by Paul Grindle and Alexandra Miller
Stony Brook is grappling with an increase in reported sexual assaults. To quote the Feb. 11, 2014 Statesman article, by Ashleigh Sherow, “…there were 17 forcible sexual offenses in 2012 – five more than in 2011 and 10 more than in 2010.” Despite the large student body on campus, this number is unacceptable. With a population of roughly 16,000, that means .2 percent of students have reported a sexual assault, compared to New York State’s 304 reports for its 19.57 million people, resulting in .0016 percent of the population reporting sexual assaults. While college campuses generally have more sexual assaults than other places, New York State’s total of 304 assaults is part of an overall downward trend in reported sexual assaults in the state, while Stony Brook’s total of 17 represents an upward trend. With these facts in mind, the question becomes how to combat the surge of Stony Brook’s increasing number of sexual assaults. Some solutions would be to hire more female police officers, re-orient a portion of the police force to focus on helping victims (as opposed to maintaining law and order), increasing self-defense training and create bystander awareness workshops.
It is interesting to note that if you look at the sexual assault statistics in conjunction with the liquor law referrals, you will notice they both increase dramatically, especially from 2010-2012. In 2010 and 2011, there were 205 liquor law referrals on campus, and in 2012 there were 294. Numerous studies conducted over the past decade have found a significant correlation between alcohol and a variety of injuries, both unintentional and intentional. Unintentional injurious events include: road traffic injuries, drowning, falls, poisoning, fires and others. Intentional injuries primarily concern interpersonal violence, such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence, elder abuse, child abuse, community violence and self-harm. According to a 2011 study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, “Results found that men who are already prone to anger, who have hostile attitudes toward women, and who are in social environments that accept sexual aggression are most likely to engage in sexual aggression when intoxicated.” After reviewing crime reports for the past three years, as well as the results of recent studies on intoxication and sexual aggression, Stony Brook should do more to increase awareness regarding the relationship between alcohol and aggression/violence. Furthermore, our police department should respond to this serious issue with specifically trained task force initiatives, such as hiring more female officers.
The University Police Department does offer a free, women-only course entitled Rape Aggression Defense (RAD). The unfortunate reality is, while it is never the responsibility of the woman to prevent being raped, the last line of defense during an attack would be a woman’s ability to defend herself. That being said, every individual, man or woman, should know how to defend themselves against potential threats. To specifically gear a course towards women’s self-defense against rape is to suggest only one type of assault scenario. Women are not the only victims of rape, nor are most rapes committed by strangers. According to RAINN, Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, approximately 73 percent of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. Also, it took until 2012 for the US government to include males in their definition of rape. It is even harder for male victims to come forward due to the fact they are expected to know how to defend themselves. So if they get raped, it is even more likely for them to think it is their fault. With these facts in mind, there should be more preparation for how to deal with the types of attacks that are most likely to occur in the real world, during both on and off campus activities. It is obvious to provide tips on how not to walk down a dark, secluded pathway; it is not so obvious to educate people on what to do in situations where the lines are a bit more blurry.
Perhaps the university could create an educational campaign that focuses on motivating students to take an active role in situations they don’t feel are right, instead of watching them play out from the sidelines. We should reinforce and encourage that students (and all humans) need to be good Samaritans, rather than innocent bystanders. Additionally, there seems to be some confusion regarding the definition of consent (you would be surprised to learn what most students consider to be a form of consent). Student Patrick Kim was quoted in Sherow’s article, describing a nonviolent incident at a party where there “was no consent per se” and even went uninterrupted and unreported because “people don’t take it seriously a lot of the time.” There are many myths about what is considered consent, especially when drugs or alcohol are involved. Thus the university should take action to clarify any misunderstandings as a means of prevention.
The university does offer free, forensic examinations for victims of sexual assault at the hospital, called SANE, or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Despite the convenience of having such a service right on campus, medical evidence for a sexual assault case can only be collected for up to 96 hours after the incident, and the evidence collected by SANE will only be kept for a duration of 30 days. Due to the highly sensitive and unstable nature of a sexual assault case, unfortunately not all victims know or are able to seek medical attention immediately. It would be beneficial to our student body to better promote this service. Knowing more about it would encourage more victims to come forward, especially during those critical hours after an assault.
It must be noted that sexual assault statistics only reflect attacks that have been reported, representing only less than five percent of attempted/completed rapes being brought to the attention of campus authorities. Perhaps the addition of more female officers, as well as the expansion of self-defense courses to advise all genders and cover all situations and a bystander awareness initiative, would lead to an increase in the number of reported sexual assaults. If the self-defense courses included tips for what to do in certain social situations, such as parties, bars, or even walking home from a late evening class, perhaps more students would play an active role in looking out for one another in real-life scenarios. These tips could potentially include education on social pressures to drink (such as Greek life or athletic hazing), unknown potency of jungle juice (and various other “bathtub” concoctions), how to detect presence/symptoms of “date rape” drugs (there are easy-to-use drink testing strips on the market) and strategies to make sure friends are never left alone at parties. In addition, being that this is a research institution, perhaps a survey could be conducted (as it has in various other communities/institutions) regarding what students deem is consent to sexual activity. For example, some individuals have the notion that they cannot deny sex to their intimate partner, because it is something that is owed. There is also the belief that once consent is given it cannot be revoked (it can), or that if both participants are under the influence of a substance, consent is waived (it is not). These incorrect beliefs serve to further perpetuate a culture where the foundations that lead to tolerance of rape remain intact. Stony Brook University has admirably tried to combat these foundations, but it can and should do more to fight for a future free of sexual assault.
