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Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Screamin' Over Sirens
The ASUC OP is finally beginning to release details regarding the 40th anniversary celebration of the Free Speech Movement. On Friday, October 8, Howard Dean will be the keynote speaker for the Free Speech Rally, scheduled for noon in front of Sather Gate. Dean and at least three other speakers will be addressing students from the top of a Berkeley PD squad car in true FSM fashion.
A current schedule of events for the October 4-8 week can be found here.Email This Post!
Greeks Stepping Up
The Daily Californian is reporting what many in Cal’s Greek system have been predicting for some time: a significant increase in its recruitment of new members. Fraternity recruitment is up 14%, and sorority recruitment, currently being capped, has continued to hit its quota consistently.
Ironically, this feature article was run the day after IFC’s motivational speaker came to Wheeler Hall. The program, run by a man who could play a stunt double for a walrus, was preaching some of the improvements needing to be made by Cal’s Greek community. The effectiveness of the presentation was, to say the least, minimized. It's hard to concentrate on a speaker when pondering how much alcohol could have been purchased for his $2700 fee.
While the Cal Greek system isn’t perfect, it sure hasn’t hit the levels of some other major universities, and considering the relatively good record of community recently, it may be time for the administration to once again examine its policies regarding the future of Greek life on campus.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2004
The Story Behind Fenton's
Most Berkeley students will eventually end up visiting Fenton's for some ice cream. The East Bay Express recently ran an interesting, but lengthy, feature on the store, called "Fire and Ice".
Here is the article's lede:
If not for a former Israeli paratrooper, one of Oakland's few upscale shopping
The article paints a very complex picture of the store and it's owners, and it's worth the time to read through the article, especially if you are someone who frequents the store.
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Presidential Debates to be Viewed on Campus
For those caught up in the electoral season, here is the information, from the Oakland Tribune, on the first round:
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CalStuff Banner Redesigned by Cooper Nagengast
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Monday, September 27, 2004
Proud, Proud Day at the Daily Cal
I guess we can expect a photo sometime next week of Birgeneau lecturing the Nude Sunbathers Club on the benefits of sunblock.
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Berkeley's Crime Problems Continuing?
The Daily Californian's News in Brief reported three fairly serious crimes that maybe should have merited more substantial coverage.
Potential editorial criticisms aside, I think that it's amazing that the UC Berkeley administration, especially with Chancellor Birgeneau officially in office, hasn't openly and publicly met with Berkeley PD officials to discuss the apparent recent increase of all types of crime. While Berkeley is an urban city, and inevitably crime will be a part of our lives, Southside students should not have to read about problems like these with such frequency. It makes you wonder what exactly BPD night patrols are doing as of late.
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An Introduction to CalStuff Writer Ben Narodick
Because CalStuff is not clearly from any particular partisan perspective, it's important that readers know a little bit about where the writers are coming from, so that they know how better to interpret our writing. Plus, Andy’s really urging me to do this, and to finally get him off my back, I'll do one of the things I am the worst at: writing descriptive autobiographies.
I was born in Orange County, CA, where I lived for the eighteen years before moving up to Berkeley. I was considered to be pretty liberal in high school classes, but in those circumstances, that doesn't take a whole lot. I made an attempt to play football in high school, but after messing up my knee (twice), I found a nice little niche playing left out. Also, in another stride towards becoming a stereotypical posterchild suburban teen, I earned my Eagle Scout award in 2002. In my attempt to find refuge from the underestimated insanity of the suburbs, I came to Berkeley. Was there a small change of pace? Definitely, and well appreciated as well.
I am probably more involved on campus than I should be, but I really enjoy everything that I am doing right now. I am a political science/rhetoric major. My major time-consuming activity would be my seat on the ASUC Senate, which I serve as a representative of the SQUELCH! Party. When I’m not doing that, hopefully I am escaping at my fraternity (Alpha Epsilon Pi) and doing something stupid, like handing out business cards to random strangers. I also write as much as I can for the Heuristic Squelch, Berkeley Political Review, occasional work for the Daily Californian, and, of course, CalStuff.
As far as political stances go, I really hate using terms like liberal/conservative/Democrat/Republican/progressive/fascist/communist. It boils people down into cookie cutter categories that don’t necessarily reflect their ideas and philosophies. For a more accurate idea, here are some of my stances on various political issues, both locally and nationally.
University Involvement in Student Life: As little as possible. That’s what the ASUC is for.
Affirmative Action: Needed, but only on a socio-economic planning level, and not as the sole decision-making tool in the process
CA Prop 60 or 62: 62
Presidential Vote ’04: Kerry
Boxers or Briefs: Boxer Briefs
Most important issue: Protection of free speech and civil libertiesEmail This Post!
