December 28, 2009

New Details About The Deer Culling

The Poughkeepsie Journal featured an in-depth article today on the upcoming culling of the deer at the Vassar Farm, which is set to take place after New Years Day. Vassar is paying White Buffalo Inc. $10,000 for the dirty job. They hope to reduce the number of deer from 100 to 15, which are numbers determined by "infared flyovers."

According to the article, some neighbors aren't happy about the culling and feel that they weren't adequately made aware. "We were all so shocked and surprised," one resident is quoted as saying. "The college should have done more to reach out to neighbors earlier in the process."

The "venison" will be donated to local food pantries through a program called Hunters Helping the Hungry.

Image of deer at Vassar via Poughkeepsie Journal.
12.28.09 6:13pm

December 21, 2009

Mads Countdown: Biggest Stories '09

As 2009 comes to a close, madsvassarblog.com counts down the top thirteen stories to hit Vassar this year.

13. Vassar alumni head to Washington.
Over the course of the year, Obama nominated several Vassar alumnae and alumni for various positions. First, he nominated Nancy Killefer '75 for Chief Performance Officer, although she ended up withdrawing due to tax issues. Next, Obama added Shelly O'Neill Stoneman' 99 to his legislative affairs team. In August, Obama nominated Jeffrey Goldstein '77 for Under Secretary for Domestic Finance. Finally, in November, the president nominated Laua Kennedy '73 for US Ambassador for the Conference on Disarmament.

12. Controversial mini-course gets cut.
In the Spring, some students organized a mini-course called "The Language of Ladies," which aimed to "take a critical look at dating across lingual/cultural barriers." After only a few sessions, Campus Activities cancelled the course after students complained that the course was sexist and racist. Strong House, Poder Latino and the Asians Students' Alliance all spoke out against the course, and even the blogosphere picked up on the controversy.

11. Campus groper increases number of security alerts, but gets caught.
While Fall 2008 ended with students being robbed at gunpoint, Fall 2009 experienced a rise in campus security advisories. "While unusual, it is a reminder that we are living in a world that isn’t always safe," Don Marsala wrote in an all-campus email. After several instances in which female students were groped, police arrested twenty-two-year-old Andrew Zambrano last week. Zambrano admitted to groping students and has been charged with ten counts of forcible touching.

10. Library extends hours after campus complains.
In September, we broke the story that the library would be closing at midnight on weekdays instead of 1:30am. In an exclusive interview with Dean Kitzinger, she called the hours reduction "an immediate reaction" to a "complex staffing negotiation." After students responded, complained, and petitioned, the library found the necessary staffing and returned to its normal hours of operation.

9. The Misc ditches its backpage.
The Miscellany News lost readers this semester when it decided to cut the beloved "Backpage" feature. After we broke the story, former Misc editors and "Backpage" writers came out with statements, a Facebook protest group, and a letter-writing campaign. One former editor called the paper "a shrouded mouthpiece for student government and the administration." Even Cappy
said she was "sad to see it go."


8. ViCE goes hip-hop.If Spring '09 was the semester of hipster bands (Beirut, Gang Gang Dance, Deerhunter, !!!), this Fall has definitely been all about hip hop acts. ViCE brought the well-known duo Clipse in September to a packed audience on Ballantine Field. Months later, Ninjasonik performed to the sweatiest (and sluttiest) crowd in the Villard Room since Girl Talk.

7. Rowing team, Atrium, and Baldwin hours get cut.
Unfortunately, 2009 was the year of the cutbacks. This semester, Baldwin reduced its operating hours and the Atrium was cut entirely. In November, the athletics department announced that the varsity rowing teams would be cut. Current and former rowers responded with statements on this blog and emails to administration. Rowers then organized an "ergathon" to raise $15,000.

6. Vassar reacts to shooting at Wesleyan.
The shooting of Wesleyan student Johanna Justin-Jinich hit close to home for Vassar students, proving to us that tragedy can happen even within the bubble of a liberal arts school. The Vassar Jewish Union responded to the gunman's threats against Wesleyan's Jewish community. Dean Roellke also responded to the tragedy.

5. Students challenged at polls.
Election day this November caused stress for many students when Republicans had an injunction passed stating that prevented students who changed dorms from being able to vote. The day saw ups and downs as the injunction was overturned, despite the fact that many students had already been turned down. Students also claimed to face intimidation and harassment, one case of which was captured on video.

Vassar had a personal connection to the eleciton, as librarian Gretchen Lieb ran for County Legislature and several students worked on her campaign.

Cappy wrote to the Poughkeepsie Journal about the controversy, stating, "I would ask election officials for the opportunity to work together to resolve the obstacles for future elections that made it difficult for students to vote."

4. Davison reopens with new look.
After being closed for a year, Davison reopened in August with a brand new look. Mads monitored the building's progress as it was completed.

