Daily Debriefing

Fewer college freshmen reported spending time partying in 2012 than in any year since 1966, according to The Huffington Post. Last year, 33.4 percent of freshmen reported drinking beer, while beer drinking peaked in 1982 at 73.7 percent, according to the University of California, Los Angeles Cooperative Institutional Research Program’s annual survey. Respondents were also asked how much time they spent at parties per week during their senior year of high school, and 37 percent reported that they had spent no time partying at all. These data contradict widespread beliefs that American students spend too much time partying and not enough time studying, according to The Huffington Post. Nearly 80 percent of the respondents characterized themselves as above average in their “drive to achieve.”

An increasing number of students are taking virtual internships, which do not require an intern to set foot in the office, The New York Times reported. These internships, largely carried out through Skype and emails, have flourished in recent years. A survey of 303 companies by Internships.com revealed that a third of employers planned to offer virtual internships in 2013. Students who take advantage of these opportunities appreciate their flexible hours and can often fit internships into full-time academic or work schedules, according to The Times. Some researchers, however, fear that these jobs lack personal communication, will not teach young people the intricacies of office etiquette and will not allow interns to receive clear feedback from their bosses.

A paper published by the Center for American Progress suggests that colleges should emulate the National Football League’s spirit of cooperation to improve their admissions processes and form a league to standardize admission and aid packages, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. Recruiting top students using merit scholarships generally benefits privileged students and does not further institutions’ stated commitments to accessibility and diversity. The paper suggests that colleges review their policies and collaborate more effectively with others to reduce the competitiveness of the admissions process, increase the accessibility of financial aid and increase social inclusion, according to The Chronicle. Universities should collaborate to establish standard deadlines for admission and reduce the exaggeration of facts and figures commonly shared with prospective students, according to the paper.

LeVines link mothers’ literacy to family health

Sarah and Robert LeVine studied the positive effects of schooling on motherhood in developing countries.

There is a correlation between mothers’ childhood education and their ability to interact with health care professionals, husband and wife team Robert and Sarah Levine said in a lecture on Wednesday. The ease with which mothers communicate with health care providers can decrease infant mortality because mothers understand more fully how to care for their children. The researchers’ recent book, “Literacy and Mothering,” analyzes data from four countries to show the association between a woman’s early education and positive health outcomes for both mother and children.

Demographic health surveys conducted in the last several decades indicate that a mother’s schooling significantly impacts her child’s mortality, according to the authors.

An article published in the medical journal Lancet in 2010 established that for every additional year a mother attends primary school, her child’s mortality rate decreases by 10 percent up to age five. Robert LeVine, an anthropology professor at Harvard University, and anthropologist Sarah LeVine furthered these studies by examining how education translates to maternal behavior that affects a child’s health and welfare.

“The question we’re really exploring is, How can a few years of schooling, even at bad schools, impact a woman’s maternal behaviors many years later?'” Robert LeVine said.

Underdeveloped nations’ inadequate schooling systems prevent students from learning substantial material, according to Sarah LeVine.

The LeVines’ team included literacy experts and statisticians in order to make a comprehensive and interdisciplinary project.

Robert and Sarah LeVine conducted their study in Mexico, Venezuela, Zambia and Nepal in urban and rural areas and found that socioeconomic background also affects child welfare.

The team found a correlation between a country’s gross domestic product and the proportion of women who received schooling. Those who had not received education interacted with their children poorly and infrequently compared to their educated counterparts. The LeVines found that schooling incrementally but consistently improved young girls’ ability to communicate effectively.

In one Mexican community that the team surveyed, they found that influential but uneducated senior women were unable to give coherent narratives of local health crises, while educated but younger women who were lower in the village’s hierarchy could.

Differences in these women’s narrative capacities led to drastically different treatment in hospitals and health care facilities, according to Sarah LeVine.

“These older, uneducated women were being dismissed,” Sarah LeVine said. “They couldn’t get the doctors and nurses to pay attention to them.”

Robert and Sarah LeVine were initially unable to accurately measure women’s schooling and literacy levels because Spanish literacy tests were unavailable. To collect data, the researchers composed a test based on social studies texts that women would have read if they had attended primary and secondary schools.

Through their studies of women’s literacy levels, the researchers found that educated women were able to internalize classroom teacher-student interactions and apply them to other settings, Sarah LeVine said.

