Give Me a Break

[break]F-I-N-A-L-L-Y: the end of the semester is actually in sight. Just a few more classes, a few more exams, and then…a couple weeks of freedom. Perhaps students wouldn\’t be feeling so burned out during the final stretch of the semester if given a couple extra days off before midterms. Other schools do it, why don\’t we?
There actually have been efforts to get a fall break at MSU. ASMSU drafted their first bill for midterm recess a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, this “break bill” never got past the administration.
“The fall break has been tossed around and supported since the 8th assembly (1999-2000),\” said Robert Murphy, chairperson of the 14th Session of the Academic Assembly of ASMSU. \”The Board of Trustees and administration are resisting it. We don’t need another bill, since the Assembly passed the last one. However, we would like to modernize that bill to give it a stronger push.\”
If students are able to get a fall break, it would be between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Representatives from ASMSU’s Academic Assembly would like to get a fall semester break next year and are organizing their plan of action. The chosen subcommittee will do research to draft an improved bill. But, before it is finalized, several more administrative members must pass it.
“The idea is to get a fall break like other universities,\” said Kyle Martin, external vice chair of the Academic Assembly. “It would be a stress relief around midterms, because it is hard to stay energized without a break. We just feel like we deserve a fall break, especially since other Big Ten schools have one. Grades would be better with a fall break, and this is something we are trying to prove.”
The University of Michigan’s Student Assembly lobbied for one a few years ago and their wish was granted. This year they had their annual fall break on Oct. 15 and 16, giving them a four day weekend right before midterms.
“We have been having a fall break for as long as I can remember,” said U of M senior Trisha Boyd. “It gives you the time you need to catch up before midterms. Professors are still available to meet during office hours, and there are still review sessions. It’s nice to know you have those four days; and even if you don’t need them to study, you can spend time with friends you haven’t seen in weeks. It’s a second Thanksgiving.\”
Grade-wise, MSU graduate assistant, Nick Bowman, thinks a few more days of studying could made a difference in students’ midterm grades. “I saw the averages; they weren’t very good,\” he said. \”I think midterms can get pretty vigorous, especially for first time freshmen who aren’t used to the whole scene, and even the seniors who want to get out of here. I think we could all use a couple breaks, to let us regroup.\”
According to the MSU Counseling Center, students who are struggling with personal problems usually find that their academics are affected in someway. John Lee, assistant director at the Counseling Center, believes the center is an integral part of the university because it helps students with their personal lives and in turn benefits their GPAs. For students struggling with academic stress, he gives several tips focusing on time management.
“Students must learn how to manage their time and set priorities, so they are able to deal with academic stress,” said Lee. “Managing time includes the basics of setting priorities; carrying day planners and knowing how to use them. Setting priorities can be difficult when you’re still learning what is important to you. One priority should be knowing how to take care of yourself, which includes exercising, taking breaks, enjoying recreational activities, and also not cramming for papers or exams the night before. Have a set of routines, which includes balancing responsibilities and taking care of yourself. Be willing to ask for help when you need it, whether it’s from a friend, professor, study group, tutoring, or if it gets to be too much — counseling.”
Lee says he cannot say whether a fall break would benefit students or not, because he has not worked at a university where one was offered. However, he believes when time management is in place, vacations and breaks can be great when they are used for catching up, relaxation or refreshment. Though, he doesn\’t think students who didn\’t take advantage of the extra time to study would benefit.
Many students and faculty are willing to try it out. “My mother teaches on a campus where there’s fall break and I see real merits in that,” said Jill Elfenbein, an audiology, speech and sciences professor. “To have a time in the fall semester, just like in the spring, for people to get caught up – this could be a very positive thing.
\”I realize it would extend the school year, but I think it would be a very good idea. I teach here and at Calvin College. We broadcast to Calvin College, and in the fall there are one to two days that they have off. I think they call them reading and advising days; just a couple days without classes. I think it’s healthy; it’s a very healthy way to run the program. I would like us to do what we can with adjusting the semester to accommodate that.”
One MSU premedical student, psychology junior Sahar Eftekhar, who can usually be found at the library, says a break would have been useful. “I definitely wanted a fall break,” said Eftekhar. “I study a lot, almost everyday I’ll be at the library. And it doesn’t take very long for me to get burnt out and tired from all that studying. I think a break before midterms seems really beneficial. It’d be a great way to recoup and gain the energy I had at the beginning of the year.”
But not all MSU students favor a fall semester break, and say they would rather just get the semester over with. “I would rather have the days off for Christmas break, instead of having them off for a fall break,” said Spanish junior Kathryn Spagnuolo.
And some students have it together with little stress, such as retailing sophomore Megan Laframboise, “My midterms worked out so that they were spaced out throughout the week, so I didn’t need one.”
Not everyone is so lucky – and right now, swamped with finals and papers, a break seems like a brilliant idea.

