Daily Debriefing

A report released by the Council for Aid to Education found that universities experienced an increase in charitable donations during the 2012 fiscal year, The Chronicle for Higher Education reported. The year’s contributions totaled $31 billion, a 2.3 percent increase from 2011. While the gains made in 2012 did not compare to those seen in 2011, university endowments remained relatively constant, and 53 percent of institutions surveyed reported similar or slightly better fundraising results between the fiscal years. Industry analysts, however, noted that alumni donations declined for 2012. Older generations of alumni are passing away and colleges are refocusing efforts on younger alumni, who tend to be less willing to donate, The Chronicle reported.

High school senior Adam Greene designed an iPhone app to supplement his college application to Stanford University, The Stanford Daily reported. Since Greene could not directly submit the app, in which Greene explains his interests and makes his case for admission, with his application, he uploaded it to several websites such as Reddit and College Confidential to draw notice from Stanford’s admissions office. A YouTube video demonstrating the app received thousands of views, and the app was picked up by The Huffington Post. Despite positive feedback from university faculty in the computer science department, however, Stanford’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions declined to confirm that it had viewed the app.

Dean of Harvard College Evelynn Hammonds is expected to review three student petitions submitted through the “We the Crimson” forum by the end of the current semester, The Harvard Crimson reported. Created by the Undergraduate Council last November, “We the Crimson” is an online venue for students to formally petition the university and to vote on previously submitted proposals, with the three most popular proposals submitted to the administration for review each month. Current proposals under consideration include creating a “nap space” in Harvard Yard and expanding late night dining options. Using data from a student survey, supporters for the “nap space” proposal claim that sleep deprivation is widespread at Harvard and that naps offer distinct health benefits. The petitions regarding late night dining focus on either keeping some dining facilities open until midnight or extending a late-night snack bar, known as “Brain Break,” through the weekends. Students expressed concerns about the feasibility of the proposals and the likelihood that the administration would implement them.

Compiled by Alex Ganninger

Climate activists attend Divest Dartmouth talk

Speakers from 350.org and the Better Future Project encouraged Divest Dartmouth to pursue their goals.

Climate change activists Craig Altemose and Shea Riester passionately advocated for the College to divest from fossil fuel companies in a panel discussion organized by Divest Dartmouth on Wednesday evening.

Altemose, executive director of the Better Future Project, has extensive involvement in climate change activism, said Leehi Yona ’16, who introduced the speakers. Riester is a campus outreach coordinator at 350.org and Better Future.

The talk featured a heated discussion about the implications and impact of climate change, potential strategies to encourage Dartmouth to divest and an examination of past successful divestment efforts.

Altemose emphasized the crisis posed by climate change.

“It is a lot worse, to be frank, than people are making it out to be,” he said. “I think we need to speak the truth about these issues.”

Altemose opened the panel discussion with an anecdote about Russia’s rising temperatures. In its recorded history, Moscow had never seen temperatures as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit before the summer of 2010, he said. A heat wave caused forest fires and led to the deaths of 11,000 people in Moscow and 50,000 across Russia due to smoke inhalation or heat exhaustion.

The forest fires caused significant shortages in wheat production in Russia, Altemose said. This forced to Russia to limit its wheat exports to the rest of the world.

Altemose linked this contraction of wheat exports to the Arab Spring, claiming that Middle Eastern and North African countries that import staples faced a food shortage and increased social tensions as a result.

“It is now the question of whether climate changes will be huge or drastic,” Altemose said. “It is scary, but it’s real.”

He continued to draw out the potential drastic effects of climate change by highlighting the effect of rising temperatures on the world’s population.

If there were a global temperature increase of four degrees, there is no guarantee that the human race could adapt, he said, referring to a 2012 World Bank report. With a five-degree rise in temperature, the carrying capacity of the earth’s resources would be less than one billion people.

From 2012 to 2030, reports have suggested that 100,000 people will die from pollution from fossil fuels, Altemose said.

“If we transfer from fossil fuels, we can save lives as we know it,” he said. “It is pretty simple what we need to do. We need to push for wind turbines, electric cars and weatherization of homes.”

Riester spoke about the divestment movement’s objectives.

The first focus of the divestment movement should be to increase student power and build the student climate change movement, Riester said. Secondly, society should view fossil fuel companies to be on similar footing with slavery or tobacco companies, he said.

“It needs to be immoral to hold money in these companies,” Riester said.

The movement’s final goal should be to reduce the amount of money in fossil fuel extracting companies.

