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.
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!
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?"
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.
Lots of firetrucks outside of Main right now. The fire alarm went off, but it's unclear whether or not this is in any way related to preparations for the ViCE party, which involves a fog machine. We spoke to a security officer who could not confirm that the fog machine was the cause.
Update: We have confirmation that the fog machine was indeed the cause of the fire alarm, but the party will go on!
There's a lot going on this weekend, including tonight, as orgs are trying to squeeze in their last events before Thanksgiving break. Here's our list of what's worth checking out. Email us for publicity.
Broadwayworld.com posted an article yesterday about Vassar's upcoming production of Rent.
According to the article, Vassar's production is one of the first-ever college productions of the musical.Drama professor Chris Grabowski, who is directing the production, also directed the first staged reading of the musical when it was in development. The Vassar rendition may be different than the one you're familiar with. "Rather than producing a mere imitation of the glamarous Broadway productions of the musical," the article states, "Graowski said he decided to present a Rent that is 'more reminiscent of its earlier off-Broadway days, when the musical was considered cutting-edge, with a cast comprised of unfamiliar faces, and the production thrifty.'"
Nate Silver '10, who is Rent's associate director, is also quoted: "What we're doing is going back, finding what the story is in the play, and also what it means to us as a group of young artists...trying to get ourselves heard now and in the future.
Update: So it turns out that the so-called article on broadwayworld.com is actually a press release put out by Vassar. Oops.
Dean Roellke left a comment on the blog to let us know that his family's dog Gullaby was finally found today. Somehow Gullaby made it all the way to Highland across the river. Hours before he heard the news, the Dean left a comment here sharing the unfortunate information that Gullaby was still missing. "We are still hopeful that he will return home safely someday," the Dean wrote.
Dean Roellke also took the opportunity to apologize for sending out all-campus emails for the matter. "In retrospect, I could have considered other venues to get the word out," he wrote. "Frankly, we were scrambling a bit and were probably not thinking clearly. We will not use email for this personal purpose again."
In two all-campus emails today, Dean Roellke reports that two of his dogs are missing and asks that students look out for them.
"Two of our three dogs (Jeter--a springer spaniel mix and Gullaby--a toy sized poodle type mix) got out of Pratt House very early this morning and have not returned. They have been missing for about 5 hours," the Dean wrote at 10:30am.
Then in an email at 4:15pm: "Still no luck finding our much beloved pets...very unusual for them to be gone this long."
Jeter is described as 45 lbs. and black and white. Gullaby is 7 lbs. and is brindle and has shaggy hair.
Update 11/15: Luckily Jeter was found, but Gullaby is still missing. Continue to keep a look out!
"Many [Vassar students] have a very strong commitment to the local community where they live the vast majority of the year," Cappy writes, noting students' involvement in community service, including raising $500,000 to date for Community Works.
"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 in the last election," Cappy writes, adding, "We need to be able to assure our students who are registered voters of their opportunity to participate in elections."
After The Visitor you can go see Turn it Loose, a documentary about a competition between sixteen of the world's best B-Boys in Soweto, South Africa, presented by Hip Hop 101. There will be free Red Bull.
According to the Argus, Wesleyan's food service provider set up a "voting station" and offered free baked goods to students who voted.
“This competition is all propaganda...The way they did it last year, I felt that they were bribing us and I was pretty upset over it. I didn’t think the vegan food was very good, so why were they making us vote for them?" one student is quoted as saying.
Since news broke last week that the varsity rowing teams would be cut, current and former rowers have come out in response against the decision.
The latest email to administration we've seen is from Jaime-Alexis Fowler '04, a former captain and co-captain. Among other points and anecdotes, Jaime-Alexis enumerates the ways Vassar will be negatively impacted by not having a varsity team:
Prestige: Vassar will now be the only Seven Sister school to not have a Varsity rowing program
Tradition: Since 1866, the sport has had a presence on campus and a rich tradition of investing in women’s sports
Recruitment: High school rowers number in the tens, if not hundreds of thousands, and consistently are recognized as some of the most well-rounded student athletes with the highest GPAs
Visibility: Major regattas like Head of the Charles, ECACs, etc bring national exposure unrivalled by some of the other teams on campus
Outreach: Many other athletes who did not row in high school are attracted to colleges that offer rowing as something new to try; it also offers a great talking point for talking about Vassar
Alumnae/i: Rowers and non-rowers alike have expressed outrage at this decision, consistently pointing out that this is not the Vassar they knew
Donations: In my circle that includes me, my partner (class of ’04), his parents (class of ’74), his grandmother (class of ’49), my friends, and my parents (from whom I usually solicit donations)…
"I will always have my memories," Jaime-Alexis writes, "of early morning practices where blades dipped in fog and hulls slipped through the echoes of barge wake, of bus breakdowns on the way back from regattas where we trekked down deserted highways to the local gas station, of bonds so close and dear that at our last race we stood 10 arms linked together shaking on the dock at the sheer power of being together. But now, sadly other Vassar students never will."
