December 31, 2008

Biggest Stories Of '08

Before the real countdown tonight, Mads is counting down the biggest stories to hit Vassar in 2008. Happy New Year!


1. Kick Coke. The debate over the campaign to remove Coca-Cola products from the Vassar campus led to hundreds and hundreds of comments on this blog, as well as countless Misc articles and opinion letters. Students also began paying attention to how the VSA makes decisions.

2. Obama victory. Students gathered around televisions across campus and later celebrated in the Quad. It was a moment none of us will forget.

3. Endowment drops $205 million. Vassar suffered severe losses in the economic crisis. Cappy was quoted in The New York Times about it.

4. Faculty Cuts. Just as the semester was winding down, news that administration was cutting two English professors sparked intense criticism from students, faculty, and alumni.

5. ACDC makes massive changes. While the main dining center is still working out the kinks, we were given an exclusive look at the new set up back in August. The biggest change, however, is no more Haveagood.

6. M.I.A. performs. ViCE got a big name performer for its Spring show. Concert-goers had the time of their lives, although tickets were pricey and sold out within minutes. Opener MGMT was forced to cancel at the last minute, but their manager spoke with Mads.

7. Students robbed at gunpoint. In mid-November, several students were robbed at gunpoint by Chicago Hall. No one was hurt, but the incident sparked debate over campus safety.

8. Girl Talk performs. One of the biggest events of 2008. An unforgettable night for all those who made it in and avoided the sweat.

9. BoredatVassar controversy. Before Mads took the heat for anonymous commenters last month, BoredAt went from a tool for campus thought, to a hurtful and pointless gossip server. Administration stepped in and threatened the site master with legal action.

10. Randy Cohen speaks at Commencement. The New York Times Magazine writer was chosen to speak at Commencement. News of him speaking was first leaked to Mads two days before the official announcement - only after rumors spread that Bill O'Reilly was the speaker.

Also, in case you missed them, here are our biggest interviews from 2008...
Singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson, Golden Globe-winning actress Lynn Redgrave, and up-and-coming rapper Rye Rye.

And be sure to check out our YouTube channel to watch all of 2008's best moments, including performances from Girl Talk and M.I.A., the Obama win, and the Primal Screams.

December 25, 2008

December 24, 2008

2013 Group Vanishes...What Happened?

The Vassar Class of 2013 Facebook group has mysteriously vanished. Two new ones have taken its place, one with 10 members and one with 22.

A few days ago Wesleying did a post on the phenomenon of "fake" 2013 Facebook groups. According to the post, interns from College Prowler set up groups for a number of schools. The interns have been caught, and the CEO of College Prowler issued a formal apology.

We're not sure if College Prowler was behind the Vassar group. Anyone know what happened?

Best Of The Semester!!!

Here is our second annual Best of the Semester list. Did we forget anything? Leave a comment!

10. Retreat specials. Chili on Wednesdays and all of the other weekly treats will be sorely missed this break. With ACDC still figuring itself out, the 'Treat was the place to be.

9. Meet Me in Poughkeepsie. Over 800 participants and a win-win for the locals and students. Keep up the good work, VSA.

8. Former Vassar performers. We always seem to get them right before they get huge. Vampire Weekend played to thousands in Central Park this summer; M.I.A. is pregnant and "Paper Planes" is everywhere; Girl Talk is doing PC ads. Keep an eye out for Passion Pit.

7. Student Activism. Whether you were for or against Kick Coke and Keep Coke, student efforts proved to have a significant voice in college policy. Also, this month students joined faculty and alumni to protest the English department job cuts.

6. Orgs. Lots of smaller student organizations pulled their stuff together and accomplished a lot this semester. MICA and SAU led important campaigns, the Dems registered voters and debate parties, VT's DJs are finally making it big, etc.

5. Halloween Party. DJ was great, and a Villard Room party is always better in costume.

4. Broken Social Scene. ViCE started the year with a bang. The band sounded great and also stuck around after the show to meet fans.