I have not ever written a response to an article in the Statesman, even though I regularly read it. However after reading Alexandra Miller’s article, “RSP needs to pivot to providing safety to commuters,” I felt I had to respond. As a member of the Residential Safety Program for the past three years, I am well-versed in our policies and procedures as well as our function within the university at large.
The primary argument of this piece is inherently flawed. The Residential Safety Program is funded by fees paid to Campus Residences by residential students. UPD is trusted with ensuring the safety of the entirety of the campus, including commuter areas. While commuter students are welcome to utilize the walk service and our information phone line, expanding our services to cover large commuter areas would be a misappropriation of funds. Miller makes a fine point when she says that bus services could run later for commuters. However bus service is covered in student’s transportation fees, not by residential fees. Suggesting that there is any crossover between these two services is wrong, they are entirely separate.
Miller goes on to say that our workers are not trained to handle relevant emergencies to our campus, particularly sexual assault. This is untrue. Our workers are given codes specifically related to domestic violence and assault. Dispatchers are prepared to contact UPD at a moment’s notice and our supervisors and Assistant Coordinators are always on duty, prepared to respond to these types of emergencies. Through our PR Committee, we try to raise awareness about these and other safety issues to further strengthen campus safety.
Lastly, we make sure that our workers feel comfortable going back to their dorms at the end of the night. Most work in their buildings and of those who do not, we would certainly accommodate them if they did not want to walk alone. We take every pain to make sure students on campus feel safe through our services.
(Senior; political science and philosophy double major)
Assistant Coordinator of Field Operations
Residential Safety Program
Like most of my peers, I can not remember a time when women were denied access to safe and legal abortion. I don’t take this right for granted and neither do 68 percent of young Americans who believe abortion should be available in their own community. Our grandmothers, our mothers, our communities fought for this right so that I would be able to make my own decisions about my body. As we honor the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the right to safe and legal abortion has never felt more important to me than it does now.
In 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Roe v. Wade, a landmark ruling stating that a woman’s ability to have a safe abortion is part of her constitutional right to privacy. In essence, no state could outlaw abortion, yet many have tried. There have been more attacks on our reproductive freedoms in the last three years than in the entire previous decade. Politicians across the country have enacted more than 200 restrictions on abortion access since 2010. As a result, more than half of women of reproductive age like us are living in states where access to abortion is being restricted by their state legislatures. Make no mistake: safe and legal abortion is under attack. Even here in New York, a key piece of legislation to level the playing field for women, the Women’s Equality Act, died in the State Senate last year because it would have codified the tenets of Roe v. Wade in state law. It seems our State Senators would rather avoid expanding equal pay laws and sexual harassment protections if it also means strengthening abortion laws.
I adamantly oppose these unprecedented efforts to turn back the clock on women’s health and I’m not alone. In fact, six in 10 young Americans believe abortion should be available in all or most cases. And 80 percent of New York voters want the abortion provision of the Women’s Equality Act to become law.
This fight is not about being “pro-choice” or “pro-life.” Those outdated labels don’t come close to defining who we are or the complexity of this issue. Instead of talking about what divides us, let’s talk about what we can agree on. What the majority of us do agree on is that these are decisions that should be left to a woman and her doctor.
For us, reproductive freedom is not just about abortion. It’s interconnected with the spectrum of social justice issues we care about. It is impossible to discuss access to abortion without addressing poverty, racism, sexism, discrimination against immigrants and the range of issues that impact our ability to truly make the decisions that are best for ourselves, our families and our communities. I began my work with Planned Parenthood when I transferred to Stony Brook University in my sophomore year. I learned more and more about how women’s voices were being suppressed and how they were constantly being denied the right to do what they wished with their own bodies. This is when I determined that I had to stand up, be one of the many advocates for women’s rights and ensure that women are guaranteed the right to be in control of our own bodies – and no one else – especially not politicians.
We follow in the footsteps of our foremothers who fought to legalize abortion before 1973. Now it’s our responsibility to create a new reality for sexual and reproductive freedom. That’s why I lead Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood here at SBU, just one of the more than 200 campus groups across the country focused on harnessing the power, energy and enthusiasm of young people to fight for reproductive freedom — and for fundamental justice for all. We became a club at Stony Brook in 2011 and have worked to educate the campus community on their sexual health and to empower everyone to make decisions that are right for them.
As we fight against these attacks on women’s health care access across the country, we need your help. We know that in order for this fight to be successful it has to be, not only interconnected with other social justice issues, but intergenerational. Help us make the Planned Parenthood Generation the generation that puts an end to the attacks on safe and legal abortion once and for all.
Nicole Massa, business management and sociology major, is the President of SBU Vox. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Ruchi Shah and Mallory Locklear
Recently, a man going by the nickname “Diphallic Dude” took part in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session that centered around his rare condition—diphallia, a medical condition wherein a male is born with two penises.
One in 5.5 million people are affected, and only around 100 cases have been reported since the first known occurrence in the year 1609.
The condition includes a range of effects, from duplication of the glans, or “head” of the penis, alone to complete penile duplication.
When complete diphallia occurs, the function of each penis can also vary greatly. In some cases, one penis is significantly underdeveloped compared to the second and in other cases, both penises are fully functional.
Diphallic Dude is in the latter group, with two fully functional penises. As reported in his Reddit AMA, he can urinate and ejaculate from both.