One problem with the American political system is that an oil company can “buy off” politicians, Riester claimed, so politicians are afraid to vote against fossil fuel companies.

“All they need is one day of profit to buy off any number of senators,” he said.

Dartmouth’s divestment from companies who supported the Apartheid movement in South Africa shows that it can also divest from fossil fuel companies, Riester said.

Sterling College, Unity College and Hampshire College have all eliminated their investments in fossil fuel extracting companies, which Riester said had little impact on their endowments.

About 20 people attended the panel discussion, which was held in Paganucci Lounge.

Victoria Pan ’16, one of the co-organizers for the group, said she was pleased with the turnout and optimistic about the future of the movement.

“We did have a really good showing,” she said. “A lot of people stayed to the very end. I do believe we’re gaining momentum and moving forward.”

The group’s immediate goals are to continue educating fellow students and build support across campus.

Yona said she enjoyed the lecture’s message and is looking forward to working with the administration in an open manner.

Philip Mannes ’16 was put off by the rhetoric of the panel, though he said he appreciated the ethical questions raised by Divest Dartmouth.

“The first speech was a bit alarming and, I think, a scare tactic more than anything else,” Mannes said in an email. “I was left somewhat unconvinced.”

Female CS majors find place in dept.

The Women in Computer Science Club met Monday night to discuss course selection for the coming term.

Of all American students who received a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2011, only 11.7 percent were female. Women make up 24 percent of computer science majors at Dartmouth. Although the gender disparity at the College is less significant than the national average, women still face challenges entering a traditionally male-dominated field.

Female students have proven themselves to be just as capable, if not more so, than many men in computer science classes, department chair Thomas Cormen said.

“I have classes where when I look at the top students, more than half of them are women, even if the class is mostly male-dominated,” Cormen said. “They are always well-represented at the top.”

There has been a steady increase in the number of computer science majors at Dartmouth over the years, Shloka Kini ’13, founder and president of the Women in Computer Science Club, said. Fifteen men and 6 women in the Class of 2013 chose computer science as their only major, while the Class of 2014 has 37 men and 10 women, Kini said.

The increase may be related to the perception of increased employment prospects for computer science majors.

“There has been a general increase as CS is seen as a more marketable major,” Kini said. “Technology is booming, so computer science education is picking up, and people are learning to see computers as more than a user experience.”

There has been a drive to increase the number of women in the field, both at the College and in the computer science industry in general.

Many tech-related companies are looking to hire women, and graduate schools are also interested in giving women’s applications extra consideration, Cormen said.

Many female computer science graduates of the College have found success.

In 1999, April Lehman ’99 received the Outstanding Undergraduate Award by the Computing Research Association, which presents the award to one female and one male undergraduate computer science major from the United States and Canada.

After serving as Google’s first female engineer in New York City and developing the earliest version of Google Maps, Elizabeth Reid ’03 became the company’s director of engineering.

Strong women have continued to enter Dartmouth’s computer science department.

“Lauren Litscher ’12 was the only woman in the culminating experience course last year with eight other guys, but she was really the alpha dog of the group,” Cormen said.

Computer science professor Devin Balkcom said that while the department at Dartmouth strives to be very inclusive and welcoming to women, he would like to see more women in his classes.

Female enrollment in the major has increased, but some women have found the dynamics uncomfortable.

“It’s problematic if teams are all male and have only one woman on them,” Balkcom said. “The imbalance may discourage other women from considering computer science.”

Kini strongly considered switching majors her sophomore and junior years. After receiving support from other women, she realized that she would have been quitting out of fear of failure, a struggle that many women share, she said.

The gender disparity is reflected in the department’s faculty composition. Of the 15 tenure-track professors listed on the department’s website, only one is female.

Two more female professors are listed as adjunct and research faculty, along with 10 male professors.

Some men in the field are not welcoming toward women, whether intentionally or unintentionally, Cormen said.

“I don’t witness any of this personally, but I do hear rumblings of it,” Cormen said. “I believe that this is on the decline, though, as people realize that this is an archaic attitude that has no basis in fact.”

More men typically enroll in high school computer science classes and enter college with greater experience, posing an additional barrier for women who have never been previously exposed to programming, Kini said.

Kini founded the Women in Computer Science club last term to counter the gender imbalance in the department and create a stronger sense of community. The club is the first of its kind to be approved by the Council on Student Organizations.

The club holds multiple events each term for development, research and network building, and all of its events are open to campus to foster a greater sense of community, Kini said. She has received positive feedback, especially regarding increased connections between upperclasswomen and underclasswomen in the department.

