Daily Debriefing

Nearly 500 Duke University students gathered Wednesday afternoon to protest an Asian-themed party hosted by Kappa Sigma fraternity on Feb. 1, Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, reported. Duke’s Asian Students Association organized the rally to protest the party’s theme and provoke a campus-wide discussion about broader racism at the university. Protestors called for the establishment of a new task force to address similar incidents and suggested that members of the fraternity engage in community service. Prior to the event, the fraternity sent out an invitation with offensive misspellings, such as “herro,” and a meme of Kim Jong Il from the movie “Team America: World Police” (2004). A bias complaint was submitted to Duke’s office of fraternity and sorority life and nearly led to the cancelation of the party, but the fraternity simply changed the theme from “Asia Prime” to “International Relations” in response. Members of Kappa Sigma issued a written apology to the student body on Wednesday.

The change in the number of applications to Harvard Law School did not experience the same significant decrease as it did in previous years, according to the Harvard Crimson. While law school applications have declined 20.4 percent nationally this cycle, Harvard’s decline is not as dramatic as that of this year’s national pool. Harvard saw a decline in the number of applicants in the past two years, corresponding with a nationwide drop in law school applications, which has been decreasing nationwide since 2010. This trend may be due to the competitive job market, which students said is not as much of a concern for students at Harvard as it is at other schools. The employment rate for Harvard Law School graduates has been approximately 95 percent for the past three years.

Former Columbia-Julliard exchange student Oren Ungerleider filed a lawsuit against Columbia University after being committed unwillingly to St. Luke’s Hospital for cursing at a professor during a Spanish final, the Columbia Spectator reported. Ungerleider claims he was forced to remain at the hospital against his will for 30 days and that doctors involuntarily medicated him while he was a patient in December 2010. Ungerleider filed the lawsuit on Jan. 17 and accused Columbia and Continuum Health Partners, which owns St. Luke’s, of wrongly arresting and imprisoning him. He was released from the hospital in January 2011 and was not permitted to return to Columbia. The lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages for Ungerleider’s mental and emotional suffering, but the case will likely take years before making significant progress, the Spectator reported.

Thayer prof. named OSA fellow

With 20 ongoing research projects at any given time, professor Brian Pogue’s bustling research lab in the Thayer School of Engineering develops optics and lasers to improve cancer detection and treatment. Pogue was one of 72 fellows elected to the Optical Society of America, awarded to the organization’s members who have played a role in advancing the field.

Pogue’s research focuses on improving cancer screening using medical imaging technology in order to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment. The lab, funded primarily by the American Cancer Society, aims to help diagnose cancer in its early stages to extend and improve patients’ quality of life, Pogue said.

Pogue runs one of the largest labs at Thayer, and, as the principal investigator on all of the lab’s research, works with other professors, research scientists, PhD students and undergraduate students. While PhD students perform research for their own projects, Pogue is involved in every study by brainstorming strategies and supervising the lab.

In addition to developing optic and laser technology for early stage cancer diagnosis, Pogue supervises projects that further enhance cancer screening.

Kristian Sexton, a PhD student in Pogue’s lab, researches fluorescence guided surgical systems. Because it may be difficult to differentiate between cancerous and healthy cells, his study aims to develop a way to light up tumor cells when they are exposed to fluorescent light. This process is analogous to using a black light to illuminate certain properties on surfaces, Sexton said. When fully developed, the technology will allow surgeons to differentiate between cells more easily during surgery.

Sexton has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, and appreciates the chance to collaborate with diverse students in Thayer.

“One of the unique things about [Pogue’s] lab and the whole Thayer School is you have a lot of people from different backgrounds.” Sexton said. “The projects are very interdisciplinary, that is one of the great things about working in this field.”

Adam Glaser, also a PhD student in Pogue’s lab, is working to improve radiotherapy cancer treatment. His research looks at dosimetry, the accurate measurement of radiation doses needed in order to kill cancer cells.

Glaser’s study employs optics to provide a 3D image of a tumor before and after radiation treatment.

“The potential technology could help improve the quality assurance, treatment planning and delivery verification of radiation therapy.” Glaser said. “The implications would be improved efficacy of treatments, a reduced number of mistreatments and mistakes.”