Even more interestingly, as stated on his tumblr page, once he ejaculates with one penis, he can immediately move on to the other and is able to “go a few hours, having orgasms roughly every five to 10 minutes.”
As far as complications go, Diphallic Dude has had few. When he was in his teens, he had a minor urethral issue. Since he has two fully developed penises, his urethra, or the tube that transports both semen and urine out of the penis, splits internally, creating a “Y” shape.
A problem developed where the urethral fork began ballooning during urination until enough pressure built up for urine to travel through the urethra and out of the penis.
Minor surgery was done to stretch the urethra and correct the problem. Recently, Diphallic Dude stated on tumblr that this issue has reoccurred and a similar procedure will need to be done in the near future.
Because it is such a rare condition, little is known about the cause of diphallia or even its development. Savannah Irving, a medical student at the University of Dundee questioned, “If it’s linked with other anomalies in fetal formation it seems it may not be completely compatible with life.”
Whereas this effect is unconfirmed as of now, many cases of diphallia do coincide with other medical complications.
In those with complete diphallia, or full penile duplication, infant death rates tend to be higher. This is often due to infections in their more complex kidney and/or colon and rectal systems.
Diphallia also coincides with spina bifida, a severe developmental disorder wherein portions of the spinal cord are underdeveloped and the vertebrae do not close as they should.
Scientists think diphallia may occur when some sort of external stress hampers the developmental stage where fetal tissue separates into what will separately become the penis and rectum. Further, because each case of diphallia is different, treatments must be tailored to each individual patient.
Diphallic Dude has embraced both members and has only needed minor treatments, though others are not so lucky.
Similarly, duplication of female reproductive and urinary systems has also been observed. This duplication, referred to medically as uterus didelphys, has varying levels of severity. Some women have two vaginas, while others have two vaginas, cervixes, and uteruses.
According to the World Health Organization, about one in 3,000 women have duplicated reproductive systems, equating to a larger percentage of the population than previously thought.
The prevalence may be even higher because both sets function normally and thus the duplication often goes unnoticed. Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, director of maternal fetal medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, said to ABC News, “It’s not that crazy at all, even though it sounds like a sci-fi thing. We see many couples, maybe once a month or more.”
Recently, there has been heightened publicity about uterus didelphys after features on ABC News, ITV’s “This Morning” and TLC’s “Strange Sex.” In 2012, Hazel Jones, a 27-year old woman with a fully duplicated reproductive system, openly discussed her medical condition. On “This Morning,” she shed light on living life with double the equipment and even quipped that is it, “an ice-breaker at parties.”
Jones was diagnosed at the age of 18 after visiting a doctor for extremely painful menstrual cramps. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common symptoms include, “unusual pressure or cramping pain before or during a menstrual period and abnormal bleeding during a period, such as blood flow despite the use of a tampon.”
However, since these symptoms are difficult to distinguish from those that normally accompany many women’s menstrual cycles, uterus didelphys is confirmed using diagnostic imaging tests like an ultrasound.
This duplicated reproductive system arises from an error during development. In a developing embryo, the uterus, cervix, and vagina normally start out as two tubes that fuse as the fetus develops.
However, in those with uterus didelphys, the tubes did not fuse correctly, leaving duplicated structures. While doctors are uncertain of the cause behind this malfunction, most women have full function of both structures. As a result, there have been women who carry one child in each of their uteruses. A woman named AMS further told ABC News that she, “lost [her] virginity twice.”
While this duplication is not life-threatening, the presence of two uteruses in the space of one can lead to complications for conception, childbearing and birth.
Common treatment options include birth control pills, fertility treatments and, if needed, surgery to unite the two uteruses. Most women, however, live normally and enjoy the function of both of their reproductive sites.
By Brandon Benarba and Jon Winkler
There is no concrete definition of art. The concept of what art is, is so vague and ever changing that everyone has his or her own beliefs of what is and is not art. For some, entertainment pieces such as television and movies are not considered art, but for others, they are the definition of art.
Probably the most debated art argument is over whether or not pornography can be considered art. To help simplify the debate, we will both be going by the standard dictionary definition of art, which is “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing or of more than ordinary significance.”
Brandon Benarba: Porn is art.
Jon Winkler: Porn is not art.
BB: Pornography, and to a lesser degree sex, have become an unspoken taboo within society. It is something that we all know exists and we are aware of the benefits that can come from pornography, but why do so many people shy away from it? Art is a method through which humans express themselves, and pornography and sex are some of the most basic ways of expressing a multitude of emotions. When it comes down to porn, we have different categories and genres to satiate a variety of people’s sexual desires. Naturally, the quality of the product is going to vary, but we cannot compare Picasso to a third grader’s drawings, can we?
JW: What exactly is art used for? It is meant as an expression of one’s feelings, views, or ideas into physical forms of display for others to see. If that is the case, what in the world is porn meant to express? Is it meant to show off the sexual fantasies that we as human beings have on a daily basis, or just something teenage boys snicker about and older men use to deal with the single life? Most porn is not art at all because it is not meant to express any message or opinion. Instead, it is poorly shot melodrama with awful writing, bad actors who can’t read beyond a fifth grade level and unrealistic situations. Porn is more like the most private form of fantasy, more shameless escape than creative expression.
