Category Archives: Online Exclusive

Gas leak springs from Campus Town

Students and faculty wait outside the Brower Student Center for more updates on the gas leak. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)
Students and faculty wait outside the Brower Student Center for more updates on the gas leak. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

UPDATE: As of approximately 1:30 p.m., PSE&G gave the all clear and all buildings and parking lots were re-opened. All classes resumed at 2 p.m.

A gas leak reported at the Campus Town construction site has caused the evacuation of several buildings across campus. According to David Muha, vice president of Communications, Marketing and Brand Management, the evacuation area includes all properties and buildings adjacent to the Campus Town site.

A TCNJ text alert sent at 11:30 a.m. informed the campus community of the gas leak and called for the immediate evacuation of the Hausdoerffer and Phelps dorms, Loser Hall, the Business and Bliss Buildings, off-campus housing along Pennington Road, the Art and Interactive Multimedia Building, the Music Building and Armstrong Hall.

Additionally, all classes in the above mentioned buildings have been canceled until further notice.

“We were in the middle of a presentation in Loser when the fire alarms went off,” junior nursing major Aila Salazar said. Students were instructed to evacuate the building.

“Five minutes later we got the text saying to move to the Stud,” junior nursing major Janine Isaga said.

According to Muha, more updates and information regarding the gas leak will follow.


Breaking: student passes away after car accident

International business major Ryan Alley passed away on Friday, March 23, after being seriously injured in a single-car motor vehicle accident last week on Lower Ferry Road, West of the College campus.

The car accident took place on Lower Ferry road on March 16. / Google Maps

Alley, of Flemington, N.J., was in an accident with a fellow student on the morning of Friday, March 16, according to an email sent out to the College community by College Relations. The notice was signed by Interim Provost Susan Bakewell-Sachs.

Michael Krassan, a senior studying political science and Russian, is currently in critical condition, the email said.

Information regarding services for Alley will be shared once it becomes available, according to the message.

The Krassan family requested that the College informs those who are close to him that he is presently at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, but visitors are limited to Krassan’s immediate family, the email noted. Cards can be sent to Michael Krassan, c/o Patient Services, Cooper University Hospital, One Cooper Plaza, Camden, N.J. 08103.

Krassan and Alley were driving on Lower Ferry Road toward a bend in the road near Palermo’s III restaurant when their car went off the road and hit a tree at Lower Ferry and Hillside Avenue, Ewing police told the Times of Trenton.


Guilty verdict for former Rutgers student

Dharun Ravi sits in the Middlesex Courtoom where he was convicted of a hate crime on Friday, March 16. / AP Photo

After three days of deliberation, the Middlesex County jury found 20-year-old Dharun Ravi guilty of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, along with 13 other counts, making him eligible for up to 10 years behind bars as well as subsequent deportation from the country. The trial, in which the jury reached a verdict on Friday, March 16, stemmed from Ravi’s actions in 2010 in which he viewed his roommate’s intimate encounter with another man through a webcam.

The former Rutgers student only shook his head slightly as he heard the verdict of the case that began in 2010 when his former roommate, Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010 after finding out Ravi had tweeted about seeing his dorm room encounters with another man, known throughout the case only as “M.B.,”,through his computer web cam. Ravi remained silent for the duration the trial and showed little emotion. Rather, throughout the broadcast of the trial proceedings (live on TruTV) Ravi appeared dazed.

Ravi declined to take the stand in his defense, and also turned down a plea deal that would have helped him avoid jail time. Now Ravi will have to reappear in court on May 21 for sentencing. He faces up to 10 years in prison, but also could be deported to India— where he was born— because of his conviction of anti-gay intimidation, a hate crime in New Jersey.

After the first webcam incident, in which Ravi said he logged in to his webcam from fellow Rutgers freshman Molly Wei’s computer (Wei was initially also charged but reached a plea deal with prosecutors), Ravi discovered that Clementi was planning to meet M.B. again. Ravi texted his friends about it and even “dared” others via Twitter to log in to his webcam saying “Yes, it’s happening again.”

