The College’s Board of Trustees held a meeting open to faculty, students and the public on Tuesday, April 28, to discuss a handful of issues; primarily tuition costs for the 2015-2016 school year.
The focal point of the meeting was a presentation, given by President R. Barbara Gitenstein and Vice President/Treasurer Lloyd Ricketts, which revolved around Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed budget. If that budget passes, the College’s base state appropriations will be reduced by approximately $2.4 million for the upcoming fiscal year, according to the president and treasurer.
With $2.4 million fewer to work with, but with grander plans than ever for the College, Gitenstein stressed to the Board of Trustees the continued importance of investing.
“We already came to closure about two years ago that we spend too much time worrying about cuts, and not enough time about where to invest,” Gitenstein said to the Board. “We have to think about how to invest as well as how to cut.”
Despite this very balanced approach toward the future of the College, under the governor’s proposed budget, some things must still be cut and prices must still be raised, particularly the cost of next year’s tuition.
As it stands, the exact increase in tuition costs has not been definitely decided, but one of two scenarios is likely to be chosen. Scenario A would entail a 2 percent tuition increase, while Scenario B would have tuition prices rise by 3 percent. For every percentage point that tuition increases, it will cost families an additional $156 per year.
To put this into perspective, over the past four years tuition costs have risen by 4.5 percent, 3.5 percent, 2.5 percent and last year by 2 percent. But with the state so heavily cutting the College’s appropriations, it will be difficult to maintain the 2 percent increase, according to Ricketts.
Remarkably, tuition increases have gone down over the past four years even though, over that same span, the state has provided fewer and fewer funds for each student. In 2011, the state provided $8,297 for the cost of each student, and in 2014 the state’s coverage had dropped to $7,691.
If that trend continues, tuition increases seem probable as well. If tuition increases by 2 percent, then a $4.46 million deficit would need to be overcome with funds from elsewhere. With a 3 percent tuition increase, that deficit drops to $3.5 million. There is also talk of another scenario in the works, besides options A and B, which would increase tuition by more than 3 percent. Not much more was said about how likely that scenario is, but Board of Trustees Secretary Robert Altman did not hesitate to voice his opinion about that other scenario.
“Increasing tuition by more than the three percent would not be a good idea,” Altman said.
And yet, in spite of all the budget cuts and talk of tuition increase, the College continues to invest. Many new faculty have been offered positions to meet the growing needs of the College. Even with the budget cuts, new faculty members are still being brought on board.
“Now we’ve got budget cuts from the state. Can we go back to these new faculty and take away their contracts? I don’t think so,” Gitenstein said to the Board. “That seems to fly in the face of our institutional integrity.”
In addition, $16.45 million has been budgeted for Fall 2015 scholarships, an amount higher than ever before.
The next Board meeting will be in July, by which the governor’s budget will have been decided and the Board can more definitely discuss these issues.
The Student Finance Board met to decide on the last funding requests for this year as well as several high volume College Union Board requests for next semester on Wednesday, April 29.
First, SFB presented for its Base Budget Retreat, a two-day meeting the organization holds annually to review every SAF-funded organizations’ base budget request. According to the proposal packet, over $250,000 is allocated over the duration of the retreat. The retreat was fully funded $1,700 by the board.
The College Union Board then proposed for $2,000 for its annual Summer Retreat and Training trip in August.
The retreat serves as “an opportunity for the new executive board to bond with one another through various activities while also having a designated time to train,” according to the proposal packet. SFB tabled the proposal after discussing the time frame requested for the event, which was planned for three days and two nights. The board was torn over whether the three day trip was too excessive.
CUB then requested $37,620 for the Fall Lecture to be held next semester.
The organization’s top choices for lecturers include Laverne Cox, Shawn Johnson, Steve O and Tyler Posey. Cox is an American actress known for her role as Sophia Burset on “Orange is the New Black” and for her advocacy for LGBTQ awareness. Johnson is a retired American gymnast and a 2008 Olympic gold medalist. Steve O is an actor, stunt performer and comedian, among other titles, and is known for his stunts on the TV series “Jackass.” Tyler Posey is an American actor and musician, best known for his role as Scott McCall on MTV’s “Teen Wolf.” CUB hopes to bring one of these speakers to campus in the fall and expects a high turnout, as these lectures have been “successful every time.” The event was fully funded by the board.
Next, CUB proposed for the Fall 2015 concert. The annual event usually features a band that the “TCNJ music community has expressed interest in” and that appeals to a large amount of students.
CUB’s list of possible bands include The 1975, Bleachers, Walk the Moon, Cage the Elephant and The Gaslight Anthem. In deliberation, the board discussed eliminating a charge and ticketing for the event.
The event was fully funded at $79,068 and will still be ticketed, but will be free to students if agreements can be worked out with the band that is chosen.
CUB then presented for the Fall Comedy Show as its last request. The organization asked for funding to bring its first-choice headliner Bo Burnham to campus, or the second-choice headliner Nick Kroll. Alternate comedian options include Hannibal Buress, Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon. SFB fully funded the event for $53,130.
Student Government then requested a total of $728.99 for Finals Fest 2015, which is set to take place from Tuesday, May 12, through Friday, May 15. The event “helps to raise student moral and energy on campus during the stressful week of finals,” according to the proposal packet. The board fully funded the event.
Lastly, TCNJ Musical Theatre proposed for $11,140 for their fall production, “Godspell.”
The show’s purpose is to “entertain our peers, provide our organization’s members with valuable experiences and use the theatre facilities on campus in constructive and creative ways,” according to the proposal. The annual Black Box musical will take place from Tuesday, Nov. 17 to Saturday, Nov. 21 next semester in the Don Evans Black Box Theater. It was fully funded by SFB.
*Even though SFB agrees to finance certain events, there is no guarantee these events will take place. The approval only makes the funds available.
Among a college’s student body, there are always those few that tend to stick out — the individuals wearing Greek letters on their shirts. Yet, it’s been those letters which have garnered a negative connotation during the recent media mania, highlighting fraternities and sororities engaging in underage drinking, sexual assault, hazing and other reckless behaviors.
Despite philanthropic intentions, Greek organizations have found themselves in the media’s spotlight recently. One of the latest incidents came in the form of a nine-second video featuring a racist chant from the University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter. This resulted in two expulsions, a ban of the fraternity on campus and a loss of their house, according to ABC News.