While the biggest issue the club will face is maintaining momentum, Kini said, she hopes that a club specifically designed to provide support for women will not be as necessary in the future.

“When you create a club like this, you are highlighting the minority and the fact that there is a small percentage of women,” Kini said.

Similar clubs exist at many peer institutions. Carnegie Mellon University has a strong support group for women that is very well-known, Balkcom said.

Brown University also has a support club for women in computer science, but Jessica Liu, who coordinates the club, said the majority of female majors do not need additional support.

“All of the women do a good job of getting internships, and many are TAs in classes,” Liu said. “Our goal is to help freshmen and sophomores, so we have a mentorship program with upperclassmen to offer support and answer questions.”

Balkcom tries to overcome the challenge of bringing women into the field by recruiting more female students for introductory computer science courses.

“Women are coming in, doing well and enjoying the class, so it’s a good introduction to the department,” Balkcom said. “Often it’s the case that more than half of the top 10 or 20 students are women.”

The introductory class was recently altered, and the new course is in its second year, Cormen said.

The class emphasizes the connection that computing and programming have to a variety of other fields, including physics, geography, economics and English.

“We’re trying to make it clear that computing is in everything, so this course serves a dual purpose by teaching students a new way to think and work,” Cormen said.

The structure of the major has also been changed in recent years to allow for more flexibility. Students are now required to take only two prerequisite courses, allowing more flexibility to craft the major to fit their own interests.

Cormen looks forward to traveling to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, which will be held in Minneapolis later this year.

He attended the 2012 conference with computer science professor Lorie Loeb and 30 female students.

Victims of abuse, assault speak out

The Rockapellas performed at the Speak Out panel, where students discussed their experiences with sexual assault and relationship abuse.

After losing consciousness for several hours in a fraternity basement one night during her freshman fall, Paige ’14 woke up in an unfamiliar setting and came to the horrific realization that she was being sexually assaulted by a male student.

Paige was one of six speakers who shared their stories at Speak Out, an event designed to enable survivors of sexual assault and abusive relationships to share their experiences out in the open, putting a “human face” to the campaign against sexual assault and unhealthy relationships, said Rebekah Carrow, Sexual Assault Awareness Program co-coordinator and a Sexual Assault Peer Advisor.

Over 150 students and staff listened attentively as Paige shared her story.

When she managed to return to her dorm room after the traumatic incident, she began vomiting and found herself physically injured, but the long-term repercussions of the assault proved far more serious than her initial symptoms. In the following weeks, Paige visited Dick’s House and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center almost daily.

“I am still finding ways to live and learn to love myself again,” she said.

Sebastian ’14, the only male student who spoke at the event, talked about the impact that his verbally and psychologically abusive girlfriend had on him in high school.

Choking up many times throughout his speech, he said he has only recently started to recover from the relationship abuse. Humor has helped him to regain confidence since he ended the relationship, he said.

Though his experience did not involve any form of physical or sexual abuse, hearing disparaging comments from his girlfriend on a daily basis reduced his self-esteem to the point where his parents noticed a considerable change in his personality, Sebastian said.

Victims of relationship abuse should respect and protect themselves when they realize that their partners are hurting them, he said.

“It’s our responsibility to put faith in those who have faith in us,” he said.

Another speaker, who asked to remain anonymous, said her experience of sexual assault differed from societal expectations of what a typical sexual assault experience is.

During the summer after her senior year of high school, the speaker discovered one morning that she been sexually assaulted the previous night by someone she knew.

Nevertheless, she said she did not feel traumatized by the incident and felt that her experience differed greatly from societal portrayals of rape victims, she said.

She has not talked about the incident over the past few years because she does not view herself as a “victim” as defined by societal standards and did not feel guilt or shame, she said.

“That’s what rape did to me,” the speaker said. “It took away my agency, not because he took away my choice, but because today’s interpretations of rape took away my ability to determine how I view rape.”

She said society assumes that female rape victims would be completely broken apart by their experiences of sexual assault because culture places high value on women’s purity and virginity.

“To me, sexual assault was kind of like being beaten up,” she said. “It was assault, it hurt me, but it’s not going to change my life.”

Amanda ’13 said that she was sexually assaulted by a coworker while working for the Dartmouth Outing Club during the summer after her freshman year and that she was not able to face her trauma until over a year later, when she ran into the person who raped her in a restaurant.

Contrary to her initial belief that if she ever were to be sexually assaulted, she would not hesitate in reporting the incident, she actually found herself unable to even recognize her experience of sexual assault until after the encounter, she said.