3. Precautions taken to avoid Swine Flu.
As the threat of swine flu became real, ACDC and the Retreat took measures to prevent the spread of illness by temporarily eliminating self-serve options. Although campus dining eventually returned to normal, B&G installed hundreds of hand-sanitizers around campus. In the Fall, Baldwin made ill students isolate themselves and wear surgical masks, while Res Life set up isolation rooms for sick students to temporarily move in to.

2. Beirut reunites at Vassar for performance with students.Beirut returned to the music scene in January with a new album and a performance at Vassar. The group hung out for the whole weekend, went to parties in the SoCos and THs, and gave a transcendent performance in the Vassar Chapel. On top of that, they invited students to perform with them not only at Vassar, but also at BAM and on Late Night with Dave Letterman.

1. Administration cuts employees, prompting community protest.
In the biggest story of 2009, administration announced the firing of thirteen employees. In response, students, employees, and other community members united in protest on multiple occasions. A protest group called the Campus Solidarity Working Group emerged, which marched through campus with banners and megaphones, released videos, and held a sing-in. A second protest group called Uppity held two hunger strikes and faculty members got involved by circulating a petition. Even folk icon Pete Seeger spoke out against the employee firings.

Did we miss anything? Leave a comment! And just for fun, click here to relive 2008's top moments.
12.21.09 5:30pm

Vassar Performers Grace The Pages of Vogue

A fashion editorial in the January issue of Vogue features past ViCE acts Beirut and Vampire Weekend, as well as MGMT, who came thisclose to performing. The band members are wearing clothes from the spring collections of thirteen high-end designers.

The issue also features an interview with M.I.A., who performed at Vassar in 2008.

A Vogue insider tells madsvassarblog.com that exclusive interviews with the bands will be online next month.

12.21.09 2:07am

Sent In By You...Students Have Issues

In the last few days of the semester, we received lots of emails from readers about college-related issues.

One sophomore from Raymond emailed us about an open-air evangelist preacher who sermonzied on the Yale campus about the "evils of sin." According to the Yale Daily News, the students watched, heckled, and photographed the preacher.

Among the groups Morrell labeled as sinners were "Obama voters," "Gangster rappers" and "immodest women."


As for a Vassar concern, a freshman from Joss emailed to tell us about a conversation she had with an ambulance driver. The driver said that there were thirteen calls from Vassar on Halloween. "He told me that every time they get called now, they are going to send a police officer knocking on Cappy's door," the student writes, "which means if this keeps happening, Cappy is going to crack down on alcohol control on campus, which no one wants." The student hopes Vassar students can start drinking safely and responsibly before administration steps in. (Mads hasn't confirmed that police knock on Cappy's door.)

Finally, a senior from the THs came across this article about co-ed dorms (not gender neutral, but co-ed altogether), which claims that this kind of housing increases binge drinking, sex, and pornography use. The student took to her blog to counter the article. "It seems to be implying that us lady-students are so easily influenced by the men in our dorms that we will sleep with them and binge drink," she writes. "Like we don’t have any agency in our decision making processes and that the only way to protect us is for all the women to live in a cloistered nunnery."

Email your thoughts to madsvassar [at] gmail.com.
12.21.09 1:49am

December 19, 2009

Winter Storm To Hit Poughkeepsie

For those of you still on campus tonight, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from 7pm today to 1pm Sunday.

5 to 12 inches are expected.
12.19.09 3:53pm

December 17, 2009

Former Pres Fergusson Sells Apartment, Makes Headlines

Apparently former Vassar president Frances Daly Fergusson is something of a big deal, as The Observer ran an article today on the selling of her home. The West Village apartment, where Fergusson lived for twenty-one years, sold to newlyweds for $1.6 million.

Fergusson currently sits on the boards of several charities and corporations, including Pfizer.
12.17.09 8:12pm

December 16, 2009

Post Stirs Up Gender Controversy

An article in Monday's Washington Post has been mentioned on countless blogs and is pulling Vassar into a bit of controversy. According to the Post, schools in the Washington D.C. area will soon be under review by investigators and civil rights groups who claim that admissions offices discriminate against women.

The investigation is focused on D.C. schools, but data from Vassar, William and Mary, Swarthmore, and Wesleyan is being taken into consideration. In 2008, Vassar admitted 34% of male applicants and only 21& of female applicants.

Currently, the proportion of women to men on college campuses is 60 to 40, a ratio we are familiar with at Vassar.
12.16.09 12:22pm

What We're Reading

As if you need help procrastinating...

There are lots of "Moments of the Decade" lists popping up on the internet, but this one seems to be the most fun. Click here to see "40 Things That Were Popular At The Beginning Of The Decade That Aren't Popular Anymore." This list includes AIM subprofiles, Kazaa, Nelly, and rubber bracelets.

Image via hiphopwired.
12.16.09 12:08am

Poughkeepsie Journal's Update On Protests

The Poughkeepsie Journal ran another article yesterday about the campus protests and administration's response to them.