BB: You bring up the words “private” and “fantasy” during your argument, which really makes me happy. The thing about art is that the expression the artist is trying to achieve is usually private to them. We can never really understand what they are trying to tell, but rather take our own interpretation from it. I agree with you in terms of quality, but to say that it ends up being a form of fantasy is audacious. All forms of art become some form of fantasy. Most accepted forms of art and entertainment usually become a form of power fantasy for the viewer. So why is it considered so tasteless for people to indulge in sexual fantasies? If everyone can get their own interpretation out of a piece of art, is what they are viewing a problem? Art being fantasy is a great thing, as it can distract us from our real world problems and allow us to lose ourselves in something. Let’s be honest here, a lot of people can lose themselves in porn, and I do not think that is a bad thing.
JW: People losing themselves in porn is their business (and something not really appropriate for print, so we will skip that), but porn also seems to have no effort put into it. Where does the inspiration come from, because it seems almost too simple to be considered art? If pornography can be considered art, then it has to be cared for like an art form. There has to be more effort put into porn in order for it to be taken seriously. It is hard to take a piece of cinema seriously when the opening scene is a guy named Brock Harder walking into a room with his shirt off and saying weak pick-up lines to a girl named Quendra. Porn needs to have a concept beyond “the money shot” if it wants to be worthwhile, otherwise it is just another shameful reason that people stay single. If porn wants to be taken as seriously as most art forms, it needs to have something to say and not just something to watch.
Naturally, we cannot declare something as art or not, because the very nature of art is self-perception. Still, whether or not you believe that pornography is art or not does not matter. It is something that exists, and it should be something that people can openly talk about. Too often pornography is linked to the idea of self-pleasure, but maybe it is time for people to look at it in a different light.
Produced by Brandon Benarba.
Edited by Basil John.
Shot by Heather Khalifa.
By Jasmine Blennau and Giselle Barkley
This year, New York became the tenth of 15 states and the District of Columbia to legalize gay marriage. But in the United States, men who have sex with other men still cannot donate blood.
The Food and Drug Administration bans men who have had sex with other men in the last 36 years from donating blood. It placed the ban in 1985 to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS after a series of deaths due to infected blood transfusions.
On Nov. 6, Stony Brook University’s Blood Donor Equality movement presented “The Blood Donor Policy Panel” in the Charles B. Wang Center Theatre. The event highlighted both social and scientific perspectives on the ban.
Dr. Charles L. Robbins, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the Undergraduate Colleges, moderated the panel.
Stony Brook University students Tyler Morrison, James Leonard, Tobin George and Michael Duffy founded the Blood Donor Equality movement.
Morrison, a senior psychology major, invited the audience to participate in signing letters both at the beginning and end of the event. The letters articulated the support of the Blood Equality movement. The group is trying to deliver 100,000 signed letters to United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to bring more awareness to the issue.
Attendees watched an opening video featuring Stony Brook faculty and staff members—including President Stanley and former Undergraduate Student Government president Anna Lubitz—promoting the slogan “I’m a Seawolf and I am not afraid.”
Throughout the video, as well as the event, panelists discussed how fear contributes to the discrimination against various groups, specifically men who have had sex with other men.
Dr. David Kilmnick, Stony Brook alumnus and chief executive officer of Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, was one of three panelists at the event. Kilmnick said that the FDA’s policy “fosters inequality and it is time for a reform.”
“You are not any more at risk for being who you are,” Kilmnick said.
Dr. Benjamin J. Greco, medical director of theNew York Blood Center, was one of the two panelists who agreed that the lifetime ban in the U.S. should be reduced to at least one year deferral.
In other words, if MSM are not sexually active with other men for one year, they should be able to donate blood.
But Dr. Louis M. Katz, executive vice president and chief medical officer of America’s Blood Centers, believes that progress toward equality must be made in increments.
According to AIDS.gov, “MSM accounted for 61 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2009, as well as nearly half (49 percent) of people living with HIV in 2008.”
Though contracting HIV from a blood transfusion is “extraordinarily rare” according to Katz, he cited statistics that showed that, if the United States decreased the deferral to one year rather than a lifetime, the risk would increase by 3 percent per year.
Dr. Kilmnick, who is gay, found many of the statistics personally offensive.
”I am not a statistic, I am an American citizen who should have the same rights as any other American citizen to donate blood,” Dr. Kilmnick said.
”There is no right to donate blood. It does not exist in law,” Katz responded. According to Dr. Katz, this is due to the spread or risk of contracting Hepatitis, HIV and Syphilis following a transfusion.
But according to Morrison, the Blood Donor Equality Movement “[wants] complete removal [of the ban].”
Morrison and senior psychology major Duffy are working with junior biology major Leonard and junior political science major George to attempt to expand the Blood Equality Movement to other SUNY campuses.
Morrison is working with Lubitz to increase the movement’s support. He recently spoke at the SUNY Pride Conference, which brings students and faculty in the SUNY system together, to work toward creating more LGBT friendly campuses.
“Education comes first and foremost. That’s something we all agree on,” Duffy said.
As president of the Residence Hall Association at Stony Brook, Duffy is promoting the movement for Blood Equality beyond SUNY in the National Association of College and University Residence Halls and its North East Affiliate branch. He has traveled to Residence Hall Conferences to teach others about the current policy and why it should be changed.
Senior women and gender studies major John Martin, president of Stony Brook’s LGBTA club, found the event successful but thought terms used throughout the panel needed further explanation.
“There’s a very implicit, silent understanding of what sex is,” Martin said. “There are many people that identify as men that may or may not have the kind of sex that is being assumed. The language itself is really important and the limited understanding of that language has real profound public policy effects and outcome effects.”