Afterwards, she confided in her friends about the experience and received support and understanding. Last year’s Speak Out motivated her to share her story at this year’s event, she said.

Speak Out was held in Alumni Hall, a less visible location than the venue for last year’s, which took place in Collis Common Ground. SAAP intern Divyanka Sharma ’13 said she was glad to see a large number of people come to the event.

SAAP co-coordinator Amanda Childress said Speak Out aims to raise awareness about sexual and relationship abuse in order to reduce the attached social stigma.

She believes hearing the personal stories of survivors encourages others to talk about their experiences as well.

SAAP and SAPA hope to encourage a variety of speakers to speak out about their sexual assault and relationship abuse experiences in the coming years, Carrow said.

Speak Out is an annual V-Week event co-sponsored by SAAP and SAPA.

NH owes DHMC $74 million in payments

For the second consecutive year, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center received no reimbursements for its pro bono care of Medicaid patients, vice president of government affairs Frank McDougall said. Although the federal government requires state Medicaid programs to make partial reimbursements to hospitals that serve a large number of Medicaid patients, the state cut off payments to large hospitals for these services in 2011.

In 2012, DHMC provided $74 million in free health care to Medicaid patients, the largest amount spent by any hospital in New Hampshire, McDougall said. After the state legislature passed a two-year budget in July 2011 that eliminated Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals with more than 25 beds, the state retained federal funds originally intended to reimburse DHMC.

“A hospital’s mission is to take care of people,” McDougall said. “It’s very, very unfortunate that those that provide the most charitable care, those that turn no one away, are literally punished by the state. It’s a very shortsighted policy.”

Under the current budget, “critical access” hospitals, those with fewer than 25 beds, continue to receive federal funding for 95 percent of their Medicaid care expenses, State Sen. David Pierce, D-Hanover, said.

DHMC administrators were aware of the impending changes during the last budget discussions, which took place from January to June 2011, and sent representatives to the state legislature to lobby against the changes.

“We were screaming bloody murder the whole time,” McDougall said.

DHMC is part of a group of 10 New Hampshire hospitals that is suing the state in the federal district court, McDougall said.

The suit argues that the federal court has the power to order New Hampshire to dispense the funds since they are allocated by the federal government. The case was filed in July 2011 and hearings are ongoing.

While DHMC has reduced its staff in order to cut costs, the state’s decision to halt reimbursements for Medicaid care has not yet affected the quality of patient care, DHMC spokesperson Rick Adams said.

“In the interest of our patients, we have to force the question of how the state distributes the money,” Adams said. “We are providing care, and unless we are compensated for that care, it will impact our ability to serve patients who need care the most.”

The hospital currently employs 400 fewer people than it did when the budget first took effect, McDougall said. A mixture of layoffs and voluntary early retirement programs contributed to the deep personnel cuts. More than 300 employees across the DHMC system chose to retire early, and nearly 60 other employees were laid off, Adams said.

None of the eliminated positions, however, had direct contact with patients.

The hospital administration also reduced funding to clinics in Concord, Nashua and Manchester in addition to the main campus of DHMC in Lebanon.

“To the best of our knowledge, we did not impact direct patient care in our facilities at all,” Adams said.

The layoffs at DHMC did not affect College personnel, as the College and hospital have completely separate financial and leadership systems, Adams said. The only connection between the College and DHMC is that medical students at the Geisel School of Medicine perform clinical work at DHMC.

DHMC managed to maintain a small surplus during the 2012 fiscal year despite the lack of Medicaid reimbursement, McDougall said.

On Feb. 15, Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., released recommendations for the 2013-2014 state budget. New Hampshire’s current rate of Medicaid reimbursement is the lowest in the nation, and Hassan spoke about her desire to change the rate in the upcoming cycle.

Despite discontinuing payments to hospitals that serve large numbers of Medicaid patients, the 2011 state budget retained its Medicaid enhancement tax, Pierce said. In the past, the federal reimbursements for Medicaid cushioned the impact of the tax, which is levied at 5.5 percent of gross patient revenue. In 2012, DHMC contributed more than $43 million to the state due to this tax, Adams said.

Hassan plans to give a portion of this taxed money back to the hospitals in the upcoming fiscal cycle, Pierce said.

“It’s a small step in the right direction, but it’s certainly not $75 million,” Adams said.

Pierce said he plans to argue for increased funding for hospitals that provide Medicaid services in the upcoming budget discussions.