Apparently, Uppity wasn't the only group to meet with administration this weekend and on Monday. Campus Solidarity Working Group also met with administrators, although participant Nathan Orians '10 called the meeting only "slightly productive." Meawhile, Dean Roellke said the meetings were "very fruitful."

Check it out here.
12.16.09 11:58am

December 15, 2009

Alumni Nominated For Golden Globes

The Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning. Meryl Streep '71 has two nominations for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy (It's Complicated and Julie and Julia).

Also, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, co-written by Noah Baumbach '91 and featuring the voice of Meryl Streep is nominated for Best Animated Feature Film.

Image via IMDB.com.
12.15.09 11:06am

December 14, 2009

Hungry For Justice Finally Speaks

In an email to madsvassarblog.com and other campus and local news media, the members of Hungry for Justice have decided to release several individual statements about last week's hunger strike rather than one collective statement. Below are excerpts.

"It is all too easy to dismiss the hunger strike as extreme, unnecessary, or ineffective. But the fact is that student actions have had a direct impact in changing not only the processes but also the outcomes of administrative decision-making." - Sarah Cohen '11

"My greatest disappointment about the hunger strike was the staggering number of students who essentially told us that we were not allowed to question or disagree with those with authority/education/age." - Robyn Smigel '12

"With nothing left of a voice, no decision making, I control the only thing I have left, my own body...Neither we nor the administrations would publicly bend, and yet we both did. The unions were satisfied, and we did our best." - Royce Drake '10

"As a striker, I also experienced from my classmates extreme antagonism...I remember someone taunting us with cheese burgers and another exclaiming that he apparently just had a delicious steak... But I also witnessed first hand how kind others were...We received considerable praise from students and workers who believed in our cause...Overall, the hunger strike...resulted in satisfying our demand of having more workers gainfully employed and set a tone for further actions in the spring semester." - Daniel Bruce Wong '12

"On our third day, we were told that several people who were laid off had finally been given a means of gainful employment...Without tension and criticism, decision-making suffers and discourse narrows." - Gaelin Monkman-Kotz '12

"Perhaps our full goal was not met, but we were able to meet significant benchmarks in regards to the job security of those laid off." - Brian Hioe '13

Check out Uppity's blog for the full statements.
12.14.09 10:47pm

Spotted: Loeb Works In Library Basement

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center may be closing for renovations in May, but we can now enjoy reproductions of Loeb works in the basement of the Main Library. If you've spent as much time there these last few days as Mads has, you'll agree that it really makes the space much more tolerable.

"The idea of installing art into the library basement has been talked about for several years," Brian Farkas '10, one of the students behind the project and VSA Vice President for Operations, tells madsvassarblog.com via email. "While the first and second stories of the library are stunningly beautiful, many students have complained that the basement can be a bit depressing. The white walls are mostly unadorned, giving the space a very sterile feeling," he adds.

Brian worked with curators from the Loeb, the library staff, and Joseph Redwood-Martinez '11 of the Vassar Public Art Committee to select twenty-five works. The VSA Council generously provided the funding from their Discretionary fund and the students involved cut and framed the images.

So far, ten works have been installed, and fifteen more should be installed by the end of the week. Some works on display include Francis Bacon's "Study for a Portrait," Frederic Church's "Autumn in North America," Georgia O'Keefe's "Spring," and Pablo Picasso's "Head of a Woman."

"My hope is that this project is an inexpensive way to really improve a space that so many students use," Brian says. "Vassar was the first college in the nation to be founded with an art museum as part of its original plan, and these reproductions are a way to highlight our world-renowned collection."
12.14.09 8:54pm

NY Mag Doesn't Approve Of Vassar's "Rent"



A few days ago we leaked that Vassar would be in New York Magazine's "Approval Matrix" feature. Now it's official, and it's not very good.

The "Matrix" rates Vassar's rendition of Rent halfway between "lowbrow" and "despicable," stating: "Ugh, college productions of Rent: One of the first is at Vassar, of course."

The image features Maureen (Maria Garcia '10) and several dancers.
12.14.09 11:43am

Hunger For Justice Statement On The Way...

Hunger for Justice has informed us that they will be releasing a statement soon. The group, which met with administrators yesterday, has not commented publicly since the end of the hunger strike on Saturday.

Check back soon!
12.14.09 11:30am

December 13, 2009

Welcome Class Of 2014

It's that time of year again - Early Decision letters went out late last week and applicants are starting to hear back.

So far the Class of 2014 Facebook group only has fourteen members, many of which are current students or incoming freshmen who deferred a year.

Congratulations, 2014!
12.13.09 3:08pm

Retreat Is Open Late

Campus Dining has just informed us that the Retreat will be open until 12:45am (instead of 11pm) this Monday through Thursday.
12.13.09 2:30pm

December 12, 2009

*Breaking* Hunger Strike Is Over

According to an all-campus email sent by Dean Roellke moments ago, Hunger for Justice has ended its hunger strike after three and a half days.