Jessica Rybak, a Stony Brook alumna who identifies with the LGBT community, was disappointed that gay and bisexual women were neither represented nor addressed.
“As a queer female person…I realized that I do have a lot tied to it, “ Rybak said. “There’s a lot of women who obviously are affected by HIV and AIDS who do give blood and do engage in activities. It is unfortunate for everyone that women aren’t addressed because that further disenfranchises men.”
Saroosh Khan, a freshman majoring in psychology and biology, left the event feeling differently about the issue.
“Before, I was with the status quo opinion because of the risk, but come to think of it now, it’s discrimination,” Khan said. He added that advancements in technology have improved blood screenings.
Regardless of who donates the blood, all blood is tested the same way and goes through the same procedures.
While the issue remains controversial, Dr. Robbins thinks that Stony Brook is the place to discuss the issue.
”Stony Brook University stands for equality and one of the pillars of our mission is science and knowledge,” Robbins said. “What we are talking about tonight is really about equality, science and knowledge and how these things [are] put together. A lot of what you came here believing is not necessarily based on equality science and knowledge.”
Nov. 8, 2013- A previous version of this article stated that the Federal Drug Administration placed the blood donor ban. The agency name has since been corrected to the Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, Tyler Morrison’s was identified as a junior. This has been corrected to say senior.
By Elsie Boskamp and Sarah Kirkup
The Academic Success and Tutoring Center, a free on-campus tutoring service for Stony Brook University students, opened recently with the goal of helping students with their academic needs by providing student tutors and future workshops on suitable studying skills.
“We are trying to both complement and augment the tutoring services that already exist on campus,” Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and the Dean of Undergraduate Colleges Charles Robbins said.
Similar to already established learning centers, the ASTC provides students with an additional study resource, something students seem to favor.
“When other tutoring centers are too busy, it is helpful to know that the ASTC is another option for students to go to,” freshman undeclared major Christina Kmiotek said.
The ASTC is not fully operational yet, and although it is located in the library, students are advised to contact the center and its staff through email or phone. Once fully running–hopefully by the end of the semester according to Director Shannon Jayne– students can expect “a centralized service, so that students know where they can go for help, and, equally important, faculty know where to send students who are having concerns,” Robbins said.
Potentially offering both individual and group study sessions, the center is committed to comply with student needs by implementing various tutoring and teaching techniques. Additionally, Robbins said he hopes to “start offering other kinds of success workshops, in terms of time management, writing skills and other study skills.”
Students will receive tutoring services by registering for their desired times and tutors, and the center’s director says she intends for it to offer long-time tutoring services as opposed to last minute cram sessions.
“We hope for it to be a weekly tutor session so students can get to know their tutors throughout the semester,” Jayne says.
Registration for tutoring sessions will occur online, organized by signing up for the appropriate class the student needs help with and choosing the desired tutor.
Robbins added, “Whatever it might be, we’re looking to put into place the services and people that are necessary to help students to achieve success.”
The center is funded by the academic excellence fee, which is included in student tuition. “This money pays for the salaries and the certification of the center,” Robbins said.
Although this fee is required for undergraduate students to pay, some feel it should be an optional charge based on usage. “It is unfair to make me pay for this service if I do not use it,” Kmiotek said.
But Associate Director Kristy Hare has high hopes for the center. “This will give students the tools to be successful and independent in their future academic classes,” she said.
The ASTC is currently looking to employ qualified students — those with a high grade point average, a faculty recommendation and an extensive knowledge of the subject — as tutors. After acceptance, tutors are required to go through a training course to ensure they are up to ASTC standards.
If you’re like me, having grown up with the initial release of the ever-popular Pokemon series, then you know firsthand how much fun the portable games are. The first installments, Red and Blue, were released back in Sept. 1998. Fifteen years have passed since then, and with the production of Pokemon X and Y, we can finally enjoy all 718 Pokemon in thrilling, high quality 3D.
Pokemon X and Y were released Saturday, Oct. 12 for the Nintendo 3DS, and has brought 69 new Pokemon into the series, which is the smallest number of new Pokemon in any new release. In addition, there is a new Fairy type category of Pokemon, unique starter Pokemon, Life and Destruction themed legendary Pokemon, the new Mega Evolution, more than seven hundred different 3D models for all Pokemon forms and gender variations and an overall streamlining of gameplay for the experienced player.
The most notable addition to the Pokemon universe in these games is the new Fairy type, which provides something that is finally effective against Dragon types apart from Ice and other Dragons. The Fairy type is weak to Steel and Poison, resistant to Dark, Bug and Fighting, immune to Dragon, and effective against Dragon, Dark and Fighting. A new type has not been introduced since Dark and Steel in the second generation, Gold and Silver. Not only are there new Pokemon who are Fairy type, but older Pokemon have been acknowledged and changed to include this new type as well.
In each game, the player becomes immediately familiar with the “trash Pokemon,” or the Pokemon that appear most frequently and are the least desirable. What is great about the 69 new Pokemon is that each one is unique, well-formed and appealing, providing no new “trash Pokemon,” and this leaves the player with the appropriate desire to “catch them all!”
Gameplay is how it has always been, with the addition of true three-dimensional movement with the joystick on the 3DS. Graphically the game is stunning; we have been waiting a long time to see our Poke-pals in 3D rather than as 2D sprites, and X and Y do not disappoint. Camera angles change as we explore to emphasize scenery, all of which are visually impressive.