According to the Huffington Post, colleges have had to shut down or suspend 30 fraternities in the past month. Some of these organizations include University of Michigan’s Sigma Alpha Mu, the fraternity that racked up around $430,000 in damages at a ski resort, as well as Pennsylvania State University’s Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, which allegedly spread pictures of unconscious, nude women and discussed selling drugs in a Facebook group.
Sororities are not out of the limelight either as York College suspended its chapter of Theta Phi Alpha for four years due to hazing, according to pennlive.com. There have also been accusations of racist southern sororities, such as at the University of Alabama, where allegedly none of the 16 panhellenic organizations allowed two black women to join despite their qualifications, according to ABC News.
“The negative stereotypes (of Greek life) are that you buy your friends, you’re all drunk alcoholics, you have no regard for class work or academic achievement … and you’re a group of narrow-minded, similar individuals that only see things in a certain light or perspective,” said Dave Conner, assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Life and a brother of Theta Chi at the University of Delaware. “What’s kept me here … is that I don’t think a lot of those stereotypes fit with our organizations. We have sorority and fraternity members who are consistently above the all men’s and all women’s average (GPA), which are high at TCNJ.”
Erin Shannon, a junior English and women’s and gender studies double major and Sigma Sigma Sigma sister, thinks that these stereotypes become tricky when they contain some truth.
“There are a lot of negative stereotypes,” Shannon said. “Some of them are earned to a certain degree, and I think one of the problems with Greek life is that they like to throw everything under a rug, anything that’s negative, and immediately classify it as a stereotype.”
Negative assumptions about Greek life members’ character can lead to scapegoating, which Sigma Sigma Sigma witnessed firsthand as some students suspected the sorority of vandalizing 19 cars on Friday, March 27, in Lot 13. To this accusation, Shannon responded with disappointment in her peers.
“That’s disgusting to say,” Shannon said. “Painting cars with derogatory things is not what we do. We have sisters of all different racial backgrounds, ethnic backgrounds and religious backgrounds. We’re very tolerant and accepting so we’d never do something like that.”
Yet despite the stereotypes and negative attention, students still find themselves drawn to Greek life.
“I saw not only the impact the fraternity (Phi Alpha Delta) made on campus but the impact it had on the kids I knew,” said Chris Drabik, a senior communications major and brother of Phi Alpha Delta. “It was getting kids involved in a positive way and it was making them more well-rounded individuals. It just seemed like that at a small school like this, (Greek life) was a great way to get involved on campus. As well as for the brotherhood and family aspect, which I still feel to this day.”
This year alone, Drabik’s fraternity has raised money for its philanthropy, St. Baldrick’s, through Piccolo Trattoria and Hooters fundraisers, as well as their main event, in which 24 brothers shaved their heads to promote awareness and support for pediatric cancer victims. In addition, Phi Alpha Delta, along with the rest of the College’s Greek organizations, all contributed to TCNJam this past January, which raised $50,566 for the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, a charity to fight childhood cancer.
“For a small school to do that is pretty incredible,” Drabik said. “It’s just tough that we are such a small school and we have to try to shake that negative connotation because of these terrible things going on across the country. It’s a poor representation of what Greek life is and what it does to help me and all of my brothers.”
According to Conner, the downpour of stories shaming Greek life has not affected the College directly.
“When it rains it pours and we’re in the middle of a hurricane right now,” Conner said. “When we see those types of things, it does give the opportunity for reflection … Our SAE chapter had a lot of conversation with the community. The conversation was based around the community openly saying ‘we don’t believe that’s what SAE is about.’
“Certainly in the reflection and review piece it has impacted (the College), but I think that our groups operate on such a different plane from other organizations at schools across the country,” he added. “We don’t have growing or imminent concern that it’s something that can happen here.”
Bryce Escobar, a junior economics major and president of SAE, said that the inappropriate behavior of the University of Oklahoma chapter has not affected SAE here. In response to the incident, several brothers of the College’s SAE chapter, New Jersey Tau Gamma, posted their creed “The True Gentleman” on Facebook to signify that they do not stand for the kind of behavior demonstrated in Oklahoma.
“People are very accepting here, they know that just because one person does it, doesn’t mean that it has to shame the entire organization,” Escobar said. “No matter what media sources may have been saying … we wanted the population to know that this is what we stand for, this is who we are and that we weren’t going to let our values be overshadowed by the inappropriate actions of a few.”
The College’s SAE chapter has also been participating in diversity training, which is an online course intended to inform the brothers of issues regarding racism and prejudice.
“(It allows us to) really educate ourselves about race issues and what we can do as SAE brothers and as people to really get our society away from that race standpoint, see everybody equally and try to eradicate racism from its roots,” Escobar said. “Overall, Greek organizations are a force of good in this world. There’s a lot of positives, so many more positives than there are negatives talked about in the media.”
The College’s award-winning and nationally recognized Greek life organizations do not concern Conner, but if an organization were to find itself in trouble, then the College would take immediate action. According to Conner, the College consults a privileges and responsibilities document, which details the expectations, policies and privileges of Greek life membership. Within that document is the fraternity and sorority conduct processes that the College consults when determining what steps in the event of a violation. The organization then undergoes a partnership process, an informal hearing and a formal hearing with a student board or a formal hearing with an administrative board, depending on the violation.
“Any information that I receive or that any college official receives via email or a post on Yik Yak … are things that we take a look at,” Conner said. “We will investigate to the best of our ability any incident and make a decision … on whether or not to charge a chapter with a violation of policy.”
Though the College does not have to resort to taking action against Greek organizations often, Shannon believes that there are some issues about Greek life that still need to be addressed.
“Greek life is not something that necessarily deserves its entirely villainous reputation, but there are definite problems in the system,” Shannon said. “Thankfully, they’re not super terrible on TCNJ’s campus, but there’s always room for improvement.”
The improvement, as Conner suggests, would be for all of his students to truly understand what it means to be a good person to their peers as well as to their community.
“At the end of the day, you have to do the right thing. So many groups will say ‘but we do all of this service,’” Conner said. “I constantly try to explain to my students that it’s not a scale. Good is good and bad is bad. Things don’t always cancel each other out. This isn’t a balance sheet in accounting, this is real life.