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Rooming With a Dead Teacher

[haunted3] As you stay up late into the night, trying to cram three months worth of lectures into three hours of studying, you might start to hear or see strange things coming out of the walls around you. Chances are, if you’re living on campus you’re not actually going crazy—so stop rubbing your eyes or turning up your music, because ghosts are believed to flick on faucets, tap ceilings, and even play the piano in some residence halls.
Mary, Mary Quite Contrary
Mary Mayo Hall is one of the most frequently referenced haunted places on campus…and perhaps rightfully so. According to ghostwatchers.org/hauntedplaces, a female figure has been seen in the west lounge, near the piano, and is also said to be Mary Mayo herself. Mayo was a teacher of women’s studies at Michigan State Agricultural College in 1897, and in 1931 a new dormitory for women was named in her honor.
Mayo isn’t the only secret kept in the West Circle hall. The “Red Room” on the mysterious fourth floor was allegedly used by past students in quasi-Satanic rituals. It is kept locked and can only be accessed by the hall’s middle staircase. From the third floor, it’s possible to see the window to the locked fourth floor, but nothing can be seen inside.
A strange presence has also been felt in the basement corridor linking the two wings of the dormitory. [haunted4] “Around two years ago while I was doing my laundry, I had an experience with a ghost,” nursing senior Chin Chien said. “I heard this noise in the basement corridor while I was doing laundry, but when I checked there nothing was there. I was a little freaked out. It was just weird down there; it didn’t feel right. It felt like someone was watching me and following me, a spirit or whatever.”
Marissa Desrosiers, a sophomore in human biology, lived in Mayo Hall her freshman year. Her first week at MSU, she was shocked when a waitress at Bennigan’s informed her of an experience with Mayo Hall’s ghost. “She basically said to me, ‘Oh you’re living in Mayo!'” said Desrosiers. “She said she walked in the bathroom and was brushing her teeth when all of the faucets turned off. So, she turned them all off, but then they immediately turned back on again! She got so freaked out she just ran out, and was basically devastated.”
One four-year-resident at Mayo, education senior Chris Cavalieri, heard from an RA that a female student hung herself in a room on the fourth floor, and that is why the fourth floor is cut off from the public. He’s also heard complaints from friends on the floor having to do with tapping on their ceiling, coming from the forth floor and televisions mysteriously turning off. [haunted2]
An Elevating Surprise
On the other side of campus, on Holmes Hall West’s sixth floor, students have reported seeing a male figure entering the elevator, and immediately after the door closes it reopens, only to reveal an empty elevator. Appliances have also been known to turn on by themselves. Kinesiology sophomore Patric Burgess, who is a Holmes Hall West resident from the sixth floor, admitted to seeing a lot of problems with the elevators. “There are a lot of problems with the elevators; I think it’s the ghosts,’ he said. Today, I was coming up the elevator and it wouldn’t open-up for me. So, I had to pry it open with my hands – it was pretty intense. It’s happened a few times.” He said things like that usually didn’t happen when he lived on the east side of the hall. [haunted1]Other Holmes Hall residents have said that they try to catch the ghost but have not yet been successful.
More Campus Haunt Spots
There have been alleged ghost hauntings in the Botanical Gardens, where strange figures appeared and screaming was heard. Fee Hall is perhaps the most mysterious hall on campus, considering dead bodies are rumored to be stored inside. Students no longer live in the hall, and it’s used for science-related purposes.
The Auditorium is said to be haunted by a young boy, a.k.a.. the “Phantom of the Fairchild Auditorium.” Some students have claimed to see his face from the third floor window. Theatre junior Mark Falconer is no stranger to this haunting. “When I was a freshman I heard from upperclassman that the Auditorium was haunted,” Falconer said. “There are hallways in the second and third floor, and I was told that people who have been alone there in the middle of night have heard voices whispering and steps coming up from behind them.”
If you thought it was only possible at Hogwarts to see ghosts sneaking up on you, trapping you in elevators, keeping you up late by playing the piano loudly, or keeping you from doing laundry alone at night – you’re dead wrong. Some students are living the Harry Potter experience right here at MSU. As Chien said, “We’ve come to live in harmony with Mary Mayo; we want to see her more often.”