Glaser’s research has progressed through a number of research studies. Although Glaser does not yet know the tool’s commercial market potential, researchers hope to eventually develop and distribute the dosimetry technology, Glaser said.

A relatively recent technology to come out of Pogue’s lab lies within the field of breast cancer imaging. By looking at the molecular features of the cancer cells, researchers are able to better image the cancerous cells in the breast, Pogue said.

The breast cancer imaging project has passed the first stage of clinical trials at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and has progressed to multi-center trials in which the technology is distributed and tested in other facilities, Pogue said. If it is successful in this stage, Pogue’s team will search for a company to disperse the new technology to different hospitals.

“The real goal of all the research is to extend people’s lives.” Pogue said. “It is well known that if you can detect and treat cancer early on, the patient has a higher chance of survival.”

The Optical Society of America unites more than 180,000 people from 175 countries to focus on advancing research in optics. Selection as a fellow member is a competitive process, and nominations are limited to 0.5 percent of the overall society membership per year.

College releases mobile applications

Dartmouth’s four mobile applications have yet to be widely used by the student body, but they offer access to course materials, a steamlined interface to the Dartmouth website and closer connections to campus news.

The applications include Blackboard Mobile Learn and Dartmouth Sports, which connects users to Big Green athletic news. The College has also launched iDartmouth, a mobile events application for alumni and m.Dartmouth.edu, a web-based application that provides a streamlined interface for mobile visitors to the College’s website.

Of the four, m.Dartmouth.edu is most used, with 23,221 page views since Oct. 16. Blackboard is relatively popular among mobile users, with 841 unique visitors in January, and iDartmouth has been downloaded roughly 2,300 times since its launch in fall 2011. Data was unavailable for the Dartmouth Sports application, but varsity athletics communications director Rick Bender said the application was unlikely to be used widely since it is only available on Android devices.

For the Blackboard application, approximately 89 percent of unique users and 95 percent of total views came from iOS devices, which include iPhones and iPads. Assistant director of educational technologies Barbara Knauff attributed the high proportion of iOS usage to the widespread use of iPads on campus.

The Blackboard application is accessible and easy to use, allowing people to contribute to discussion boards and blogs through Blackboard directly from their mobile devices.

“If you wanted to attach a file, like an image or even a movie to a discussion board posting, that’s really easy to do from the mobile app,” Knauff said. “In that sense, it opens some doors and encourages student participation.”

Dartmouth’s upcoming decision to switch from Blackboard to a different learning management system will partly depend on the strength of each system’s mobile application.

“The access needs to be there both for content and also student interactions,” Knauff said.

The College appointed a team, Learning 21, to evaluate Blackboard and alternative learning management systems at the College, since Dartmouth’s contract with Blackboard expires in 2013. Following its initial assessment, Learning 21 supported three systems Blackboard, Canvas by Instructure and Desire2Learn. The team will collaborate with a steering committee of students and faculty to make the final decision.

John Comerci ’16 said that Blackboard was an “attractive application,” and that he would be willing to access other web-based content through mobile applications.

M.Dartmouth.edu went live four months ago, and the page provides access to news, calendars, athletic information, media and social networks. The application was designed by Motolab, which also designed m.Harvard.edu and m.MIT.edu. Plans to add a campus map are in the works.

Most students interviewed said they did not know Dartmouth had mobile applications available.

“I didn’t know there was an app, so I guess they should probably publicize it more if they want people to use it,” Nick Hodgson ’16 said.

While the iDartmouth application serves a relatively small portion of alumni, alumni communications director Diana Lawrence said it has been economical and effective. “Right now we’ve hit a sweet spot,” she said. The application offers a campus map, Twitter and RSS feeds, photos and video.

The iDartmouth application was the only application created in-house without work by outside developers, and was developed in 2011 by James Payne, managing director for information architecture and new media. Payne said he and a co-developer typically update the application before Homecoming and other alumni reunions.

The Dartmouth Sports application for Android was developed this summer, and it provides live sports coverage, including audio feeds. An iOS version of the application is in development.

Mobile compatability is a key consideration for future technology investment, Knauff said.