“Understand that when you join one of these groups, you get a lot of attention. You are targeting yourself. You wear fraternity or sorority letters, you stand out now in the crowd … you need to make sure that your actions not only reflect you and your personal integrity, but they reflect your organization, because you always act for both from here on out.”
The Student Finance Board met on Wednesday, April 22, to review appropriation requests from two popular a cappella groups on campus, as well as a new club request for a non-profit organization.
The TCNJ Treblemakers requested $133 for the group’s Spring Concert, which will showcase the music arrangements they have learned over the spring semester. The group will perform a “variety of genres and styles arranged to suit the unique sound of an all-female a cappella ensemble,” according to the proposal packet. The free concert will be held for the first time in Mayo Concert Hall on Saturday, May 9. The event was fully funded by the board.
The TCNJ Chapter of To Write Love On Her Arms requested to be recognized as an SFB-funded club. It is a “non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness about mental health issues, specifically depression, suicide, self-harm and addiction,” the presenters said. The organization holds fundraises and also has several general body meetings, which are divided into two categories: light meetings and heavy meetings. Light meetings are for members to get to know each other, while heavy meetings are to discuss mental health issues. Last year, the organization held an event called the “Hope-N-Mic Night.” According to the request form, the event was a “night of expressing hope to the TCNJ community and discussing mental health issues.” TWLOA was picked up as a club eligible for SAF funding.
Lastly, iTunes A Cappella presented for $361 for their Spring Concert. They will be performing the songs they have learned over the last semester, which include samples of international a cappella music. The concert was fully funded and will take place on Sunday, May 10, in Mayo Concert Hall.
The board also approved the SFB Master Budget. Next week, it will go to the Student Government for endorsement and then to Vice President of Student Affairs Amy Hecht for final approval in May.
*Even though SFB agrees to finance certain events, there is no guarantee these events will take place. The approval only makes the funds available.
Glenn Steinberg, English Department chair and professor, was puzzled over why Italian author Dante Alighieri put scholar Brunetto Latini in Hell among the sodomites in his epic poem “The Divine Comedy: Inferno.”
Steinberg explained that Latini, a prominent Italian scholar and key figure in Dante’s life, was a proto-humanist — a person who seeks legitimacy from outside sources.
Dante, a notable Italian author of the late Middle Ages, was an autonomous person who sought legitimacy not from aristocrats, but from art and himself.
Placing Latini in Hell in “Inferno” was Dante’s way to oppose some of Latini’s beliefs — Dante used his literary work as a way of taking a diplomatic and societal stance.
Delving into the world of Italian authors and their positions in cultural productions in the Trecento period, a political forum was held on Wednesday, April 11, in the Social Sciences Building, where students and staff were able to analyze the political, gender and social context of 14th century Italian writers.
“Dante was really invested in his position in the field of cultural productions, and if we ignore the position he was taking and what he was responding to, then we kind of ignore … what he was really about,” Steinberg said. “That’s a bad, bad plan.”
According to professor and Associate Chair of the English Department Jean Graham, it’s significant for students to view that “learning is not limited to the classroom,” and professors here at the College are interested in debating new ideas and theories with one another.
Not looking into the positions and opinions of authors while reading their works, “you lose any kind of human touch,” Steinberg said.
Steinberg questioned the Trecentoperiod writers’ legitimacy and what positions they took.
“When a writer writes something and puts it out there in the world, that’s definitely taking some kind of position,” Steinberg said.
According to Steinberg, there were five separate groups Trecento literary authors sought legitimacy from: the indocti, who were semi-literate; the litterati, who were highly educated; the aristocrats, with inherited money; the mercantile elites, who gathered their own revenue similar to the aristocrats; and the vernacular litterates, who did not understand Latin. Anyone with an education would’ve known Latin, Steinberg said.
Dante frequently wrote his pieces in the vernacular form, so all people with diverse education could understand his works, including the indocti.
It is suggested that Dante not only wrote for the general public, but that he specifically targeted a female audience, according to Steinberg. Since many of Dante’s poems are not in Latin, women of the time period were able to understand the meanings of his literary works.
Steinberg also emphasized that bas in many Romance languages with gender associated words, the plural, indicating a group of both men and women, will take the male plural. However, Dante used both the masculine and the feminine plural in his works, a rarity for its time in a male-dominated society.
To write love poetry in the vernacular form during the Trecento period was called “Dolce Stil Novo,” with the English translation, “sweet new style.” Dante, as well as other distinguished Italian authors, comprised the core authors of this new style. A common theme of “Dolce Stil Novo” was writing love poems to the other “gentle hearts,” according to Steinberg.
“What’s important is the gentle heart — not your bloodlines, not your acclaim. It’s something interior that cannot be seen,” Steinberg said. “The gentle heart is far more important.”
It is questioned whether Dante was writing for “real” or “imaginary” women, Steinberg said. Dante could’ve been pretending to write for women while really writing to other gentle hearts.
“We look at how Dante looks at women, and we understand that he is respondent to both real and imaginary women,” Steinberg said. “We recognize in ourselves that we still sometimes replace real women with imaginary women — that we’re still sometimes writing for that handful picked audience of men.”
Reading Dante’s work, it can be appreciated how far society has come since the old attitudes men had towards women, Steinberg said.
“I thought there were two ideas that the audience, including students, should take away from Dr. Steinberg’s talk as broadly applicable,” Graham said. “Even something ostensibly created to be ‘art’ or to entertain can be a political statement.”
The second notion students should take away is that Dante’s supposed audience may “not be the intended audience, or at least not the only intended audience,” Graham said.
“If we all bore in mind these two things, we would be more informed and critical consumers of literature, film, music and media,” Graham said.
Being a more informed knower can also help people in better understanding themselves, according to Steinberg.
“By looking at the world in a different world removed from us in time … someone else’s eyes helps us to see ourselves more critically,” Steinberg said.
In the Trecento period, nobility was viewed as “royal family with the right blood lines,” according to Steinberg. The Mercantile elites viewed nobility has thoughts who are successful by making money and gaining political power.
“What makes me love Dante is that he lives in a time period when people haven’t decided yet what constitutes nobility,” Steinberg said. “Dante seems to have a very, very different view of it all.”