An Introduction to CalStuff Writer Andy Ratto
Since blogging is a much more personal form of writing than a traditional newspaper, I think it would be helpful for the writers of CalStuff to briefly introduce ourselves. I'm a third year, and I've been writing here at Calstuff since around June of last year. I met Kevin! through the Squelch, where I do some humor writing. I was also a halfhearted candidated for ASUC Senate in the Squelch! party.
Politically, I would describe myself as a liberal/progressive, although here in Berkeley I often find myself taking a moderate or even right of center position. I find myself in much closer agreement with Student Action than CalSERVE when it comes to campus politics. I'm a staunch defender of free speech, and I find attempts by various campus groups to silence speech through the theft of newspapers or through attempting to shout down a speaker reprehensible. There are a number of groups on campus, both from the right and left which I find both extremist and purposefully confrontational (BCR and BAMN, at times), and I will gladly point out instances of this type of behavior in the future.
Personally, I'm a brother in Alpha Epsilon Pi, the Jewish fraternity on campus, a former member of the Parliamentary debate team at Berkeley and a Political Science major. Blogging, more so than most other forms of reporting can allow the biases of the writer to seep into a post, and instead of attempting to silence my own personal beliefs, I would rather acknowledge them here, and include them in the writing that I do.
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Hate Crime Awareness Vigil Planned for Wednesday
As noted previously on CalStuff, there has been a rash of recent reports of hate crimes occuring on or near campus. This Wednesday, from 5-6 pm on lower Sproul there will be a Hate Crime Awareness Vigil. According to the e-mail I received announcing this event, it will be "Sponsored by the Chancellor's Task Force on Hate & Bias and the Office of Student Life." For more information, you can visit the Task Force's website, although they don't seem to have anything posted yet about the vigil on Wednesday.
I'm not opposed to events such as this, they just seem largely ineffectual to me. Obviously the vast, vast majority of students opposed hate crimes (and all other crimes, for that matter.) I'm not sure what standing around with some candles is supposed to accomplish. You can never entirely do away with the hate and bias that drives people to commit hate crimes, so better security and swift punishment for anyone who commits a hate crime are the key to preventing them in the future. Many groups also take proactive steps to deter any type of crime, such as Berkeley Hillel, which will hire private security or request an increase in police patrols at times when there might be an increased risk of an attack (such as the recent High Holidays).
CalStuff will attempt to attend the event to take pictures and gauge the size of the crowd on Wednesday.
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Friday, September 24, 2004
Regents Finalize GPA Proposal
The UC Regents, at their meeting Thursday morning at UCSF, voted to raise the GPA requirement to 3.0. The previous minimum was 2.8.
Daily Cal Coverage
Daily Cal Editorial
Now, what effect will this have on UC Berkeley? Probably very little. According to the UC Berkeley Common Data Set, the average GPA for 2003-04 incoming first-years was 4.24. 99% of first-year students had a GPA above 3.0. So, the impact on UC Berkeley will be minimal.
What effect might this have on the UC system? Potentially, a much more substantial one. According to the UC Riverside Common Data Set, the average GPA for 2003-04 incoming first-years was 3.42. Only 88% of first-year students had a GPA above 3.0. That leaves a substantial amount of students out in the cold in the new policy. The UCOP's website puts the system-wide mean GPA at 3.8. So, if you average GPAs and percentages, approximately 6% of last year’s first-year class would not have gotten in to a UC school. That is an estimate because I can’t find those percentages.
The problem with this new policy goes beyond the fact that this policy will hurt lower-income students without the same opportunity for weighted classes to increase their GPAs. The larger problem is that it acknowledges that the current system of judging high school performance has any validity. Weighted GPA is incredibly relative, and cannot be used to accurately distinguish one student from another. Given, anything above a weighted 4.3 generally is still pretty impressive in that it shows that the student is taking many advanced courses and succeeding in them. But blatant inequalities in the high school system make a 4.3 impossible for many students, setting them at a disadvantage.
This is why the new comprehensive review program had the potential to really make progress in the admissions program. Unfortunately, after a year with mitigating circumstances (jobless economy = less diversity in college attendees), the program is not being given a fair chance to prove itself as an effective way to help solve any perceived problems with the UC admissions system.
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Today's Daily Cal's staff editorial covered the problems with the USC ticket purchases on Monday. The topic is still somewhat timely, even five days after the event took place. But it seems to hit on a few of the points that had been made in Calstuff posts days earlier. There's nothing wrong with this, but why wasn't this editorial placed in Tuesday's editorial section? Perhaps Daily Cal staffers have stopped using this blog for research as frequently as usual?
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Racial Tensions Escalate In Berkeley
Building off of this story, three more separate "hate crimes" have been reported to the Chancellor's Task Force on Hate and Bias. Each report has a unique victim (Chicano/Latino, LGBT, Black) and the degree of each crime varies, though none of the reports seem to elevate above the level of the first attack on the eight Muslim women last Thursday. On top of these attacks, UCLA and UCR have both been victims of what have been categorized as hate crimes by local authorities.