3. MSTRKRFT. ViCE did it again. Less sweaty and uncomfortable than Girl Talk.

2. Day-Glo/Toga. No question, our favorite event of the semester. DJs Respire and Olmec gave their best performances of the semester.

1. Election Night. What else could be #1? Hundreds of us gathered to watch the coverage all over campus, and then met in the Quad to celebrate the moment of change in American history. Streakers, sparklers, tree-climbers, singing, dancing, etc.

Almost Two Months Later, Vassar Responds To Obama

Almost two months since election night, Professor Kiese Laymon has finally taken to his blog to share his thoughts on Barack Obama's winning. In three long parts, Professor Laymon describes what Obama's win means for blacks.

"The night that Barack Obama beat McCain/Palin into All-American dust, I hugged a lot of good white folks. Hundreds of Vassar College students celebrated in front of my building. Some kids streaked, while others unknowingly remixed a traditional lynch scene by hoisting up a life-size cardboard Obama into the moon-lit sky. Joy and joyful sounds echoed for hours as hipsterish folk morphed into patriots with (ironic?) chants of USA! USA! The slightly speckled group sho nuff broke, bended and bullied notes of the Star Spangled Banner that night, and for some not-so strange reason, congratulations of Niggas were in order."

In another article on Obama, Morgan Warners '08 writes for the Huffington Post about his disappointment with the decision to have Rick Warren deliver the invocation at the inauguration. "Let us be clear if the President-elect will not be: Warren is a bigot," Morgan writes.

December 18, 2008

Bundle Up...Big Storm Coming Our Way

For those of you planning on leaving campus tomorrow, know that there is a big snow storm coming our way.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Western Dutchess County from 9am Friday to 1am Saturday. 7-14 inches of snow is expected.

"A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE."

Get home safely!

December 17, 2008

Jon Chenette's Creative Past

While Dean Chenette may appear to be disregarding the importance of the creative arts at Vassar, what many people don't know is that the Dean is actually the creative type.

Jon Chenette is known in some circles more for his career in music than in academics. Chenette himself was a student of the arts, receiving an M.M. in Music Composition from Butler University in 1976 and a Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of Chicago in 1978.

In 1983 Chenette began teaching at Grinnell College in Iowa and received the title of Professor of Music in 1997. He served as Music Department Chair from 1987 to 1993 and also from 1998 to 2001. Chenette continued to hold the Professor of Music position even while serving as Associate Dean of the College beginning in 2004.

Above: Chenette at the Iowa Composers Forum in May 2008. Right: Chenette as a music professor at Grinnell College.

Even outside of academia, Chenette has pursued his passion for music. He served as chair of the Iowa Composers Forum from 1994 to 1997 and has also published several scores of original arrangements.

Perhaps Dean Chenette's history shows that he really is only doing his job and is not singling out any one department. At the same time, however, Dean Chenette must look back to his own education and career and consider where he would be if the University of Chicago had cut a music professor he loved, or if Grinnell College had put a stop to his own creativity.

Quote Of The Day

“There are some things that we disagree on, no question about it.”

- Dean Chenette referring to administration and the English Department. The Dean and Cappy met with concerned faculty and students in the Jade Parlor last night. Dean Chenette also said that next time, less information will be made available about what faculty members are being cut:
“I don’t envision publishing every single department’s situation. My concern is that it ignites jealousies, rumors and senses of favoritism."

December 16, 2008

Going On Now...It's Snowing!

For those of you who are stuck in the library (like us) and haven't been outside in a while, it's snowing! First real snow of the season.

In Case You Missed It

Here's a clip from Sunday night's Primal Scream.

Rye Rye Finally Makes It Big



Related Post: Mads Interviews Rye Rye

December 15, 2008

Drama Builds Between Admin And Faculty Over Cuts

According to the Rumor: Fire! At Vassar blog, administration rejected a proposal from faculty who said they would take pay cuts so that the English professors in question could remain teaching at Vassar.