Click here and here to see what alumni John Gregory '04 and Jason Adam Stahl '08 had to say.
Jason Adam Stahl '08, a Vassar rowing team alumnus, has sent an in-depth nine page report to Dean Kitzinger, Sharon Beverly and Cappy on "why the Vassar administration's strategy for Men's and Women's Rowing will not work, and how to create a strategy that will."
Jason is currently coaching his high school rowing team while pursuing a degree in education.
Among other complaints, Jason believes that having Vassar rowers participate in the HRRA as proposed will do more harm than good. "A closer look at the recent results of HRRA from every angle show that its competitive 'returns' are pedestrian and most likely to negatively affect the performance of Vassar’s Men’s and Women’s teams," Jason writes.
In addition, Jason states that participating in the HRRA would prevent Vassar rowers from competing in certain regattas and competitions because of scheduling and the lack of a distinct school team.
"Students do not simply want to row competitively while at Vassar," Jason writes. "They want to row competitively for Vassar."
Vassar's quidditch team, The Butterbeer Brewers, is hosting its first ever home tournament this weekend. So far teams from Lafayette, Chestnut Hill and and Queen's University (from Ontario) are participating.
Saturday, 11/14 12-4pm in Noyes Circle.
Update: Queen's University is no longer participating, but Villanova University is.
Some Vassar faculty members have drafted a petition to the Board of Trustees regarding the ongoing staff reductions. The petition states the belief that faculty and employee layoffs will "significantly damage curriculum, community, core values, and finally, and most importantly, the future of our institution." The petition asks that the college's financial woes be "dealt with through humane, thoughtful and collaborative measures that protect community and curriculum."
The petition mentions that dire circumstances of some of Vassar's workers, such as carpenter Brian Denu who has worked at Vassar for the last decade and now "has started selling off his farm to help his family make it through the winter because the college will be laying him off in December."
The petition calls for a "long-term fund-raising strategy [that] must expand to include what we know about the internet, organizing, and community engagement."
For more information, see the Don't Let Vassar Silence Writers Facebook group, which has now expanded to include other issues involving Vassar's layoffs and cutbacks.
Update: The petition is open for students, staff, faculty, parents, and alumnae/i to sign. If you would like to sign it, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Representatives for the Mug and the Class of 2011 are responding to Saturday night's incident through emails to Mads and comments on this blog.
Campus Dining's Director of Marketing and Sustainability, Ken Oldehoff, who oversees the Mug, wrote the following:
"There is a sign posted at the entrance to Matthew's Mug stating that the Mug will close for the evening if there is illegal activity. Stealing beer is illegal... If patrons act in a manner where we can't be certain that they are acting according to the law, we will close the bar... If the [town] or state police [were] to discover underage drinking in the Mug, they could arrest the bartender. So you buy a beer and pass it off to your friend and a college employee is arrested for a misdemeanor, wonderful. Don't blame the bartender because certain people act like spoiled fools."
Meanwhile, Julia Eicher '11, the Treasurer for 2011 and one of the event's organizers, had this to say:
"Punishing everyone because of the actions of one person is juvenile and disrespectful of the integrity of the majority of the student body. This incident was unfortunate and disrespectful, but so was the reaction of the bartender. It is entirely possible to close the bar and keep the Mug open- any concern regarding illegal activity involving the alcohol available there can be resolved by pulling the metal gate down over the bar and closing it up. This event was the result of a huge amount of hard work and planning, not to mention a pretty large amount of money. As Betty said, it was wonderful to finally see a group equally composed of freshmen-seniors having fun together and ruining the whole night because one person did something stupid is really just another way to make the student body feel like children. There is a tremendous lack of respect on this campus- in both directions."
The student liaison to the Mug, Paul Noonan '10, declined to comment until he meets with administration to discuss the incident. He did, however, email us the following statement:
"As the Student Mug Liaison, I highly encourage students to email me at email@example.com with their questions, comments, and concerns about the incident on Saturday or the Mug in general. It is my job to accurately present the student opinion, so feel free to voice whatever you're feeling."
Update: Paul Noonan '10 just sent us the following statement:
"The appropriate administrative parties have been made aware of the angry reaction to Saturday night's closure. Meetings will continue throughout the week to figure out why this happened and what can be done in the future.
Also, the sign posted on the door of Matthew's Mug states:
If there is any evidence of illegal activity in Matthew's Mug, the bar will be closed for the evening [emphasis is Paul's].