Juror Bruno Ferreira told the New York Daily News it was this second spying incident that tipped the jury toward its guilty verdict. “Thinking about it not being done once, being done twice,” he said. “Not just one day.”

Evidence brought forth in the case showed that Ravi, after finding out that his roommate had requested a room change, sent Clementi a long apology text message, part of which read: “I’ve known you were gay and I have no problem with it. In fact one of my closest friends is gay and he and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy about it which is why I never broached the topic. I don’t want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it’s adding to my guilt.”
Ravi’s apology text was sent just minutes after Clementi made his final post on Facebook. It was unclear if he ever read Ravi’s message.

The trial lasted a total of 13 days and jurors heard from over 20 witnesses for the prosecution and nine for the defense. The witnesses were made up of numerous college students, police investigators and computer experts.

Ravi’s attorney Steven Altman argued that his client was nothing more than an immature freshman playing a stupid prank on his roommate that unfortunately went terribly wrong. He also told the jury that Ravi had no anti-gay sentiments.

Prosecutor Julia Mclure, however, argued that Ravi’s actions were motivated nothing more that homophobia, and he had the desire to expose Clementi’s sexual orientation to others. One of Ravi’s texts introduced by the prosecution as evidence read, “Keep the gays away.” This was part of a series of texts discussing gay people that Ravi exchanged with friend Michelle Huang, who was one of the witnesses called by the prosecution.

Legally Ravi can appeal his conviction. However, his chances of success are slim because the decision was a finding of fact by a jury, which is seldom overturned.

Clementi’s death opened up worldwide talks about cyber bullying and was one of the deaths that helped spur the It Gets Better project. Gov. Chris Christie called Clementi’s suicide “an unspeakable tragedy.”

Click here to see the College’s reaction to Clementi’s death in fall 2010.


Prosecution rests in Rutgers suicide trial

Dharun Ravi listens to the prosecution during his trial in Middlesex County / AP Photo

The prosecution in the trial of Dharun Ravi rested today, after over a week of of presenting witness testimony, computer files, social media records and text messages in their attempt to show that the defendant committed a hate crime.

Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide about a year and a half earlier, by jumping off the George Washington bridge on Sept. 22, 2010. This was just days after his roommate Ravi and Molly Wei, a friend of Ravi, watched him becoming intimate with another man through a webcam. Wei initially faced similar charges to Ravi, but eventually made a deal in which she would testify against Ravi in exchange for community service and other conditions in lieu of jail time.

Ravi faces a total of 15 charges, including evidence tampering, invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. The state presented over 20 different witnesses, including college students, police officers, computer experts and Rutgers residence life workers. Ravi had previously been offered a plea deal in which he would have avoided jail time, but he refused. Ravi is not charged in any way with being at fault for Clementi’s death, but if he is convicted of bias intimidation– a hate crime– he faces up to ten years. Ravi could do more time if he is found guilty of the other charges, especially if he is ordered to serve his sentences consecutively.

After the jury was dismissed for the day, the attorneys continued their arguments before Judge Glenn Berman. The defense argued for an acquittal on some of the charges, but Berman ruled that the jury would have the final say. The defense will begin calling witnesses tomorrow morning.

A lengthy apology text message sent by Ravi to Clementi, was revealed to have been sent shortly after Ravi found out Clementi had requested a room change. Part of it read: “I’ve known you were gay and I have no problem with it. In fact one of my closest friends is gay and he and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy about it which is why I never broached the topic. I don’t want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it’s adding to my guilt.” The text came four minutes after Clementi posted on his Facebook page at 8:42 p.m.: “Jumping off the gw bridge, sorry.”