A new non-permanent evolutionary stage has been added in X and Y called the Mega Evolution. After gathering certain key story items, 26 different Pokemon have the ability to Mega Evolve. This evolution occurs only during battle while the Pokemon is holding their unique evolutionary item, and the evolution provides stat bonuses and ability changes. Keep in mind these evolutions are in-battle only and your Mega Pokemon will return to its original form after the fight. Also, you can only Mega Evolve once per battle.
If any readers enjoy min-maxing their Pokemon’s stats, then they know about EVs, or Effort Values. These were hidden stats in every game that influenced the rate at which Pokemon gained stat points as they leveled. In each game, if you were interested in die-hard training, you had to keep track of these values on your own. Now in X and Y, EVs are awarded through fun mini-games, can be earned passively with new Punching Bag items awarded from those mini-games and players are provided an intuitive chart that details these previously hidden statistics. This change is huge for experienced players and makes competitive training significantly easier.
Two other significant gameplay changes that benefit the veteran player were the Experience Share item and Technical Machines. The Exp. Share is now a Key Item (limited to protagonist use) rather than a Hold Item (item able to be held by a Pokemon). Instead of giving the item to the Pokemon needing experience, the player can toggle the item on or off as a whole. Turning it on provides half of the full experience to the battling Pokemon, and the other half to each other Pokemon on your team individually. The change to Technical Machines (TMs) is similarly streamlined, where rather than having them be consumable, we have unlimited uses of any one TM.
Little details have been changed logically as well, such as Electric types being immune to Paralyze, Grass types being immune to status spores (Stun Spore, Poison Powder, Sleep Powder) and Ghost types becoming untrappable in battle by any means.
It is worth mentioning that the starter Pokemon for this generation have unique typings. The Grass starter, Chespin, becomes Grass/Fighting; the Water starter, Froakie, becomes Water/Dark; the Fire starter, Fennekin, becomes Fire/Psychic. Finally, the Fire starter does not evolve into Fire/Fighting after three generations.
Keep in mind players can only trade Pokemon between the Black/White and Black2/White2 games to X and Y; if you have Pokemon from earlier games that you want to move to X and Y, you need to trade them up to Black and White first.
The only real downside to X and Y is that the 3D in certain cases causes visual lag. Some battles get slightly choppy rendering the models and effects. This can be avoided by turning the 3D off, but you’ll miss out on the literal depth in battles provided by the 3DS.
There are a significant amount of other small additions to the game that would run this review ragged, so I’ll leave you to explore and find them for yourselves. If you used to love the series but fell off the bandwagon sometime after Gold/Silver, this is the game to get. If you’re currently still a Poke-fan, this is the game to get. Finally, the fictional creatures of our childhood appear to us in 3D with refined gameplay, fantastic environments and superb visuals. Do not miss this newest addition to the Pokemon series. You will not be disappointed.
by Giselle Barkley and Brandon Benarba
The lights dimmed as the Wang Center Theatre auditorium filled with faculty members, professors, alumni and undergraduate students on Thursday, Oct. 10 for Stony Brook’s first-ever TEDx conference.
TEDx stands for Technology Entertainment and Design where the x stands for independently organized event, according to its website. This year’s theme was “Our Beat.” 20 speakers pitched their ideas ranging from musical performances to scientific breakthroughs.
TEDx limited speakers to an 18 minute time frame, according to Howard Schneider, dean of the School of Journalism and one of the speakers at the conference.
According to Jennifer Adams, an educational technologist of the university’s Teaching Learning and Technology department and project manager for TEDxSBU, all TEDx events only permit 100 attendees.
“TED requires that all TEDx events have a cap of 100 people total unless the license holder goes to a real TED conference,” Adams said.
TED is a nonprofit that focuses on global matters, whereas TEDx concentrates on local issues and communities. TED created TEDx to continue its mission of “ideas worth spreading.”
All attendees including speakers must apply to attend TED or TEDx conferences. Attendees may only attend if the organization accepts their applications.
The nine hour conference was a learning experience for Adams and those involved in organizing the event.
“I think we are going to start planning next year’s probably in January,” Adams said when asked about plans for holding a TEDx conference in the future. For this year’s conference, preparations began in the beginning of July. The organization sent out applications for tickets two weeks before the conference began.
TEDx sent out nominations for speakers during the summer, giving the organization two months to execute the conference.
The organizations ran into complications after one group dropped out of the conference a week before the event, allowing Jay Loomis and Timothy Vallier to step in.
Despite the time and technical hiccups, the TEDxSBU conference was an overall success according to Adams.
“I think it went really well. I’m very proud,” Adams said.
By Anthony Levin
What constitutes Latino film? Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and even Monaco: these countries were represented last Saturday at the New Latino Cinema mini film festival in the Wang Center Theatre. The festival kicked off with six shorts, all unique in style and temperament. The shorts ranged from experimental hand-held camerawork, as seen in María Alché’s “Noelia” (2012), to highly edited stop-motion cinematography, as seen in Juan Pablo Zaramella’s “Luminaris” (2011).
The short films ranged from comedy, as seen in “As Piadas Infanes Do Anibal” (2013) by Carlos Eduardo de Carvalho Machado to depictions of poverty in rural Colombia, as seen in Mauricio Leiva-Cook’s “Café Con Leche” (2012). Most short films were released in 2012 or 2013, the oldest one being “Luminaris.”
