Daily Debriefing

Yale lab technician Raymond Clark III pled not guilty to the murder of Yale graduate student Annie Le in a hearing at the New Haven Superior Court on Tuesday, the Yale Daily News reported. In addition to murder, prosecutors charged Clark with felony murder, according to the Yale Daily News. The jury could find Clark guilty of felony murder even if it determines he killed Le unintentionally, as long as the prosecution proves Clark killed Le while committing another felony, such as kidnapping. During the hearing, Clark waived his right to a probable cause hearing, which would have required the prosecution to demonstrate it has sufficient evidence to charge Clark, the Yale Daily News reported.

The size of the gender gap among American college students is beginning to level out, according to a study conducted by the American Council on Education. For the 2007-2008 academic year, 46 percent of college students below the age of 24 were male, according to Inside Higher Ed. The figure has remained roughly constant since the 1999-2000 school year, when the same figure was reported. The only place the gender gap still appears to be increasing is in the Hispanic population, where a growing percentage of college students are female. Forty-two percent of Latino college students nationwide were male during the 2007-2008 academic year, while 45 percent were male in 1999-2000, Inside Higher Ed reported. Hispanic women are also more likely to receive their bachelor’s degree than their male counterparts, the study found.

John Yoo, a former U.S. Justice Department official who was widely criticized for providing legal advice that allegedly allowed the federal government to justify torture, is teaching a class this semester at the University of California at Berkeley despite attacks that he is unfit to teach law, Inside Higher Ed reported Tuesday. Unlike most other courses at the University, the physical location of Yoo’s class is only available to students enrolled in the course, according to Inside Higher Ed. The “secret” location of the class has prevented those who wish to protest the class from attending it, according to Inside Higher Ed. Yoo told Above the Law, a legal blog, that any protesters who wish to attend his class should apply to be students at the law school.

New meters will track campus energy usage

New energy meters will be monitor energy usage in 250 buildings across campus by summer 2010 as part of the College’s Campus Energy and Sustainability Management System, according to Stephen Shadford, an energy engineer with Facilities Operation and Management. FO&M specialists will use the energy monitoring system to address any inefficiencies in the College’s energy usage, as well to make the Dartmouth community more aware of its energy consumption, Shadford said.

The meters which measure steam, chilled water and electricity usage supply real-time energy consumption data to computers at remote data centers, Shadford said. Meters have already been installed in 50 of the least energy-efficient buildings across campus, he said.

With the new system, meters automatically collect 96 data points per day, Shadford said. Previously, only one data point was collected per month, and had to be collected manually, he said.

“It’s a huge leap forward,” Shadford said. “It’s the difference between getting your electricity bill at home, opening it and saying, Wow that’s a lot. I wonder what we did wrong,’ and watching how much electricity you’re using online in real time.”

The College received a $330,936 grant from the New Hampshire Green House Gas Reduction Fund for the development of an energy reduction program in 2009, according to a Nov. 23 College press release. The College allocated matching funds to accompany the grant, the press release said.

“The grant was issued mainly for putting systems and people on the ground to save energy and to save greenhouse gas emissions,” Shadford said.

There is a two-year plan in place for the expenditure of grant funds, he said. The entire system will be implemented during the first year, and it will be fine-tuned and optimized in the second year, he said.

Shadford said that he does not believe that the system is at risk of being eliminated in light of recent budget cuts.

“We’ve got the funding, we’ve got the grant money which we’re really grateful for and we’re moving forward,” he said.

The energy usage data will also be used as a way to leverage community behavior by showing the community figures of real-time energy consumption, Shadford said. In the future, television sets that display consumption information will be implemented across campus, he said.

The system also has the ability to predict how much energy will be used in a particular building the following day based on past behavior and weather data, Shadford said. If a building is running on much more energy than expected, analysts will know there is a problem that needs to be addressed, he said.