There is obviously a rift growing between the Vassar faculty and administration over this issue.

An English department insider confirms to Mads that administration did reject the proposal, but tells us that "the discussions between the administration and various academic departments is ongoing, and they are still trying to find solutions that would be satisfactory to everyone."

There will be a meeting tomorrow night in the Jade Parlor from 5-6pm with Cappy, Dean Chenette, and the English dept. co-chairs. Students are welcome to attend.

Introducing The Class Of 2013

Vassar 2013 early decision applicants began finding out if they got in today.

The Facebook group already has sixty members and will no doubt grow significantly in the next few days.

Congratulations 2013!

December 14, 2008

Tonight...



Midnight
in the Quad!

Faculty: Thirsty And Cold

Several faculty members who live in the Pleasant Valley area have been without water and power since Thursday night and Friday morning.

The New York Times reports that the blackouts affected 1.4 million people in the Northeast.

What We're Watching & Listening To

Two things worth checking out today if you need a quick break from studying...

Watch how a man threw a shoe at President Bush during a press conference in Baghdad today.
Listen to a this take on a Britney classic by the guy from Once.

Happy studying!

Midnight Breakfast!


The night-before-finals Midnight Breakfast is happening tonight! What could be better than having Cappy serve you free french toast?


10pm to 12am, UpC.

December 12, 2008

Chenette Breaks Silence About Cuts

Dean Chenette broke his silence today and sent a statement to The Miscellany News. Here's an excerpt: “In our recommendations for cuts, my office looked at areas where reductions of staffing were contractually possible and then balanced curricular need, enrollment patterns, equity, degree of team teaching, and spousal or partner employment to the best of our ability...We made our recommendations fully cognizant that there might be better ways of achieving the level of savings required and invited suggestions of alternatives that would achieve similar savings. Discussions of such alternatives continue with some departments.”

English Dept. Responds To Cappy

The battle of the words continues.

English Department co-chairs Peter Antelyes and Michael Joyce sent out a statement in response to Cappy's all-campus email yesterday. Here is an excerpt:

"In recent days the dean of faculty wrote to some students that, "With a department of about 30 faculty members, it is completely within their power to protect creative writing." To put it clearly, we see that number of thirty as misleading since it does not include our long-term non-tenure track faculty. We are, in fact, a united department of full and part-time, tenured, tenure line, and continued non-tenure track faculty members. And in response to the economic crisis and the recommendations from the Dean's Office, we have already trimmed eight offerings from our initial proposed staffing plan for the coming year and have offered alternate ways to reduce three more.

"We have shown ourselves to be willing to work with the Dean's Office to address what we all recognize to be a dire financial situation, and we have tried to do so in good faith to maintain a vibrant writing program for our students, while standing by extraordinary faculty who may lose their jobs in a devastated economy.

"We are arguing, finally, for a larger vision of the curriculum as a whole, and have been working with the Dean's Office to find ways for all of us to participate in that larger discussion."


Check out the comments page for this post to see the whole statement.

December 11, 2008

Cappy Responds To English Dept. Cuts

In an all-campus email sent moments ago, Cappy responded to the concern over two English department professors being cut.

"Our goal has been to recommend course reductions with minimal adverse effects on the educational experiences of our students," Cappy writes. She attempts to justify the actions by explaining that removing the two professors will save enough money so that 7o to 80 courses can continue. She then puts the blame on the English department, stating that the department has increased its number of courses being offered despite the financial crisis.

"Two adjunct or visiting faculty members may not be able to teach in the department next year...Discussions of alternatives are ongoing," Cappy concludes, assuring students and faculty that the changes "will continue to allow for a robust creative writing curriculum."

In other news, VSA President Jimmy Kelly '09 will be meeting with Dean Chenette on Friday to discuss the issue. Jimmy will be presenting testimonials to the Dean from concerned students. You can email your testimonial to jakelly@vassar.edu by Friday at 2pm.