While none of the attacks have been conclusively linked to student perpetrators, racial tensions have begun to rise locally. A Sikh student was recently asked by a employee to leave Crossroads Dining Facility after being cited for wearing his Kirpan (ceremonial sword), an act not seen as optional by many of those who follow that faith. In retaliation, the Sikh Student Union staged an "eat-in" Thursday night that was attended by several members of Cal-SERVE, Student Action, and SQUELCH! Parties, as well as representatives from many student groups. There were not any problems with getting in, but the two UCPD officers that the SSU requested accompany them into the dining commons might have helped facilitate that.
While none of these scenarios have been overwhelmingly radical or different, their frequency this early in the year has many people worried about an increase in racial tension on campus, and what it can lead to. Already, student groups from opposing viewpoints have started to come to each other’s aid, but it is too soon to tell whether or not this will have any effect in securing unity among Berkeley’s student body.
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Thursday, September 23, 2004
The Jewish Student Union Condemns Anti-Muslim Attack
Below is a press release from the JSU in response to the attack of 8 Muslim students at the Lawrence Hall of Science:
The troubling events of Thursday September 16th (8 Female Muslims Victim of Hate Crime, Daily Cal 9/20/04) are a painful reminder of the hate and bias that exist on our campus. With the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, quickly approaching, we are reminded and urged to make our voices heard in the face of wrongdoing.
SF Gate Praises, Criticizes Sororities
The SF Gate recently ran an article, "The Greek Paradox: Mansion living is cheaper for UC Berkeley students than dorms," about the sorority system at Berkeley. The article focused broadly on sororities, and narrowly on Kappa Kappa Gamma, where the reporter recieved a tour and interviewed some of the members.
The main thrust of the article offered a very positive view of the economic benefits to living in a sorority:
But it's a strange fact that, under the management of social clubs that carry a history of elitism, these historic buildings now provide some of the most inexpensive housing around. Although prices vary between houses, average room and board for the academic year is $6,350. This total includes housing, three meals a day, a housekeeping staff, membership dues and a budget for social events and parties. (Sororities and fraternities house about 1,500 Cal students every year.)The reporter couldn't help but throw in a couple of cheap shots at the Greek system though:
Despite the desperate need for affordable housing at Cal, it's unlikely any student would join a sorority just to secure cheap digs. Indeed, the Greek lifestyle, with its emphasis on group identity, heterosexual courtship and big party culture, is not for everyone.That cheap housing sure sounds enticing when you compare it to the mindless cookie cutter drones, implicit homophobia, and constant drunken partying that Carol Lloyd stereotypes the Greek Community with. Whether or not any of the things Lloyd cites actually exist in the Greek Community, they are clearly not the emphasis of the Greek lifestyle. Greeks consistenly have higher GPA's than the school as a whole, are active in a wide range of philanthropic activities, and serve as leaders here at Berkeley (ASUC Execs and Senators for example). This is the emphasis of Greek life, not "big party culture."
Carol Lloyd ought to be ashamed of her unwarranted criticisms of the Berkeley Greek community.
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One Final Reminder
As I mentioned previously, we have seen an increase in traffic here at CalStuff every week for the last six weeks. For the last week we have been reporting on a wide variety of topics, from Greek life to the ASUC, from sports to hate crimes. During that time, we asked for your help in getting the word out about CalStuff.
If you see something that would interest someone you know, send them a link to the post. If you know someone who follows the news, tell them to check out this website. If you are a new CalStuff reader, thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave a comment.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2004
One Reason Blogging is Nice
When there is a slow news day, you don't have 12 pages to fill...
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Cal Gets No Respect
In an earlier article, we stated that 3,000 student tickets were available for the Cal-USC football game. This number was misstated, distored from the number of 2,000 tickets available through the Cal Athletics ticket office. Only 750 of these tickets were available to students.
While 3,000 might be an outlandish amount of tickets for students, asking 33,000 students to share 750 tickets goes beyond absurd to the level of insulting. In most other serious rivalry games, and in games where top-ranked teams are playing, more general admission seats are usually given to the opposing team. No other Top 10 team in the country would tolerate this sort of behavior, and neither should Cal Athletics.
Now, it could be the case that Cal Athletics underestimated demand for tickets, and that they didn't order as many as they could have. But whether Cal or USC dropped the ball on this particular occasion, the students inevitably suffer the most in the situation.Email This Post!
Top of the Line Bike Lock Easily Defeated
I have no idea how fast news spreads in the biking community, but since I haven't seen this mentioned in the Daily Cal, and because there is a significant number of bike riders in Berkeley, consider this a public service announcement.