"I am both relieved and pleased to report that the hunger strikers have decided to end their protest," Dean Roellke writes, adding that he and Cappy will be meeting with the strikers tomorrow. "Personally, I have found my own conversations with the students engaged in this protest to be fruitful, despite my serious concerns about their choice to conduct a hunger strike," he also writes.

The strike successfully brought the layoff issues into view, although their main goal was not met. "While the College’s employment policies could not be amended, the strikers highlight the empathy we all feel with those affected by the economic downturn," the Dean writes.

Uppity, the group behind Hunger for Justice, has yet to post on their blog or Twitter about the end of the strike.
12.12.09 5:03pm

On The Cover

Contrast goes to the Vassar Farm on the cover of their latest issue, which came out on Thursday.
12.12.09 4:25pm

Princess Of Poughkeepsie Clip Gets Cut

Ever since MTV aired a promo for Jersey Shore featuring a clip of a man punching Snooki in the face, the self-proclaimed Princess of Poughkeepsie has been at the center of a controversy regarding violence on television.

Yesterday, MTV announced that they will be cutting the clip from an upcoming episode. "After hearing from our viewers, further consulting with experts on the issue of violence, and seeing how the video footage has been taken out of context not to show the severity of this act or resulting consequences, MTV has decided not to air Snooki being physically punched in the face," a written statement says.

12.12.09 1:56pm

Hunger Strike Continues, According To New Press Release

In a press release posted to their blog at midnight last night, Hunger for Justice states that "the hunger strikers will not eat until the administration ensures them that all 13 employees whose jobs are in danger will be gainfully employed in 2010."

Further, despite administration's response that they will not cancel the layoffs, the strikers feel that "progress is being made."

Royce Drake '10, one of the strikers, gave an interview to WVKR, which can be heard here.

The hunger strike is currently in its fourth day.

Update 5:03pm: The hunger strike has officially ended, seventeen hours after the press release was put out. See the above post or click here for details.
12.12.09 12:54pm

Vassar Professor In Today's NY Times

Vassar professor Sidney Plotkin is featured in today's New York Times in an article about teaching the recession in college courses. "The financial crisis... is being embraced as a valuable teaching tool. Academics say they cannot recall a time when so much of the curriculum has had to be revised so quickly to reflect the sweeping developments in the economy," the article states.

An excerpt:
"Sidney Plotkin, a professor of political science at Vassar College, has taught 'Power and Public Policy' in one iteration or another for more than 30 years. But last month he began a new section of the course by exploring the housing bubble and Bernard L. Madoff, consumer borrowing and federal bailouts — and shining a Marxist light on the whole morass.

'Marx is the uninvited guest in the discussion,' Dr. Plotkin told the group of undergraduates assembled in Rockefeller Hall. 'By looking at the financial crisis through the lens of a Marxist analysis, we begin to see how the American debate about power is shaped by Marxism.'"

Dana Bell '11 is also mentioned and quoted: “'It makes it easier to talk with authority on the issues,' said Dana Bell, a junior at Vassar, referring to Professor Plotkin’s course on power and public policy. 'You’ve got to stay awake in this class, or you’ll be caught off guard.'"

Associate professor Robert P. Rebelein is also quoted.

12.12.09 12:39pm

More On The "Groper" Arrest

The Poughkeepsie Journal has more information today about the arrest of the campus groper. According to the article, the man is twenty-two years old and has been charged with ten counts of "forcible touching."

Town police Chief Thomas Mauro "commended the 'proactive assistance' of the Vassar College security staff and college administration over the past three months."

The Journal would not release the man's name.

Update: Mid-Hudson News identifies the man as Andrew Zambrano of Poughkeepsie. According to the Daily Freeman, Zambrano's bail was set at $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond. He is being held at the Dutchess County Jail and will return to court on Tuesday.
12.12.09 12:15pm

December 11, 2009

By Word Of Mouth

We hear from inside sources that Vassar will appear in New York Magazine's "Approval Matrix" feature next week.

12.11.09 12:26pm

This Weekend On Campus...When You're Not Studying Edition


Can you believe it's the last weekend of the semester? If you don't plan on burrowing in the library, here's a list of events worth checking out. There are no all-campus parties allowed during study week, but you can choose from a long list of a capella and comedy group final shows. Email us for publicity.

Friday
Hanukkah, 5:30pm (Candle lighting), 6:00 (service), 7:00 (party), Bayit
Night Owls Concert, 7pm Rocky 200
Devils in Wonderland, 9pm Blodgett
The Indecent Exposure Non-Denominational Winter Holiday Special, 9pm Sanders
No Offense 21st Birthday Show, 9pm Mug

Saturday
Hanukkah, 7:30pm Davison Parlor

Sunday
Hanukkah, 7:30pm Main Parlor
Senior Film Documentary Screening, 6pm Center for Drama & Film (Rosenwald theater)
Beauty and the Beats: Disney A Capella Preview Concert, 8pm Raymond MPR

Image via Brooklyn Vegan.
12.11.09 10:09am

December 10, 2009

*Breaking* Campus Groper Is Arrested, Admits To Incidents

In an all-campus email sent earlier today, Don Marsala announced that the person responsible for several incidents on campus this semester was arrested and admitted to groping students on different occasions.