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The Interview with Izzo

During a time when most people are thinking Drew Stanton’s Heisman and football season, men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo has been thinking National Championship and basketball. During the beginning of this summer Izzo was all over the news, whether he was working a camp with Michael Jordan, golfing at the Buick Open with Tiger, or traveling to Kuwait.
[izzo2]“One of the greatest experiences my life was going to Kuwait for 6 days and spending it with good men and women in the armed forces. Not ever having been in the military, it was an incredible, incredible, experience and I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life.”
Coach Izzo’s been more undercover the last few weeks; he hasn’t been in one place very long, thanks to his hectic basketball recruitment season. He hasn’t been wasting anytime either, as he has been on the road recruiting for the last several weeks.
“I have been on the road just about every day, and I feel good about it. This year and next, are very important years for us. We have been out a lot, and we got one commitment, and I think were going to get another one soon. So, it’s headed in the right direction,” Coach Izzo said.
Last year the basketball team got the campus pumped-up for the Final Four, which hadn’t happened for several years. This year Izzo and his players are hoping to take this season a step forward.
“The only surprise I am looking for is a national championship. They’re really looking forward to winning the national championship. In other words, they’re not satisfied for going to a final four. The fact that a Paul Davis or Maurice Ager, who could have left earlier—stayed, because they have dreams for this program,”
The team is very motivated about coming back to this season. especially afterHowever, this year there is still some concern about not having all the returning players this year. “I think we potentially have a real good team. The only thing that could diminish that is we don’t have the depth we had last year. This year we have not much at all, on the perimeter.”
Despite the a lack of depth, Coach Izzo has a very strong feeling his team already has what it takes, which may be partly due to the leaders of the team stepping up. “I really like this team. They’ve been through a lot together, I think three guys right now could be NBA first-round picks, and for the first time in a while, our players are starting to take back over the program. Even though it’s cool when I’m running it, it’s a lot better when they are. When players take ownership, that’s when you have a special program.”
Time will tell how the team will do. Until then, fans are looking forward to Midnight Madness. But Izzo admits that he is still content with watching football a while longer. “Football’s been so exciting; I just hope football keeps going. I love football and I love those guys and I think they’ve been through a lot and so it’s been fun to watch them grow.”
However, he is energized about the excitement of Midnight Madness and all of the tens of thousands of fans it brings. “Midnight Madness is always the start of basketball and it’s been so well supported here.”
Until then, Izzo feels condfident in the team, “Now with these guys having grown, I think they are ready to carry the torch.”