The Contra Costa Times recently ran an article, "The pen is mightier than the bike lock" describing how one of the top bicycle locks can be opened with a bic pen. The type of lock is a "U-shaped Kryptonite" brand lock, so if you or someone you know uses this lock, I'd reccommend reading the article and getting a new lock.
[thanks to CalStuff reader chris for the tip]
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Monday, September 20, 2004
Worse Than A Clearance Sale At An Outlet Center
The 3000 USC/Cal football tickets for students have, according to preliminary reports, already sold out.
For any Cal faithful out there who did not get tickets in time, don't despair. Apparently, USC still has some general admission tickets on sale for $40. If you mention that you are a student when buying the ticket, and present an ID at the game, then you will be allowed to enter the Cal student section. You may be able to do this over the internet, but it is best to contact anyone you might know in LA to get the tickets for you.Email This Post!
Pledge Week Continues at CalStuff
Last Wednesday, we mentioned that we were working on getting some new readers here at CalStuff. When other blogs do a Pledge Week they usually ask for donations, but we here at CalStuff don't want your money. Instead, we would just like you to pledge to help get the word out about CalStuff.
Mention CalStuff to any friends you may have that would be interested, or if you have a website that is read predominantly by Berkeley students, you can even give CalStuff a link. There has been a steady increase in readers week to week since school started, and we would like to see that trend continuing.
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Cal Water Polo Coaching Legend Dies
CalBears.com is reporting that former Bears great and United States water polo hero Pete Cutino passed away yesterday at the age of 71. Read more on the story here.
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Another Hate Crime on Campus, Another Round of Lip Service
Multiple news sources are covering the September 16 assault of eight Muslim women in the Lawrence Hall of Science parking lot. In the attack, three males threw water bottles at the group while shouting racial slurs.
UC Berkeley Press Release
Daily Cal Story
One interesting aspect of this situation is the amount of "new and interesting" quotes that have come out afterwards. For example:
"Acts of hate in whatever form they occur and to whomever they are directed cannot be tolerated on this campus. As a caring and supportive community we must, at all times, stand together against deplorable acts of hate and intolerance."
- Chancellor Berdahl, in a UC Berkeley Press Release
"I hope this incident raises awareness about safety on campus. I hope this never happens to anyone else."
- Rosha Jones, a victim of the crime, from the Daily Cal story
"It's horrifying to know that this continues to happen at UC Berkeley. This isn't the first time it's happened. It's unfortunate that it's not usually as high-profile."
- Camille Pannu, student representative to the Chancellor’s Task Force on Hate and Bias, from the Daily Cal story
These quotes continue to be newsworthy because it is perceived to be a movement of separate people uniting against these crimes. But honestly, in an educated community such as that found in this university, are that many people in favor of hate crimes? And is anyone shocked when people take a definitive stance against hate crimes? It seems like such a no-brainer to see these quotes, almost mass-produced and pre-prepared for situations like this.
In the end, talk is cheap. These sound bites ultimately amount to close to nothing, no matter who or where they come from. And all of the banter going around ultimately overshadows the real questions. Why are so many details of the crime still missing? How could UCPD and BPD be so derelict in patrolling the more-used parking lots on campus, and the surrounding areas, at night? Can it be stated that UC Berkeley students perpetrated the incident, or is this the result of hatred from the non-academic local community?
Instead of putting all of the energy from this incident into retroactive measures of shock and dismay, the ASUC and the administration should be getting proactive. More pressure needs to be put on city officials in the wake of power failures, an increase of crime, and a strained relationship with the student population that it continues to alienate.
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God has bestowed me with a great gift!
Make all the penile jokes you want, but this is what I’m talking about:
Yes, the almighty Cal/USC football game ticket.
For those of you who may not have been there, or were in line and too sleepy to notice, there were over 600 people in line for tickets by 9am with more on the way. According to witnesses, the line started forming at approximately 1 AM this morning. Even though 3,000 tickets are available to students, they will not last long. Students who have not gotten down to the ticket office yet and plan on purchasing tickets should get down to Oxford and Bancroft as soon as possible.
Also, be aware that the Cal Athletics Office has changed their policies regarding ticket sales for this game. Instead of a one ticket per student ID policy, it is now a one ticket per buyer policy. So, students who sent their IDs with the guy they got to wake up at 630 AM this morning will not get tickets. This leaves some hope for students who might have had class Monday morning.
A rising demand for football tickets has been accompanied by a rise in California’s national ranking. ESPN has put the Golden Bears 9th in the nation, and a mock BCS poll on the ESPN site has Cal at 8th.
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Sunday, September 19, 2004
Saturday, September 18, 2004
California Triumph: A CalStuff Contest
As was previously reported here, a recent competition selected a score to serve as a new fight song. The song, "California Triumph", which was performed at our first home football game, does not have lyrics yet. There is currently a competition underway to select the words to go with the new song. To listen to "California Triumph" or learn about the competition to select the lyrics for the song, visit this page by the Cal Marching Band.