The arrest came after an incident this morning in which four students were groped between 9:15 and 9:33am.

From the email:
"The Detective Captain has advised me that the person arrested has also admitted to being the person that groped some of our students earlier in the semester and has admitted to accosting several other females in the greater community. The suspect will be arraigned later today."

Marsala calls this "a very important arrest for our community."
12.10.09 11:55pm

More A Capella Tonight

Take a break for the protest drama and check out Broadway A Capella's concert tonight.

Tonight (Thursday) at 9:30pm in Rocky 200. More here.

12.10.09 7:21pm

Hunger Strike Will Continue Despite Admin's Response

Mads spoke via email with Sarah Cohen '11, a member of Uppity's Hunger of Justice group, although not one of the members striking, about the hunger strike and the group's reaction to Dean Roellke's statement.

The hunger strike has passed its forty-second hour and is still going strong, according to Sarah, who reminds us of the group's main issue: "The decision to fire workers represents a certain set of priorities, based on a corporate model, which we refuse to accept.

Despite Dean Roellke's statement in which he expressed concern for the health of the strikers and said the college will not cancel the layoffs, Sarah says the group has "no plans of discontinuing the hunger strike."

"I think that the administration has definitely taken notice of our hunger strike, but this is not enough - we want them to take action," Sarah tells Mads.

According to Sarah, many members of the Vassar community have been supportive. "Staff, faculty, and students have brought us water, gatorade, and pillows," she says, adding, "We really appreciate the support, find it encouraging, and remain optimistic."

Hunger for Justice welcomes anyone who wants to join them. "We extend an open invitation for friends and supporters to come sit with us for a while, spend the night (slumber party!), or participate in a solidarity fast for 24 or 48 hours," says Sarah.

12.10.09 7:00pm

Hunger Strike Expulsion Rumor Is False

Edit 7pm: See the bottom of the post for the most recent update.

According to a source in the know who would prefer to remain anonymous, Uppity's claim that a hunger striker was told she would be expelled is "entirely false." This clarification comes in response to Uppity's Twitter post from a few hours ago:


So far Uppity has not elaborated on their post, responding on Twitter to Mads with, "We are waiting until we have more information."

In addition, administration is officially responding to the hunger strike. In a statement on the Miscellany News website, Dean Roellke urges the participating students to consider their health and says that there will be "no change in policy" regarding the layoffs.

Here is the statement:

"We are concerned that several students are choosing to put their health at risk by participating in a hunger strike and we urge them to reconsider their decision.

Our financial planning over the past year and a half has had as a priority the reduction of as few jobs as possible at the college. During this time of record economic downturn, we have achieved most of the needed reduction in our workforce by means other than layoffs: by not filling vacant positions, by offering retirement packages to eligible employees and by reorganizing departments and the ways we provide services. We have had to reduce a relatively small number of positions and in all of those cases the college has worked with the employees to assist them in finding other work. Of the 13 layoffs announced this fall, three have taken other jobs at the College; two have taken retirement incentive packages; and at least one has accepted a job elsewhere. All those who have lost jobs have had access to career counseling and employment services as well as funds for professional development.

Because of the realities of the financial constraints the college continues to face, there will be no change in policy on the announced layoffs. We all feel sadness at losing colleagues, and we will continue to provide support to assist them in finding other employment."

Update: The Misc has some more information on the "expulsion" rumor from a few hours ago. "My parents called me and they had got the impression somehow that disciplinary action may be coming our way," striker Robyn Smigel '12 is quoted as saying. Meanwhile, Roellke tells the Misc, "D.B. Brown was never given any instruction to speak about disciplinary action."

Update 2: Robyn Smigel '12 left the following comment on madsvassarblog.com:
"WE DID NOT START THIS RUMOR. We heard it, just like you did, because of some miscommunication. We soon learned that information was false, and immediately removed our tweet about it."

Uppity also responded to us on Twitter, explaining that the "source of wrong information is one of the hunger striker's parents who misunderstood a call from Dean of Studies."

12.10.09 3:13pm

Contrast Launch Tonight

Contrast is hosting a launch party tonight for the release of its Fall/Winer '09 issue. We're told that this will be the only chance to get the magazine, as there are a limited number of copies. There will also be food, drinks, and music.

Tonight (Thursday) from 6-7:30 in the Faculty Commons.

12.10.09 3:03pm

College Reacts To Yesterday's Protests In Poughkeepsie Journal

In the Poughkeepsie Journal's article on yesterday's hunger strike and sing-in, college spokesperson Jeff Kosmacher responded to the student actions, saying the college will not give in to demands:

"None of the positions will be re-established. The college is making long-term adjustments to how it spends money in its budget, and to create sustainable plans. It's extremely important to note that of the 20 administrative and staff people Vassar laid off in the past year, seven were hired for other positions that opened up at the college. From the beginning affected employees have been given first consideration when other positions become available."