In turn however the prosecution showed the video of Ravi’s interview with the Middlesex County Prosecuter’s Office. In the video Ravi says he was “weirded out” by Clementi’s guest, and subsequently left the room the two of them shared. He went to Wei’s room and accessed his web cam from her computer, because he was concerned about his possessions in his room. Ravi then said that once he and Wei saw Clementi being “intimate” they turned it off. He also says that he did not purposely set up the webcam a second time to watch Clementi. The official interviewing Ravi tells him that they know he is lying to them, and asks if he violated Clementi’s privacy. Ravi admits on the video that he did, but also adds “I didn’t realize it was something so private. It was my room too, or so I thought.” The video was posted Wednesday evening on (Watch it here).

Michelle Huang, another friend of Ravi’s and a current student at Cornell University, also testified during the trial. Text messages from Ravi to Huang showed that he told her to log in to his web cam for a “viewing party.” However, Huang also said that Ravi later texted her saying it was a joke. Although the court barred prosecutors from openly making connections between the allegations against Ravi and Clementi’s subsequent suicide Judge Berman said that the court was allowed to question Huang because her testimony provided important context for understanding Ravi’s text messages, the Associated Press reported.

Text message exchanges between Huang and Ravi also showed them talking about their various observations of gay people, including a “nerdy fobby asian” lesbian couple and “two guys making out on a stoop. It was gross.” When Ravi texted Huang about Clementi and is visitor, he described the situation as “creepy” and said his webcam was watching his bed.

Clementi’s guest, known only as M.B., testified earlier in the week that he saw the webcam facing Clementi’s bed while he was in the room on Sept. 19, 2010. Much of the trial focused on whether or not Ravi had invaded M.B.’s privacy. Berman told the defense that while they could argue that Ravi had every right to use the webcam to protect his possessions while a stranger (M.B.) was in his room, the prosecution could also argue that Ravi could have pointed the webcam at the door instead of Clementi’s bed.

Clementi’s death opened up worldwide talks about cyber bullying and was one of the deaths that helped spur the It Gets Better project. Gov. Chris Christie called Clementi’s suicide “an unspeakable tragedy.”

Live coverage of the trial was available on Turner Broadcasting’s TruTV network.

Click here to see the College’s reaction to Clementi’s death.


Cornell graduate introduces Planga to the College

Alex Kates at the College
Alex Kates, a Cornell graduate, speaks about Planga, a new social networking site designed to inform college students of the events happening on their campus.

An information session about Planga, a new social networking site designed to inform college students of events happening on their school’s campus, was held in the Student Center last Wednesday Feb. 1.

The presentation was given by Alex Kates, one of the main designers of the new social networking platform. A 2009 Cornell graduate that majored in applied economics and minored in information science, Kates walked students through the main functions of Planga.

A Facebook-compatible website designed to inform students of the daily events happening on their college’s grounds, Planga’s main interface shows a map of the user’s campus with various icons that reveal the location and further information of daily events.

“Planga connects all your social networking accounts so you can login using Facebook.” Kates said, “So you can see what your friends are doing and what is popular on campus.”

The campus map can also be changed to reveal a different day or time frame, Kates said.

The site also features a news feed module much like Facebook, where different campus groups and clubs can make their own profiles and publish updates that can be viewed either publicly or by private members.

“On Planga, it’s all about involvement,” Kates said as he revealed the varying levels of membership Planga users can have on campus groups’ profile pages.

“Within a campus group there are fans, members and administrators,” Kates said. “In this way, you never have to invite people so you know that they are aware of your event because if they are a fan or member of your club’s profile page, they will see the event automatically on their own personal map of the campus.”

Kates also revealed the prodigious amount of customization features available to Planga users, including a “discover tool” that allows someone to filter what they want to see is happening on campus.

“Planga is designed so that your event information reaches the right people and doesn’t reach the people who have decided to not attend the event,” Kates said.

Kates explained the detailed privacy settings available to Planga users, such as a “trusted list” that’s allows users to allow certain friends to see the private parts of their Planga profile page.

Planga operates on an independent network for each campus. In this way, campus maps of events can only be viewed by Planga members that provide their college email address, ensuring further security.

Kates also informed the students that Planga was recently made I Phone compatible and that an Android- compatible version of Planga is in construction.