“Educated women were able to behave like pupils while in health care settings,” Robert LeVine said. “They listened to and followed doctors’ advice for themselves and for their children, regardless of whether or not they understood that advice.”

In the home setting, women with schooling adopted a teacher’s role talking to and tutoring their children on subjects like health care, according to Robert LeVine.

During the course of their research, the team observed declining fertility and infant mortality in every nation they studied except Zambia. This discrepancy resulted from AIDS, Hepatitis C and drug-resistant malaria epidemics, Robert LeVine said.

“No matter how much schooling the women had, they would go to a clinic and there would be no health measures they could take to improve their situations,” he said.

The LeVines’ studies across the four countries revealed that educated women were more likely to follow doctors’ instructions and return for follow-up appointments. This behavior led to better parenting and lower infant and child mortality rates, Sarah LeVine said.

Hannah McGehee ’15 said she enjoyed the lecture’s focus on relationships between women’s issues and health in the developing world.

“I don’t think we would ever think how this would affect people raising kids because it’s such a standard here,” she said. “It’s interesting to see how sending our education system abroad affects the culture.”

Although the studies showed a positive correlation between women’s childhood literacy and later mothering skills, the LeVines acknowledged that larger and longer-term studies will produce more conclusive results.

“Optimally, we would establish the causal influence of literacy on a mother’s ability to interact with health care bureaucracy through following young girls from schooling all the way until motherhood,” Sarah LeVine said. “But even now, we can definitively say that education does benefit mothers and their ability to care for their children.”

Students plan business competition

Correction appended

A medical device prototype, a picture-based social network and a mobile gaming system may not compete in the marketplace, but they did compete on campus in last year’s Business Plan Competition, hosted by the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Society.

Undergraduate students will again have the chance to enter the competition and win $5,000, according to DES executive board member Justin Burris ’15.

Contestants will submit project proposals next week and the winners will be rewarded money to pursue their ventures. The competition’s top three contestants will advance to the semifinals of the Tuck School of Business’s Dartmouth Venture Entrepreneurship Contest, where they will compete with nine other teams for first place and $25,000 in prize money.

All twelve semifinalists are guaranteed $1,000 in prize money, Burris said. The Dartmouth Venture Entrepreneurship Contest offers a total of $59,000 in prize money.

Last year’s DES second-place winner, Alison Stace-Naughton ’11, went on to win the Tuck contest with her prototype of a medical device used in endoscopic surgery, according to Burris.

Last year, Delos Chang ’14 won first place with a proposal for a social networking site that would allow users to share experiences through pictures. The site, Memeja, uses comics to eliminate the language barrier that exists in sites like Reddit and Facebook, Chang said.

“I learned how to synergize with other cofounders more than anything else,” Chang said. “I was the lead developer, but I learned more from running a startup than from coding.”

Chang hoped to develop a final product by working with YCombinator, a Silicon Valley startup accelerator, but was unable to do so, he said.

Terrance Bei ’13 was awarded third place for mobile gaming with augmented reality features. Burris emphasized that ideas from any field can be successful in the competition.

Chang said that proposals that solve real problems perform the best in the competition.

“If you are not solving a problem, then no one will want what you are developing because there is no need for it,” he said.

The DES contest has three rounds spanning four weeks. Each team or participant first submits a letter of intent and a summary briefly describing the idea, and students are invited to submit more than one pitch.

The contest received 61 entries in 2011, its first year.

One week after receiving submissions, the judging panel will announce the first round of eliminations, leaving 20 teams in the semifinals, Burris said. The semifinalists will be asked to submit a PowerPoint pitch, and five will then be selected to continue to the final round.

This round will consist of a 20-minute presentation and subsequent Q&A session in front of the judges, Burris said.

“Outside cash prizes, the competition will also give a great chance to network with Dartmouth alumni who are successful entrepreneurs or venture capitalists,” Burris said. “It will improve your business expertise and be helpful in future entrepreneurship attempts.”

Five venture capitalists two professors from Tuck and three Dartmouth alumni will judge this year’s competition, Burris said.

“This competition is a great way to encourage people to get their ideas full circle and get feedback from people in the field,” DES president John Michel ’14 said. “The real goal of the competition is to get undergraduates excited and involved in entrepreneurial ventures.”