We here at CalStuff love the idea of a contest, so we're having our own. We invite all CalStuff readers to submit their own spoof lyrics for the song. You can listen to the song and see a score of the melody here. A panel of CalStuff writers will chose the winning submission, judged on the sole criteria of humorousness. Bonus points may be awarded for references to
-this year's abnormally hot freshman class
-the Greek community
-Playboy ranking us as having some of the ugliest girls around...
The winning lyrics will be posted on CalStuff along with the name and a picture (if he or she desires) of whoever submits the winning entry. Also, whoever submits the winning entry will be praised by an ASUC Senator in a speech before the full ASUC Senate.
The last day to enter the competition will be Saturday, October, 2nd, two weeks from today. Feel free to forward a link to this post to anyone who might be interested. Please send any submissions or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Friday, September 17, 2004
Berkeley Library in Major Money Troubles
The Daily Cal brings us the belated story on the funding troubles being faced by the Library, in an article called, "Balancing the Books". I say belated, because the Berkeleyan had nearly the same article over two weeks ago: "Books in chains (and we don’t mean Borders)" Not that there is anything wrong with having the Berkeleyan beat you to a story by half a month! On the bright side, the Daily Cal had a much better pun headline.
The two articles are rather similar, so you can read either one to get an idea of the problems our libraries are facing. Here is a brief rundown, with information culled from both articles:
In spite of the rather drastic budget cuts faced by the University, the administration has done an admirable job of maintaining our high level of academic excellence. Limiting freshmen enrollment, cutting money spent on outreach efforts, and raising student fees are all ways the Univeristy has sought to offset the deficit they face without damaging the education we are receiving.
There have been more and more signs that our current lack of funds are beginning to impact the education here at Berkeley. Along with the decrease in Library funding, there has also been reports of well-regarded faculty members departing Berkeley for higher salaries elsewhere.
The worrisome thing is that there is no indication in either article that the lack of funding and attendant Library woes are something that can be easily reversed.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Guest Post: Campus Spirit at Berkeley
by Amanda Williams
[Amanda Williams is the Chairman of Rally Committee. Rally Comittee is the largest student groups on campus, and the "Proud Keepers of California Spirit and Tradition."]
It was Fall, 2001: my first semester as a student at Cal. And my first thought, naturally was, “When’s the first football game?” Needless to say, it turned out not to be the football team’s year. The seniors are now among the last students to have stood in the pouring rain during the Cal-USC game that year, among the last to have witnessed a losing season, among the last to have gone without a single home victory, and among the last to have lost the Big Game and to have gone yet another year without reclaiming the Axe.
At long last, however, that drought is over. As a freshman, I wouldn’t have thought that three years later we would be where we are: in the middle of a great turn-around, the proud keepers of the Axe, and the victorious Insight Bowl Champions. It is amazing to walk through campus and actually hear people discussing whether they will be attending football games… and actually discussing whether they plan on arriving in time for kick-off! Even during my sophomore year, when the Rally Committee was busily hanging banners on buildings and stringing lights from Sather Gate during Big Game Week, countless students stopped to ask us why we were decorating the campus. Last year proved, however, that the turn-around was truly in full swing.
This year, not only are more students aware of Cal Spirit, but they are acting on that awareness and actually purchasing student season tickets. It has gotten to the point that the Student Section is sold out for the Big Game. Anyone who saw the stadium three years ago would scarcely be able to believe it. I still have trouble grasping the full impact of all of the changes that have taken place during my brief stay at Cal.
The upshot is that Spirit is on the rise, and I encourage all of those students who have yet to experience a little dose of Cal Spirit to take the opportunity while they have it. We only get opportunities like this once in life.
And of course this applies not only to football, but to Cal Athletics in general. All one had to do was turn on the Olympics this summer to experience a little Cal Spirit. How could anyone watch Duje Draganja swim with his Cal cap on and not feel just the slightest bit of pride in the accomplishments of the athletes that attend Cal? And of course there’s no need to go into great detail about Natalie Coughlin. And these were just two out of the many athletes representing Cal this summer.
Obviously this list is not nearly complete as far as the successes of our student athletes are concerned, but there’s not nearly enough space to try to mention everyone. So just believe me as a Rally Committee member and as someone who has dedicated almost every spare moment of my collegiate career to Cal Spirit that there is an amazing difference this year. If you were not here for the 2001 football season it is probably a little more difficult to feel the change that has taken place, but it is very palpable… and very, very exciting. Enjoy the fall seasons, and as always, Go Bears!
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Breaking: New Athletic Director Named
The Associated Press is reporting that Notre Dame Deputy Assistant Athletic Director Sandy Barbour has become Cal's first female Athletic Director. She is taking over for Steve Gladstone who will remain the coach of the mens crew team.