“We are looking at better media management solutions and making sure that any media we make available to students works on mobile devices,” she said.

Campus org. strategizes divestment campaign

Divest Dartmouth, a student-run organization that recently launched its official campaign, met yesterday to gather support to pressure the College to withdraw investments from fossil fuel extracting companies.

The meeting attracted nearly 30 students, and the group discussed their hopes for and concerns about the campaign. Dartmouth is now one of over 200 schools involved in the nationwide fossil fuel divestment movement.

Some criticize the movement because they think that investments by universities constitute only “a drop in the barrel” for the fossil fuel industry and will therefore not have a significant impact on restraining it, said Meegan Daigler ’14, who facilitated the meeting.

Despite such criticisms, Daigler places great value on the movement’s ability to make a strong social and political statement.

Other opponents of the movement argue that if universities divest from fossil fuels, they will eventually have to reinvest in due to a lack of alternatives. Universities, however, can research alternative options in order to replace investments in fossil fuels, Daigler said.

In addition to addressing criticism against the movement, Divest Dartmouth debated ways to develop an effective and inclusive campaign on campus. Conversations reflected concerns about the movement’s ability to rally a large number of students behind the cause.

“For some time, we’ve been waiting for a social movement to captivate Dartmouth,” Daigler said. “We haven’t had many on campus.”

Sam Kernan ’14, who attended the meeting, said that the members of the organization should aim to cooperate with the administration as much as possible.

It is also critical to integrate various campus constituents, including other green organizations, into the campaign. Marshalling support from a wide range of students would help persuade the College to make crucial behavioral changes, he said.

Daigler said that the divestment movement sparked her interest because she saw its increasing traction at other colleges and became aware of the movement’s potential to engage a broad array of students at Dartmouth.

The movement differs from other environmental campaigns at the College because it necessitates interactions among a range of constituents, from investors and economics professors to environmental organizations and social justice groups, she said.

“A lot of the times, economics and environment don’t seem to mesh,” she said. “But the divestment movement is different.”

Annie Laurie Mauhs-Pugh ’14, another Divest Dartmouth organizer, said the movement strives to achieve self-education, publicity and outreach this term.

She said the group can self-educate by consulting with economics professors, divestment campaign groups at other colleges and alumni interested in the cause. The group would then attempt to create a forum to share information gathered from these interactions, she said.

Since the movement has only recently begun at Dartmouth, it would be too ambitious to hope for extensive communication with the administration at this point, she said.

Some students at the meeting expressed concerns that the group does not yet know which fossil fuel companies the College invests in.

Organizer Leehi Yona ’16 said the group aims to collaborate with the administration to mitigate limited access to information.

Still, Kernan believes that the organization can ask for change without having all of the details about the College’s investments.

“It’s not responsible for Dartmouth to say that the problem is too complex and difficult to deal with,” he said. “We need to exhibit leadership by addressing the problem.”

Another criticism of the movement is that it does not target campus fossil fuel use. Dartmouth currently uses 5 million gallons of harmful number 6 fuel oil per year, Daigler said.

“I think it’s a very fair concern,” she said. “Hopefully, there will be a side-by-side campaign to push the College to stop running on fossil fuels as well.”

Yona said the divestment campaign would be a good opportunity to build momentum for another campaign to “wean us off” number 6 diesel.

Bonita Chen ’16, who did not attend the meeting, said she does not believe the movement will be effective. She does not oppose the campaign, but does not think that the College’s investments make up a significant portion of the aggregate total amount of investments in fossil fuel companies.

Jeonghoon Lee ’16, who was not at the meeting, said the campaign will be effective despite criticism.

“It’s more symbolic than mathematical,” Lee said. “It’s about showing the society that a renowned Ivy League school like Dartmouth would not support fossil fuel companies.”

He said that criticism of the movement seem to revolve around economic calculations. The organization, however, makes a statement to the world that students, or “the future leaders of America,” will work for more sustainable energy sources.

The organization will hold a teach-in with 350.org campus outreach coordinator Shea Riester and Better Future Project founder Craig Altemose on Feb. 20.