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Not Going To Take It

This is sexual harassment. And I don’t have to take it.
Remember that public service announcement from back in the day? We were too young to really understand it then, but as we enter the workplace, the issue is becoming real for our generation.
Besides a quick policy reminder, this serious issue is not commonly addressed in either the college or work environment, so it becomes more difficult for young people to confront it, but it’s happening in the workplace all the time, especially to college students.
[man] Kristin, an economics senior who would like her last name kept anonymous, was sexually harassed by a co-worker when she worked as a waitress at the age of 16. She was walking into the storage closet when he approached her and started kissing her neck. She couldn’t stop him.
“I reported him to my workplace, but he wasn’t fired,” Kristin said. She continued to explain how the harassment didn’t stop right away, even after the first incident was reported. “I have experienced sexual harassment at about every workplace. I don’t think I would ever report anything unless it was drastic, because it is too big a hassle to deal with.”
Although it is more common for females to be threatened at work, it is not unheard of for men to feel threatened by a manager or supervisor. Brian Quinn, 22, who models for a local agency, was sexually harassed at a summer job two years ago working as a bartender in a bowling alley. One of his managers said he would get better tips if he let older women grab his butt. “I was afraid to tell people about this for a long time because it was so weird,” Quinn said. “I wasn’t a stripper, I was a bartender.” He also mentioned one of the managers wondering aloud about what Quinn looked like naked and whether he was good in bed.
Although Quinn labeled the behaviors as sexual harassment, the managers’ attitudes remained unchanged and their advances continued. “I refused to work ladies’ night because that was when most of the assaulting went down, so they took me off the schedule for not conforming to their rules,” he said.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the victim can be a man or woman, the harasser can be anyone including a supervisor, co-workers or even non-employees.
[woman] Jenna, a business sophomore, was also sexually harassed in the restaurant and retail industry. She said she became uncomfortable around her manager after his teasing grew offensive. “When my manager began joking with me, I kind of joked back, but some of his jokes disgusted me, and when he looked at me, I felt like he was undressing me with his eyes,” she said. The manager had been hit with sexual harassment suits in the past, but Jenna said she was too naïve to take action.
If you have been sexually harassed, you can consult with a lawyer to determine the severity of the matter. There are various methods to approaching different types of harassment cases. If a person is a minor, family protective services will step in. For those convicted, a sexual harassment report stays on their record forever.
If you’ve ever been sexually harassed, or don’t know if an incident occurred that could be considered sexual harassment, you should tell someone immediately. Talk to co-workers to find out if the offender is doing it to others or whether yours is an isolated incident. Find someone who you’re comfortable sharing the details of the situation. Record all the events as they occur, because behavior patterns among offenders are vital if a case reaches the court system. Of course, be firm, think positively and remain calm. It might sound cheesy, but you truly don’t have to take it.