“I definitely support full reimbursement for all the hospitals,” Pierce said. “There are no public hospitals in my district, so all the private hospitals essentially function as public access hospitals. The state should pay for that.”

Pierce voted against the measures to stop reimbursements and levy new taxes in the last budget.

DHMC is located in New Hampshire’s fifth district, which is represented by Pierce. The district’s economy lost nearly $100 million as a result of the tax and other withheld payments in the past year, Pierce said.

“My job is to build up economies, not tear them down,” he said.

Women’s tennis beats UMass

The Big Green nearly swept the University of Massachusetts, Amherst last night, losing only in doubles competition.

The Dartmouth women’s tennis team extended its winning streak to four with a forceful 6-1 win over the University of Massachusetts, Amherst on Wednesday night.

This was the first match for the women in over two weeks, as the ECAC tournament scheduled for Feb. 8 was canceled due to the snowstorm.

“It was tough not having those matches,” Janet Liu ’15 said. “People weren’t totally on today just because we hadn’t played a match in a while, but we handled it well.”

After starting off its season with a loss, the Big Green (4-1, 0-0 Ivy) has bounced back, winning four matches straight while dropping only three points in the process.

“We’ve won the last four in a row, which is always nice,” head coach Robert Dallis said. “Tonight, winning was a good result. UMass always plays very hard, is well coached and is very disciplined.”

UMass took the doubles point, but that was its only consolation as the Big Green won every singles match.

“I think we didn’t serve or return particularly well in the matches we lost,” Dallis said. “That’s always a point of emphasis for us as a team because doubles starts with serves and returns. Today it wasn’t as good as it needed to be.”

After starting on serve, the No. 1 doubles team of Liu and Christina Danosi ’13 fell behind at 3-4 and were unable to fight their way back into the match, giving UMass the first doubles win of the day, 8-3.

“We started out a little bit slow,” Liu said. “We were just not totally sharp and not making the balls we needed to make.”

The No. 3 doubles team of Melissa Matsuoka ’14 and Sarah Bessen ’16 was dominant, sealing an 8-2 win shortly after the No. 1 team fell. All attention turned toward No. 2 doubles to see which team would come out with the point.

After falling two breaks behind at 6-3, the No. 2 doubles team of Katherine Yau ’16 and Akiko Okuda ’15 made a charge. They broke once to get it to 4-6 and Okuda consolidated the break with strong serving before the changeover.

“We weren’t playing well, and we were just kind of trying to stay in the match,” Okuda said. “We tried to extend points, so we could stay in their longer and try and support our team.”

Leading 6-5 with the ability to ride the serve to a win, the UMass women started to tense up. A UMass double fault at 15-30 gave the Big Green three break points, but it only needed one as Okuda slammed a volley into the feet of her opponent.

Riding momentum, Yau stepped up to serve. Under pressure, Yau double-faulted on break point at six, all to give the UMass women another chance. They did not falter this time, and claimed the match and the doubles point in the process.

The Big Green entered the singles matches needing four victories to win.

At number one, Liu controlled play with her crafty shot selection and low slice shots. She moved the ball around and resorted to the drop shot in order to stretch out her opponent, whose reach was limited by her two-handed forehand.

“She’s a good player, but I didn’t make as many balls as I would have liked tonight,” Liu said.

Okuda fell to 4-1 in the first set against the UMass No. 2 player. She was able to bring it back to 5-4 before conceding the set.

“I just started hitting my shots and being more aggressive,” Okuda said. “Even though I lost the first set, I started to hit my balls toward the end and that kept me going for the next two sets.”

After collecting herself, Okuda dominated play in the second and the third, winning 4-6, 6-1 and 6-3.

Yau’s match at the No. 3 singles was close the entire time. Although she was the better ball striker on the court, Yau’s forehand left her with little margin for error. Whenever it got tight at the end of sets, Yau seemed to find her range, winning a tight match 7-5, 7-5.

There was a lot of drama in the No. 4 singles match, as Matsuoka struggled to figure out her opponent’s game. Matsuoka went down 4-1 in the first set, as her opponent was able to control the game in baseline slug fests.

Matsuoka changed her strategy, using high balls with more topspin to target her opponent’s one-handed backhand in order to give her the edge on the baseline. Matsuoka went on to win 6-4, 2-6 and 11-9 in the third set tiebreaker. They only played one game in the deciding set for the sake of time.

At the No. 5 and 6 singles respectively, Suzy Tan ’16 and Bessen dominated their opponents. Both Big Green women overpowered their UMass competitors with strong baseline play. Tan won 6-1, 6-4, and Bessen finished 6-1, 6-1.