Only one member of the team has to be a Dartmouth undergraduate, DES executive board member Vikram Narayan ’15 said. One of this year’s competitors has a partner who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Business Plan Competition starts Feb. 6, and the Dartmouth Venture Entrepreneurship Contest semifinals will take place March 18.

Beside the yearly business competition, DES last supported bringing Lore, a social course management system, to campus in the Fall.

**The original version of this article incorrectly identified YCombinator as startup incubator. It is in fact an accelerator.*

SA ups programming, visibility

Since transitioning into their positions last April, Student Body President Suril Kantaria ’13 and Vice president Julia Danford ’13 have taken steps toward implementing their campaign promise to increase the Assembly’s visibility and involvement in student programming, according to Kantaria. Many students interviewed, however, said they were not aware of the new programming options.

This Fall, the Assembly introduced a handful of new initiatives for students, including the first-year peer mentoring program, which links interested freshmen with upperclassmen mentors, and an intellectual life initiative to encourage informal interaction between students and their professors, Kantaria said.

The mentorship program was formed out of a partnership among interested upperclassmen, members of the Assembly and the Dean’s Office.

Program co-director Andrew Longhi ’14 said that although the program currently serves only the Fahey-McLane and Russell Sage residential clusters, he plans to expand it and add faculty advisors. The original program included about 200 first-year students, according to Kantaria.

“We’ve been pretty happy with it,” Kantaria said. “The Dean’s Office put out a survey and several students mentioned it as a positive experience.”

Co-director Lily Michelson ’15 said that while the program was somewhat disorganized at the start of the school year, she hopes that it will become more visible and attract new mentors next year after positive student response. On Friday, the program will host a panel discussion on summer internship opportunities for first year students, Longhi said.

The intellectual life initiative, which started midway through Fall term, plans events for professors and students to meet over dinner or in small discussion groups outside the classroom, according to Austin Boral ’16, an Assembly cluster representative for Russell-Sage.

“It’s geared toward getting students to discuss current events and meet professors in a more intimate setting,” Boral said.

Boral is a contributing columnist.

The Assembly has increased student programming, and planned tailgates before sports games and events in alternative social spaces such as Sarner Underground, Collis Common Ground and the Hopkins Center, Kantaria said. In the future, the Assembly plans to co-host more events in these spaces with interested student organizations and Greek houses.

“We’ve been thinking about alternatives to the social scene for a while,” Kantaria said.

The Assembly hopes to increase the number of events in residential clusters to improve community interactions among students, he said. First-year student programming will begin this week.

“A theme in our programming is to improve intellectual life outside of the classroom,” Kantaria said.

Following the recent incidents of racism on campus, the Assembly has worked closely with Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson and the Office of Pluralism and Leadership to reach out to students and increase campus discussion on campus culture, Kantaria said.

The Assembly sent students a survey in the Fall asking about the qualities they wanted to see in Dartmouth’s incoming president. At the beginning of the Winter term, the Assembly organized a breakfast in Paganucci Lounge where students could meet President-elect Philip Hanlon.

The Assembly continues to run its most popular programs, including arranging extra buses to Boston and New York City at the end of academic terms, according to its website. It will also fund access to national newspapers in dining halls and sponsoring the “take your professor to lunch or coffee program,” according to Kantaria.

Kantaria said the Assembly continues to compile a searchable database of student clubs and organizations, called the Dartmouth Group Directory. The database currently includes 68 percent of student organizations.

Although the Assembly has tried to increase its visibility to students through event planning and weekly “T.G.I.F.” emails about upcoming programs, students interviewed said that they had not noticed the Assembly’s increased involvement in student life.

Dan Harris ’14 said he was not aware of the Assembly’s new programming for students, and Jennifer Wray ’16 said she had little knowledge of the events that the Assembly had planned for first-years.

Asked about his knowledge of Assembly programs, Alex Bulteel ’16 said that he had never heard of Student Assembly.

Jacob Savos ’16 said he felt that the Assembly “did a good job fulfilling their role on campus,” though he only attended one of their events during the Fall.

Kim urges nations to face climate change

Former College President Jim Yong Kim has been at the World Bank for six months, where he is working to elevate discussion on climate change.

It has been six months since former College President Jim Yong Kim traded one presidential title for another at the World Bank. Kim, now head of the World Bank, spent his first months listening to staff and the board of directors and aims to make the bank less bureaucratic, he said in an interview with The Washington Post. Since the bank’s November report on climate change, Kim has signaled that the bank seeks to help countries assess and manage risks related to global warming, according to Bloomberg.