Barbour was Tulane's Athletic Director before moving to Notre Dame, where she spent five years. After three years she was promoted to the #2 position in Notre Dame's AD department.
More as it develops... Email This Post!
**A Small Favor for CalStuff**
The new CalStuff blogging crew has been going at it for a couple months now and we're all getting into the swing of things. What we would like to ask of you is that you tell any of your friends, who might be interested, about CalStuff.
During the coming week we will begin posting some guest features/columns, a new addition to CalStuff, possibly adding some new features, like an XML feed, and asking you to help us get the word out about CalStuff.
With every increase in CalStuff readers there are more comments left for all of us to read, and more people to drop us tips about news occurring at Berkeley. Whenever our audience grows, it also makes each of us more likely to post more often, increasing the content on CalStuff.
If you see a post that a friend of yours might be interested in, send them the link. If you know someone who likes to keep up on the news, then shoot them an IM about CalStuff so they know about one more source to keep up to date on the news.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Here's To Making California a "Swing" State
A new young voter organization promises to make waves and stir up controversy this election season.
Votergasm, a new outreach organization out of Brooklyn, NY, has set out to increase voter turnout amongst younger voters. This is not an unusual cause, but their means are somewhat unorthodox, to say the least.
From their information page:
"Votergasm is a non-partisan nonprofit campaign formed to simultaneously reverse two disturbing trends in American society: low voting rates among young people, and unacceptably low rates of youth sexual activity. The focus of Votergasm.org is to encourage young people everywhere to pledge to have sex with voters on Election Night, and withhold sex from non-voters until the next presidential election.
Votergasm seeks to send 100,000 first-time 18-to-25-year-old voters to polls for the 2004 elections, and to catalyze 250,000 orgasms by the morning of November 3."
This is, without a doubt, an excellent way to relate to student voters on a much simpler and more appealing manner. Now, for any skeptics who think that there is no way that this is going to work in Berkeley (not a contested area), the website claims that there will be a party at the Claremont Hotel Pool on Election Night. If that isn't enough to make you want to sign up and vote, I don't know what is.Email This Post!
Apparently, someone didn't get the memo...
Most people by now have probably heard that Thursday's Cal Football game has been cancelled due to the imminent arrival of Hurricane Ivan on the Gulf Coast.
However, Southern Mississippi Football head coach Jeff Bower is unhappy about the plan because he was, um, not informed our decision.
From the AP Bulletin:
"That was (Cal's) decision," Bower said Tuesday. "That was a unilateral decision (which was) totally wrong by them. They didn't communicate with us whatsoever. We had told them we would make a decision by noontime on Tuesday - plenty of time to decide their plans. They were dead-set on not wanting to come. Very unprofessional."
I hate to point it out to you, Coach Bower, but we Californians aren't so good with inclement weather. Especially hurricanes. That's why we live in California. So, you shouldn't be surprised that we decided it was not in our best interests to travel across the country to play a game in the middle of the path of what is now a Category 5 hurricane. But hey, maybe that's just the element your team prefers to play in.
In any event, California will still play/destroy Southern Mississippi @ SoMiss, with the game probably to be re-scheduled for an early December date.Email This Post!
Presentation of Long Range Development Plan Postponed
Campus officials have delayed the submission of Berkeley's new Long Range Development Plan to the UC Board of Regents.
The plan's presentation was originally scheduled for this November's Regents meeting but has now been re-scheduled for January.
It contains several controversial measures, including a large increase in parking spaces and the construction of faculty housing near the campus.
The LRDP is the policy framework that theoretically will guide campus development for the next 15 years.
Analysis: Community members have been particularly worried about parking issues and this delay could perhaps allow time for a compromise to be reached. Other issues of concern have been mostly environmental, mainly how new development will affect the surrounding landscape.
Parking on campus is already anemic and the LRDP does not really address any concrete transportation issues besides the increase in parking. Adding 2300 parking spaces sounds like a lot, but not so much if you take into consideration that these spaces will come online during the next 15 years. Also factor in an increase of almost 2900 new campus jobs and you end up with more parking shortages.
The city of course would like to push public transit instead of adding additional parking. But how realistic that is depends on individual choices. Namely, how many will forgo the comforts of their personal automobile for the not so comfortable amenities of public transportation?
Some of the LRDP's other proposals are very interesting. The first concrete plan to be implemented will be the construction of the new Tien Center for East Asian Studies. Other proposals include an expansion of student housing by another 2600 beds and an expansion of building space by about 2.2 million square feet. Email This Post!
ASUC and Ninja Card Finalize Deal
Last night representatives from ASUC Office of the President and from HFG Consulting's Ninja Card reached an agreement over distribution of the new ASUC Ninja Card. The deal, agreed upon in principal but not yet formally signed, would create a profit-sharing model between the ASUC and Ninja Card, which would continue to be controlled by HFG Consulting.