12.10.09 12:36pm

December 9, 2009

New Protest Group And More Action...Hunger Strike and Sing-In Going On Now

The protests against the employee cuts are picking up again today with a hunger strike and a sing-in, among other things.


Students and employees are currently taking up a third of the Retreat and singing songs, including "We Shall Overcome." The song was popularized during the Civil Rights movement by Pete Seeger, who spoke out against the cuts back in October when we performed at Vassar. Song sheets were distributed and students are playing guitars and other instruments.

"Our hope is to keep this going as long as we possibly can, until our voices can’t sing anymore," writes Nathan Orians '10 in an email to various students and employees about the Campus Solidarity Working Group's "Day of Action."

Several students are also stationed by the entrance to Main with a sign behind them stating that they will "hunger strike until layoffs canceled." The strike is the work of the new Uppity group, which aims to take more drastic measures than the Campus Solidarity movement does. "We believe radical and structural change is the only way out of this cycle," the group's blog states as its mission. According to the group's Twitter page, three students are striking. From the blog:

"An autonomous group of Vassar students who resist the corporatization of their college began a hunger strike at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, December 8th. The hunger strikers will not eat until the administration cancels the layoffs of 13 members of the Vassar community, who have been notified that their jobs will no longer exist come Christmas break. The administration has refused to engage in direct negotiations with the unions on campus."

The last hunger strike against the firing of campus workers took place in May, during which five students went without eating for five days. "This time the hunger strikers will not accept temporary fixes or band-aids," a blog post states, adding,"They refuse to nourish their bodies until jobs are restored."

There will also be a vigil today at 4:00 on Raymond Avenue behind the library.

12.9.09 2:01pm

Happy Last Day Of Classes!

Happy last day of classes, readers! Let the traying commence.

12.9.09 11:06am

Film League, On Tap, and Ballroom Dancing Present...



Celebrate the fresh snow with a special holiday screening of White Christmas. There will be free hot chocolate and cookies, as well as brief performances by On Tap and Ballroom Dancing before the film.

Tonight (Wednesday) at 8pm in UpC.
12.9.09 10:21am

A Capella Tonight

This week's series of final a capella shows continues tonight with "Inglourious Vasterds." The Vastards sing updated arrangements of your favorite nostalgic pop songs.

This is the group's last performance before they go to compete in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella next semester.

Tonight (Wednesday) at 9pm in Rocky 300.

Update: Before heading over to see the Vastards, you can check out the Matthew's Minstrels final concert tonight in Sanders at 7pm.

12.9.09 10:18am

Poughkeepsie Journal On Loeb Closure

Click here to see what the Poughkeepsie Journal has to say about the recently announced temporary closure of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

12.9.09 10:09am

Last Mug Night Of The Semester



Tonight is the last Mug night of the semester, featuring Vassar Teknowledgy's DJ Club Sauce (Christopher Palmisano '10), DJ Lyke Mic (Dylan Evans '12), and The First Clas Riot (Axel Yung '13).

Tonight (Wednesday) at 10pm in the Mug. Click here for more info.
12.9.09 12:10am

December 7, 2009

Loeb Will Close For Eight Months

Sad news for art lovers on campus - according to an all-campus email sent earlier today, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center will be closing from May 2010 to January 2011 for "roof repairs."

The museum staff will try to keep the collection available to faculty and students, including for classes. They also hope to continue the "Late Night" program at a different location on campus.

Image via vassar.edu.
12.7.09 9:38am

December 6, 2009

Quote Of The Day

"I'm the Princess of f****** Poughkeepsie."

- Nicole, a.k.a. Snooki on the series premiere of MTV's Jersey Shore.

Photo via MTV.
12.6.09 12:30pm

News From Other Schools, In Brief

The Vassar Bubble can be a small one, so here are some noteworthy news stories from some other schools.

New York State prevents Columbia's planned expansion. According to The New York Times, the state is blocking Columbia's planned expansion in West Harlem of 17 acres after a court ruled that such a plan was unconstitutional. The plan would have cost $6.3 billion.
More from the Bwog.

Falsely accused Wesleyan shooter is suing. According to the Hartford Courant, a Cornell professor named Stephen Morgan is suing the school because his photograph was initially released as the shooter in last year's incident, rather than that of the actual Stephen Morgan who was eventually arrested. The professor claims he has suffered "humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress."
More from Wesleying.

Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn will give Middlebury commencement address. According to Middlebury's paper, The Campus, in 1990, Kristof and WuDunn became the first couple to receive a Pulitzer Prize, which they won for their report on Tianamen Square. In 2006, Kristof won another Pulitzer Prize for his report on Darfur.
More from Midd Blog.

12.6.09 12:21pm

Daily Freeman Covers Vassar Protests

Hudson Valley newspaper The Daily Freeman published an article on Friday on the Vassar student protests over the staff cuts.