College considers residential changes

The residential education office is exploring new ways to incorporate learning and academics into residential life.

The College’s residential education office is exploring new ways to promote diversity and community learning on campus through integrated learning environments, which would incorporate academic experiences into other facets of students’ lives.

Over the past year, residential education has examined ways to increase the number of integrated learning communities on campus.

“Integrative learning is the ability to understand and connect meaning between all the experiences at college,” residential education director Michael Wooten said. “Learning isn’t only a part of the classroom, but rather a part of the whole college experience.”

The Dartmouth Plan prevents sophomores and juniors from experiencing the same continuity in a community that they experience during their freshman year. The residential education office must improve this continuity while encouraging interdisciplinary learning within residential environments, Wooten said.

In 1996, the residential education office created the East Wheelock residential cluster to provide students with the opportunity to integrate learning and social experiences. East Wheelock achieves this goal through a wide range of programming, including visiting scholars, performing artists and faculty members.

Feyaad Allie ’16, who lives in the cluster, said there are several benefits to living there, including free tickets to sold-out Hopkins Center events and opportunities to meet high-profile figures, including Madeleine Kunin, the first female governor of Vermont.

“I love living in East Wheelock, particularly because the community is very tight knit in my opinion,” Allie said. “Also, we get a great deal of opportunities ranging from tickets to see Hop shows to dinners with special guests. I would not want to live anywhere else.”

The residential education office is considering other types of communities that would include both the living and learning components of East Wheelock. Community development is still in its early stages and the new types of communities being considered have not yet been finalized.

The office has examined residential life models at other institutions, including the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland, which both have options for learning-centered residential communities, Wooten said.

“Although we don’t want to replicate what they are doing, we are looking at different ideas for our campus.” Wooten said.

He said affinity housing is another residential model that the office of residential education may expand, which would allow for greater contact between students and professors in residential settings.

Digital humanities professor Mary Flanagan said that learning cannot be fully achieved unless it is integrated in students’ everyday lives.

“I think one of the reasons students come to Dartmouth is that they expect to engage in intellectual conversations,” Flanagan said. “One of the ways we make sure we don’t lose that is to think about integrated learning.”

Alex Crain ’15, who lived in the McLaughlin residential cluster last year, said an integrative community would benefit unaffiliated upperclassman, who do not necessarily have a niche on campus.

“I think there’s a big difference for freshman housing, because freshmen live in the same dorm for the whole year,” he said. “This emphasis on community does not exist so much in upperclassman housing.”

Lily Michelson ’15, however, said that participating in extracurricular academic activities can serve to combine learning with other aspects of student life. Michelson participated in the Great Issues Scholars program at the Dickey Center for International Understanding last year.

“My housing experience has been pretty traditional,” she said. “If I wanted to find more academically oriented activities, I would.”

Amy Chang ’16 also said she likes the distinction between her learning and living environments.

“There is a lot of community where I live,” she said. “I like the fact that it’s separated from school, a place where you can wind down.”

Benjamin gives talk on US foreign policy

Dickey Center director and former ambassador Daniel Benjamin spoke about counterterrorism strategies in a lecture on Tuesday afternoon.

While serving as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top counterterrorism advisor, Daniel Benjamin investigated Iran’s plot to assassinate Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in Washington, D.C., and gave foreign policy recommendations during the Arab Spring. Benjamin, now the director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding, shared anecdotes about his experience at the State Department and the nation’s counterterrorism strategies in a packed lecture on Wednesday at the Haldeman Center.

Drawing on his foreign policy expertise, Benjamin spoke about past, present and future terror threats to the United States.

President Barack Obama’s administration is pursuing different counterterrorism policies than those in place when he first took office, and counterterrorism policies are dynamic, Benjamin said.

“The most dangerous threats have actually receded and the new ones that are emerging may yet become more dangerous,” he said. “We certainly should not be complacent about them, but right now I think we’re in a considerably better place than we were four years ago.”

The Obama administration is currently focusing on providing foreign assistance to prevent terrorism as a possible strategic alternative to military intervention or intelligence operations. In order to ensure future success in counterterrorism efforts, public and bipartisan agreement on policy emphasizing foreign assistance is necessary. While the executive branch agrees with this strategy, Congress and the public are still not completely on board and further discussion is needed, Benjamin said.