December 10, 2008

*Breaking* Beirut To Play Vassar!

ViCE has just confirmed that Beirut will be playing a show at Vassar this January. This will be Beirut's first show on their reunion tour.

The show will be on Friday, January 30th, the second weekend of Spring semester.

More details to come about ticket sales, openers, etc. You read it here first!

Creative Writing Program Faces Faculty Cuts

On November 21st, Dean of Faculty Jon Chenette notified two English professors that their 3-year contracts would not be renewed and their jobs are being cut. The professors both teach creative writing courses at Vassar and had previously been assured "moral tenure."

The news of the cuts, which the English department and concerned students have quietly fought over the past few weeks, is now spreading throughout campus and the larger Vassar community. A Facebook group has been created in an effort to spread the word throughout the alumni network. "You can help by letting the college officers know that we want our alma mater to be a place where creativity is cultivated," states the group's description. Other alumni have created this blog to disseminate information about staff cuts at Vassar.

So what can you do? One of the professors in question has urged her class to stay in the know. Students should also meet with Cappy to discuss the matter in person. Cappy's last office hours for the semester are TODAY from 2-3pm. (Email isdemougeot@vassar.edu to schedule an appointment.)

Vassar is not the only college to be making cuts to its creative writing program because of the economic crisis. The University of Delaware announced yesterday that it would be cutting its entire creative writing concentration.

English majors and concerned students will be meeting today in the Rose Parlor at 5:30pm to discuss the cuts.

December 8, 2008

Procrastinating This Week On Campus

Study week doesn't officially begin until Thursday, but chances are you're already stuck in the library and looking for a good study break. Here's a list of some things going on this week worth checking out. Email madsvassar@gmail.com for publicity.

Tuesday
AirCapella concert. 8pm, Rocky 200

Wednesday
Vastards concert. 7:15pm, Taylor 102
Axies concert. 8:30pm, Rocky 300
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson. 8:30pm, CC MPR.
VT Mug Night. 10pm-3am, Mug.

Thursday
As You Like It. 9pm, Sanders 212. Open Dress rehearsal, seats first come first served. (Also showing Saturday and Sunday. Reserve tickets at the InfoDesk.)

Update: The Vassar Uganda Project will be selling coffee, hot chocolate, spiced cider, Babycakes sandwiches, snacks, cookies, and brownies in Matthew's Bean. Thursday to Sunday, 10pm-2am. All proceeds go to VUP helping to provide medical care to people in Uganda.

ViCE Squeezing In One More Show

ViCE has just announced one last event before Winter Break. Singer-songwriter Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson will be performing in the CC MPR on Wednesday night. Deradoorian (from Dirty Projectors) will be opening.

Check it out! Wednesday @ 8:30pm in the CC MPR.

By Word Of Mouth

We hear that the Muddy Cup will be closing. The coffee house is located on Main Street and has only been open since May.

We're waiting for confirmation from the shop's owner.

Update: The Poughkeepsie Journal confirms that the Muddy Cup is closed. You read it here first!

December 6, 2008

Seniors Celebrate 690 Nights

The Class of 2009 is hosting a party in celebration of 690 nights at Vassar. The seniors will be having a "Middle School Mug Night" for the occasion.

From the 2009 President:
DJ Fresh Squeeze and DJ Beatz will be playing ALL those 90s Hits that bring you back to that dreadful dance in 7th Grade.

Special drink prizes:
$1.50 Draught beer - normally $3
$2 Bottled Beer/Wine - normally $5
$4 Mixed Liquor Drinks - normally $6

Free beer tickets for the first 250 seniors. Only seniors will be allowed from 11pm-12:30am, after that it's open to the rest of campus until 3am.

Also, if seniors are looking to start their nights a little earlier, there will be free wine at Dormal Formal starting at 9pm in UpC.

Tonight. The Mug. 11pm.