"Vassar didn’t make sweeping financial decisions as soon as the economy began bottoming out like a lot of other colleges and non-profits did,” Jeff Kosmacher, the college spokesman, says in the article. “We have taken a year to carefully review all the ways that the college spends its money."

Nathan Orians '10 is also quoted: "We want more transparency. We want a voice in the decision-making process."

Click here to read the full article.
12.6.09 11:50am

Library Studying Made Fun

A few Vassar students are holding an event today to make library studying more tolerable. You're invited to dress up as the "Great Depression," however you interpret it.

"In this tough time, we must all approach the library and those who utilize its resources with humor and pleasantry," the Facebook event description states. "We're in this together."

Today, all day in the library.
12.6.09 11:41am

December 4, 2009

Marsala Back To His Funny Ways

Don Marsala's hunting email wasn't as funny this year as it was in years past, but he made up for it with his leaf blowing email to TA residents today:

"B&G has asked me to let you all know that on Monday (12/7) at approximately 7:30 AM they will initiate a final assault on the remaining leaves at the TA's. Armed with gasoline powered leaf blowers they will attack from the east, advancing through the TA's."

12.4.09 8:38pm

Moulin Rouge Tonight

Main and the French Club's annual Moulin Rouge party returns tonight, featuring DJ Lyke Mic (Dylan Evans '13) and DJ Gold Or You're Dead (Chris Martel '12). Fly People will also be performing and there will be free crepes, as well as free beer and champagne for students over 21.

"The FlyPeople performance will SHOCK," a member of the Main house team tells Mads.

Tonight in the Villard Room from 11pm-2am.

12.4.09 8:11pm

The Culling Of The Deer

...That sounds like a war movie, doesn't it?

In an all-campus email sent this morning, the Farm and Ecological Preserve Oversight Committee announced a "culling" of the deer to take place over winter break to fight overpopulation on Vassar Farm. According to the email, overpopulation negatively impacts the farm's ecosystem, as well as Lyme's disease and property damage.

From the email:
"A highly regarded non-profit wildlife management and research firm will provide 2-3 skilled hunters for the cull over a few days, depending upon weather conditions... All of the resulting venison will be donated to local food pantries, through such efforts as the Hunters for the Hungry program of the Federation of Dutchess County Fish and Game Clubs."

The committee will be tabling in the College Center on Monday and Tuesday to give out information and answer questions.

Personally, Mads loves seeing the deer around campus, but we'll take the committee's word that this decision is necessary.
12.4.09 3:07pm

This Weekend On Campus...Not Yet Study Week Edition

For a lot of students, this is the last weekend to have fun before hitting the books. Here's what is worth checking out. Email us for publicity.

Friday
ViCE Film League presents Funny People, 7:30pm Blodgett
Rent, 8pm Martel Theater
VC Punx Finale, 8pm CC MPR
Main and French Club present Moulin Rouge, 11pm Villard Room
Europop Mug Night, 11pm Mug

Saturday
NSO presents NonCon Preview, 12pm-9pm Retreat & Faculty Commons
ViCE Film League presents Funny People, 7:30pm Blodgett
Rent, 8pm Martel Theater
Ballroom Dancing Club presents Latin Fiesta, 10pm Villard Room & CC MPR
99 Nights Mug Night, 10:30pm Mug (Seniors only until 1am)

Sunday
Beauty and the Beats: Disney Acapella Preview Concert, 4pm & 9pm Lathrop Parlor

12.4.09 11:20am

December 3, 2009

Film League Presents...



ViCE
Film League presents Funny People (2009).

There will also be a short by the Vassar Filmmakers, Our Father, Unemployed. TONCA will be selling popcorn with all proceeds going to the Poughkeepsie Child Abuse Prevention Center.

Friday (12/4) and Saturday (12/5) at 7:30pm in Blodgett Auditorium.

12.3.09 9:04pm

December 2, 2009

2010 Announces Class Gift

On the Facebook page for the 99 Nights event, the Class of 2010 has announced that their senior class gift will be an "endowed scholarship fund." This is the first endowed class gift in Vassar's history.

"We're hoping to shatter records for both dollar amount ($15,000) and participation (75%)," a rep for the Senior Class Gift Committee tells Mads.

Here is an excerpt from the official announcement:
"In 2009-10, the College will spend some $44 million on financial aid. Our need-blind policy alone costs an estimated extra $1 million each year in forgone tuition. While other schools with less welcoming policies can rely on this additional tuition revenue, Vassar must instead rely on the generosity of its graduates. As soon-to-be members of this alumni family, we recognize this pressing need, and are determined to be among the most dedicated classes Vassar has ever known. In honor of all that Vassar has given us, it is time to show our appreciation by allowing future students to enjoy the same educational opportunities."

This announcement should prove less controversial than 2010's sophomore class gift of V-Card swipers for vending machines, which drew criticisms back in Spring 2008.