“Terrorism, I think as most of you understand, is not going away,” Benjamin said. “The question really is whether we can manage it so that it is contained and so that those catastrophic high-end threats that we most fear are not possible to those who try to harm us.”

Under Clinton, Benjamin investigated Iran’s involvement in a plan to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C. While foreign diplomats and media outlets initially believed Iran’s involvement to be unlikely, uncovered evidence and a confession from the alleged assassin proved otherwise.

Benjamin also advised Clinton during the Arab Spring. Continued engagement, strategic patience and focus on long-term objectives are key in dealing with the region, despite setbacks as horrifying as the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. Diplomatic engagement is an important tool in the process, which should go beyond just military intervention and intelligence work, he said.

“We greeted the revolutionary events of the last two years with belief that the turn to democracy and accountable government would ultimately deflate extremism and marginalize its advocates, and while there are plenty of people who believe it is not likely to happen, I still strongly believe that logic remains valid and we need to see these transformations through,” he said.

The current instability in Syria, which borders Israel and Turkey and is in close proximity to Europe, poses an especially potent threat, Benjamin said.

Benjamin was well-informed on security issues and conveyed his expertise in the lecture, Josh Tupler ’16 said.

“I was particularly impressed by his specific knowledge of policy implementation and real-world strategies to combat terrorism,” Tupler said.

Although he found the lecture interesting, Justin Roshak ’15 said he was disappointed at how little Benjamin could say about some of the issues he addressed. But despite his lack of detail, Benjamin made counterterrorism, a complicated subject, understandable, Roshak said.

Benjamin hopes students gained “more curiosity, more interest in the subject and just a sense of the general issues, so food for further thought,” he said in an interview.

Benjamin began his post as head of the Dickey Center on Jan. 1, and was selected for the position last May, replacing former director Kenneth Yalowitz.

He said he has enjoyed being part of the Dartmouth community.

“People are incredibly friendly,” Benjamin said. “They seem to be quite interested in what I’ve been doing. Everyone wants to help and people are quite positive about what the Dickey Center is already, so it’s great to know that I’ve got a great base to work on.”

Benjamin’s lecture was titled “Fighting Terror: New Challenges and Evolving Strategies in the Second Obama Term.”

Men’s squash beats Williams, keeps No. 8 ranking

The Big Green men's squash team worked for their win last night, fighting to stay in the top eight of the national standings.

The No. 8 Dartmouth men’s squash team came back from a rough start to beat No. 10 Williams College 6-3 on Wednesday night in Berry Squash Center. The Big Green (7-6, 2-3 Ivy) came into the match knowing they needed a win to stay in the top eight. Following a close victory over Columbia University on Sunday, last night’s win against Williams (14-10. 6-0 NESCAC) is a huge confidence boost as the team heads into the end of their season.

“I knew this would be a tough match,” Fletcher Pease ’14 said. “They are a team that we need to beat to stay in the top eight, so I wanted to make sure I was really fired up for the match and that I played at my best.”

The first three matches of the contest were played by the team’s ninth, sixth and third-ranked players: Mark Funk ’15, Michael Mistras ’15 and Chris Jung ’14, respectively. The Big Green was off to a tough start early when they dropped three out of their first four matches. Jung won his first game 11-8, but ended up losing 3-1 overall. Robbie Maycock ’13 also lost 3-0 on center court. When Mistras lost a grinder of a match, the team found themselves in an early deficit.

The bottom of the lineup played a huge role for Dartmouth, as the number seven, eight and nine players all won their matches. Funk won the team’s first match of the day, putting a much-needed charge into his teammates. Number eight Pease kept the team rolling with a dominating 3-0 performance.

“I think preparation was really key,” Pease said. “I was ready when the match started, and I was able to execute my game plan and take the match 3-0.”

The real turning point of the contest was the match of sixth-ranked Kyle Martino ’16. The team was trailing 3-2 when Martino arrived at his fifth game. He was down to his last point at 10-8 when he made an epic comeback to win the final game at 15-13, taking home the match win.