Kim urged countries to cooperate with one another to combat climate change in a Jan. 24 op-ed in The Post. He warned that the earth’s atmospheric temperature may increase by up to four degrees Celsius by the end of this century, and would cause widespread catastrophic results if no urgent action is taken.

Kim encouraged governments to institute carbon emissions reduction initiatives in order to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius and avoid environmental crises, like rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions. Governments should make it their top priority to promote low-carbon growth by setting predictable energy prices that reflect environmental costs, he said.

Last week, Kim asked international governments to help create a global carbon market at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Carbon markets are appealing in theory but do not work well in practice, environmental studies professor D. G. Webster said in an email.

Implementing carbon taxes and reducing fuel subsidies, though unpopular, are more effective ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Governments should invest the money saved on subsidies in cheap, sustainable alternatives for transportation and manufacturing to reduce the financial burden on the poor, according to Webster.

Kim’s suggested focus on reforming cities’ energy use is a good idea but insufficient.

“I would prefer a more holistic approach to greening the entire economy,” she said.

Thomas Blinkhorn, a lecturer at the Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth who worked at the World Bank for 30 years and continues to serve as a consultant, approved of Kim’s recent proposals.

Blinkhorn said he is pleased to see Kim use his new position to raise public awareness about global warming.

The Obama administration’s emphasis on climate change is also encouraging, given previous administrations’ lack of attention to the issue.

“Climate change impacts everything health, agriculture, water supply, sanitation and so on,” Blinkhorn said. “So climate change has to be integrated into the country assistance programs that the World Bank offers.”

Kim wrote that governments should focus on eliminating harmful fuel subsidies around the world, which could result in a 5 percent decrease in emissions by 2020. The world’s 100 largest cities, which generate 67 percent of energy-related emissions, are both centers of green innovations and the most vulnerable to climate change.

The World Bank partners with countries to help them mitigate and adapt to the consequences of accelerated climate change, Blinkhorn said.

Of the 187 countries that jointly own the World Bank, 100 are active borrowers with climate change dimensions built into their assistance programs. The World Bank’s partnership efforts include disaster risk insurance and development marketplace initiatives. The disaster risk insurance initiative pools countries’ resources to provide cash to those affected by extreme weather conditions, according to Blinkhorn.

“This initiative is important because we have learned from past environmental disasters that victims do not only need shelter, food and health care,” he said. “One of the immediate things they need is hard cash, and this initiative offers them hope that this money will be falling faster.”

The World Bank has a long history of investing in large-scale energy projects in developing countries but been less concerned with energy efficiency, according to environmental studies and geography professor Christopher Sneddon.

The World Bank has shown a greater interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy resources in the past decade, Sneddon said.

“But there’s a long distance between rhetoric and actual implementation of policy,” he said. “The World Bank would have to overcome hurdles from both global and national politics.”

The bank cannot single-handedly achieve a social transformation, which requires an increase in public and private willingness to invest, Webster said.

Finding a solution to the climate change problem will require a multidisciplinary approach, which Kim is well equipped to pursue due to his experience as a doctor and anthropologist, according to Blinkhorn.

The bank aims to reduce poverty in developing countries by funding economic development projects, Webster said.

“Weighing the short-term needs of impoverished nations against the long-term vulnerability of the entire world is the tricky bit,” she said. “Kim and the World Bank must balance these needs well.”

Many people criticize Kim for continuing the World Bank’s policy of funding coal-fired energy plants in poor countries because the plants contribute to global warming, she said. But, as Kim has argued, the vast majority of greenhouse gases were produced in the past by today’s developed countries.

“The greenhouse gases are also currently consumed in developed countries even though they are produced in newly industrialized countries like China,” she said. “It seems unfair to ask the poorest in the world to pay the costs.”

Sellers: Taylor is Over the Top

Ever since tears dropped on her guitar in 2008, Taylor Swift has become a staple of mainstream country and pop music. However, those harmless tears have transformed into something much more sinister in her later albums. Instead of pining over a crush who does not reciprocate her love, Swift’s songs have a taken a turn for the worse. Now, her songs perpetuate the girl vs. girl mentality that has already taken over middle school friendships across the country. Furthermore, she views boys as property: property that she doesn’t want to be stolen by other thieving girls. Add to this a dash of slut shaming and you have a poisonous mixture ready to drip into the ears of her young, predominately female fan base.
This is not to say that Taylor Swift is a bad person. My hometown is near hers in Tennessee, so many of my friends have met her. They all describe her as warm and gracious, echoing Swift’s own views about the duty of a celebrity to appreciate and be kind to her fans.