Click here to donate.
12.2.09 1:19am

December 1, 2009

Still Fighting Those Cutbacks

Response to administration's answers to the financial crisis is picking up again this week with students and faculty speaking out against the decisions to cut courses, faculty positions, and the varsity rowing teams.

Christopher Scott '06, a former men's rowing varsity co-captain, is the latest alumnus to contact administration about the decision to cut the varsity teams. "Not only would the proposed merger of Vassar's rowing team with the Hudson River Rowing Association (HRRA) be detrimental to the college itself, but...this proposal is unnecessary and founded upon misinformation," Christopher writes. The former co-captain also points out that the women's rowing team is less expensive than golf, tennis, volleyball, basketball, and swimming and diving, and the men's team costs less than tennis and volleyball.

As for the faculty reductions and course reductions, a new petition is currently being circulated. Email junichols@vassar.edu with your name and class year to add your name to the petition.

The VSA endorsed the latest petition, stating in an email to students that "the document demonstrated a clear concern for the long-term health of Vassar’s multidisciplinary curriculum, our flexible course offerings, and our retention of excellent scholars and teachers... We believe these are core properties of a Vassar education that our constituents value deeply."

Update 12/2: There will be a vigil in support of campus workers and the employees who have lost their jobs today (Wednesday) at 4pm on Raymond Avenue across from the library.

12.1.09 6:50pm

Protest At West Point Tonight

President Obama will be announcing a troop surge in Afghanistan tonight during a speech at West Point, our neighbors down the Hudson river. Local anti-war and activist groups will be protesting tonight and invite Vassar students to join.

"The world will be watching Obama's speech that evening and it is important to show that representatives of the majority of the American people who oppose the Afghan war are making their views known," states the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter, one of the sponsors of the event.

There will also be a protest in New Paltz on Saturday.

Click here for more details on the protests.

Update 12/2: Here are some pictures of the protests, via The New York Times.
12.1.09 1:42pm

November 25, 2009

Search Party In Pictures

A few days late, but here are some pictures from ViCE's Search Party last weekend.

By the way, E-603's album Torn Up is available for free online.

11.25.09 12:13am

Our Rivals Win PETA Contest

Despite allegations of unfair voting, Wesleyan has been named the country's Most Vegetarian-Friendly School in PETA's competition.

Vassar was up against Wesleyan in the first round of the competition. Sadly, we didn't even make the top 10.
11.25.09 12:08am

November 24, 2009

Big Week For Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach '91 is having an exciting week. The trailer for his upcoming film Greenberg came out today and his latest screenwriting collaboration with Wes Anderson, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, opens tomorrow.

In Greenberg, Ben Stiller plays the title character who moves into his brother's house in LA and grows close with his brother's personal assistant. "As their relationship develops through a series of embarrassingly awkward romantic encounters, even someone as irascible as Greenberg might have at last found a reason to be happy," the synopsis states.



The film comes out in March.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which features the voice of Meryl Streep '71, has already received rave reviews.



11.24.09 11:46pm

Vassar And Thanksgiving

What do the histories of Vassar and Thanksgiving have in common?

Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of a popular 19th century women's journal, suggested that Matthew Vassar remove the word "female" from the original name of the college, Vassar Female College. The trustees obeyed, and that's why there is an empty space between the slates for "Vassar" and "College" above the entrance to Main Building.

Hale is also responsible for Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday. Back in the day, Hale wrote editorials proclaiming that the holiday should officially take place on the last Thursday of each November. President Lincoln obliged in 1863.

Click here
to read more about Hale's contributions to life as we know it. Have a relaxing break, readers!

11.24.09 10:25pm

November 23, 2009

CHOICE Presents...

Tonight CHOICE is presenting The Female Orgasm from 7-9pm in Rocky 300.

"Join us to laugh and learn about the 'big O,' the most popular topic sex educators Marshall Miller and Dorian Solot teach about! Orgasm aficionados and beginners of all genders are welcome to come learn about everything from multiple orgasms to that mysterious G-spot. Whether you want to learn how to have your first orgasm, how to have better ones, or how to help your girlfriend, Dorian and Marshall cover it all with lots of humor, plenty of honesty, and an underlying message of sexual health and women's empowerment. People of all genders welcome. Are you coming?"

Click here for more info.
11.23.09 9:47am

November 21, 2009

New Video Of Local Election Controversy

The Daily Freeman just posted this video of a Bard student being challenged at the polls when trying to vote in the local elections a few weeks ago. According to the DF, the video shows "a dispute between elections officials and one student who wanted to cast his ballot on the District 5 machine, rather than by affidavit. The voter claims to be challenging on the basis of residency, but without providing a reason."



Here is the dialogue between the poll worker and the person filming:
"Challenge for residency."
"What's the basis for the challenge?"
"Residency."
'What's the specific reason?"
"Residency. That's the only answer you get... That's all I'm going to tell you."

Even more disturbing footage comes later in the clip when the poll worker is again asked the basis for challenging the student's residency. The worker walks calmly up to the camera and suddenly smacks it away.
11.21.09 4:02pm