Dante is seeking legitimacy through the autonomous principle because he is writing to not necessarily women, but to others with a gentle heart, just like him, according to Steinberg.
“(Dante thought) it’s not about what you accomplish, it’s not about your parentage — it’s about what you are, whether you have a gentle heart or not,” Steinberg said. “I think that’s a really interesting perspective.”
Today, an undergraduate degree no longer guarantees students will find financial security and a stable job after graduation. More Americans than ever before are enrolling in colleges and universities today. While a growing number of these students will not complete their undergraduate studies, those who do are often left with crippling student loans and may leave college unprepared for the competitive job market.
In a lecture to students on Thursday, April 23, Suzanne Mettler pointed out the flaws of the higher education system in America, particularly how it increases stratification between the socio-economic classes in our nation.
“It takes people in from many levels in the socio-economic spectrum and then turns them out even more unequal than they were when they came in,” said Mettler, a professor of government and public policy at Cornell University. Her lecture at the College was based on her most recent book, “Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream.”
Mettler identified three different sectors of higher education in America: public, private non-profit and private for-profit. She explained that the sector and institution in which a student enrolls greatly impacts their future success. Specifically, Mettler believes the for-profit sector of higher education currently reinforces and widens inequality within the United States.
While colleges and universities of all sectors could serve to improve their graduation rates, Mettler believes that public institutions are still “the best deal in town.” Among the three sectors, public colleges and universities typically have the highest graduation rates, as well as lower tuition costs and student debt.
“Most students, within a few years, are making their loan payments, and it ends up having been a really good investment for them,” Mettler said.
This, however, is not the case for students who attend for-profit schools, such as the University of Phoenix and DeVry University. According to Mettler, these institutions enroll about 10 percent of college students today. Yet, the graduation rate at for-profit institutions is a staggering 22 percent of its enrolled student body.
Most students at these universities take out student loans and remain in debt for far longer than their peers in the non-private and public sectors of higher education. In addition, the graduates of for-profit institutions often find themselves at unskilled jobs and are unable to put their degrees to work, Mettler said. This prevents students from disadvantaged background from achieving more and reinforces social stratification.
Many blame this social inequality on colleges and universities, which have continuously raised tuition rates over the past few decades. Yet, Mettler cautioned that the issue is much more complex than it may seem. She believes the issue of higher education is rooted in public policy, particularly the failure of lawmakers to update earlier policies intended to offer financial relief to students and public universities.
As the cost of attending college continues to rise, Pell Grants from the government have unfortunately not been adjusted accordingly. During the 1970s, Pell Grants to students covered about 80 percent of tuition and fees. According to Mettler, they only cover about 30 percent of these costs today. The failure of lawmakers to update these grants and policies means they are not helping students to the extent intended, according to Mettler.
“It’s just like having a house,” she said. “You learn that you need to maintain things, and if you don’t, deferred maintenance causes all kinds of problems.”
Mettler recognizes that one reason that many of the higher education policies remain outdated and ineffective is partisan polarization. The growing party divide in Congress means simple tasks, such as reauthorizing financial aid to public institutions, are nearly impossible for Democrats and Republicans to agree on.
Funding, however, is not an issue for most for-profit institutions. According to Mettler, these institutions are in fact permitted by law to receive up to 90 percent of their revenues from the federal government.
Members of Congress who support offering federal funding to these institutions claim that for-profit universities value diversity and provide more opportunities for low-income students. For-profit schools, which are comprised of largely less-advantaged students, say they accommodate students by increasing the convenience of learning through online courses.
Mettler questions the validity of these claims. She attributes the low graduation rates of for-profit institutions in part to their lacking structure.
“It’s precisely the students who come to college from less- advantaged backgrounds who particularly need and benefit from the smaller interaction in a classroom with actual faculty members and a small group of students,” Mettler said. “That is a recipe for graduation.”
It is hard to argue that for-profit universities are increasing opportunities for students when their graduation rates are so low. In addition, roughly 47 percent of student loan defaults come from the for-profit sector. These students are actually left worse off than they were going into college, explained Mettler.
As such, the American dream is increasingly out of reach for many students today, particularly for individuals from low-income backgrounds. The current system allows for great funding of for-profit institutions that actively recruit disadvantaged students — however, they typically hurt rather than help these students.
Mettler believes we need to prioritize higher education again and allocate more funds to students and public institutions. Until public policies are regulated effectively, higher education is going to remain a problem that exacerbates socio-economic issues and stratification in the United States.
• Nine college employees had their identities stolen this year, Campus Police said. The victims discovered the identity theft as they were filing their 2014 taxes and realized that someone had already filed a fraudulent tax return. It is unknown at what level this breach occurred, whether it be at the College or with the IRS, according to Campus Police.
• An underage student was found intoxicated in the first floor women’s bathroom of Centennial Hall, according to Campus Police. On Sunday, April 19, at 4:05 a.m., Campus Police met with the girl in the building’s lobby and observed that she appeared to be in “an incoherent state of mind” and had an odor of alcohol as well as bloodshot, watery eyes. Campus police asked the girl for identification, so the female led officers to her room, where she said her ID was located. On the way to the room, Campus Police saw that the girl was stumbling, unable to keep her balance. Once she entered the room, the female looked through items at the foot of her bed and then handed the police a “TCNJ binder filled with papers containing math equations” and said the item was her ID. She was instructed to sit on a wooden chair until EMS arrived. Lawrence Township EMS arrived and she was transported to Capital Health. Campus Police issued her with a summons for underage drinking.
• Sometime between Friday, April 10, at 3 p.m. and Monday, April 12, at 8 a.m., the café in the Education Building was vandalized, according to Campus Police. Pastry boxes and a phone were thrown, resulting in damage to the phone. The phone is valued at $100. It is unknown how the suspect(s) entered the cafe, Campus Police say.
• Five students were charged with underage consumption/possession of alcohol when Campus Police entered a Townhouse East lounge after a noise complaint. Upon arrival to the noise complaint on Saturday, April 18, at 12:05 a.m., Campus Police heard multiple female voices loudly singing, they said. As they entered the lobby, police observed multiple wine bottles on a table, along with red Solo cups. Campus Police asked for the students’ identification, and all those under 21 were summoned.