The ASUC will recieve some amount of revenue from each card (currently priced at $10) that is sold, depending on the total number of cards sold on campus. If <5,000 cards are sold, the ASUC will receive 75 cents per card; if 8,000 cards are sold ASUC receives $1.50/card; and at 8,000 cards it becomes $2.00/card. For each card sold by the ASUC directly, there will be an additional $3.00/card for the ASUC.
The new cards should be ready for distribution within a week and half, according to sources involved with the project. The same officials expect sales of around 10,000 ASUC Ninja Cards in the upcoming academic year, with the potential to reap a significant sum of money for the ASUC Treasury.
The deal basically ends up looking more like a licensing agreement than a partnership. It is interesting how much leverage the ASUC has exerted on this cause, especially since their version of the discount card, the ASUC Pirate Card, was months behind schedule due to late arrival of President Leybovich and his staff. The ASUC Pirate Card also had the potential for much more profitability, with the ASUC receiving an estimated 70% of all revenue from the project.
HFG Consulting, run by former ASUC Senator Noah Kagan, comes away with major victory here. They basically eliminated any substantial competition for, at most, 20% of their revenue. The Pirate Card, even entering the game this late, would have had the potential to take much more than that in campus market share.
This deal also raises a number of questions:
What is going to happen with the makers of Pirate Card? Word on the street was that the ASUC had reached an early agreement with the cardmakers to take over operations and give the founders a slice of the profits. However, partnering with the Ninja Card will inevitably invalidate that agreement. How committed (e.g. by contract?) was the ASUC to the Pirate Card? Also, was Pirate Card allowed to make a counter-offer, or was this a possibly biased bid situation?
What will happen to the Ned's deal? Ned's Bookstore is currently offering a deal on the Ninja card, and the ASUC surely would not agree to partner with a card offering a deal at a non-ASUC bookstore. What does the contract look like that Ninja has with Ned's, and can it be abrogated without a problem? Will the ASUC Bookstore take its place on the card?
What other changes will be made to the card? Before the deal, developers of the new ASUC card had made deals to include other businesses on the card. Will these businesses' contracts be valid still, and how will that affect both the card and Cal/Berkeley Business relations?
If there are changes to the card, how will old cards be exchanged for new ones? With at least 2,000 Ninja Cards sold already, this could be a logisitical nightmare.
This deal, at the very least, seems to be a Pyrrhic Victory for the ASUC. Stay tuned for more details as they emerge.
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Monday, September 13, 2004
Berkeley Introduces New Fight Song
California Triumph, a new fight song, was played for the large crowd attending our season opener home game. There is also a competition to come up with the words to go along with the song. I would encourage everyone to enter, as the winner of the instrumental part of the contest had never composed a song before. See the above link for the information on how to enter (it's at the end of the article).
If anyone knows of an online version of this song, please let me know so I can pass along the link so everyone who was not at the football game can have a chance to hear it.
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Sunday, September 12, 2004
Beetle Aurora Drake Blogging up a Storm
B.A.D. of Beetle Beat has been delivering non-stop blogging, so if any CalStuff readers haven't been to his blog yet, stop by and give it a read. His main topics of interest seem to be media criticism (and not just the Daily Cal) and general purpose complaining. Always funny, though.
If any other Berkeley students are out there considering getting a Cal centered blog started, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to give it a try, and we would be happy to link to you here at CalStuff.
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Cal Football Breaks Top 10 National Rankings
CNN is reporting that after the upset of Michigan and Kansas State, California has moved into the #10 spot for the NCAA Football polls.
The Golden Bears kick off a tough three game road trip this Thursday @ Southern Miss, who beat Nebraska in Nebraska last Saturday. They then travel to Oregon State and to USC before returning to Berkeley to face UCLA. Excluding the UCLA game, This will be the most difficult stretch of Cal Football's schedule this season.Email This Post!
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Roll on Golden Bears, Tedford Could Leave over Stadium
California resoundingly defeated New Mexico 41-14 in the first home game of the season. CalBears captures the mood here at Berkeley:
The Bears drew 58,949, the largest crowd for a Cal home opener in school history by nearly 3,000 fans. Third-year coach Jeff Tedford has changed the spirits in a hurry for students who in recent years would have rather wandered the downtown streets checking out handmade crafts than spend a Saturday afternoon watching football.
Our next game will be Thursday night, and it will be nationally televised.
Here is star running back, J.J. Arrington, showing off his moves with the band,
In other news, Tedford's contract stipulates that certain improvements must be made to the stadium. ESPN has the story:
Tedford, who has led the Bears to two winning seasons, has a buyout clause in his contract that drops from $1 million to $500,000 if ground isn't broken by the end of the year. The amount would be zero if the same situation exists at the end of next year.According to the article, the current facilities:
-only allow one quarter of the team to use the weight room at one time
-only have room for either the offense or defense to meet at any one time
-require some players to share lockers
There is no reaction from Tedford in the article.