The data will be monitored by the “Tiger Team,” which consists of Shadford and specialists in system controls, mechanics, equipment servicing and electricity, Shadford said, adding that the team will analyze information from the remote data center on a weekly basis. They will use the information to streamline the energy usage in the buildings, Shadford said.

Kathy Lambert, Dartmouth’s sustainability manager, said she hopes that the College will reduce energy consumption by 10 to 15 percent in the next three to five years with the new system.

FO&M’s first priority was to install the meters in the campus’s 50 least energy-efficient buildings and to begin taking measurements, Shadford said. Shadford estimated that approximately 25 percent of buildings use 70 percent of the total energy consumed on campus, meaning that reducing the energy usage in those buildings would significantly reduce total consumption.

DHMC officials lobby Washington

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center stands to benefit from several provisions proposed in the federal health care bill

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center stands to benefit from several provisions proposed in the federal health care bill

With the election of Senator-elect Scott Brown, R-Mass., placing the future of federal health care legislation in jeopardy, members of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s government affairs office are lobbying the federal government to create a bill that will address the concerns of both Dartmouth and the nation, according to Frank McDougall, vice president of government affairs at DHMC. DHMC lobbyists have played a key role in each of Congress’s recent drafts of the health care reform bill, McDougall said.

McDougall has worked closely with three other DHMC employees, as well as numerous national and state trade organizations, to pool information to bring to Congress, he said.

“There have been five different health care reform bills and we’ve been involved in each of them,” McDougall said. “We’ve let it be known the parts that can be improved upon and the parts that we think are a priority.”

DHMC researchers, as well as faculty and staff at Dartmouth Medical School, hope to play a role in the research and initiatives resulting from health care reform, McDougall said.

McDougall cited 764 potential instances in the Senate version of the health care reform bill in which major administrative decisions may be made after the legislation itself is passed. These are areas in which DHMC and DMS have the chance to become involved in health care reform, he said.

“Of the 764 [instances], I think we’re interested in about 300,” he said. “There’s the potential for some wonderful opportunities for us.”

Programs that interest DHMC lobbyists include a value-based purchasing program in the proposed legislation.

The program would reward hospitals that operate more efficiently and meet a set of performance benchmarks, rather than simply reimbursing for reported spending.

DHMC would likely receive financial benefits from the program, if implemented, McDougall said.

DHMC lobbyists are also pushing for a program in which the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services would award grants and contracts to fund the development, improvement and expansion of systems to measure patient care quality, according to McDougall. Dartmouth institutions would have a better chance of winning such contracts because of Dartmouth’s leadership in developing metrics for care delivery, he said.

“Having [College President Jim Yong] Kim’s background and his expertise is very important,” he said. “I also think that the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy has been doing things that the bill is attempting to do for 30 years, so there’s a lot in the bill that has its foundation right here at Dartmouth, Dartmouth-Hitchcock [Medical Center] and Dartmouth Medical School.”

McDougall said DHMC’s lobbying efforts include opposing excessive federal budget cuts and providing legislators with information about the potential negative repercussions of proposed legislation.

“Almost all of the legislation that we see is well intended, but well-intended bills can have unintended consequences,” he said.

Brown’s victory in Massachusetts has been a “game-changer” for debate over the health care bill, McDougall said. He noted that lobbyists will have a better sense of where the bill is going after President Barack Obama addresses the nation in his State of the Union address Wednesday.

“The present situation is that everything is up in the air,” he said.

McDougall said the bill will likely be passed, but only after extensive modification to make it more attractive to moderate and conservative legislators.

In the proposed health care legislation, health care providers agreed to make significant reductions in what they charge for health care in exchange for expanded coverage of the uninsured. However, professionals at DHMC believe the agreement is favorable only if 96 percent of the 46 million uninsured Americans become covered, according to McDougall.

DHMC receives information to guide its specific policy proposals from various health organizations, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Medical Association, the American Heart Association and the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions.