This entertaining display of a wide variety of short films was followed by a lively panel discussion, led by Madeline del Toro Cherney. The panel featured Associate Professor of Hispanic Languages & Literature Adrián Peréz-Melgosa, director of Cinema Tropical Carlos Guiterréz, and film directors David Figueroa and Mauro Muller. Melgosa explained that “Latin American Cinema is going through what we would call a Golden Age.” Films are being produced at a highly prolific rate, especially in Argentina and Mexico.
Countries such as Peru and Chile, who previously been involved, are also beginning to produce films. But why? Guiterréz added that “It is easier to be a filmmaker in Latin America than here in the U.S.” In countries like Argentina and Mexico, governments have taken an active role in creating incentives for film-making. For film-makers in these countries, it is easier to receive money in the form of grants or tax rebates.
But I want to focus on a question that was brought up several times, but never decisively answered: what do we mean by Latino film? How do we define Latinos (or Latinas) anyway? Melgosa pointed out that “Latinos don’t have a common origin.” What is so fascinating about the term “Latino” is that it refers to several groups of people, several cultures even, that are fully recognized and greatly distinct from one another. “Latino” may describe someone from Latin America, which itself is culturally diverse, but this word encompasses even more: New York Latinos, Californian Latinos, or Texan Latinos, for example. Moreover, when it came to identifying conventions of Latino film, there was no clear answer. “La Musique de Boulangerie” (2013), for instance, was filmed in Monaco, so the setting does not even have to be in a Spanish-speaking country. Besides sharing the common language of Spanish – and even then, countries differ in dialect — Latino films ranged widely in style and content.
The panel discussion was followed by a lovely intermission, featuring a variety of foods such as empanadas and quesadillas as well as complimentary wine tasting. Live music was also provided by Eldad Tarmu and Keenan Zach, a duet of xylophone and bass. The program wrapped up with the silent short film set in Monaco, “La Musique de Boulangerie” (2013) by Alex Cherney and Bianca Alarcon and finally the feature film, a satirical depiction of a film-maker’s life, Sebastián del Amo’s “El Mundo Fantastico De Juan Orol” (2012).
The program ended with most people still in their seats until the credits were over. Madeline del Toro Cherney, who explained that it was difficult for her to decide which films to screen because there were so many, felt that her event was successful.
On Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, thousands of Stony Brook University students picked up The Statesman and found an article titled, “Mac Miller concert: a reflection on our generation?” It’s curious that the article’s author, Tejen Shah, should propose his title as a question because he doesn’t leave room for any conversation.
Complete chaos. Tejen Shah’s one-sided commentary embodies everything I thought was slowly ceasing to exist in our generational consciousness. His article calls for forward thinking yet he resorts to belittling and vilifying Stony Brook students, as well as an entire generation. This is both insulting and absurd. He draws upon a single event in our school’s history for which to base his cliché ‘kids these days’ diatribe and I would argue that it is in fact you, Tejen Shah, who needs to move forward in his thinking.
Your belief that one person stormed the Staller Steps and we students all mindlessly followed is misguided. No one was following anyone that day, not into the Staller Steps, nor as a uniformly “sleazy” and “trashy” generation. The concert was a harmless, albeit powerful, testament to the influence college students have timelessly proven to possess. You mention this influence, but discredit it by saying members of our generation “have nothing to fight.” As we speak, the government is shut down, a war continues, climate change is upon us and widespread poverty plagues the globe. For these reasons and others, we do have cause to fight. I am sorry not everything is meant to leave you feeling “warm on the inside.” We stand on the shoulders of giants, yes, but we must keep climbing. We may only progress as minds open, not remain so closed and compliant.
You claim Stony Brook students are futile and lack individuality. However, your idea of an individual is one who would allow a concert meant for them pass by unattended. It is one who would reject a genre of music because they don’t understand it. It is one who is afraid to experience all that this life and earth have to offer. You are mistaken, Tejen. Do not try to hold us back because you will only be left behind.
(Sophomore; Environmental Humanities major)
By Jasmine Blennau and Chris Woods
Located between Circle Road and the Simons Center is a field of mud, a collection of strange-looking offices and a building that emits smoke. This area is dedicated to the Office of Sustainability’s Facilities and Services division, tasked with providing Stony Brook University with reliable power, installing sustainable technologies and initiatives and monitoring the campus’s consumption of energy. James O’Connor, the director of Sustainability & Transportation Operations, oversees this effort, making sure different divisions work together in this goal.
O’Connor said one of the most important tools for campus energy is the cogeneration facility, which provides the majority of energy consumed on campus. The “big white elephant,” as O’Connor refers to it as, powers a generator by spinning natural gas through a turbine.
The plant is capable of producing approximately 45 megawatts of electricity, and according to O’Connor, that is a relatively clean energy source the university is proud of – the cogeneration facility is one of the only facilities of its kind in the country.
“When you take a look at a map on Google during Hurricane Sandy, Stony Brook University was one of the few lights that are on,” O’Connor said. “You have to remember we have a tertiary medical facility on campus–one of the main services we offer to the entire island–so having reliable power is important.”
The Sustainability Office is also steeped in a never-ending battle over solar power implementation on campus. Days after Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute developed a world record-breaking solar panel of 44.7 percent efficiency, O’Connor lamented that while students appreciate solar power, the constant upgrades and multiple panel types make the field especially competitive.
“Sometimes it’s frustrating as an institution; you can buy a system that sometimes is a dinosaur by the time it’s installed,” he said. “It’s not like buying a car every year–it’s actually worse than that, it’s quarterly.”