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Friday, September 10, 2004
Report on the Michelle Malkin Speech Protests
[Note: All links are to pictures currently being housed on CalStuff Extended, where other lengthy content will go for now.]First, let me explain my own personal feelings on the subject. I have not read Malkin’s book, but have read reviews of it, both attacking and defending her. My own understanding is that she misrepresents evidence both about the extent of the threat of Japanese Americans on the Pacific Coast as well as the reasoning behind the internment of those people. That being said, the veracity of her claims is almost entirely irrelevant to this post.
I was told protesting was supposed to start around 6:30, so that is when I arrived. There were roughly 30 to 40 people outside: a picket line of the Spartacus Youth Club on the steps of Dwinelle, a table for a different socialist organization, and a crowd of largely Asian people who represented a number of groups on campus (NSU and APC among others) holding signs. They were chanting various slogans denouncing Malkin and racism.
At 7:00 I went into 145 Dwinelle where the speech was being held, and then went back into the hallway between 145 and 155 where the protesters had congregated. There were police officers guarding the door preventing protesters from getting inside, and I noticed around 10-12 different police officers at the event. One woman was recording the entire protest on a digital video recorder.
My estimate is there were around 80 people crammed into the hallway between the two classrooms, and they spent over an hour chanting different slogans. Whenever the door was opened they would begin yelling “shame” really loud, partially drowning out Malkin’s speech.
The protesters were behaving themselves (as much as yelling as loud as they could to drown out a speaker can be described as behaving themselves), and I did not see the police having to cite or detain anyone. At the end of the protest, they chanted, “This was a peaceful protest.”
After the speech Malkin went into one of the classrooms in the hallway behind 145 Dwinelle. A crowd of about 30 people eventually showed up there and split into two groups in the hall on both sides of the classroom, and began singing something in Tagalog. After about ten minutes two police officers showed up, went into the room, and re-emerged quickly leading Malkin through the line of protesters. As the crowd of protesters surged along after Malkin shouting slogans and shaming her, one of the members of BCR spit at the protesters going by, hitting someone on the leg.
The protest groups that were present for the speech signed off on a unified statement about their beliefs on the subject. The full text of this letter can be found at CalStuff Extended.Email This Post!
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
BCR in penis measuring contest; coming up short
Berkeley College Republicans have brought in Michelle Malkin to speak at their first meeting. Malkin is expected to discuss her new book, in which she justifies WWII Japanese Internment Camps, and relates that scenario to the war on terror. Also, Malkin presumably plans on justifying the idea of killing the first-born child of all immigrants to protect American freedom.
It’s painfully clear that bringing Malkin in to speak is a desperate attempt for publicity by the club – the only way it could be more transparent is if they invited a leader from the KKK to speak, flanked by a few of his closest friends. The ploy is working, though. University officials are preparing for a protest to be held outside of Dwinelle, and fears are that another Pipes incident may arise.
But at what cost is this publicity being obtained? Officials and members of BCR are divided on the issue, both due to the extremist nature of the speaker and for the welfare of the club. Generally speaking, supporting Japanese internment camps is a really poor way to increase appeal to a growing conservative population in Berkeley’s Asian demographic.
In any event, hopefully coverage of the event will be limited to the Daily Cal, and BCR officials will not get the ego boost needed to pull off stunts like this again.
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Sunday, September 05, 2004
Bears Trounce Falcons
The football season is off to a great start, with a 56-14 victory against Air Force. We are beginning this season with the highest pre-season ranking in 50 years, and the school is looking to Tedford and the squad to make us proud. CalBears has the stats and highlights of the game in an article. Go Bears!
[The picture is from a SF Chronicle column by Ray Ratto, no relation, as far as I know.]
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Friday, September 03, 2004
Blogging has its Rewards
After I posted about the University's arrangement with Rhapsody, Real Networks Online Music Service, I was interviewed for this article on online music by Redherring.com
It's not so much related to Berkeley stuff, but it is an interesting read about Microsoft's entry into the online digital music world. I feel a little bit strange about being quoted alongside experts who regularly monitor this industry and know a lot more about it than I do. My knowledge of the online digital music world is amateurish at best. But I suppose they wanted some kind of "student" opinion. Email This Post!
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
DAAP Senator Yvette Plans Bill Condemning Squelch Mag
Sources say the bill will condemn generic racism in the mag and the article "Speech Codes"
More later from the Senate MeetingEmail This Post!
Positions Still Available in ASUC
Rocky Gade, ASUC Academic Affairs VP, is still looking for some people to fill middle-level positions in his office. Anyone who is interested in getting involved with ASUC should download the application below and submit it ASAP.
AAVP Office Structure 04-05.xls
AAVP Staff Application.docEmail This Post!
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