I want to like her, and I can see why so many parents view her as a role model for their children. The problem with Swift being a role model, however, is that children shouldn’t lead children. In many respects, Swift’s persona in her songs betrays a mentality well below her 23 years. It is one that obsesses over boys and despises any girl who gets in the way of her probably-already-planned wedding with the boy of her dreams.

Honestly, this persona reminds me of me, circa seventh grade. And trust me, my middle school self is the last person young girls across the country should be emulating.

Although Swift considers herself to be a role model, she does not see beyond what the typical teen girl focuses on boys. Her hits revolve almost exclusively around boys and relationships the pining, the first date, the falling out and the breakup. Instead of advocating independence or self-respect that is not based on the opinions of others, Swift seems to place her self-esteem on the shoulders of her many and fluctuating crushes, shoulders that are precarious at best.

In doing so, Swift is reinforcing what many girls already thinkthat having a boyfriend should be their first priority. If a boyfriend is priority number one, then it follows that everything that comes in the way of a happy-ever-after with the cute boy from chemistry class should be sacrificed and, in the case of the “other woman,” vilified. This is exactly what Swift does in her songs. In “You Belong With Me,” Swift’s persona feels no remorse when she professes her love to him, causing him to leave his girlfriend for her on prom night, or when she causes the groom to leave his bride for her on their wedding day in “Speak Now.”

In addition to slut-shaming and “othering” the women who get in the way of her relationship with men, Swift seems obsessed with vengeance and having the last word. Her song “Better Than Revenge” clearly hints at this tendency, implying that humiliating both her ex and the woman he is currently dating is better than being in that relationship anyway.

Swift seems to relish the popularity of her songs and the efficacy with which they can expose her victims. In “Mean,” for instance, Swift uses her song to sound off against a music critic who poorly reviewed one of her live performances. In retaliation to the critic who “pointed out [her] flaws,” Swift resorts to ad hominem attacks, saying about the blogger, “all you are is mean and a liar and pathetic and alone in life.” These arguments, while hurtful, are middle school-caliber attacks. Instead of engaging in mature dialogue or looking inward to solve her problems, Swift name-calls and glorifies revenge.

These sorts of messages are not what young girls need to hear, however much Swift tries to be a role model. Though parents may not appreciate their young girls looking up to celebrities who wear tight skirts and smoke cigarettes, Swift’s immature, harmful mentality is just as detrimental, if not more so.

Idzik ’82 named new Jets general manager

Correction appended

John Idzik ’82 grew up a football brat. Football pumped through his veins and colored his childhood. His father coached for Tulane University, the Miami Dolphins, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Colts, and Idzik stayed by his side, eyes wide with wonder while handing out balls, doing laundry or closely observing players.

When Idzik joined the Dartmouth football team in 1978 as a wide receiver, his father was an assistant coach with New York Jets. Now, 35 years later, Idzik will continue the family legacy, returning to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., to serve as the Jets’ general manager.

The Jets reached out to Idzik, the former vice president of football administration for the Seattle Seahawks, in early January when Seattle was beginning its NFL playoff run. After the Seahawks’ 24-14 victory over the Washington Redskins, Idzik flew to the East Coast to accept the position.

“It’s very hard to leave, but when you get an opportunity of this magnitude to work with what you feel are good people who make you feel comfortable, it’s exciting and flattering,” Idzik said.

Idzik replaces Mike Tannenbaum, who had been general manager since 2006. Idzik said he hopes to encourage “comprehensive cohesiveness” among the Jets, whose record suffered in the 2012 season and was compounded by reports of infighting.

“When you have that feeling, which we certainly had in Seattle and Tampa and at Dartmouth, special things can happen,” Idzik said.

Idzik’s football career began at his high school in Philadelphia. His father was a coach for the Eagles and Idzik spent much of his time with the professional team. During the off-season, Idzik ran routes with the wide receivers and was exposed to the team’s techniques and drills.