Civil Rights leader talks U.S. education

Robert Moses at the College
Robert Moses spoke at the College about his past work in the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the present state of the U.S. education system

Robert Moses, a civil rights leader, spoke Thursday about the diminished quality in education in America.

Moses demonstrated how America’s declining education system mirrored the struggle blacks faced for their rights in the 1960s.

“Sharecroppers were the serfs of our industrial age; students are the serfs of the information-based age,” Moses said.

Moses highlighted an irony present in constitutional educational reform.

“As a citizen of this nation, I don’t have a right to my education. What do you want me to do about that?” Moses asked.

Policy makers advocate equality for all but neglect two key points: educational equality is not explicitly stated in the Constitution, and the Constitution is worded to include only male property owners, not blacks or women.

“We have never been able to have an honest conversation about education in this country,” he added.

Moses attributed the civil rights movement’s success to “not acting on behalf of blacks, but actually getting blacks themselves to demand the rights guaranteed to them by the constitution,” Moses said.

Moses expressed his views that national citizenship trumps individual citizenship.

“I’m not a citizen of Alabama; I’m a citizen of the nation,” Moses said. “I’m looking to the Constitution to protect my right to ride a bus.”

Moses commanded that blacks themselves demand equality, and he asked now that students do the same, but for their educations.

Moses wants the Algebra Project — a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring quality education for all children in America using mathematics — to use the same framework that allowed the civil rights movement to be successful.

“Math classes are meeting places,” Moses said. “Meetings are a way to get students to attack these educational problems.”

At the time of the civil rights movement, there existed a division in the department of justice for civil rights. Moses explained that blacks won the right to vote “because of an alliance of top and bottom, the top being the sliver of civil rights advocacy in the government, and the bottom being sharecroppers and students.”

Moses mentioned a time in history defined by the freedom riders, a group that marched down the streets around the country to advocate a black person’s right to sit where he or she pleases on a bus. He noted how society subtly changed as a result of this group.

“The year before the freedom riots, I would walk on the street, and no one would know who I was,” he said. “But after the freedom riots began, I would walk down the street, and everyone would point and say, ‘there’s a freedom rider.’”

Beisy Blumenthal, a sophomore English and women’s and gender studies double major and French literature minor, commented on Moses’ speech.

“Moses’ empathy and understanding of social injustice prompted some amazing changes,” Blumenthal said.

When asked, Moses gave his opinion about the educational reforms Obama has proposed, and how he deems them to be somewhat distanced from the problems.

“Obama sent his kids to private school,” he said. “He took himself out of the nation’s discussion on making public schools better.”


Water Watch documentary makes students think twice about bottled water

By Nicholas Haff

Signal Correspondent

Water Watch, a College club dedicated to helping the environment, presented an eye-opening documentary on the misuse of bottled water throughout the world on Monday, Dec. 5.

“Tapped” described several of the major issues brought about by producing bottled water, and offered intelligent suggestions as to how people can improve the use of household tap water.

“(’Tapped’) delves into what we don’t see about bottled water, and shows us what happens before and after production,” said president of Water Watch Fertitta.

The major focus of the documentary was on the Nestle Water Company, which is currently a juggernaut in the water bottling market. According to the documentary, Nestle owns several of the major brands that we see every day, including Poland Spring. In 2008, Nestle earned over 3.6 billion dollars in sales.

The film questioned how Nestle retrieves the water it sells to the average American.

According to filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig, Nestle’s main source of water is in Maine, where there is a law known as “absolute dominion” which states that whoever has the biggest pump gets the most water. The documentary illustrated that, therefore,  once Nestle gets the approval to take water, the company can take as much as it likes without alerting any of the citizens who live nearby and use the water.

What some in the documentary called an “alarming thievery” of water has since escalated; according to Soechtig, companies like Nestle have been taking water for free and selling it for profit to United States buyers. The world water market that companies like Nestle and Coca Cola are involved in is estimated to be worth $800 billion by 2035, making it one of the largest markets across the globe, according to Soechtig.