“I had lost my last two matches and I didn’t want to let the team down,” Martino said. “I was just thinking that I needed to fight my heart out for the team because I was just dead at the end and I just wanted to do it for them.”

Although Martino was unhappy with an uncalled foul that would have won him the game a few points earlier, he did not break concentration and battled his way to a match victory. The crowd erupted when he completed the improbable victory in what had been a grueling match.

“I was telling myself not to make any mistakes, to stay in the point and, when I got my shot, to do something smart with it,” Martino said.

The team’s number one player, captain Chris Hanson ’13, cruised to a 3-0 victory in his match. Hanson controlled the T early and often as he won his games 11-7, 11-2 and 11-7. Hanson won his first game on a beautiful drop shot to the front left corner of the court, and then took the match on another drop shot that even his diving opponent could not touch.

“I have been training hard and I rested up the past two days for this match so I came out ready to win and got the job done,” Hanson said.

Seventh on the team, Alex Kurth ’13 sealed the Big Green’s win when he took his match 3-1, giving the team their necessary fifth victory of the night. Alexander Greer ’16 strengthened the victory when he won 3-0 in the last match of the day to put the final score at 6-3.

With last night’s home win behind them, the team looks toward nationals in New Haven, Conn. on Feb. 22. The team has two regular season games remaining before dueling for the national title.

“I want to stay in a very positive mindset,” Pease said. “We feel that we have put in the work in practice and we all have the technical and physical strengths that we need to go far.”

Hanson said he wants to not only to excel in the team portion of national championships, but also the individual section of the tournament.

“We get two weeks until the national championship, so we will probably do some good hard training after this weekend and then rest up the week after to get ready,” Hanson said.

The team looks to continue its momentum this weekend and hopefully peak in the playoffs. They will play their final two matches of the season against Yale University on Friday and Brown University on Sunday.

The team will then play in the men’s College Squash Association national team championship Feb. 22-24, as well as the individual championship held March 1-3.

Gil: Safety and Insecurity

The Newtown, Conn. Board of Education recently voted to post armed security guards in their elementary schools, an initiative that the National Rifle Association has publicly suggested all educational institutions undertake. While it is understandable that Newtown and other communities would like to take precautions against gun violence, this is not the proper answer. Arming more people in general is not the proper answer.

First, this policy will take an emotional toll on many students, particularly in Newtown. Many of the students there are still traumatized, terrified that what happened this past December may happen again. Now they will have to walk by hulking security guards with guns every morning, reminding them not only of the past, but of the terrifying possibilities of a similar event occurring again.

Second, this solution is impractical. If a gunman knows there are armed guards in a school, he will likely try his best to covertly take them out first. Even if the gunman does not know or decides not to go this route, an armed guard is only capable of so much. Even seasoned police officers have trouble effectively shooting at and killing a gunman. And, of course, there is the issue of speed of response: schools are generally sizeable buildings that would take time for a guard to navigate, leaving sufficient opportunity for a gunman to commit a tragic shooting. We have seen this unfortunate result before Columbine High School had an armed guard, yet 13 innocent people still died in the infamous 1999 school shooting.

Then there are the logistical difficulties if this recommendation were to be implemented at a university. One or two guards would not be sufficient in such a case. If someone had a gun in Dartmouth Hall, what good would the armed guard stationed in Baker-Berry Library do? Should Dartmouth post an armed guard in every building with classes? In Collis Center, the Hopkins Center and the Class of 1953 Commons? What about the dorms? The price for the College to employ enough armed guards to protect every facility on campus would be astronomical. Though there is the option of training and arming Safety and Security officers, that still would not ensure that one or many of them could respond fast enough and get to a particular location in time to be successful. Protecting campus from a gunman would become just one of many duties with which they are tasked, so it is entirely possible that an officer could be busy elsewhere in such a situation.