“I guess you could call it the family business,” Idzik said. “It’s a very unique environment it’s highly visible, so everyone knows what your dad does and who his colleagues are. But I think you’re not fazed by it, it’s just your everyday life.”

While Idzik was at Dartmouth, his father left Philadelphia for New York to work with the Jets. Idzik split his time between Hanover, Philadelphia and Long Island, spending his summers and off terms with the Jets. Sometimes he would hitch rides with Jets’ defensive lineman Joe Klecko, who also lived in Pennsylvania, to New York.

At Dartmouth, Idzik majored in math and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors. Idzik always donned Jets gear shirts, shorts and cleats and had a great grasp of the game, former teammate Shaun Teevens ’82 said.

“Guys like John Idzik, they understood the whole scheme, how to catch the ball, how to bring it into his body, how you should practice,” Teevens said. “I was fortunate to have been exposed to guys like that. He was special.”

Football coach Buddy Teevens Dartmouth’s senior quarterback when Idzik joined the team as a freshman said that Idzik always stayed late at practices and constantly wanted to catch and improve his skill set.

“You just appreciate people who want to improve and are willing to work hard to prove it,” Buddy Teevens said.

Idzik was injured most of his junior and senior years, which detracted from his playing time. Still, he gained the empathy needed to coach and manage football through his playing time. Having played football and experienced its challenges makes it easier to evaluate and relate to players, he said.

After Dartmouth, Idzik earned his master’s in liberal arts from Duke University while serving as assistant coach to the Blue Devils. He entered the NFL after, working in football administration for 11 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and three years with the Arizona Cardinals before he moved to Seattle in 2007.

As the Jets’ “numbers guy,” Idzik will manage the team’s salaries, according to ESPN. The Jets are $19.4 million over budget in regards to salary caps. Idzik will also have to address lingering questions about the Jets’ starting quarterback.

In the meantime, Idzik, who held his first public press conference as general manager last Thursday, said he has been trying to adjust to his new job, get up to speed with his staff and learn the day-to-day tasks he will handle.

Heading into next season, the Jets are a highly publicized team, and Idzik said he will find himself at the center of attention.

“It goes with the territory,” Idzik said. “I’m going to be upfront a lot more than I was in the past and I’m not fazed by that.”

**The original version of this article misidentified the home of the Jets. The stadium is in East Rutherford, N.J.*

Coffey: The “PC” Police

A recent message from the Office of the President preached that, “All students, staff and faculty that call Dartmouth home must feel welcome, safe and included.” Based on the complaints of hazing and discrimination, by either fraternities or the community as a whole, it should be obvious that all members of our community do not, in fact, feel welcome. Within the span of a single week, two “bias incidents” were reported, one involving verbal harassment and the other racist graffiti in a freshman dorm.

But for all the administration’s calls to foster community, little is changing in the eyes of students who feel ignored or oppressed by the establishment. Clearly we need more empathy and understanding. But how to get it? The honest answer is less insistence on political correctness.

How could anyone call for less political correctness? This is the third rail of social discourse. Encroachment is deadly. But the truth is that mutual understanding and expression are stifled by the need to remain politically correct, and inquiry into hot political and social topics is muffled.

I do not advocate unrestrained insensitivity, but rather an ability to tolerate discussion. In today’s PC generation, we condemn overtly racist actions, but we do little to stop stereotyping in our personal opinions. To achieve our ultimate goal of creating a more inclusive society, we must broaden social empathy through open awareness and understanding. Undoubtedly there is some justification for enforcing sensitivity. I have heard comments directed at me and in passing that make me cringe confusing Muslims with Arabs or Afghans with Arabs, and protesting hotly that the LGBT community does not face discrimination “because you can’t tell from the outside.”

Our campus is gasping for a breath of acceptance and understanding, but how can we engage in meaningful social discourse if we are afraid to offend classmates? This fear inhibits debate and leaves more members of our community ignorant of the issues facing disadvantaged is that the politically correct term? groups both on campus and in the larger world. As someone who has often played the PC police, I admit having withheld tentative opinions in classes and discussions with acquaintances for fear of being labeled sexist, insensitive or elitist. Only with my closest friends do I feel comfortable engaging in real, constructive discussion.

We have too much political correctness, yet we also have too little. The PC police are justified in patrolling our dialogue by handing out yellow cards. But as we know from our criminal justice system, punishment is not always constructive. Our community’s convictions must be strong enough to discuss tender issues.