“Our concern is that there will be the cuts, but not the coverage,” McDougall said, adding that he and his colleagues are lobbying to make sure both coverage and medical spending are addressed in the bill.

McDougall also said that he hopes changes to health care reform include increased transparency, and that the results of the Massachusetts election show how important this issue is to the American public.

“I think that there needs to be more transparency in the whole process,” McDougall said. “When you have 4,400 pages of legislation, it’s very difficult for the public to understand what’s really in there.”

Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat left vacant after the death of Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy. The loss shifted the balance of power in the Senate, leaving Democrats with only 59 Senators in favor of the current health care reform bill. Sixty votes will be needed to end debate on the final version of the bill and bring the legislation to a floor vote.

BOOKED SOLID: ‘The Privileges’: The American Nightmare

Reading Jonathan Dee’s newest novel “The Privileges” (2010) feels like biting into really expensive, decadent chocolate. Like candy, his writing is addicting, deliciously sweet at times and bitingly tart at others. But beyond its compulsive readability, “The Privileges” is intelligent, substantial and worthwhile, as it questions our society’s definition of success in a subtle but chilling way.

At first glance, “The Privileges” seems like your typical wannabe-bestseller about filthy rich people living in New York City. Beginning with Adam and Cynthia’s wedding, the novel cycles through their children’s childhood, adolescence and adulthood while chronicling the family’s accumulation of wealth. Dee makes a point to emphasize just how incredibly “successful” they are they have money, looks, brains and they donate loads of money to charity. The underlying question of the novel, though, persists how happy are they, really?

Adam, who “creates wealth where there was no wealth before, and did it well enough that there was no end to it,” moves with Cynthia to downtown New York shortly after they marry. They make no effort, however, to maintain relationships with their family or old friends. Cynthia and Adam have their own kids, April and Jonas, and decide that their family of four is a perfectly sufficient amount of family for them. They fail to visit Cynthia’s dying stepfather, and Cynthia almost refuses to pick up her stepsister from a mental institution, telling her mother derisively, “Don’t hand me that family shit.”

The characters in the novel seem to think they are happy, likely because they believe so strongly that they should be. The kids go to one of the most exclusive private schools in Manhattan, they are all ridiculously good-looking and they generally get along as a family. Yet no family member is immune to the sinking feelings that lead them to question, at least once in the course of the novel, just how happy they really are. Jonas rejects his family’s jet-setting lifestyle altogether. April, the precocious adolescent who grows up to be a coked-out socialite, complains to her parents after a particularly dangerous weekend of antics, “Another few days and I’ll be hanging out with the same people doing the same stupid shit even though I don’t really want to. Why is that? I mean, what am I supposed to do with all my time?”

Dee tells April what to do, implicitly throughout the novel what’s missing in this family’s life, clearly, is their other family, and some real, meaningful work. “The Privileges” is a story about the changing definitions of success in American society, a topic that is especially salient given the recent recession and growing tension between Wall Street and middle America. The American Dream was built on manual labor jobs that made you sweat and created real, tangible goods. Now, people like Adam create wealth out of nothing. And in “The Privileges,” Dee shows us the tenuous lives that result from a world based on ephemeral wealth.

SA debates inquiry of staff input on budget

Members of the Student Assembly debate a piece of legislation at their Tuesday night meeting.

Members of the Student Assembly debate a piece of legislation at their Tuesday night meeting.

Members of Student Assembly actively debated whether to pass legislation during Tuesday’s General Assembly meeting that would ask the College to explain publicly the lack of representation of Service Employees International Union members on budget committees. In response to concerns raised by several members of the Assembly that the legislation would be perceived as hostile by College administrators, the Assembly decided to postpone voting until next week’s meeting.

The legislation titled the “Resolution Requesting an Administration Explanation Concerning the Budget Cut Process and Dartmouth’s Staff” was presented by David Imamura ’10, one of its authors.

The legislation faced heavy opposition from several members of Student Assembly, including 2012 Class Council President John Rutan ’12 and Assembly Spokesman Will Hix ’12.

