Archive | November, 2007

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Cobeen Hall looted, overrun by children

Posted on 08 November 2007 by Sarah Rossella

“Wow! Cool costume!” a helper at the sign-in desk exclaims, as a tiny Spiderman waddles up. “Are you excited for trick-or-treating?”

3 p.m. – Chaos and anticipation arose on Halloween afternoon, as local Milwaukee kids and their parents arrived for the annual Trick-or-Treating through Marquette’s residence halls.

Megan Janni, the Program Chair of the Residence Hall Association, said “Seven hundred sixty-one kids are registered to trick-or-treat, which is 100 more kids than last year!”

There were two times available for trick-or-treating: From 3:00- 4:30 p.m. kids could trick-ortreat through the west halls, or from 4:30- 6:00 p.m. kids could trick-ortreat through the east halls.

Leading the trick-or-treaters were Marquette students called “gHOSTs” (pronounced guh-host). One hundred ten gHOSTs signed up this year. For every group of nine kids there were 1-2 gHOSTs and one parent/chaperone.

4:30 p.m. – Like the silence before the storm, Cobeen Hall awaited its trick-ortreaters. Desk Receptionists sat cautiously on duty. Halloween decorations hung spookily in the halls. Girls sat patiently, waiting to distribute candy. Yet, the kids did not arrive until….

4:55 p.m. – The first trick-or-treaters arrived! The gHOST gave the DR their MU ID, allowing the entire group of anxious, costumed trick-or-treaters to enter the realms of candy-hander-outers. Yes, that’s the technical term. The journey through Cobeen Hall starts on the second floor and proceeds up to the eighth. Kids rushed through the open doors, and the chaperones reiterate “Only take one piece of candy each!” The ring of “trick-or-treat” and “thank-you!” was heard as the resident girls dropped assorted candies into the kids’ bags and complimented them on their costumes.

Third floor resident Camille Dihiansan said, “My favorite part about handing out candy is seeing all the kid’s costumes.”

5:25 p.m. – A half hour later, the trick-or-treaters arrived on the sixth floor. Kids were antsy and becoming less cautious with the decorations. Toilet paper streamers were caught on costumes and shoes, while spider-webs were snagged in hair and on masks. Also, a traffic jam occurred on the seventh floor (the cause: 2 baby carriages clogging the hall).

5:42 p.m. – Hooray! The trick-or-treaters reached the top floor. Candy bags have grown quite heavy. Some kids drag their bags on the ground, while some cradle their candy bags because of broken handles.

The gHOSTs made sure to emphasize the importance of sharing their candy with brothers and sisters, and also brushing their teeth to avoid cavities. Then the trick-or-treaters started their trek down the eight flights of stairs.

5:55 p.m. – A unanimous decision was made to take a bathroom break once the group reaches the second floor lounge. While the kids took turns, the chaperone informed the group that she had come trick-or-treating at Marquette with groups for the past 15-20 years.

“This year, there was a lot more candy!” she proclaimed.

6:05 p.m. – The fun did not end once trick-or-treating was over. Groups retreated back to the AMU basement for a Halloween party, where many of the residence halls had created fun activity booths for the kids. Mashuda made scary-face puppets, McCormick painted faces, and O’Donnell had toilet paper races. The party gave the kids room to celebrate a little more, provided closure to the Halloween festivities and allowed the gHOSTs and chaperone’s a chance to rest.

Elizabeth Burke, a gHOST, who stood at the after-party, clutched by little kids and holding two bags of candy, said “I love being a gHOST. I miss [little kids] at home. I love seeing how happy they get trick-or-treating.”

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Playoffs? Where the MLB season went so wrong

Posted on 08 November 2007 by Trevor Kapp

In my debut column a few weeks ago, I predicted we were in for a spectacular baseball postseason. Four weeks later, a few days after the final out of the season has been recorded, I can say that I could not have been more wrong.

This was the worst first round since baseball added the Wildcard in 1995. Out of the four series, three of them were sweeps and the other went a measly four games. Poor starting pitching, even worse relief and an inability to move runners over were major themes for those teams who began their winter vacations early.

The Philadelphia Phillies, who had all the momentum in the world coming in and were picked by ESPN analysts Eric Young and Tim Kirkjian to make it to the World Series, were knocked out almost as soon as they started. Colorado’s starting pitching limited the Phillies triumvirate of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to just seven hits on 32 at bats during the series, leaving the always vocal Philadelphia fans speechless.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim also had a tremendously disappointing postseason, manufacturing a mere four runs in three games. What was thought to be a high-powered offense, combining speed and the ability to hit the long ball, was shut down by veteran starting pitching from the Boston Red Sox.