O’Connor’s office additionally monitors buildings on campus to ensure they are specifically designed to meet the requirements of the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Ratings System, which certifies that buildings are mindful of sustainability features like water, materials, air and energy efficiencies. Examples of the LEED-accredited buildings on campus are West Side Dining and Frey Hall.
Frey Hall was “totally gutted, and ultimately started anew” O’Connor said, a process that took almost two years. He also mentioned that if sustainability features and LEED requirements were to be worked into large buildings on campus like the Melville Library or the Student Activities Center, the work would have to be done in small sections that would not limit the building’s usage for long periods of time.
Some efforts have already been made in these buildings, O’Connor said, such as Xlerator electric hand dryers in the bathrooms to reduce paper towel usage and water bottle filling stations to save plastic bottles.
The installation of meters measuring consumption in all of the 200-plus buildings on campus is the Office of Sustainability’s latest large-scale project. O’Connor said the idea driving this initiative is that if the energy and resource usage of every building is more easily made available, the campus community might be more conscious of how to conserve resources. He showed interest in having a residence hall-wide conservation competition in the future as an effort to educate residents on sustainable practices.
Stony Brook’s long term goal, a result of the university’s involvement in The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, is to become carbon neutral, meaning the university would leave a zero net carbon footprint. The plan is to decrease carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020, compared to data from 2008, and ultimately to have a zero net carbon footprint by 2050.
The Presidents’ Climate Commitment website described this initiative’s mission as “as high-visibility effort to address global climate disruption … to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations, and to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.”
Campus Energy Manager Thomas Lanzilotta added that if the Sustainability department were to receive a sizable donation, he would “choose obviously energy efficiency projects,” continuing to say he “would use that money for the projects, have the projects pay themselves back, and reuse that money for other projects … it would be a revolving door.”
Both Lanzilotta and O’Connor remain dedicated to working behind the scenes of all projects and implementations that go on regarding energy, sustainability and transportation.
Some students at Stony Brook are particularly interested in eco-friendly projects. Environmental Club president Sheri Bossong said she thinks the administration is “doing a great job to decrease our energy consumption.”
Thrown into a strange reality, we must track down and subdue four dangerous psychopaths. “Doorways,” a Steam Greenlight indie game developed by Saibot Studios, was released on Sept. 20, 2013. It made a splash in the Steam community with visually impressive dark environments, a good immersive and chilling soundtrack and significant platforming.
We play as Thomas Foster, a member of Doorways, which is assumed to be an organization dedicated to bringing dangerous criminals to justice. As such, Thomas was dispatched to recover these four psychopaths, which is the premise of the game.
The start of the game provides a quick tutorial, introducing us to the basic WASD control scheme. While there is a button to walk, there is no button to run and the move speed of Thomas is varied and completely influenced by the area of the level we are in. This quickly becomes annoying, as areas in which you might want to be running, the game’s script will only allow you to move at a predetermined speed.
Inventory is broken down into four subsections: options, notes, items and relics. Notes are scattered throughout the game to provide a sense of direction as well as progress the story. Items are unique to each level, and you will need every item a chapter offers to complete its puzzles. Relics are the trophy-like items in the game. They will be in hard-to-reach places or require backtracking to acquire, and currently do not do anything apart from look nice in your inventory. Pressing Tab will bring up all of the options, but any one can be accessed by pressing an intuitive corresponding key: n for notes, i for items and r for relics. Because of this immediate access, the Tab menu becomes unnecessary.
Overall quality of the game could be higher. Much of what the player sees is grainy and dark, so it almost does not matter, but when Thomas starts to have flashbacks and we see character models, it is easy to tell the models are not very good. However, the purely aesthetic parts of the game, such as dramatic lighting and décor, are top notch.
There are only two downsides to “Doorways”: there is no map, and the puzzles are easy. The lack of map is only a hindrance in the first chapter, which takes place outside in the dark. Lose yourself in the bleak unknown and you will be quickly greeted by a specter that will hastily cut you down. Unfortunately, with the exception of one, all the puzzles are simple. It is more difficult to mess up any one puzzle than it is to figure it out on the first try, which really takes away from the gameplay aspect. Further, there are probably more platforming and jumping puzzles than there are actual mentally challenging puzzles. It does not fit the horror adventure genre to have most puzzles composed of jumping about and finding strategic ways around ghouls blocking the path we need to take.
Currently, there are only two chapters, or levels, to the game, and it is being constantly updated by the developers. Each level pertains exclusively to one of the four psychopaths, and is detailed and presented in a manner matching the criminal’s preferred method of torture and execution. For example, the second psychopath is a master sculptor, and his chapter is within a large auditorium filled with flawless statues of his. Unfortunately, in a classic horror-style surprise, the player finds out towards the end that not all of the sculptures are made of stone.
If you are no stranger to this game genre, “Doorways” will only run you about two hours of play time. Yes, it is quite short, however, the game currently only has two of the at least four chapters it promises. Based on the game’s current state, I feel comfortable asserting that “Doorways” is going to grow into a great horror game with an excellent story. Already I want to know who the other psychos are, as well as how Thomas got caught up in the mess.
For now, since “Doorways” has only released its tip of the iceberg, you might want to pass on it until more content comes out. That is not to say that what is ready to play now is not good; “Doorways” easily has as much potential as “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” did, and Saibot Studios is not even close to done with production.