How can we come to terms with divisive issues if we are afraid to discuss them? Take affirmative action, for example. How can we expand our community’s understanding of the purpose of affirmative action if we are afraid to admit that on average, black and Hispanic students score lower on standardized tests than white or Asian students?

Tiptoeing around sensitive issues can decrease the political and social consciousness on campus, especially regarding hot political issues like gay marriage, abortion and capital gains taxes. This Fall, during the height of the presidential campaign, I was stunned by how little activism and debate among classmates I witnessed. Facebook was the most popular venue for vigorous debate, but these battles usually ended when a third party intervened for the sake of “social cohesion.” But the truth is that we will have no social cohesion until a mutual understanding is reached.

Freedom of expression would create a community more responsive to repeated calls for change, but we must be careful not to abuse this freedom by allowing insensitive students to create a less welcoming community. We should not focus on placating reports from the President’s Office, but how to actively bend the moral arc of our campus culture toward justice.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard administrators, instructors and community leaders preach Interim President Carol Folt’s line. I would like to think her message is true, but the constant reminders make me doubt that the social discourse at this college pays any heed. If we are really to progress as a community we need empathy. And empathy can only come from discussions in which we are free to say what we really think.

‘Dartmouth Idol’ semis will feature 25 performers

Monte Reed '12 was named the winner in last year's

Tomorrow night, 25 of Dartmouth’s most talented singers will gather in Spaulding Auditorium to face off in the semifinals of “Dartmouth Idol,” a competition modeled after the popular TV show “American Idol.”

Six of these semifinalists will move on to compete in the finals, which are scheduled to take place in March.

The semifinalists were chosen from a pool of 60 who auditioned, according to College Gospel Choir director Walt Cunningham, who is responsible for creating, producing and directing the show.

Students were asked to perform a song of their choosing in front of a panel consisting of Cunningham, Hopkins Center student performance programs director Joshua Kol ’93 and Kaitlyn Sheehan ’09, a finalist in the 2009 “Dartmouth Idol” competition.

The audition process also included an interview component that allowed the panelists to learn about the students’ motivations for participating in the show.

This year marks the largest number of students to advance to the semifinal round of “Dartmouth Idol” in recent history, Cunningham said. The unusually high number of semifinalists is a reflection of the amount of talented and charismatic people who came out to audition.

Hop student relations advisor Serena Nelson ’12 said that the sheer number of competitors this year means it will be more difficult for audience members and judges to decide the six who will move on to the finals. The large number of students could result in some ties, she said.

Cunningham said that having more competitors will allow “Dartmouth Idol” to reflect a larger proportion of students from across campus and build up excitement surrounding the event.

“I hope the hype is up,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure that different constituencies are involved in the [semifinals]. I think we have a wider cross section of campus reflected.”

The amount of talented competitors in the semifinals has made it difficult for Cunningham to predict who will move on to the final round.

“The most exciting thing about this year is every year in the past, I’ve been able to predict to about 50 or 60 percent accuracy who will be in the finals,” he said. “This year, I have no idea.”

David Clossey ’16, a semifinalist who sings in the Dartmouth Aires and the Dartmouth College Glee Club, made it to the semifinals by auditioning with a rendition of The Beatles’ “Let It Be.”

Clossey said he auditioned for the event because it offered the chance to interact with a variety of singers from across campus.

“I’m in an a capella group on campus, so I know 18 vocalists really well,” he said. “There could be thousands more who have really great voices, and this program enables these people to come out and give it their all and sing. I think it’s a really empowering program.”

Sophia Vazquez ’14, a semifinalist who also took part in last year’s semifinal round, said she chose to participate because the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience is always exhilarating.

“You feed off of each other’s energy,” she said. “You come off the stage with what people call runner’s high, and you just want to do it again. That’s what I love about performing, just how much excitement and energy there is.”

Daniel Calano ’15, a member of the Dodecaphonics who starred in last year’s production of “Hairspray,” said that “Idol” offers students a chance to perform in a context outside of what they are used to.

“I wanted to audition mainly because it’s a very different type of performance from what I’ve done in the past at Dartmouth or elsewhere,” he said. “Being able to sing a song on my own with a professional band behind me would be an incredible experience.”