The women will look to protect their win streak as they face off against Fordham University and the University at Albany at home this weekend.

Big Green fencing team takes championships

The Dartmouth club fencing team finished in first place this past weekend at the New England Club Championships, hosted by the University of New Hampshire. The women’s foil, women’s saber, men’s saber and men’s epee squads took gold medals, while the men’s foil squad took silver and the women’s eppe finished fifth. Heather Szilagyi ’15 and Gaby Stern ’14 placed first and third in women’s foil, respectively. Stuart Ghafoor ’14 placed second in men’s foil, and Peter Horak ’14 took third in men’s epee. Captain Tommy McQuillan ’13 notched a first-place individual finish in the men’s saber. “We definitely reasserted ourselves as the dominant club team in New England,” McQuillan said. Since fencing is a club sport at the College, they lack varsity perks like new equipment, a coach and the ability to recruit athletes.

While there is an ongoing dialogue about the team becoming varsity, captain Scott Brookes 14 said it is unlikely to happen soon.

Dartmouth is the only Ivy League school without a varsity fencing team. There are, however, benefits to being a club sport. Practice hours are more flexible to accommodate schoolwork, and the team faces few restrictions. The varsity disparity is apparent at competitions where both club and varsity teams compete with each other.

Schools that have accredited varsity teams, such as Brown University, Boston College and Sacred Heart University, travel in luxurious travel buses, while Dartmouth has to rent vans and drive themselves.

“It’d be easier if we could sleep on the ride there,” Brookes said. “I envy the resources of varsity schools, but at the same time, I probably wouldn’t be starting at a varsity school.” The team manages victories against varsity teams nonetheless. The team defeated both Boston College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology varsity teams in men’s saber at the Northeast fencing conference in January. Brookes likes the combination of strategy and physical prowess necessary to succeed in fencing. “Some people call it physical chess,” he said. Since the team does not recruit, about half of the fencing team has had prior experience fencing, while the other half joined as novices, Brookes said.

Lindsey Lam ’15, who won her first medal this weekend in women’s saber, just began her fencing career last year, when she and a floormate decided to try the sport. “The team culture sunk right in,” Lam said. “We gained a whole new group of friends and learned so much from the upperclassman that we were able to compete really well against club teams in the East and nationally.” In the absence of a coach, unusual even for a club team, upperclassmen run practices and sign the team up for competitions.

Each squad is led by a more experienced fencer who guides the rest of the squad through pertinent drills. McQuillan said that though he only started fencing in college, he became a leader on the team his sophomore year, after being coached at home the summer after freshman year. The team competes in four events during the winter, culminating in the National Club Championships, which will be held at the University of Michigan, East Lansing in April.

The fencing team returns to the competition as reigning champions and hopes to defend the title. Nationals have a different feel than other competitions, McQuillan said.

For East Coast matches, the team must wake up early and drive long distances, while nationals is a two-day competition that the team flies to.

East Coast teams have become familiar with each other’s fighting styles, but different teams at nationals introduce unknown variables into competition.
“It’s all about adaptability,” McQuillan said. “We love the challenge.”

Yang: Ineffective Incarceration

In social science and humanitarian circles, it is an oft-repeated fact that the United States, ostensibly the land of the free, has the world’s highest incarceration rate. Since the shift during the 1980s to more strict penal policies in an effort to combat rising crime, incarceration rates among poor, urban and black communities have climbed to astronomical rates. The number of Americans in state and federal prisons has quintupled since 1980, in large part because prisoners now serve longer terms than they would have in past decades for the same crimes. As the Obama administration tackles poverty and hunger issues, it would be well-advised to consider punitive measures outside the penal system for non-violent offenders, even in multiple-offense cases. Reducing the number of prisoners in U.S. penitentiaries would have positive effects on poverty, urban and minority community health and government budgets.

According to Villanova University sociology and criminal justice professors Robert DeFina and Lance Hannon, the nation’s 2004 poverty rate would have been 20 percent lower if not for the rise of mass incarceration. Put differently, there would have been five million fewer Americans living below the poverty line in 2004. This is for a number of reasons. First, families where a spouse is incarcerated suffer the immediate loss of that spouse’s income. Second, post-incarceration, most employers are reluctant to hire anyone with a record and in the current economic climate, with many more job applicants than there are openings for most jobs, this often leads to inmate unemployment after release. Third, having an incarcerated family member can cause the rest of the family to have to move if they wish to be able to visit the individual regularly. This often makes it difficult for the family members of a prisoner to hold steady employment.