The Chicago Cubs looked like the Cubs of May when the Arizona Diamondbacks eliminated them. The big three of Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez manufactured only six hits in 36 at bats.

Last but not least were my beloved New York Yankees. Twenty-two-year-old rookie phenom Joba Chamberlain, who only allowed one earned run in 24 innings of work during the regular season, allowed two in just three and two-thirds innings in the postseason. Nineteen game winner Chien-Ming Wang, who had a 3.70 ERA in the regular season, had a whopping 19.06 ERA in his two starts. Finally, “Mr. Postseason” himself, Derek Jeter, had just three hits in the four game series, grounding into three double plays in the process.

While the American League Championship Series did go to a game seven, it was a series full of tremendously disappointing starting pitching for the Cleveland Indians. Nineteen game winner C.C. Sabathia had a 10.45 ERA in two starts. Fausto Carmona, who threw nine-innings of three hit ball against the Yankees allowed 11 earned runs in just six innings in two starts in the Championship Series. If this was not bad enough, the other series was even worse. The Colorado Rockies made quick work of the Arizona Diamondbacks, eliminating them in four games, advancing to the first World Series in franchise history.

Going into the World Series, it seemed as if the Colorado Rockies were unstoppable. They had won 21 of their last 22 games, winning seven in a row in the postseason. I guess Boston hadn’t received the news. They put up 29 runs in the four games, while holding Colorado to only 10. As much as it pains this Yankees fan to say it, the curse is over in Boston.

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Men’s hoops takes care of business

Posted on 08 November 2007 by Luke Fuller

Marquette men’s basketball got underway with an exhibition match against the Northern State University Wolves last Sunday. While Marquette was able to secure an 83-55 victory, the actual implications of the game provide a much wider range of concerns than the final score may indicate.

At the most basic level Marquette’s victory this weekend is worth something, just ask disgruntled Michigan State fans who found their own “Appalachian State” in the Grand Valley State University Lakers last Friday.

Marquette was clearly a superior team in nearly every facet of the game, which is reassuring considering last year’s team’s willingness to play down to its opposition.

Marquette’s guards seemed to get into the lane nearly at will throughout the game. During one stretch in the middle of the first half, James was able to repeatedly beat his man off the dribble and forced the Wolves’ defense to collapse. It got better from there though, as James and rest of Marquette’s guards made excellent entry passes to Marquette’s big men creating some great scoring opportunities.

At this point Marquette’s troubles started. The overmatched Wolves’ defenders fouled Marquette early and often setting up 44 free throw attempts for the Golden Eagles. The Eagles struggled mightily at the line, no surprise to those familiar with last year’s team, converting a mere 30 of their 44 attempts.

Marquette’s struggles from the charity stripe were particularly pronounced in the first half when they were 16 for 29 versus an impressive 14 for 15 in the second half.

After the game Coach Crean offered a viable explanation for his team’s struggles, “We haven’t been in here [Bradley Center] much. We’ll get better at it.”

The difference in shooting free throws from the Al Maguire Center to the Bradley Center is understandable, and the statistics seem to clearly indicate that the Golden Eagles adjusted and improved from the stripe, a marked change from last year’s free throw experience.

Marquette also did an excellent job defending the three-point-arc. The Wolves attempted 22 threes during the game but were only able to convert a mere two of their attempts.

Marquette will face IUPUI next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bradley Center.

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The greater place in history: Manning

Posted on 08 November 2007 by Luke Fuller

Peyton Manning’s prominence in the history of the NFL is easily apparent to anyone who has seen a Packers game during Brett Favre’s impressive string of record-breaking performances. Nearly every time Favre sets a new NFL mark for wins, touchdown passes, yards or any other of a host of statistical passing categories the announcers cannot be quick enough to indicate that Favre is merely holding the spot until Manning has an opportunity to break the record.

All of this has led to frequent comparisons of Manning and Dan Marino, the former holder of many of the records Favre is now breaking. Marino, despite his statistical legacy, will be forever discounted from contention for greatest quarterback ever due to his inability to win a Super Bowl. This same criticism plagued Manning until the Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl victory over the Chicago Bears last season. Thanks to his much-deserved Super Bowl ring, Manning’s many other accomplishments can now be brought to bear in his near constant comparison to the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady.