Since 2007, there have been droughts in 35 states, along with an overwhelmingly negative impact on the environment and fish habitats, Soechtig said. Water bottles are increasingly being thrown in lakes today, and air pollution is at its’ peak due to oil refineries producing grade 1 plastic bottles, said Soechtig.

For some of the 30 audience members, the documentary showed a different side of bottled water.

Audience member Justin Gonzalez, freshman mechanical engineer major, said he appreciated being given the opportunity to watch this documentary at school.

“I had no idea what an impact bottled water had on the world and I probably never would have seen it if Water Watch hadn’t gone through the effort to find it,” he said.

Although several audience members made jokes at the start of the film about how no one in the audience had dared to bring a water bottle, at the end of the screening, several people left with a more serious outlook on the situation.


Breaking: Police arrest man likely linked to campus car thefts

Trenton Police recently arrested a man that was found driving a Honda Civic that had previously been reported missing by a student at the College, according to an email sent out around 2 p.m. on Dec. 14 by Campus Police Services.

Tommy Lee Walker, Jr. was arrested on Saturday, Dec. 10 when operating a white 1999 Honda Civic that a student reported missing on Dec. 5, the email said.

When arrested, Walker was in possession of several “dealer master keys” and it was discovered that he has a history of arrests related to stolen vehicles. He was charged with receiving stolen property and motor vehicle master keys, police said in their email.

Campus Police believe there is “likely a connection between the theft of this vehicle and others that have been stolen from campus,” according to the email.

While they do not anticipate him being released in the near future, Campus Police issued a letter barring Walker from campus and have instructed their officers that he will be arrested immediately upon returning to campus, police said.

A photo of Walker was included in the email, which was sent out to the TCNJ community. Campus Police ask that if anyone sees him on campus in the future, they contact Campus Police Services at 771-2345 or 911.


Breaking: Armed robberies reported off campus

Campus Police were advised earlier today of two reported armed robberies taking place in different areas off campus. An armed robbery allegedly involving a knife is reported to have taken place late last night near Susan Drive and Bakun Way in Ewing (to the northeast of the College campus), according to an alert sent out via phone and email to the campus community. The alert described the suspect as a 5’10” tall 20-year-old white male, wearing a gray pullover sweatshirt with a black bandana over his face. A second armed robbery has been reported in Lawrenceville last night, and is currently being investigated by Lawrence police, the alert said. Students have been advised to exercise caution.

If anyone has information related to these incidents, they should notify Campus Police by calling 609-771-2345. Lawrence police can be reached at 609-896-1111.


Wenderoth’s readings offended Christians

I attended writer Joe Wenderoth’s reading, sponsored by the Visiting Writers Series and ink, on Wednesday, Dec. 6, and I want to share my thoughts on the event. While I still am unsure that I did the right thing by staying through the entire reading, the fact that I did so allows me to write about it more thoroughly.

I would like to begin by saying that I have the utmost respect for these groups and their work in the campus writing community, and I think they are a vital part of the College. As an English major, I appreciate the value of hearing different and varied voices and reading the work of contemporary writers (including the brilliant writers who are students at the College), and I am grateful that we have such organizations here. I respect and support the right of these groups to bring whomever they deem worthy to campus, as well as Mr. Wenderoth’s right to think, say and write whatever he chooses.

That said, I do not think it is inappropriate for me to say that I was hurt and offended by parts of Mr. Wenderoth’s reading. I am Christian, which made hearing an essay that featured what was essentially a pornographic portrayal of Jesus and his disciples particularly painful for me. Perhaps this is a biased view, but I think it is a fair one. I hope that others who do not profess the same faith will at least consider what I have to say, since, in other contexts, these ideas could apply to people of different religions, beliefs or backgrounds. I also cannot imagine that I was the only one who found the reading offensive, regardless of the religious affiliations of other audience members.