A Message From Vainglory

Mads spoke with Vainglory, who will be DJing Saturday night's Dormal Formal event. We asked him what we should expect, and here's what he sent us:

"This + This + This = ???"

We're just as confused as you are, but check out Dormal Formal and find out just what the heck he's talking about. Tonight (Saturday) from 9pm-2am in UpC.

December 5, 2008

Kick Coke Responds

A representative for the Kick Coke campaign has sent an email to Cappy, Dean Roellke, and the VSA President regarding the CCL's decision.

"I am disappointed that given a chance to stand with people whose voices are so often not heard, this administration instead chose to stand with a corporation responsible for severe human rights, labor and environmental abuses," the rep writes. The rep claims that Cappy had originally told the campaign she "would like to see Vassar 'added to the list' of the now 51 universities, colleges and high schools that have removed Coke products from their campuses."

The rep continues by praising the VSA its original decision, describing it as "the most democratic and broad decision I have ever seen the VSA make," and claims that the VSA represents the students and should have more say on the issue than the CCL.

Keep Coke Speaks About CCL Decision

Mads Exclusive...

Mads spoke with a representative for MICA's Keep Coke campaign about the Committee for Campus Life's decision on Wednesday to reject the Kick Coke proposal.

The president of MICA met with Dean Roellke in a private meeting before the CCL meeting to present a petition of over 300 signatures against the VSA Council's resolution to Kick Coke from campus.

"I think the CCL would have rejected the Kick Coke proposal based solely on the shaky allegations against Coca Cola and the subsequent investigations clearing the company of any wrongdoing," the Keep Coke rep tells Mads. "What the Keep Coke campaign was able to do was to give voice to the hundreds of students who were against Kick Coke and felt that their opinion had not be accurately or adequately represented by the VSA council vote. I think that our efforts definitely influenced the CCL vote and gave CCL members confidence that the majority of the campus would support their decision."

The rep feels that the issue is now "exhausted" and will end with Wednesday's decision. "Even if the Kick Coke campaign continues to push for the removal of Coca Cola products from campus, I seriously doubt that they will be able to garner enough support or interest from enough students to go very far."

This Weekend On Campus

Here's our weekly list of events you should check out this weekend. Email madsvassar@gmail.com for publicity.

Friday
ViCE Film League presents The Visitor. 7pm Blodgett.
The Skriker. 8pm, Martel Theater. Reserve tickets ahead of time.
Arrested Development marathon hosted by No Offense. 8pm-2am, Rocky 200. Unlimited juice and cornballs.
Little Shop of Horrors, 9pm Sanders.

Saturday
Little Shop of Horrors. 5pm and 9pm, Sanders.
ViCE Film League presents The Visitor.
7pm Blodgett.
The Skriker. 8pm, Martel Theater.
Dormal Formal. 9pm-2am UpC. Vassar Jazz Ensemble will be playing and free wine will be served (21+) until 10:30. Then DJ Vainglory and VJ Pixel Harvest will be taking over. Formal attire recommended.

What Cappy's Eating

For today's installment of "What Cappy's Eating," Cappy was spotted in the 'Treat moments ago ordering a ciabatta roll with cheese and carrots on the side. A meal fit for a president.

December 4, 2008

Thursday Night Means...

ViCE After Hours! Tonight at 9pm in the Mug. Featuring Joey Azofeifa '12, Sam Caravaglia '12, and Zach Sorgen '12. This will be the last After Hours showcase of the semester, so you won't want to miss it!

Cocoa Chat Today About Online Forums

If you're reading this blog, then you probably have an opinion about online forums.

The Campus Life Resource Group is holding a "chat" today about "online forums, blogs, and the pros and cons of being connected." Check it out today, from 4-5:30pm in the Faculty Commons. There will be hot cocoa and desserts.

December 3, 2008

Vassar Smells Like "Expensive Drugs"

NPR had a story today about a new fragrance line designed to match an odor with a specific college. The smells "are both literal interpretations of campus smells and the mental image of the school."