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Ms. Manners

Have we forgotten everything we learned growing up? Wasn’t there a time when we had manners and treated others with respect? Or were we really raised by animals?
As an employee of a popular clothing store I once had the misfortune of cleaning up a fitting room after a masturbating shopper left his mark. If you think that’s gross, you may be offended to know peeing in kitchen sinks at college parties is becoming common practice. And it isn’t all that unusual to get paired with a dorm-mate who will shamelessly fornicate in a twin bed two feet away.
[moral] Angie Liberato, director of liturgy and Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (process of coming into the Catholic Church) at St. John Student Parish in East Lansing, sees positive and negative trends in this age group. “I see moral decline in some areas like casualness towards sex in relationships,” Liberato said. “This generation seems to have a sense of ‘me attitude.’ Cheating, stealing and plagiarism at MSU as examples of deterioration, along with lack of respect towards handicapped and authority.”
OK, so we’re all horrible, worthless, quivering sacks of immorality. Just kidding, but what happened to the ethics many people learned and lived by during childhood? Do we need another review session now that we reached adulthood? And, most importantly, where does this bad behavior come from?
When economics junior Jason Killoran asked the individual who urinated on plates and silverware at a party why he couldn’t have used the unoccupied bathroom five feet away, the guy laughed in his face.
“I found it appalling someone would do that,” Killoran said. “What is he, a dog? Dogs don’t even do that.” When Killoran asked the guy to leave, it wasn’t without a battle. The unwelcome party guest managed to punch Killoran, knock the wind out of a girl and hit another young woman in the face before eluding police officers.
The manners and class of people in our society seem to have deteriorated since last I checked. Could drugs and alcohol be responsible for such bizarre and immoral behavior, or is it possible virtues such as respect are no longer being taught? Instead of hearing “excuse me” when trying to get by someone at a party, I now hear, “get the fuck out of my way!” The alternative is to be moved personally like an object.
And lately it just seems to be more isolated incidents similar to Killoran’s party. You take a chance each time you leave your house, because another lunatic is waiting for you right around the corner. These days, you actually have to be careful not to look at someone the wrong way.
Brandon Madejek, telecommunication junior, hosted his own show last year, The White Horse, and this past year, The Prince of Tom Foolery, with other extremists on WELM, an East Lansing public access channel. They’re allowed to broadcast whatever they want, since the show airs after 10 p.m. On his show one individual known as “Crazy Ramen” sprayed himself with mace, ate a lightbulb and washed it down with another person’s urine. In the same night, he sewed his own testicles to his leg (five times).
“He likes doing that kind of stuff on his own time, so we might as well bring him on the show to do it there,” Madejek said. “He will do anything; he is always down for tattoos and cutting himself. He has an extremely high tolerance of pain. Two weeks ago he asked me to give him a tattoo with a knife and ink – the first couple times I cut him I could tell it hurt but after that he was fine.”
For fun, some of these people enjoy watching tapes of naked men rocking at concerts, where they use the stage as their bathroom, eat and roll around in their feces and pleasure themselves on stage.
“Crazy Ramen” has a few ideas for next season’s show, one in which a house is set on fire which holds valuable gifts inside. “So, you can win a prize if you want to risk burning to death,” Madejek said. Another idea of Ramen’s is to challenge a person from Jackass to see who can keep their hand in a toaster for longer (while it’s on, of course).
Perhaps closer to home than toaster-wrangling is living in such tight quarters with roommates, especially in the dorm. We’ve all been there, when it’s late and all you want to do is sleep, but you can’t because all you hear next door is the intense sounds of your suitemates doing the horizontal mambo. And what’s even worse is when you’re the one getting it on when your roommate is only a bunk away. It is really selfish to overlook your roommate sleeping five feet away from you, and to make them feel grossed-out and awkward. But hey, you’re paying for half the room, too, and can do whatever you want on “your side.”
So, who is to say who is right? Nate Bedocs, economics junior and Akers Hall mentor, offered an in-dorm perspective. “It is kind of an unspoken rule,” Bedocs said. “When I was a freshman and my roommate would have his girlfriend over, I would leave for a little bit and come back later. In MOCK training we were told to be neutral and not lay out any rules. If a problem ever arises I will suggest the guys approach their roommate in a non-confrontational manner and work the issue out on their own.”
Then, what about those annoying neighbors who just moved in this semester and are always getting stoned and blasting techno music at three in the morning (every night of the week)? Is there a limit, could that be a bit excessive? And it gets worse; you wake up to high-pitched fire alarms, blinking lights, a hallway full of smoke and shouts telling you you must evacuate the building.
The main question now is how to deal with these sorts of people, without spreading behavior like theirs. Another issue to consider: perhaps there are just not enough consequences for people who don’t know how to control themselves and act in an orderly conduct in public. Is their behavior a cry for help? Or do they just need someone to lay down the law for them? Is our generation turning into a bunch of grunting, careless pigs?
Perhaps some of these problems could be solved with a simple childhood phrase learned many years ago: “Treat others how you would like to be treated.”
For the religious, like Liberato, the answer lies in a relationship with a higher power. “…Follow the commandments to love God and our neighbors as ourselves; if we take that seriously we develop a profound respect for ourselves, bodies, abilities and other people.”
Everyone else, just please try to warn your roommate, keep your bodily fluids behind closed doors and try respecting your neighbors — before they piss in your kitchen sink.