The definition of bar could be considered a gray area, and is also being discussed."
The bartender closed the Mug early last night, leaving many students unhappy and without plans. Apparently during 2011's "Blackout" party, a student reached over the bar and attempted to fill his own drink from the tap. Not only did the student break regulations in doing so, but he also broke the bar tap, causing beer to spill out uncontrollably behind the bar, according to a source who spoke with the bartender. The bartender started yelling and forced Betty to close the Mug at around 12:30am, just as DJ Olmec was getting into his set.
Junior class officers, the VSA Vice President for Activities, Betty and DJ Olmec all tried to convince the bartender to keep the Mug open, but were unsuccessful.VP Aaron Grober '11 challenged the bartender's authority to close the entire Mug rather than just the bar. 2011 reps offered to pay for the damages and asked if only the bar could close instead of the entire Mug.
"The Mug night was tribal," says DJ Sharkattackz, who played the first set of the night.
No word yet on whether this will affect next week's Poder Latino Mug night.
Update: DJ Olmec, whose set was interrupted, tweeted the following about the incident: "U gotta be gentle on the tap."
ViCE Film League and the Class of 2013 are screening the legendary Titanicon Friday and Saturday. ViCE just sent us this exclusive first look at two of thirty different posters for the event. All of the posters feature a different image and quote from the movie.
In addition to the efforts of alumnae/i to save the rowing team, current rowers are having an "ergathon" in the College Center for 120 hours starting on Wednesday.
"Our goal is to create a club model that will enable us to continue competing at the same high level that we have become accustomed to and that we have earned in the last few years," a statement on the Facebook event page states. "We aim to ultimately, through our own financial independence, make program-affecting decisions to ensure future successes without putting a financial burden upon participants of the sport at Vassar."
In addition to constantly having rowers on the machines, the team will also be selling baked goods and spandex, as well as asking for donations.
Alumni and alumnae of Vassar's rowing program are mobilizing to take action in response to the announcement that the varsity men's and women's teams are being cut.
In an email to administration, coaches, and current and former team members, former captain John Gregory '04 stresses the importance of the program, calling it "the most fortifying and formative experience of my life."
"It is not only a dire misstep for the institution, but also a personal affront to the hundreds of dedicated, strong-hearted individuals who have endured sleep-deprived, ice-cold Hudson River mornings to achieve incredible, inhuman feats of strength in the name of Vassar," John writes.
He continues: "The experience that I and my teammates shared is priceless in the truest sense of the word. I absolutely cannot understand casting up the rowing team as a sacrificial lamb in this time of economic downturn. It is a weak solution and sincerely makes me question the leadership of the college."
In addition to personal anecdotes from his rowing days, John lists the advantages that come with having the teams, including exposure for the school name and the good it does for individual athletes.
We're told to expect more of a response from alums in the coming days. Check back!
Here is an article in Yale's newspaper from a few weeks ago on the forty year anniversary of the "marriage" that would have been between our schools. The writer breaks the article down into the stages of the relationship, comparing them to the stages of getting married, from "Waiting for Wedding Bells" and "Cold Feet" to "Let's Get Physical" and "On the Rebound."
"Vassar was already a longtime destination for Yalies looking for dates and weekends of fun," the article states.
Vassar's own college historian and professor emeritus of English, Elizabeth Daniels '41 is quoted in the article, as she was on a committee that explored the possibility of coeducation.
So what happened? Eventually, "the Vassar trustees unanimously rejected Yale’s proposal, bowing to pressure from alumnae and faculty who wanted to maintain the college’s independence." Other concerns were over having to relocate the campus to New Haven.
Click here to read the full article. Image of couple during the Yale-Vassar Bike Race of 1952, via Life Photo Archive.
In today's Miscellany News, Cappyannounced that she will be taking a 5% pay cut "to symbolize...that everyone is sacrificing at this moment in our College’s history."
"As the head of the institution and its highest paid employee," she writes, "I do feel a special responsibility, and so I have contributed five percent of my salary this year to the College."
In general, however, Cappy feels that lowering salaries is not the best way to solve the college's economic problems. "A long-term solution to the financial situation requires changes in the College’s organizational structure and employment levels, rather than a short-term lowering of current employees’ compensation," she writes. The compensation for some faculty and administrators, however, has been frozen. "I can assure you that many of those not receiving the expected annual increase understood this as a sacrifice asked of them for the good of the institution," she writes.
Coincidentally, an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education last week listed the compensation for presidents of private colleges, all of whom make well over $300,000 a year. According to the article, Cappy received $450,137 in the 2007-2008 academic year.