Heather McGuinness '08 and Pete Whinn '08 describe what a Vassar fragrance should smell like:
"Probably a lack of showering...Tobacco that you rolled yourself... Expensive tobacco and drugs. Oh yeah, marijuana maybe."

CCL Kicks 'Kick Coke'

It looks like the battle to remove Coca-Cola from our campus is finally over. The Misc online is reporting that the Committee for Campus Life rejected the Kick Coke proposal earlier tonight in a vote of 12-5.

"Many members [of CCL] expressed hesitance about restricting consumer choice on campus," the Misc reports. "Others remained skeptical about the allegations against Coca-Cola, which had been directly challenged by a 50-page report released by the International Labor Organization."

Wednesday Night Means...



80's Night! Featuring DJ Levar and DJ Timespace. 11pm-2am in the Mug. Be sure to request your favorite songs!

On Tomorrow's Cover

Tomorrow's cover story of the Misc is on the play The Skriker, directed by Nate Silver '10. The show will be up this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Contact the box office for reservations.

There is also an interesting article on the Admissions Office's relationship with local high schools.

December 2, 2008

SASA To Hold Vigil For Mumbai

The South Asian Students Alliance (SASA) will be holding a candlelight vigil in remembrance of last week's Mumbai attacks this Wednesday (12/3) from 7-8pm in the Aula. "Students and professors will be offering some short remarks, we will light candles, and will offer a welcoming space for all to reflect," a rep for SASA tells Mads. Light refreshments will be served.

Mads spoke with the SASA officers a few days ago about their reactions to the attacks. Read their responses here.

December 1, 2008

No More Mudd? Not So Fast.

The Campus Master Planning Committee announced some major plans for the science buildings at last night's VSA Council meeting. According to the Misc's liveblogging of the meeting, the "Board of Trustees voted to knock down Mudd Chemistry." The Director of Capital Projects and Facilities Planning, Naomi Davies, however, tells Mads there is "no definitive decision."

"The financial situation has forced the College to delay much of its capital project schedule," says Andrew Bennett '09, a member of the Planning Committee. Plans for the science buildings, as well as dorm renovations, have all been prioritized and reduced.

The plan for the science buildings has been pushed back a year, but the plans do in fact exist. Polshek Partnership has been chosen as the project architect and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates will be the landscape architect. "Polshek and MVVA have developed preliminary sketches that include what is essentially a box that extends from Olmsted across the creek towards Skinner," says Andrew.

The Committees behind the project are taking into account financial, as well as academic considerations. Labs have to remain available to students, for example, so the project will be more gradual than other projects, such as Davison.

Mumbai Attacks Hit Close To Home

"The attacks on the city sucker-punched me into feeling irrationally angry and extremely sad," says Christina Perry '09, who studied in Mumbai this past summer as part of the Tanenbaum Peace Fellowship Program. While in Mumbai, Christina focused on Muslim-Hindu relations and conflict resolution. "It's difficult to dismiss the images of the places you love tainted by violence - and my friends from the city feel this on a magnitude I could never comprehend."

Like the officer of SASA we spoke with, Christina isn't happy with some of the news coverage of the attacks. "I think that Wolf Blitzer getting on CNN and speculating on al-Qaeda ties is absolutely ludicrous and completely premature," she tells us.

The attacks hit close to home for Christina, who has friends in Mumbai. "One of my best friends works at the Oberoi, and wasn't in the area on that day, but I play a lot of 'what if' situations over in my mind. It's difficult to avoid that type of obsessive ruminating when you're isolated in the Vassar bubble."

Christina has plans to continue her work with the Tanenbaum program, and says last week's attacks won't keep her from returning to Mumbai after graduation. "As long as people want me there, I'll go back," she says.

Photo: Associated Press

What We're Listening To

DJ Respire has a new mix available online, featuring remixes of L.E.S. Artistes, Boyz, Womanizer, and more. It's like your own personal Villard Room party.

Click here to check out the "Novemberrr" mix.