In response to criticism, Imamura and Student Body President Frances Vernon ’10 stressed that if the legislation is passed, the Assembly would not be taking an official stance on whether SEIU staff should be included on budget committees it would only be asking questions about the issue.

“[The Student Budget Advisory Committee] gives representation to students on budget issues,” Imamura said. “Why isn’t there a similar committee for the staff?”

Rutan stated that any public statement released by the College regarding this issue would inevitably draw hostility from the union, adding his opinion that the College already has a sufficient understanding of the consequences of layoffs, causing SEIU representation to be unnecessary.

Hix said College President Jim Yong Kim has already reached out to the SEIU but ultimately rejected its involvement in the budget cut process.

“The administration has already made a decision about this matter,” Hix said.

Both Rutan and Hix also raised concerns that the legislation was “pointed” and “confrontational,” stating that it could be perceived as hostile by the College administration.

“[The General Assembly] passing legislation could damage our relationship with the administration if it is perceived as combative and damage our relationship with the campus body if it is ignored by the administration,” Hix said.

Even with SEIU representation, the College would still lack an accurate picture of the staff, Dean of Student Life Joe Cassidy said during the Assembly meeting.

“[The SEIU] only represents about 13 percent of the entire Dartmouth staff,” Cassidy said.

After the SEIU’s limited ability to represent the staff was discussed, the Assembly clarified the language of the document to ensure that it include all staff members, as was originally intended, according to the document’s authors.

The SBAC and Palaeopitus, two student committees familiar with budget issues, have refused to take positions on the issue, according to Hix. He said he believed it would be inappropriate for the Assembly to pass legislation without sufficient knowledge of the issue or input from the student body.

“There is no vested student body interest, and this is an issue that other student groups or committees can address,” Hix said. “This isn’t about student interest but about labor interest.”

The lack of widespread staff representation on budget committees has triggered a response from the campus community, including a recent protest held by SEIU members outside the Hopkins Center for the Arts Jan. 19 and a letter to Kim signed by 75 faculty members, which proposed cost-saving practices other than staff layoffs.

Other members of the Assembly continued to push for the legislation’s passage, arguing that staff are an important part of the Dartmouth experience and that it is the Assembly’s duty to ask questions of the administration.

Several members of the Assembly maintained that the issue was not as controversial as Hix and Rutan claimed, mainly because it would merely be “asking questions,” not attacking the administration.

Vernon, along with three other members of the Assembly, will meet with SBAC and Paleopitus on Thursday to discuss budget issues and ideas that have been proposed by both groups. Student Assembly hopes to discuss the lack of staff representation during the meeting, according to Hix. The meeting will remain private, he said.

“We are not going to release the points that we are discussing just yet,” Hix said.

‘The Lovely Bones’ fails to impress

According to Medha Raj, Peter Jackson's adaptation of

According to Medha Raj, Peter Jackson's adaptation of

Humans are naturally attracted to morbid events a fact that both the book (2002) and film (2009) versions of “The Lovely Bones” exploit and develop. Beyond the obvious fact that the plot is set in motion by the brutal rape, murder and dismemberment of a 14-year-old girl, both the film and book also deal with the killing’s equally morbid aftermath. But while Alice Sebold, author of the novel, creates a poignant story out of such tragedy, Peter Jackson’s film rendition falls short, failing to inspire an emotional response in its viewers.

Jackson remains mostly faithful to the original work, at least in terms of plot: both take place in 1970s suburban Philadelphia and tell the story of the brutal murder of Susie Salmon (“like the fish”) and the devastating consequences her family must face. The title refers to the once-close relationships that begin to deteriorate as the family searches desperately for Susie’s bones. Her father becomes obsessed with tracking down the killer and her mother deals with the emotional fallout.