• An attempted theft of a bicycle from the first floor of Lot 7 was caught on camera on Friday, April 17, at 7:24 p.m., Campus Police said. The bicycle’s owner had locked the bike to a garbage can of the center stairwell on Friday, April 17, at 6 p.m. When she returned on Saturday, April 18, at 12:30 p.m., she found that her lock was damaged and the bike was moved to the other side of the trash can. After the victim had unlocked the lock, she was unable to lock it again. Campus Police reviewed camera footage that captured a male walking up to the bike, picking it up, pulling it with force and attempting to break the lock. Another camera shows that the male was in the area of five other males. The suspect is described by Campus Police as a white male of average height with a thin build, light color ball cap, chin-length brown hair, a light T-shirt, dark pants and dark sneakers.
• On Saturday, April 18, between 11 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., a car parked on the second level of Lot 11 was scratched on the hood and its right side, Campus Police said. There are no suspects at this time.
Anyone with information can contact Campus Police at 609-771-2345.
It appears a recent trend in the young-adult publishing industry is to push forward countless novels that center their plots around tragedy. Jessi Kirby’s “Things We Know by Heart” is an interesting take on this current theme, as it seems to take place after the traumatic incidents that would typically take center stage in other novels.
Quinn loses her boyfriend in a terrible, unexpected accident, and suddenly everything about her life is a little darker. She never imagined breaking up with Trent, let alone losing him — and now she is forced to go through prom, senior year and several life-changing experiences without him. After the accident, some of Trent’s organs were donated, and Quinn begins to think that she can’t possibly move on until she’s personally met all of the organ recipients from her boyfriend’s tragic passing.
There were some parts of “Things We Know by Heart” that I truly loved. I wanted to learn more about Quinn’s relationship with her family, particularly her father and her sister, because they seemed like characters who could’ve been used much more than they were. They’re only a part of the support system that helps Quinn throughout the novel. But there’s also the budding problem of Colton, who received Trent’s heart and doesn’t know the transplant is the reason Quinn ultimately came to meet him.
I feel like much of the story was rushed to explore Quinn’s new relationship (not necessarily romantic, but hinted in that direction) with Colton, and I wish the plot hadn’t sped forward. In that way, I would have felt much more emotionally connected with these characters. Instead, I didn’t care for them as much as I should have.
The novel seemed to want to have a focus on finding the implications of how humans connect to one another. The dry and rushed plot left more questions than answers. The audience is forced to invest their emotions into a romantic connection rather than the true, human connection, since that is now the status quo for young-adult novels. If Kirby had focused less on the vague romance, the true message of the novel would have been better rendered.
With a plot that didn’t pack much punch, I was hoping for a more heart-wrenching ending. There was so much left to be explored, and the novel dropped off at an awkward, uninteresting point that left me baffled and disappointed. I feel like Kirby never really got to the heart of her own novel. The premise was good, but not executed as well as other authors with similar interests — such as Sarah Dessen —who always makes the novels message clear.
“Things We Know By Heart” is a so-so novel with no big emotional impact and no lasting memory for me. I would recommend skipping this one rather than ordering it.
Sharp voices echoed off the College’s residential and academic buildings as students marched and chanted across campus to protest sexual assault during the College’s 22nd annual Take Back the Night on Tuesday, April 21.
Kicking off the event at the AIMM Building Amphitheater, sophomore early childhood education and women and gender studies double major Brianna Dioses read a slam poem called “One Color” alongside junior history and secondary education major Dane West. According to Dioses, sexual assault can happen to anyone at any time — as the poem suggests.
“It doesn’t have to be an alleyway with a stranger that tried to kidnap you,” Dioses said. “It doesn’t always have to be like that.”
Take Back The Night started in 1973 in Los Angeles as a protest for pornography and serial killings of African-American women in California, according to Erin Shannon, a junior English and women’s and gender studies double major. Another protest was organized in 1975, in which Philadelphia protesters rallied in response to the murder of microbiologist Susan Alexander, who was stabbed to death while walking home alone.
Forty years later, Take Back The Night still stands and is adapted by organizations all over the country, according to Shannon. The event, traditionally hosted by AVI, was run by WILL this year.
“Thousands of colleges, domestic violence shelters, race crisis centers have held events all over the country,” said Shannon, WILL’s executive chair and organizer of this year’s march. “So this (event) is one part of a much larger legacy of Take Back The Night.”
For 22 years, the College has taken part in the national initiative to spread awareness for sexual abuse and domestic violence.
Students from all corners of the campus watched this year’s march, as the protesters chanted, “2, 4, 6, 8 … No more date rape,” and “Take back the night, the time is near … We will not be controlled by fear.”
When the student protesters returned to the AIMM Building Amphitheater, alumna of the College and former WILL e-board member Natalie Serra took the platform and expressed her gratitude for the College continuing the annual march.
“I’m very grateful that you invited me to speak tonight, and I’m grateful that a space like this exists for us,” Serra said to the students.
Dusk quickly filled the sky and the night turned to be an emotional one, as Serra explained shortly afterward that she was sexually assaulted once while in law school.
“I lost some of the trust I had in people who weren’t there for me like I needed them to be,” she said. “But I actually came back that year to (the College’s) Take Back The Night. I knew that even though I didn’t know the students here anymore since I had graduated, I knew that this space was available as a support network. And ultimately, that was part of my healing process.”
Students followed Serra’s lead by taking the platform of the amphitheater and sharing their emotional stories. Tommi-
Estefan Granados, a junior self-designed indigenous studies and women’s and gender studies double major, said he was really young when a babysitter violated and took advantage of him.
“I don’t understand it,” Granados said. “But I keep talking every single year at these events because I just grew up being silent. I was told that my opinion didn’t matter … that I didn’t matter … that I would never be enough for my parents or enough for her. But now I realize I do have a voice and I do matter.”
Sophomore English secondary education major Jenna Burke said she learned a very important lesson about her experience.
“On any level from an interaction with a stranger to someone you know, you should never have to be afraid of being in a situation with them — whether it’s the night time or the day time,” Burke said. “It’s about not having to be afraid of anyone and letting them know that you’re not afraid because you know what consent means to you.”
According to Shannon, Take Back The Night is a way for students to regain ownership of their dignity and to support each other in every step of the way.