During the question-and-answer session after the reading, Mr. Wenderoth acknowledged that his “hostility” toward Christians is based on a negative experience with the church and the “privileged” status of Christians. I will readily admit that some people who identify as Christians have done and continue to do things that are harmful. I do not wish to hide or condone this behavior. As with any tense situation or conflict, though, I do not think that such angry, hateful words are productive by any means—just as I do not think that the angry, hateful words of the preachers who pop up on our campus every once in a while are helpful in any way. And I do not believe that attacking the core of the religion’s faith will change how any hypocritical Christian will act; the imperfect people of the institution are at fault for hypocrisy, not the faith itself.

Most importantly, I would like to challenge Mr. Wenderoth’s assertion that words are “just words.” He said that as long as words are simply spoken, we can “discuss” them, and “the worst that can happen is that we disagree.” In the past couple of years especially, we have learned the effects that words can have on people in terms of bullying. This is not a new concept, though: negative words of any nature, whether sexist, racist or anything else, have power, just as positive words can help change things for the better.

Mr. Wenderoth’s words were offensive to me not because they were “irreverent,” or, as he said, “reverent toward the wrong thing,” since I do not expect him to believe what I believe, but because they were disrespectful and hurtful. I realize that my feelings might be the reaction Mr. Wenderoth anticipated and even intended when he wrote and read that essay (he said that he loves feeling the tension mount in the room when he reads the piece to an audience), but I feel it is important to be honest about them nonetheless.

Again, Mr. Wenderoth has the right to say and write these things, and I understand that what does not seem like art to me might be art to someone else. I can say without a doubt, though, that I would never speak this way about anyone else’s faith, and I will be more cautious in attending such events in the future — though I also realize that the groups that brought Mr. Wenderoth might not have expected his reading to be quite so offensive.

The God I believe in does not need me to defend Him. I simply wanted to speak my mind to contribute to a wider to discussion of these issues.


Joe Wenderoth offends some, amuses others

By Ryan Cassirer

Joe Wenderoth took the microphone in his hands, stared for a few seconds at his audience, and said in his trademark voice that contains hints of lunacy: “Can you all hear me? I guess I don’t have to stay close to it … I guess this is an advanced microphone.”

Wenderoth was on campus as part of the Visiting Writers Series sponsored by ink, speaking to a packed library auditorium on Dec. 6. Some cackled with laughter as the writer read excerpts of his works like “The Holy Spirit of Life: Essays for John Ashcroft’s Secret Self” and “Letters to Wendy’s.” Others however, sat motionless in their chairs, completely shocked.

Wenderoth started off reading prose with the auditorium lights dimmed very low, taking long, dramatic pauses in which he seemed almost lost at times. He read his poetry in a way one expects an insane asylum patient to talk, and described peculiar instances such as personal attachment to things such as a possum that makes a home in your backyard, and how upset people become when we lose these things that aren’t even in our control.

“When I read prose I’m more the person I am,” Wenderoth explained while saying prose is a sort of liberation for him.

Unsettled chuckles arose from the audience as the lights went back on and Wenderoth began to read his critically acclaimed book, “Letters to Wendy’s.”

Those chuckles slowly turned into gasps and looks of astonishment as Wenderoth depicted, very graphically, sexual excerpts and unique points of view from his book. In a following Q & A session Wenderoth said was satisfied with the state of silence he had left the room, stating that the language he uses in his books are “flags, I hope, telling the reader, ‘Hey think about language.’ You know, this is just language — this isn’t like reading about someone who’s going to go and kill people. This is just language.”

In the excerpt Wenderoth read, he depicted Jesus Christ in a light that most people would not dare go near. The scene started off normally enough, until one of the Apostles asked Jesus if he had a penis like the rest of them. Jesus dropped his robes and replied, in Wenderoth’s raving mad voice, “No Thomas. I have a filthy cunt. Why don’t you get on your knees and have a closer look?” Jaws dropped in the audience as Jesus then proceeded to have sex with all his Apostles, one by one.