There is also a similar proposition of arming every educator in the country, such that no additional personnel would have to be employed and there would be guns available in almost any location of a school should the need arise. This is an even more ridiculous notion. The answer to gun violence is not more guns. I don’t know about you, but knowing that every professor of mine is packing heat behind his or her desk does not make me feel entirely safe. And this is even more of a concern in primary and secondary education. A kindergarten teacher should not have to keep a part of her mind always focused on the gun in her classroom, praying that a curious kid does not find it and hoping she can successfully get to it and use it if necessary. A parent should not have to worry about the safety of a child who is being taught in a room with a firearm. Children should not have their lives and cultures so saturated by weapons that the place they go to learn each day is filled with them.

A “good guy with a gun” is by no means the only, or most effective, way to stop a “bad guy with a gun.” America should focus on making sure that those “bad guys” do not get a gun in the first place, whether that is by mental health initiatives, tighter gun restrictions, harsher gun law enforcement, addressing the culture of violence brought on by video games and the media or some combination of the above. We should prevent gun violence from ever taking place, rather than hope we can save as many people as possible when the time comes. That will likely be more effective than hoping that one security guard with a gun can protect an entire school from a shooter with a semiautomatic rifle.

Francfort: A Helping Hand

With college-decision season only a few months away, Dartmouth students are about to be faced with the task of trying to encourage prospective students to come to Hanover. While there is much excitement over this process, as exhibited at Dartmouth’s accepted students weekend, called Dimensions, there are also a lot of tough questions that will be asked of us and about our experiences. One of the most difficult questions that we may face is “what is your least favorite thing about Dartmouth?”

Earlier this week, this question was posed to me by a professor who was hoping to gain insight into a student’s perspective on the effectiveness of various administrative policies. He admitted that while professors understood the purposes behind many policies, particularly those that facilitate student-faculty interactions, he did not have a firm grasp on the actual impact of many of them.

Having been asked about my least favorite aspect of Dartmouth before, both at home and on campus, I responded almost instantly, “The freshman advising system.” The advising system is a problem that seems to persist through the years. Gaps in pre-major advising have been filled by the pre-major advising guide, which is distributed to sophomores during the fall. But there has been little done to lend effective help to freshmen seeking advice during their first weeks on campus.

The First-Year Residential Experience places students into freshmen-only dormitories, where they live alongside a number of undergraduate advisors. But this program often has very limited impact in terms of advising, since UGAs usually share academic and extracurricular interests with only a few of the residents on their floor. The administration has tried to resolve this gap by assigning advisors to all incoming freshmen in their academic area of interest. But as many Dartmouth students have experienced, this system is not much more effective than FYRE. Though the faculty do an amazing job of being inviting and accommodating for first-years, many freshmen fall through the cracks.

In response to this, Student Assembly has unveiled a plan to pair each freshman up with an upperclassman mentor. If implemented successfully, this program could go a long way toward solving the issues that have plagued freshman advising here at Dartmouth. Freshmen would likely be less intimidated to talk with students only a few years older than themselves and would hopefully find that their hours and background match up better with that of the student mentor.

While the Assembly experiments with this new mentoring program, it is upperclassmen’s responsibility to offer informal advice to the College’s youngest members. From my own experience and from discussions with other students, it seems that some of the best advising that goes on at Dartmouth is informal, oftentimes after club meetings or in a dining hall. Dartmouth students need honest and pointed advice, which can be difficult to get from a professor or a mentor with whom you have been paired. For that reason, despite past and current efforts on behalf of the administration, advising at Dartmouth will only be most effective if upperclassmen take an active role in offering advice and support to our younger peers.

Whether it is through a high school connection, DOC First-Year Trips or a club that you share in common, we all need to encourage freshmen to ask us about classes or really anything that they need to know about Dartmouth. The Assembly’s plan is great in that it will offer a more approachable mentor for students. But the best advice that I have received is from those who can identify with me and with whom I share a certain chemistry. It may be effective for the Assembly to give each freshman multiple upperclassmen matches to whom they can turn for advice. But until the Assembly, with the support of the Dean of the College’s office, can match the effectiveness of informal advising with a more formalized system, we need to all chip in our own ways to ensure that freshmen get the advice they need. We need to ensure that no one’s least favorite thing about Dartmouth is the lack of advice that they have received.

Barrows Rotunda features graffiti, mixed media by Lantry ’12

The latest installation in the Barrows Rotunda features the work of studio art intern Stuart Lantry '12.