“It is a safe space for people to reclaim their right to feel safe, and it’s really important to me because some of the most important people in my life have actually survived sexual assault,” Shannon said. “So this is probably my favorite WILL event because of that.”
The beloved Rathskeller pub, better known as “The Rat,” will be closing its doors for good at the end of the semester after serving nearly 40 years as the College’s proverbial watering hole.
In place of the Rat, a rec hall used for movie screenings, meetings and lectures will be built, while a more updated restaurant will open in place of the College bookstore. In addition, the new restaurant will swap out the grease-stained blue carpet for a polished-stone floor; brick walls for reclaimed wood walls; and oversized, glass windows overlooking neighboring buildings, collectively turning fond moments at the Rat into mere memories.
“For me, the Rat was its own fraternity and sorority,” said Juan Torres, a member of the class of 1995 who worked as a server at the Rat. “Most students who worked there needed the money, but it was such a fun job. I miss the cast of characters I worked with.”
With renovations to the Brower Student Center beginning to take shape in phases, the demolition of the Rat and construction of another eatery will be among the first parts of the project undertaken. Dobco Inc. contractors and KSS architects are heading up the project, which will total about $26,740,000, according to assistant campus architect Mark Kirchner.
The project is also funded by Student Center reserves and capital contributions from Sodexo, according to assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Sean Stallings.
Although the Rat will always be remembered as the stage for budding artists and students’ musical idols, it wasn’t always the hang-out spot is has grown to be today. Before the Rat became the local bar of the campus bubble, students gathered at Phelps Hall, or what is currently Eickhoff Dining Hall. The Hall was split into two sections — the Club and the Pub — for alcohol-free and alcohol-inclusive events, respectively.
But the Rat quickly took over in popularity when it opened inside the Student Center in 1976. Phelps Dining Hall subsequently closed, resulting in Eickhoff’s construction.
“The Rat needed lots of updating, at best. I remember it being kind of ’70s era,” said Steph Furness, class of 2003. “I’m glad there will still be a place for people to meet up. But I definitely have some good memories of the Rat, just having a place on campus to meet up because, as you know, Ewing is not exactly a bustling college town.”
“For students with no college town, it was the closest thing to a neighborhood bar, albeit one that only sold beer and made awesome grilled cheese sandwiches,” said Jay Butkowski, class of 2004.
Upon the completion of the Campus Town project in several months, students at the College will have a collection of restaurants at which to gather, including a sports bar, according to Greg Lentine, director of University Campus Development for the PRC Group.
But the Rat has a history unlike any other spot on campus which cannot be hastily recreated. The black-and-white photos of students in athletics, residential life and student activities which hang on the walls were chosen by director of dining services Karen Roth from the library archives in an effort to bring school spirit to the pub. It still has not been determined whether the photos will also adorn the walls in the new restaurant.
“I think students will miss the warm feeling of a place to go, get good food and also feel like it’s your own,” said Angelle Richardson, class of 1996. “It’s not the big cafeteria. It’s a space where the people know you, everyone hangs out, and you can laugh and have fun. There’s no place else like it on campus.”
During its lifespan, the Rat set the stage for a myriad of performers, some of which went on to create names for themselves. Sitcom star George Lopez, 1969 Woodstock-opener Richie Havens, Celtic band Gaelic Storm (featured in “Titanic”) and rock group Moby Grape, which had Rolling Stone magazine cover its Rat debut, all took the stage at the Rat over the years.
“We played the Rat a few times, and it always felt like a homecoming,” Butkowski said. “My band Back Up Jackson was started at TCNJ, so playing the Rat had a sort of mythological importance, like we finally arrived.”
“Even though the Rat had ‘a clique’ of people that attended, I can safely say every student that has been to TCNJ has seen at least one performance on that stage,” said Brandon Schiff, class of 2014.
When the Rat shutters at the end of this semester, construction on the new College restaurant will begin, making a home for finger-food-loving students and hosting late-night performances.
The construction of the restaurant is set to be completed in January 2016 opening for the spring semester, but the completion of Student Center renovations is on schedule to be completed in July 2017.
Students will no longer have to squeeze through the winding close-set tables at the 2,240 square-foot Rat. Instead, the new restaurant will be nearly double in size, opening up 4,600 square feet in space and over 100 seats, according to Kirchner. It will feature beer, wine and a similar menu serviced by Sodexo, but many of the specific menu and design details are still being worked out by a committee of students, staff and Sodexo representatives.
A stage and student lounge in the restaurant will be separated from the dining area, possibly by furniture, to be used independently, but can also be easily opened up to the entire restaurant.
“The idea is to be as flexible as possible with utilizing the premium space that will be left behind when the bookstore vacates,” Kirchner said.
A patio decorated with planters will extend out toward the Art & Interactive Multimedia building, shortening the small roundabout driveway between the buildings but providing 80 additional seats outdoors.
Just like a swim in the fountain or “riding” the lion mascot outside Roscoe West, a visit to the Rat for a student solo night or a cheap beer is a staple on any student’s College bucket list. After almost 40 years of serving students, it is only a matter of weeks before the Rat finally has last call, dims the lights and locks the door for the final time.
“It was the epicenter of social life back when FaceTime involved being in the same room,” Torres said. “I don’t know whether today’s students will miss it or not. But they will learn, as I did, that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”
A jam-packed general body session on Wednesday, April 22, opened with a presentation about improving the College’s branding strategy, the passage of a new bill and the approval of three on-
The College’s now-famous Spokesman, David Muha, gave a presentation on raising brand awareness at the College to a room full of vocal supporters.
“If you don’t know (Muha), you’re not from TCNJ,” President Matthew Wells said.
Muha, who is part of the Strategic Planning and Resource Committee (SPARC), proposed a new tagline for the College to jumpstart the rebranding process: “The TCNJ Way.”
The tagline, which stemmed from a SPARC meeting on Wednesday, March 4 about the College’s core values, refers to “(defining) excellence the TCNJ way,” which for Muha implies “we do it better, with greater substance” than other colleges and universities.
“It really invites a conversation,” Muha said on how he hopes prospective students will react to the tagline. “What is the TCNJ way?”
A proposed addition to the tagline, which would reinforce the College’s superior academic reputation, is “Higher Education. Only Higher.”