When asked about his attitude towards religion, Wenderoth explained that he grew up in a family with very traditional Christian values, which he said explains the hostility he shows towards it in some of his work.

In another excerpt, Wenderoth made the case that “everybody looks better with a dick in their mouth.” This brand of humor was a great relief to some members of the audience, who were able to laugh at this comparatively innocent statement after hearing the main figure of Christianity being put in a pornographic scene.

Freshman English and history double major Albert Cavallaro didn’t see a problem with Wenderoth’s reading: “I saw how it could be offensive, but I’m not particularly religious. I would be interested to read more, but perhaps not in public or where people could see me.”

Many of those in attendance were there to take notes for their English classes at the College. Others came from further away.

“Half of the auditorium sounded like they couldn’t wait for this guy to make another appearance,” said Montclair State University student Nathan Bajar. “The other half probably hopes they’ll never see him again.”

Kailyn Reamy and Kevin Schlittenhardt contributed reporting.


Radiothon Don: A conversation with Kyle Smith

In hour 22 of his 24-hour broadcast, WTSR-FM 91.3's Kyle Smith DJs at the Brower Student Center. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Virzi)

Kyle Smith finished the broadcast as he began it – with a Mountain Goats song.

But on Friday, Oct. 28, Smith wasn’t wrapping up the weekly two-hour arts and entertainment radio show he co-hosts with senior English secondary education major Taylor Boyle. Nor was he broadcasting from the cozy confines of WTSR-FM 91.3’s basement studio in Kendall Hall.

The junior communication studies major was perched on a stage in the Brower Student Center, surrounded by cough syrup, stray dollar bills and friends, completing his 24th straight hour of DJing for WTSR’s fall pledge drive.

Smith had cracked the mic on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. By Friday at 6 p.m., he had lost his voice, conducted more than five hours of interviews with artists, writers and musicians, played hours upon hours of music (including a dubstep interlude during Meal Equiv) and raised more than $500 for the station.

“It was scary and it was exhausting and my throat hurts and I’m sick and my voice may never be the same, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat,” a still-hoarse Smith said during a Sunday, Oct. 30 phone interview.

Below are excerpts from The Signal’s conversation with Smith, during which he talked about cross-country cycling, his ego and what writer Jimmy Chen said about him on Formspring.

Tell me how the Kyle Smith and the 24 Hours Of… broadcast came about.

I think it was sometime last year and I’m almost positive it started as a joke. It was definitely me being kind of an asshole and super egotistical and saying, “Aw, wouldn’t it be so cool if we did a radiothon of just me? And it was just me, talking? Twenty-four hours? How great would that be?” I don’t remember if I got serious about it or if someone actually kind of liked the idea … (but) that’s when we started pulling everything together. …

I’ve always wanted to do it. I remember as a kid listening to public radio and watching PBS. They’d always have these telethons or radiothons, and people would stay up for ridiculous amounts of time, and people would call in and they had all these phone banks and everything, and I always thought it was really glamorous.

Tell me who you interviewed during the 24 hours.

OK. I hope I remember everyone! I’m going to go chronologically. First we had Edith Zimmerman, (editor of online magazine The Hairpin) … and then we had Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu. Then we had Owen Ashworth, who used to be in Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, but now he’s in Advance Base. We had Julian Lynch. He’s a clarinet player. He does this really interesting, almost psychedelic pop music on the clarinet … Aly Spaltro, who’s in a band called Lady Lamb The Beekeeper … and we had Jimmy Chen.

Who is he?

He’s one of my favorite writers. He writes solely on the Internet. He writes on, like, ThoughtCatalog and HTML Giant. He uses – you remember Formspring? He uses Formspring, and people send him questions, then he answers their questions, but the way he answers their questions is really lyrical and literary and it’s actually really amazing. And someone asked him, “How was your experience with Kyle Smith?” and he answered it. But I haven’t read it yet, because you called right when I clicked on the link.

Read it! Tell me what it says.

OK, all right. So we’ll experience it for the first time together.