Rarely does one spot graffiti in Hanover. Yet the art form, so common to urban settings, is the focus of the latest installation in the Barrows Rotunda, featuring the work of studio art intern Stuart Lantry ’12.

The rotunda houses a mixed media piece by Lantry that consists of graffiti and various other everyday objects arranged along both sides of a central wall.

“Putting your work out there for the public to respond to is risky,” Gerald Auten, studio art professor and director of the exhibition program, said. “His exhibition is strong and really captures your attention.”

A studio art major from Los Angeles, Lantry is one of four recent graduates chosen to intern with the studio art department this year. About 70 percent of senior studio art majors and minors apply annually for the year-long post-graduate internship, Auten said. Lantry was selected among this competitive group to assist with classes in the Black Family Visual Arts Center, monitor the studio shops, mentor undergraduates and create art of his own.

Most of Lantry’s art, especially the rotunda exhibition, focuses on visually representing the concept of urban decay. He utilizes materials such as cardboard, spray paint, sand, garbage bags, stickers and other found objects to construct his pieces and imbue them with a sense of authenticity.

“I want to recontextualize something that appears to be trash into art,” Lantry said.

The front of the rotunda features a shattered red door laden with graffiti, including a floating black and white head that Lantry describes as his self-portrait. Lantry said he was intrigued by the idea of a broken, “crime-ridden” door as the centerpiece of his installation, because of the implications this type of object can possess.

“I am trying to provoke viewers to think about the kind of disrepair found in urban environments,” Lantry said.

The door stands against a stark white wall that separates the front of the installation from what is behind it. The back of the piece that faces the inside of the Hopkins Center is composed of numerous broken-down cardboard boxes plastered together to create a collage effect. These sheets contain various spray-painted words and symbols and are interspersed with hands posed in different gestures.

Lantry regards the white wall not only as a physical boundary, but a means of dividing two distinct “realities” present in modern culture, he said. The front of the wall acts as a facade a harsh, visible and in-your-face reality while the back represents a more internal, personal and emotional reality.

“I wanted to depict the fragmented reality that I believe exists in urban society,” Lantry said.

Lantry said he has always been passionate about abstract painting and graffiti. Growing up skateboarding in Los Angeles, Lantry was exposed to the artistic subculture that often accompanies his sport, and he soon began tagging ramps wherever he skated. However, it was not until he traveled to Berlin on a Dartmouth study abroad program that Lantry’s love of street art came to life. He observed and interacted with local artists and was finally able to practice his craft in a real-world setting.

Lantry said his experience abroad allowed him to value graffiti beyond its aesthetic appeal. He appreciates that this art is “inescapable and confrontational,” without being hindered by the confines of a gallery space, he said.

Graffiti is a powerful medium because it records human presence without the encumbrance of rules or conventions, Lantry said. It has the ability to empower those who feel like they do not have a voice.

Lantry’s preoccupation with the individual lends itself directly to the content of his installation in the rotunda. The various hands and other images spread throughout the back wall engage in a loose narrative with one another through gesture, and are not intended to belong to any specific person. Lantry said he believes that this ambiguity enables anyone to access his piece and interpret it as they desire.

“I want to invite viewers to bring their own personal history to the piece and connect with it as they see fit,” he said.

During this past summer and fall, Lantry spent time working in New York City, primarily in the Williamsburg and Chelsea neighborhoods, where he practiced layering cardboard against the walls of construction sites and nailed frames around spots or objects that he found worthy of attention. Lantry said he respects fellow street artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg and Banksy, and uses their art as inspiration for his own.

Lantry’s installation has drawn the eyes of both passersby and students.

“I have never seen anything like it and it catches my eye when I walk by,” Greta Joung ’16 said.

While the installation is certainly hard to miss, some students may not easily acertain its message.

“I love seeing the pieces in the rotunda change and appreciate that the space is such a prominent one that can bring art to our daily experience,” Annie Munger ’13 said. “However, I would love for there to be more context given for the works placed in the rotunda so that we can learn more about the pieces that are there in the hopes that this will create a dialogue among students about art.”

After he completes his internship, Lantry plans to return to New York City to pursue a career as a professional artist.