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A Civil Disobedience

I tried to run, but a few yards ahead of me I saw another cloud of tear gas. I felt myself trapped like a deer in headlights. My eyes were on fire and snot was streaming down my nose. The entire time I thought to myself, “What did I do to deserve this?”
[pics] Communication senior Laura Kelch asked the question on many Spartans’ minds after the MSU’s men’s basketball team’s loss to North Carolina in the Final Four tournament in St. Louis last Saturday night.
Unfortunately, rioting has become an infamous pastime at MSU, and last weekend was no different. Tear gas, 43 arrests and two hours of chaos did result; however, there was one change: students and officers seemed to have switched roles. Spartan students were the ones unprepared for this year’s events, giving the police an upper hand, in contrast to previous disturbances.
“It didn’t seem like anyone was doing anything but standing before the tear-gassing began,” said Kelch, who was one of the thousands gathered at Cedar Village. “The police were trigger happy with the tear gas; people were getting hit with cans and others were vomiting.”
MSU students had received several letters, including ones from the basketball coaches themselves, ASMSU and faculty encouraging responsible celebration after this year’s Final Four game, but the warnings may have stirred up an adverse reaction. “I feel rioting was built up, and students felt they were ‘supposed to cause chaos,’” business administration and theatre sophomore Max Lund said.
However, other students felt they were never given the chance to act maturely, because they were tear-gassed right away. “When I walked outside after the game, the streets were already filled with people gathered from both MSU and other universities celebrating our making it to the Final Four,” music education freshman Scott Eckersley said after observing the fiasco. “This was short-lived, because everyone was tear-gassed right away.”
“The key phrases to getting tear-gassed were: ‘Go Green,’ ‘Go White,’ and ‘MSU,'” he said. “I think they could have broken the crowd in a better way; they were a bit over-the-top.”
One residence hall night receptionist commented that practically everyone he let in that night got tear-gassed by the police, and several East Lansing businesses had to shut their doors because too many people were rushing in to seek shelter.
The police justified the tear-gassing by saying people were throwing bottles and rocks at them. The main “events” of Saturday night included one person sacrificing his couch to set ablaze, a broken arm and an officer getting shot by a slingshot device. East Lansing law, in response to 1999’s riots, made it illegal for four or more people to assemble with the intent to riot or being near a crowd and remaining with the intent to riot. Therefore, any crowd on the streets of East Lansing on April 3 could have been interpreted as illegal. The police were within the law to respond, but did they act with the best judgment?
“We heard information in advance that there were plans to cause problems. People stockpiled items to burn, and were planning on rioting, whether the game was won or lost. We were concerned, but hoped for the best,” MSU Police Captain Juli Liebler said.
Unlike in 1989 and 1999, when the police needed time to prepare, officers anticipated this year’s game plan. They spent $1,200 for a speaker system installed on the rooftops of Cedar Village to warn students before they began tear-gassing, and were also manned with a portable PA system. The department feels they prevented a lot of damage and violence because they were prepared.
“We had several meetings with eight police departments,” Liebler said. “We were equipped with arrest vans and additional officers who were trained in dealing with large crowds. Officers wore protective gear, including chest pads, shin guards and less-than-lethal tools such as chemical ignition (tear gas) and pepper spray.”
The MSU Police Department has received both compliments and complaints. Some people were satisfied with how they handled the crowds, feeling no one should have gathered in the first place. But it remains that most students were disappointed with gassing that in most cases was preemptive.
“For the future, we’ll talk about what seemed to work and what didn’t, and we may change a few things. The tactics were effective, and an overall success, given the circumstances,” Liebler said.
According to MSU’s spokesperson and Vice President of University Relations Terry Denbow, the university is still gathering as much information as they can from people living on and off campus, fire-marshals, MSU and East Lansing’s police departments, and from video tapes before making any broad statements about what went wrong and who is to blame.
“It is too bad some people’s behavior caused others to be subjected to tear gassing,” Tenbow said. “Only 21 out of the 43 arrested, and 4,000 people gathered were MSU students and that is pretty good. I would hope in future celebrations that everyone is trusting and confident in each other, and that is a shared commitment on all sides. I am not against celebrating, I have called all students to show their side of the story, and if we were behaving appropriately, than they (the police) should be the ones people are unhappy with.”
It will never be known whether or not this year’s civil disturbances would have amounted to anything at all if officers would not have gassed so heavily, or if they prevented a larger riot. However, no one can deny that less property damage and overall chaos occurred compared with 1999’s melee, and that most students acted civilly.
No matter who was to blame, March Madness has lived up to its name at MSU.

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