He threw out taglines that are linked to other notable New Jersey public colleges — Rutgers’ “Revolutionary for 250 Years” and Montclair’s “It’s All Here” — to prove that “any of these taglines could really belong to an institution.” Muha’s ultimate goal is to create a “more specific” and meaningful tagline for the College.
According to Muha, a brand is something both “tangible and intangible” that captures “the spirit” of the institution. He cited Princeton University as a model brand, because it is so well-known on a local, national and global level.
Muha also mentioned that “the College has hd a difficult time” with branding in the past, a potential reason why “we’re a ‘best-kept secret,’ which is a phrase we all hate.”
“We have pride in who we are,” Muha said. “Is the TCNJ way truly anything distinctive? I happen to think so.”
Three student organizations presented to the general body after Muha’s presentation: the College’s chapter of NAACP, TCNJ Wellness League and TCNJ American Veterans Club.
The NAACP chapter is in the process of gaining the national organization’s recognition, but it sought SG recognition for Student Finance Board funding and the ability to advertise for events, like the upcoming “All Lives Matter” campaign in Fall 2015.
According to the NAACP executive board, it’s an organization for “the advancement of all people who feel like they don’t have a voice.”
TCNJ Wellness League, a coalition of mental health clubs on campus, has been actively meeting with representatives from different mental health organizations on campus since Fall 2013.
The executive board sought recognition from SG for SFB funding and the ability to reserve space and advertise for events. It recently co-sponsored the “Breathe In, Breathe Out” campaign on campus.
Finally, the TCNJ American Veterans Club, which seeks to fundraise for veterans who have suffered physical and emotional trauma, said that it does not plan to seek SFB funding because it will donate 80 percent of its funds to the Wounded Warrior Project and reserve 20 percent of its funds in order to sustain the organization.
The general body voted in favor of recognizing NAACP, Wellness League and TCNJ American Veterans Club as clubs.
Next, Adam Bonnano, vice president of Community Relations, advertised several upcoming events.
The Ewing Township Police Department will hold an Off-Cam-
pus Safety program on Wednesday, May 6, at noon in Roscoe 202 to talk about building better relationships with the Ewing community.
The Senior Sendoff will also be held on Wednesday, May 6, at 9 p.m. in the library auditorium, and will feature a photo slide-
show to honor the senior class.
Bonanno also announced a cleanup of Pennington Road with members of the Ewing community on Sunday, May 3, from noon to 3 p.m. It is Community Relations’ goal to make it a “sustainable, long-term” campus-wide service project for years to come.
Javier Nicasio, vice president of Equity and Diversity, talked about his committee’s newly-formed Bias Response Team. Any interested students are invited to apply to sit on the board, and a “diverse” group of students will fill seats to reflect the campus’s diverse community.
Senior Class Council President Brian Garsh said that between 300 and 400 people are expected to attend the combined senior and junior night out on Cinco de Mayo.
Junior Class President Emily Montagna announced that the class is looking for Commencement volunteers.
Students inducted into the College’s prestigious academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, on Tuesday, April 14, were met with a standing ovation from the crowd.
“I must say, we’ve been doing this for eight years and we’ve never had a standing ovation,” said Elizabeth Borland, president of the College’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
The induction ceremony, which was held in Mayo Concert Hall, was filled with friends and family members of the inductees. They all rose from their seats to applaud the accomplished students before them.
Phi Beta Kappa, which was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. It recognizes and encourages student achievement in the sciences and liberal arts.
“It’s not just about the GPA,” Borland said. “We’re looking for students who go above and beyond and really embrace the liberal arts.”
Today, less than 10 percent of colleges and universities in the nation hold a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. The College was approved for a chapter in 2006 and is currently one of only four higher institutions in the state that holds this honor.
The selection process for students admitted into the honor society is just as rigorous. In fact, membership is not open to all students and there is no application process.
Students must be nominated for consideration by professors before they are formally invited into the society, explained Rebecca Flores, a senior history and political science double major and new member of Phi Beta Kappa.
In order to be considered for membership, students must be of junior or senior standing with majors in the liberal arts or sciences. Not only must they maintain a high grade point average, but they must also demonstrate strong moral character and an affinity for the liberal arts and sciences.
“We’re looking for students that have that intellectual spark,” said Janet Morrison, department chair of biology at the College and a member of the selection committee for Phi Beta Kappa.
Morrison gave the final speech of the ceremony. Her address to the inductees encompassed the interdisciplinary nature of the organization. Phi Beta Kappa, she explained, was founded on the tenets of friendship, morality and scholarship and is rooted in the principle that “love of learning is the guide of life.”
She spoke of the connections between the arts and sciences and how inspiration can be found all around us. She argued that beauty is a source of inspiration for many, though it can take different forms. Some may find beauty in poetry and art, while others may find it in the intellectual thought of an equation, Morrison said.
Morrison urged the new members before her to find what inspires them, whatever it may be, and to let their vast knowledge from the arts and sciences guide their future.
After taking an oath to maintain the principles of the society, the inductees were granted membership into Phi Beta Kappa. They then signed the chapter reg- istry and received an official certificate of membership.
Membership into Phi Beta Kappa is life-long, Morrison said, and a number of notable public figures have been inducted into the honor society, including Bill Clinton, Eleanor Roosevelt and Sheryl Sandberg.
“Phi Beta Kappa is a great honor society that recognizes not only my academic successes, but also my love of learning,” junior philosophy major Payal Ved said. “I am honored to be a member of a society that has Presidents and Nobel Laureates in its rankings. Some of the greatest minds in the world have been a part of this society.”
• Sometime between 9:20 a.m. on Monday, April 6, and 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8, $100 in cash and a $50 Visa gift card were stolen from a Travers Hall room, according to Campus Police. The resident had left her door unlocked and later realized that the items were missing from her wallet, which was located in her dresser drawer. The resident talked to several of her floormates, thinking one of them was playing a joke on her. When she told Residence Life staff about the missing items, they told her to report it. From a tip, Campus Police developed a suspect. Police met with one of the victim’s floormates at 9:50 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8, inside his room. Police told him they were investigating a theft on the floor and transported him to police headquarters where he was questioned. The male said he didn’t take the money or the gift card and doesn’t know who did. According to Campus Police, there are no other suspects at this time.