Perhaps most striking about the novel, but disappointingly half-baked in the film, is Sebold’s creation of a heaven where Susie Salmon who serves as the novel’s narrator can see everything that happens on earth, resulting in an effective third-person omniscient narration. Sebold’s heaven prompts readers to consider the philosophical implications of an afterlife. The movie, however, focuses too much on the physical characteristics of the afterlife. Jackson conjures up a magical wonderland heaven full of visual effects, which ultimately adds nothing to the movie.

There is no doubt that Jackson tried to do the novel justice. It seems that he and screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens tried to include as much of the novel as possible in the movie, but ultimately had to face the truth that all adaptors must accept it is not possible to translate every event and convention of a novel to the screen. But instead of choosing the most important scenes and distilling the plot, the adaptation chooses to ignore the issue of cutting content. The decision to jam-pack the film’s 135 minutes with as many plot points from the book as possible ultimately causes the film to fall flat. Jackson does not linger on any incident long enough to allow much emotional resonance to develop.

Further, the movie does not flow well. Scenes cut from one to another with poorly devised transitions. The root of the problem appears again to be in this all-inclusive approach to the adaptation. Scenes are cramped together, and the barrage of thoughts and events results in information overload, instead of a rich and detailed movie.

This is not to say that the film is all bad. In what seems like a consolation prize for audiences, “The Lovely Bones” boasts a marvelous cast: Saoirse Ronan as the childish and curious Susie, Mark Wahlberg as her grieving father and Rachel Weisz as Susie’s drug-addict mother. Susan Sarandon also makes an appearance as Susie’s grandmother, an alcoholic, who adds a brief touch of humor to the predominantly grim movie.

And finally, Stanley Tucci is hauntingly unforgettable as Susie’s killer George Harvey, the oddly reclusive, sad-looking neighbor with an ugly comb-over unsuspecting but terrifying in every scene. From the beginning of the movie, Tucci does a marvelous job radiating sinister vibes. The tension Tucci creates on the screen lingers throughout the movie and is perhaps the only aspect of the movie with any significant emotional dimension. The audience knows the answer to the murder is painfully close, even though none of the characters can put the pieces together.

The film also features some rather impressive visual effects, resulting in a plethora of beautiful screenshots to grace the movie’s promos. On one hand, the eye candy usefully distracts from the film’s shortcomings. Yet on the other, it also serves to distract from the emotional foundation of Sebold’s novel and raises the question of what sort of movie “The Lovely Bones” might have been had the focus been on story rather than visual experience.

The good acting and aesthetics, however, cannot save the film from its failures of content. Jackson, in his effort to capture the novel in its entirety, takes on the burden of its structure but loses the substance: the humanity of the original novel. Despite skillful performances, the sorrow surrounding Susie’s death too often comes off as insincere.

Jackson known for “King Kong” (2005) and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy (2001-2003) is a master of artful direction. “The Lovely Bones,” however, is a story built mostly on human emotion, not creative imagery. For those who want a work of art, “The Lovely Bones” is a must-watch. Those looking for emotional engagement, however, will be thoroughly disappointed.

Greek orgs. gauge student interest

Two historically Jewish Greek organizations recently contacted students via Facebook and e-mail to gauge interest in founding chapters at Dartmouth, according to several students contacted by the organizations over the past week. The two organizations Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi sorority have not yet contacted the Interfraternity Council or the Panhellenic Council, according to IFC President Zachary Gottlieb ’10 and Panhell Vice President of Public Relations Ashley Cartagena ’10.

On Jan. 19, several male members of Dartmouth Hillel received e-mails and Facebook messages from Steven Kaplan, director of expansion for Alpha Epsilon Pi, they said. The messages and e-mails urged students to contact Kaplan if they were “interested or even curious” about Alpha Epsilon Pi, the students said.

“AEPi is in the process of looking for founding fathers to start a Jewish Fraternity at Dartmouth,” Kaplan said in the e-mails and Facebook messages.

Kaplan declined to comment about Alpha Epsilon Pi’s interests in colonizing at Dartmouth in an e-mail to The Dartmouth.