Calano said that while he hopes to progress in the competition, his main goal is to enjoy the process.

“It would be really cool to win or even make it to the finals, and while I would love that, I’m really in it to have fun,” Calano said. “To just have that experience and sing on that stage and perform with other incredible performers. I only have the next few years to be able to do something like this.”

Michael Zhu ’14, a semifinalist and member of the Dartmouth Cords, said that the larger number of semifinalists in this year’s competition makes him both enthusiastic and nervous. While it is exciting to see so many talented competitors, the high number also decreases each individual’s chance of making it into the finals, he said.

Zhu said that his main goal Friday will be to engage the audience with his song choice and performance.

“I guess the point of singing always is to make some sort of connection with the audience,” he said. “That’s all I can really hope for, and that people like it enough to vote for me.”

Reilly ’13 excels in final season

Connor Reilly '13 has emerged as a team leader during his senior season while leading the Big Green in the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes.

Connor Reilly ’13 first made a name for himself on Dartmouth’s track and field team when he secured an Ivy League Championship title his freshman year. With his performance this season and his recent nomination as the Northeast Credit Union Athlete of the Week, Reilly has continued to stand out and he aims to solidify his legacy in his final season.

Reilly has already achieved impressive results this season in the 60-meter dash, taking first place at the Jay Carisella Invitational and the Dartmouth Relays. He was named Athlete of the Week for his exceptional performance at a tri-meet against Yale University and Columbia University on Jan. 20, where he won the 200-meter dash and 60-meter dash.

“I think I’ve set myself up to run some pretty good times,” he said.

Reilly has made an impact on the team since his freshman year, according to coach Sandra Ford-Centonze.

“Connor came in as a freshman and accomplished something that no freshman has done in the program winning an Ivy title,” Ford-Centonze said. “Since then, he has always been in the top three in Ivies.”

Reilly did not begin running track until the spring of his sophomore year in high school, when various injuries prompted him to stop playing basketball.

“My brother was a sprinter and kind of coaxed me into running with him,” Reilly said. “I guess that ended up working pretty well.”

In high school, Reilly became acquainted with Dartmouth’s campus when he competed in the annual Dartmouth Relays. After visiting Hanover, he decided that Dartmouth would be a good place continue his running and academic careers, and began contacting the track coaches.

“At first, I thought he was very quiet and reserved,” Ford-Centonze said. “But I could sense his confidence in knowing what he wanted to do.”

Reilly’s background forced him to change his running style during his first year with the Big Green.

“He ran like a soccer player and not like a sprinter,” Ford-Centonze said. “We worked on some of his mechanics trying to get him to go straight out of the blocks and other things.”

Although Reilly’s running style may have changed, two of Reilly’s constant, and certainly most important, traits as an athlete are his perfectionism and his unfailing work ethic.

“Connor takes his running very seriously,” teammate Jacob Evanter ’13 said. “He wants to make sure that everything he does is perfect. At times, it can be annoying because it takes a long time, but he always puts the time in for it.”

Ford-Centonze agreed that Reilly may push himself too hard.

“It’s at a point now where even if I tell him to relax, I know that’s not going to happen,” Ford-Centonze said.

Although Reilly is serious about running, his teammates have discovered his playful side.

“He can definitely be a clown behind the scenes at times,” Evanter said.

Reilly encourages his teammates to push themselves just as he pushes himself. As a second-year team captain, he discusses his teammates’ goals and how they plan to achieve them.

“This year, I feel like he has taken on more responsibility with looking after his teammates,” Ford-Centonze said. “That was something that the upperclassmen did for him, and I now see it with him and some of our younger guys.”

Reilly hopes to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships this season. Last year, Reilly and his teammates were disappointed when he missed qualifying for the Championships due to a tiebreaker.

“That was the hardest part in the season for both of us, and for me in particular, because I felt like it was going to happen,” Ford-Centonze said. “You never want to lose by one that one is the hardest to swallow.”

In addition, Reilly has set specific time-based goals for himself this season.

“At the end of the day, if I end up running the times I want, I’ll place high in the Ivy League Championships and maybe even beyond,” Reilly said.

Reilly’s teammates and coaches have confidence in his ability to reach new heights this season.

“I look forward to him leaving a strong legacy at Dartmouth and something that his fellow teammates can strive for,” Ford-Centonze said. “He wants to make that legacy as thorough as he can.”