So the question is, “How was your experience with Kyle Smith?”

Jimmy Chen says, “i was surprised and touched at how much he knew about my online activity; it felt natural and fun, and i think i only ‘went off’ on/at him a few times. they were very good questions. i called from a hotel room with a friend who had ordered room service (grilled cheese sandwich, fries, ‘fresh’ berries, H20, milk) so it seemed romantic i guess like maybe the way slash or keith richards w/ stevie nicks gets tanked and pisses off the balcony kind of stuff but i need to decide if i was slash or keith richards.”

And that’s it. I really like that.

I’m trying to answer your question as quickly as possible. …

Yes, go on.

After Jimmy Chen, Zac Pennington called in at 2 a.m. He’s from the band The Parenthetical Girls. Then the next morning at 8:30 a girl … from the band Buke and Gass (called in). … My last interview was in the student center and that was Emile Klein.

Who’s he?

He trained in Europe as a portrait painter. Then he came to America and he’s cycling around the country … and going to weird little towns and weird little subcultures and painting people from it and trying to get a sense of what the real America is. It was really cool. … He has a website that he posts this stuff on.

Are there any particularly interesting or surprising things that you learned about the people you interviewed that you’d want to share?

One thing I thought was really interesting was with my Jamie Stewart interview. Xiu Xiu’s music is really dark. It’s really dirty sexually, and it’s a little bit inaccessible, so I don’t think it was a huge leap to think that maybe Jamie Stewart would kind of be like that. But he wasn’t at all. He was warm, he was funny, he was interesting. …

With Owen Ashworth, he had tweeted at the station’s Twitter account and said “I’m going to be on WTSR tonight, tune in if you want to. I’ll reveal one secret.” And I thought that was really funny, and obviously he meant it as a joke, but I ended the interview by saying, “Oh, so what’s your one secret?”

And what he said was that for him, making music is his biggest fear. So every day, every song he produces, he’s constantly and viscerally facing his fear of putting his work out there and being judged and everything. And I thought that was actually a really amazing answer, and he came up with it off-the-cuff. So I thought that was really special.

What was it like to DJ for 24 hours straight?

The whole 24-hour thing took on a life of its own. I couldn’t expect what would happen. I didn’t even know who was calling in when at some points because people kept forgetting, so throughout the night it was just so spontaneous and weird. …

And I think that was amazing and made for a really enjoyable show, because I didn’t know what was going on. The listeners didn’t know what was going on. It felt so much more real. … Some radio shows can feel so planned and kind of boring because of that. But this was so unexpected for me.

Kyle Smith’s weekly A&E show with Taylor Boyle runs from noon to 1 p.m. Fridays on WTSR-FM 91.3.


SG to hold voter registration drive, flag football tournament

Students dressed up during the Oct. 26 Student Government meeting (Tom O'Dell / Photo Editor)

Student Government held a humorous Halloween-themed meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 26 as committee members dressed in costumes varying from the classic white shirt and socks from Tom Cruise’s “Risky Business,” to protestors of the “Occupy Cube Movement” with one sign reading, “I’m the 1 percent that supports the $90 Student Activity Fee.” Other costumes included munchkins, rave kids, jazzercisers and football players.

SG got serious to make several announcements and to thank the members who helped with Homecoming.

SG President Olaniyi Solebo, senior political science major, noted the celebration ran more smoothly than in past years.

The organization also recognized sophomore English secondary education major Tyler Liberty as the Senator of the Month for October. This is Liberty’s first year in SG.

Sophomore history secondary education major and Vice President for Governmental Affairs Devin Dimmig also announced that SG will be holding another voter registration drive the afternoon of Nov. 8 in the library following the success of last week’s drive, at which 113 students registered to vote within two hours.

SG will hold a flag-football tournament on Sunday, Nov. 13, according to class council coordinator and sophomore political science major Chloe Gonzalez. The tournament will include teams of seven to 10 players, with members of SG as referees and a barbecue hosted by Sodexo, according to Gonzalez.