The negative economic effects of long prison terms are particularly evident in the black community, where one in four African-Americans born after 1980 grows up with an incarcerated parent at some point during their childhood. Since nearly 40 percent of black men without high school diplomas between the ages of 20 and 40 are currently incarcerated, these individuals are more likely to be incarcerated than employed. This is incredibly harmful to the fabric of the communities from which these men come, not just because it deprives these communities of their breadwinners and family providers.

Additional consequences also arise when entire communities suffer from significant gender imbalances. In some areas there are six men to every 10 women due to the disproportionately high rate of black male incarceration. Epidemologists have found that rising incarceration rates are correlated with increases in STD transmission rates, teenage pregnancy and non-monogamous relationships, possibly because women in male-scare communities lose the power to require their partners to practice protected sex or remain monogamous. Similarly, researchers trying to explain the much higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS among blacks point to the disruption of steady relationships and consequent encouragement of high-risk sexual behavior that incarceration precipitates. Long-term incarceration’s myriad effects on the spouses of those who are incarcerated are so broad and far-reaching that it is sometimes termed the “secondary prisonization” of those women.

On a national level, reducing the number of inmates in U.S. penitentiaries would also reduce a major source of strain in both federal and state budgets. In New Jersey, for example, the annual cost of housing a single inmate is $44,000. From 1987 to 2007, federal corrections spending increased 127 percent.

It is time to reassess our national and social priorities. Rather than incarcerating offenders for increasingly longer periods of time and relying on the punitive effects of incarceration to deter bad behavior, we should instead focus on promoting healthy communities and boosting low-income children’s odds of social advancement as truly sustainable ways to effect positive change in traditionally high-crime communities. The agenda around prisons must shift from indefinite incarceration to incarceration only as needed in order for change to occur. And further, our national agenda must refocus on the social programs education, early childhood development, post-incarceration support and employment aid that can make long-term impacts on individuals’ personal prospects.

Decker: Too Good to Be True

Born without fibulas, his legs were amputated below the knee when he was only 11 months old. By age 17, he had the world record in the T44 (reduced function in lower limbs) 100-meter dash. In his first able-bodied race, he finished sixth. In 2008, he overcame the International Association of Athletics Federations’ decision to ban him from able-bodied competition and qualified for the London Olympics in 2012. He advanced to the semifinal of the 400-meter race and competed for South Africa on the 4×400-meter relay in the final as the first amputee runner in the Olympics. From experiencing a Nelson Mandela-like appeal to international disgrace, Oscar Pistorius awaits his fate in a South African courtroom. Whether he is proven guilty for the murder of his girlfriend, 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp, Pistorius’s iconic stardom is over. With steroids uncovered throughout his home, Pistorius has fallen from grace.

I feel like a broken record. Cancer survivor wins seven consecutive Tour de France races, then loses every title and is banned for life for doping. Given that Pistorius is accused of murdering another human being, his case is arguably much more severe than Lance Armstrong’s. Nonetheless, they are very similar in many ways. Millions of people looked up to Pistorius and Armstrong as world-class heroes. They both overcame all odds to make it to the very top among the able-bodied. Perhaps it was all too good to be true.

Selfishness is a running theme between Pistorius, Armstrong and other professional athletes who have cheated their way to success: they were willing to jeopardize their own integrity for the fame, fortune and everything else that comes with international stardom. But should we blame it all on them? Can we blame it all on them? Surely the pursuit of glory was a big part of their moral failures, but perhaps it was not purely selfishness, but rather being stuck in a vicious system of expectation, that led to their downfalls.

Is surviving cancer or winning a number of Paralympic gold medals, or even just being able to walk as a double amputee, not enough? It has almost become a game of chicken or egg. Who is to blame: athletes like Pistorius and Armstrong, for dulling their feats with their own beyond-all-odds accomplishments, or the system of beyond-all-odds expectation, which has only encouraged this vicious pursuit of glory? It does not really matter now. What can be learned from this is the following: human beings are human beings. Do not waste your whole life trying to be like someone else or follow the lead they have taken. They are bound to let you down. Set your own expectations.

This vicious circle of expectation is not limited to the sphere of professional athletics. It is ever-present here at Dartmouth. It is not worth losing yourself or the joy that comes with celebrating small successes along the way to viciously pursue beyond-all-odds expectations. I am not advocating for mediocrity or telling you to drop all of your hopes and dreams. But, while it is okay to set high expectations for yourself, do not let those goals diminish your everyday success. If you are not awarded the most prestigious scholarship or you cannot maintain a 4.0 GPA every term, should you just give up? No.