• A black backpack with $1,214 worth of items was stolen from a Library computer lab on Saturday, April 4, between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., Campus Police reported. The backpack, which was valued at $50, had a silver iPhone 6 valued at $649, an Asus laptop valued at $400 and a graphing calculator valued at $115. Police reviewed footage retrieved from a basement security camera where they saw a man leaving the lab area and walking upstairs and then exiting the south entrance of the library. The student had also reported the stolen backpack and electronics to Lawrence Township Police. At 10:17 p.m., Lawrence Township Police called Campus Police saying they had located the suspect in his vehicle by using the “Find My iPhone” application that was connected to the victim’s tablet. The suspect fit the description of the man seen leaving the library, and he was also in possession of the backpack and its items. When back at police headquarters, the suspect said, “Man, I shouldn’t have even come here today.” He was warned not to return to campus, and if he does, he will be charged with trespassing, according to Campus Police.
• A fire door that led to a stairwell on Cromwell’s fourth floor had its window broken by physical force on Wednesday, April 15, at 9:28 p.m., according to Campus Police. Residents said they did not hear or see anything suspicious.
• Campus Police was called on Saturday, April 4, at 11:35 p.m. after a report cited two silhouettes seen inside the Campus Town construction site. The caller then saw a male climb over the fence back onto the campus, where he walked through Lot 4 toward Lot 7. All units responded to Lot 7 where the male was arrested for criminal trespassing. Police were unsuccessful with finding the second suspect. At police headquarters, police observed that the trespasser had slurred speech and a strong smell of alcohol. As a result, he was charged with underage consumption of alcohol. Police observed mud on the male’s sneakers and lower legs and, according to Campus Police, the boy said it was “probably from going through Campus Town.”
• Between 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, someone dented the rear bumper of a parked vehicle behind Eickhoff Hall, Campus Police said. The vehicle’s owner believes the employee she had disciplined for “job abandonment” and told not to return to campus until a follow-up meeting on Thursday, April 9, had done it out of spite for being reprimanded, according to Campus Police.
• Five more bags were taken from the Physical Enhancement Center on Thursday, April 2, between 2:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m., according to Campus Police. A student worker found four bags in the men’s bathroom. She brought them back to the gym, and three owners approached her to retrieve the bags. All three people checked and said that their bags were picked through. One student had $40 taken from her wallet. The fourth bag was placed back in the cubby. A fifth person asked if another bag was found, but it hadn’t. One of the students told officers that incidents like this happen all the time, and Campus Police said they recommend that these thefts be reported.
• Three car magnets were stolen off a car in Lot 12 sometime between 7 a.m. on Friday, March 20, and 3 p.m. on Friday, April 3. The three magnets were of the word “Pray,” Greyhounds in a red Volkswagen and Greyhounds in a paw, and each was valued at $10.
• On Saturday, April 11, at 6:48 p.m., a resident on the fourth floor of Cromwell heard a group of about four or five males being loud in the hallway. Soon after, she heard a loud bang and then laughing. When she went out to the hallway, she saw that the glass from the hallway door was broken out. She was unable to identify the males, according to Campus Police.
• Campus Police found purple graffiti on the outside of Decker Hall and on the dumpsters behind Cromwell at 7:20 a.m. on Saturday, April 11. According to reports, a stick figure and a cat head, with the words “pussy money weed” were spray painted on one wall. The words “dick spout,” with an arrow pointing to a pipe, was found on another wall. “HOPES” and “DR DIE” were spray painted on the dumpster, according to Campus Police.
• Two males, one a visitor, were found intoxicated in a New Residence Hall room at 1 a.m. on Saturday, April 11, according to Campus Police. The first male had vomit on his clothes while the second was vomiting into the sink. The second student was cooperative and admitted to having several shots of vodka. Lions EMS evaluated the first student who went in and out of consciousness and was unable to answer all the questions. The first student shouted, “I had a lot,” when asked what he consumed and then lay down on the bed. While conscious, he was uncooperative, yelled and recited rap lyrics. When the males were told they were being transported to the hospital, the first student became combative, prompting EMS to strap him into a board restraint so he didn’t harm himself or EMS. Neither student said where he drank, Campus Police said.
• At 7:40 a.m. on Friday, April 10, a car on the fourth level of Lot 13 was found to have been sprayed with a fire extinguisher on the front hood, bumper and side of the vehicle, according to Campus Police. The extinguisher was found 10 feet from the vehicle. A second extinguisher was found 20 feet away. Campus Police said that as they drove down to the bottom level, they noticed that all the fire extinguishers on each level of that corner were missing.
The Student Finance Board convened on Wednesday, April 15, to decide funding for the last few events set to occur this semester. The last two meetings of this semester will review funding for events scheduled for fall 2015.
The New Jersey Christian Fellowship presented for scholarships for its yearly retreat for members in May. After losing funding from the school the group usually appeals to every year, NJCF proposed for $2,000 from SFB to fund scholarships for new executive board members. The five-day retreat will include team-building activities, allowing the group to “collectively communicate as a team.” It was fully funded by the board.
Student Government then requested $7,544.48 for Finals Fest, the traditional event to help students unwind during the most stressful weeks of the semester. According to the proposal, the event “helps to raise student moral and energy on campus during the stressful week of finals.” This semester, the event will include a free ice cream giveaway as well as offer massages, smoothies and bagels. SFB decided to fund SG with $8,044.48, which includes an additional $500 for extra pizzas for the free MammavFlora’s pizza giveaway. Finals Fest will take place Tuesday, May 12, through Friday, May 15.
Finally, the freshman class council proposed for the previously tabled funding of helium tanks for TCNJ Cares Week. The board funded the event last week with the exception of the helium tanks to see if a rental was possible. SG worked out an agreement to have the balloons blown up by an outside company for $1,780. The request was fully funded. TCNJ Cares Week will take place starting on Monday, April 27 through Friday, May 1.
The board was also met with two new club status requests. Sigma Lambda Beta, a fraternity that upholds ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, community service and cultural awareness, was picked up as a new club. The fraternity hosted the “Take A Walk in Our Shoes” program last semester. Lambda Theta Alpha, an organization dedicated to educational programs, philanthropies, social activities and promoting cultural awareness on campus, was also picked up as a new club.
*Even though SFB agrees to finance certain events, there is no guarantee these events will take place. The approval only makes the funds available.
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