The latest victim of the college's financial cuts is the rowing team, according to the women's varsity team captain. The decision was reached by Athletic Director Sharon Beverly and Dean Kitzinger.
Apparently, the team found out about it by reading an article in tomorrow's Misc. "The athletics department should have been transparent in their decision making process, and in deciding not to share their thoughts with us, they should have at least had the decency and courtesy to share their decision with those affected by it before sharing with the campus," captain Christina Peltier '10 wrote to us in an email.
"The most upsetting fact of the matter is that there was no consultation of the student-athletes on the team," says Christina. "The administration has based their decision on participation and has neglected a very important resource in student opinion, which is becoming an alarming trend on campus."
Both men's and women's teams have won Liberty League honors, yet Christina says "the athletic department often forgets to acknowledge our accolades while praising those of more visible sports."
Administrators have proposed that Vassar rowers join the HRRA (Hudson River Rowing Association," which consists of students from various schools. To some, however, this means giving up the pride that comes from competing for Vassar.
"For many of us," Christina says, "we are losing the activity that has defined our college careers."
Update: According to the Misc's article, Dean Kitzinger believes that Vassar will save $35,000 if the rowing team participates in the HRRA, which the team's current head coach has agreed to work with. The new program will cost students $500 per semester.
The team's assistant coach will not be part of the new program.
Channel Thirteen is having a contest for the most influential artist of all time and Pete Seeger, who performed at Vassar in October, made the list of the final five nominees.
The nomination reads: "He is the epitome of the American folk artist and troubadour, keeping alive a long tradition. Not only does he entertain, but he sings out loud as an activist. He sung against the Viet Nam War, he sung for civil rights. He co-founded the Clearwater sloop and is at the forefront of efforts to clean the Hudson River, educating people about pollution and inspiring them to do something about it. Throughout his life, he walks the walk, true to his message and the spirit of peace."
The other nominees are The Beatles, U2/Bono, Bob Dylan, and Michael Jackson.
Unfortunately, there won't be a member of the Vassar community in the County Legislature. Republican Angela E. Flesland defeated Democrat and Vassar librarian Gretchen Lieb by 163 votes, according to the results on the Poughkeepsie Journalwebsite.
The day was full of complications as a state Supreme Court judge ruled that some Vassar students would have to fill out paper ballots, which would not be counted until November 12th. That injunction was overturned later in the evening.
According to sources inside the Lieb campaign, the injunction made earlier today against some Vassar student voters has been overturned. We're trying to get some confirmation on this.
This is great news, although there is just over an hour until the polls close.
Update: Assistant Professor of Poli-Sci Sarita Gregoryconfirms to madsvassarblog.com that the injunction has indeed been overturned. Students who voted by paper ballot after the initial injunction, however, will not be allowed to revote.
According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, a state Supreme Court judge ruled that Vassar students who switched dorms after registering to vote may have to use a paper ballot that won't be counted until November 12th.
This ruling came in response to a complaint by Town of Poughkeepsie Republican Chairman Thomas Martinelli.
It turns out that the claims of voter intimidation and harassment at the polls today are more serious than initially described in VSA President Caitlin Ly's email.
In a later email from Caitlin, she wrote that according to the Dutchess County Democratic Headquarters, "the Republicans are in court trying to getting an injunction to bar student voters from using the voting machines."
This isn't the first time local Republicans have resorted to playing dirty. As we first posted during October break, information was sent out through telephone calls and literature in an attempt to dissuade people from voting for Vassar librarian Gretchen Lieb. Ms. Lieb emailed us to put those rumors to rest.
Raymon Parker also sent out an email with information from Assistant Professor of Poli Sci Sarita Gregory on fighting voter intimidation.
Thanks to everyone who voted in our costume contest polls. You cast a total of 840 votes in three categories and made yesterday the second most-visited day in the history of this site with over 3,000 page views.
The winners are...
Best Celebrity or Character: Lady Gaga (142 votes, 45% of the vote) Best Scary Costume: Twins from The Shining (115 votes, 45% of the vote) Most Creative Costume: Rock, Paper, Scissors (116 votes, 41% of the vote) Thanks to everyone who submitted photos! Sorry we couldn't post them all.
Hundreds of you voted in our Halloween costume contest polls, but the real voting is today.
Voting for the local election is at the Arthur May School. "A number of Vassar students are being challenged at the door and discouraged from exercising their right to vote," VSA President Caitlin Ly '10 wrote in an email to all students. "Remember that voting is your right and that your vote does make a difference," she added.
A van is leaving every half hour until 8pm from Main Circle to transport students to the polls. Click here for more information.
Finally, in case you missed it, click here to read about Vassar librarian Gretchen Lieb who is running for County Legislature.