I hate to sound cliche, but Emerson was right when he said, “Life is about the journey, not the destination.” Pistorius and Armstrong got so caught up in the endless pursuit of high expectation that they forgot about the life they first won back being able to walk and surviving cancer. Perhaps if Armstrong finished ninth or 10th at each of the Tour de France titles he won and then was later stripped of his results for doping, he would be a lot happier now. Armstrong threw everything he had into one basket: winning the Tour de France, year after year after year. He lost everything because of it. Expectation is what you make of it. In most cases, the “too good to be true” is true and our outlooks have blinded us from realizing it.

Arts writers offer Oscar predictions for Sunday

Not sure who to count on to score this year’s Academy Awards on Sunday? The Arts staff experts share their picks so you can be informed before the ceremony.


Kate: “Argo” and “Lincoln” are clear Academy bait and it seems unlikely that any other nominated film will achieve an upset. “Argo” will probably prove to be the winner: the dramatic yet witty banter of Ben Affleck combined with the all-American rough-and-tumble in a dangerous country, seasoned by the endearing inclusion of Hollywood staples Alan Arkin and John Goodman, make it tough to beat.

Varun: After winning every guild award imaginable, “Argo” looks like it will be the inevitable victor. However, cinema’s highest honor should go to a film that reminds us why we go to the movies in the first place. To that extent, I would be ecstatic if “Django Unchained” walked away with the night’s top prize. Hilarious, thrilling, packed to the brim with fantastic acting and filled with enough kitsch and references to entertain the most die-hard film nerd, Tarantino’s epic will go down as one of the greatest films ever made and should receive official validation of this fact.BEST DIRECTOR

Kate: I would like to see Michael Haneke win here for “Amour,” as the film is simply beautiful. It takes place primarily in the couple’s apartment, and every shot is presented as a work of art. I’m guessing, though, that the race will be between Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln” and David O. Russell for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Either way, Affleck will probably be swearing in his seat after being snubbed for this category.

Julian: Russell turns “Playbook,” a script about two slightly crazy people falling in love amidst twists of dancing and football, into a tear-jerking and emotionally manipulative masterpiece in the best possible way. I full-heartedly believe he deserves and will win the award for best director Sunday night. Although this Oscar will be highly contested (Spielberg for “Lincoln” is hard to beat), Russell’s directing feat should earn him the coveted award.

Varun: With Affleck’s, this is the most unpredictable race of the night. My money, however, would be on Ang Lee for “Life of Pi.” Lee managed to film an “unfilmable” novel about a boy stranded on a boat with a tiger and make it more interesting and heartfelt than 90 percent of the schlock that gets produced these days. It also doesn’t hurt that “Pi” is one of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous movies you’ll ever see.BEST ACTOR

Kate: Daniel Day-Lewis will take this one for his iconic performance in “Lincoln.” He’s certainly an Academy favorite, as this is his fifth nomination in this category; he previously won for “My Left Foot” and “There Will Be Blood.”

Julian: I see Oscar viewers rolling their eyes at the thought of Day-Lewis’ expected win, but I wouldn’t be so quick to assume his victory. Although he was nothing short of incredible in “Lincoln,” Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as the troubled World War II veteran in the intricate and unsettling “The Master” may have been one of the best I’ve ever seen. Although I still can’t say for certain whether I liked the film, Phoenix moved me to almost uncomfortable levels of self-reflection and thought and should take home the Oscar for the performance of his career.BEST ACTRESS

Julian: Despite one of the strongest and most competitive fields for best actor in recent memory, I think this was a down year in the category of best actress. Quvenzhane Wallis stole my heart as the fiercely independent little girl in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” and I may or may not have fallen in love with Lawrence in “Playbook,” but on a whole I was slightly underwhelmed. With that being said, this award is either going to Riva for her lovely role in “Amour” or Lawrence, and I’ve got to stick to my silver lined guns and predict that Lawrence will receive the win.

Varun: Many people have criticized the inclusion of Wallis in this category because she was only six years old at the time of the filming for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and, as such, couldn’t possibly act in the sense of transforming herself into someone else. This line of thinking is, quite frankly, incorrect. Not only does Wallis deserve the Oscar, she acts circles around the rest of her competitors. The fact that she was so young during filming only serves to make her performance as the strong-willed and prodigal Hushpuppy all the more impressive.