minor leaguers failed drug tests.
The steroid scandal should send a message to professional players that things need to change. Competition is so fierce that players feel the need to cheat in order to succeed.
The good guys who refuse to give in to the temptation of steroid use are the ones who suffer. A solid minor league player who does not take steroids may lose his dream of making it to the big leagues because one of his teammates decided to cheat so he could bulk up.
Yet despite all the negativity surrounding baseball, the season will go on. Records will be broken, games will go down to the wire and heroes will emerge. Just like the season following the 1994 players' strike, baseball will recover from this obstacle because many people have a true passion for the sport.
Hopefully, there will be a time when players get the message, realize that they are role models and stop using illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Fans will be sure that no asterisks will need to be placed next to any new records set. Hall of Fame voters will not have to balance the ahcievements of a player with the drug allegations against him.
Baseball is an amazing game that means so much to so many people. Let us hope that the athletes who get paid millions of dollars to play it never forget that.