Chayla Furlong, director of expansion for Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi sorority, sent an e-mail to several female members of Dartmouth Hillel on Jan. 20, the students said. The e-mail said the sorority was “contacting several girls to see if anyone would be interested in being part of the founding mothers group” for an intended chapter at Dartmouth.

“I don’t know if you’re Jewish, but your last name is historically, so when we are looking for girls we start there,” Furlong wrote in the message sent to prospective members. “Whether you are Jewish or not (we are non-exclusive!) I’d like to know if you’re interested in hearing more about this awesome opportunity.”

The sorority has simply been searching for interest in the Dartmouth community and has neither had any official communication with the College nor established an interest group on campus, Furlong said in an e-mail to The Dartmouth. If Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi chooses to create a colony at Dartmouth, organizers would “hope to have a strong and open communication with the members of [Panhell],” Furlong said.

“At this point it’s too early to say whether we will be colonizing at Dartmouth,” Furlong said in the e-mail. “Our research and inquiries will continue for several more weeks before we will be able to make that decision.”

Although Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi has had no contact with Panhell, council members were aware of rumors that a historically Jewish sorority had reached out to students, Cartagena said in an e-mail to The Dartmouth.

“We encourage students and organizations [such as Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi] to contact the Panhellenic Council if they have any questions or interest in colonizing,” Cartagena said in the e-mail, adding that she did not think the Panhellenic community was currently looking to expand.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi is a non-Panhellenic national organization and therefore is not subject to many of the restrictions that Panhellenic organizations must follow, according to Furlong. Because of this, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi does not have to participate in a Greek selection process before joining a campus, Furlong said in the e-mail.

“We feel that by remaining non-Panhellenic we provide our potential chapters an opportunity to better and more efficiently succeed at bringing a Jewish, Greek organization to campus,” Furlong said.

If enough women on campus express an interest in joining the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, the sorority will request that they form an interest group, she said. The national sorority would not be officially affiliated with the interest group, but would provide guidance for one term, she said.

Joseph Tanenbaum ’13 received a Facebook message and an e-mail from Alpha Epsilon Pi, but chose not to respond to either, he said in an e-mail to The Dartmouth.

Tanenbaum has “no desire” to start a fraternity at Dartmouth because he believes Dartmouth’s Greek scene is already “diverse enough,” he said in the e-mail.

“With such a long list of organizations waiting for the College to build them or renovate a house, it would have taken a very long time to actually have a house,” Tanenbaum said in the e-mail. “Plus, I think that Dartmouth is such a welcoming community that I don’t feel the need to start a fraternity, the founders of which and subsequently the brothers of which, would mostly be the same faith.”

Alpha Epsilon Pi tried to establish a chapter at Dartmouth in 2006, but its efforts were rejected by the IFC, The Dartmouth previously reported.

Gottlieb is a member of The Dartmouth staff.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Union of Community

Tothe Editor:

Chris Talamo’s column (“One Community,'” Jan. 22) offered good thoughts on the meaning of community at Dartmouth but misunderstood what the members of SEIU Local 560 are saying about layoffs.

The staff is willing to help the College meet its challenges. The best way we can do that is to negotiate the terms of our contract. If we can do that, we can prevent valuable members of the community from being laid off.

Layoffs for many of the staff will result not only in the loss of jobs and benefits but also in the loss of their homes and livelihoods in the Upper Valley. We are incredibly proud to work for Dartmouth. Some of us have been at the College for generations of students. All we are asking for is the chance to continue doing that for the sake of that community. We are not seeking special treatment. We are simply asking for a seat at the table, to offer constructive help and to remain valuable members of this community that prides itself on openness and fairness. President Kim has said that “the world’s troubles are our troubles.” As a community, we believe that social justice starts at home. Well, this is home. Help us remain part of the Dartmouth Experience for the sake of everyone here.Earl F. SweetPresident, SEIU Local 560