This comparison is a critical one, as fans of over great sports rivalries know. One cannot discuss Magic Johnson without Larry Bird .Just as this generation asked their parents about the 1979 title game that established this legacy, future generations will ask us to recount the meetings of two of the greatest NFL quarterbacks ever. With that in mind, one should be sure to view both Manning and Brady in terms of their achievements as well as the context in which they earned those achievements.

Since he entered the NFL as the first overall pick in the 1998 draft, Manning has been the face of the Indianapolis Colts. He has been the focus nucleus of the franchise and the centerpiece of future roster plans. In light of this, Manning has been given an amount of responsibility and power on the field that few other players, even quarterbacks, have enjoyed. He is asked to make decisions at the line of scrimmage that frankly most offensive coordinators are incapable of making. In light of this, it is easy to see that Manning deserves more credit for his Super Bowl ring than your typical quarterback.

Brady entered the league as a successful but relatively unknown quarterback from the University of Michigan. He became a starter after an injury to Drew Bledsoe during the 2001 season. Since then, he has won three Super Bowls, an impressive feat, but in each instance Brady was far from the catalyst for the season. To put it in a more accessible context, name as many defensive starters for the Patriots’ Super Bowl squads as you can. Without much effort many can name Richard Seymour, Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Asante Samuels and maybe a few others. Now name all the Colts’ defenders you can. So, Dwight Freeney? This pretty clearly illustrates a substantial difference in the quality of defense playing the other half of the game for both Manning’s Colts and Brady’s Patriots.

The obvious objection is that Manning has had a better set of weapons at his disposal on offense. This may seem to be the case but the difference may not be as significant as Brady supporters would have you believe. Brady has had a very respectable running game behind him his entire career. Whether it was Corey Dillon or Laurence Maroney, a viable ground game has always been a part of the Patriot’s offense.

Manning has also had an above average run game at his disposal for his entire career with Edgerrin James headlining the attack. Fortunately for our purposes, James left the Colts and is now part of a less than impressive ground attack for the Arizona Cardinals. One extremely probable explanation for this is the pass first mentality of the Colts, which forced defenses to play extra defensive backs which led to a more user friendly environment for James while he was in Indianapolis.

In terms of receivers, the recent departure of Brandon Stokely again provides a useful case study. While Stokely was with the Colts he was the third wide receiver and had immense success in that role. So much success that in fact people often speculated that he could become a starter on another NFL roster if he chose to leave Indianapolis for a lesser offensive unit. Well, three years after catching 10 touchdowns from Manning, Stokely departed for the Denver Broncos. In Denver, Stokely was again slotted as a third wide receiver, only this time instead of being stuck behind Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, he was sitting on the bench behind Javon Walker and Brandon Marshall until a recent Walker injury.

Bearing these two instances in mind, it is hard to believe that if their situations were reversed that Brady would have been able to match the success of Manning over the last decade. Manning on the other hand seems more than capable of performing the duties of Brady. Manning has provided the Colts with more offense than Brady has been capable of in every season but this one and Brady’s sudden surge of offensive productivity can be easily traded to the off season acquisitions of Randy Moss, arguably the most physically talented player in the NFL, along with a slew of other offensive tools including Donte Stallworth and Wes Welker.

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The greater place in history: Brady

Posted on 08 November 2007 by Matt Dixon

The primary measure of a quarterback’s greatness at any level, but particularly in the NFL has always been and always will be their ability to win games. This is an even more critical tool for assessment when the games being considered are “big games.” For NFL fans our age it is impossible to discuss winning quarterbacks without mentioning Tom Brady. Brady has made winning Superbowls a lifestyle choice; he already has three Superbowl rings a mere seven years into his young career.

Brady’s three Superbowl victories equal those of Troy Aikman tying him for third behind only Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw all-time. Manning has a paltry one Superbowl Ring just like Trent Dilfer. Brady is 91-26 all-time as a starter in the NFL giving him a win percentage of .850, the best in the NFL since the inception of the Superbowl for any quarterback with over 40 starts. Brady also quarterbacked the Patriots during their twenty-one game winning streak that set the NFL mark for most consecutive wins by a franchise. That’s right he has won nearly as many games in a row as he has lost total in his career. Furthermore, Brady is an otherworldly 12-2 in the playoffs in his career, including 10 straight wins to open his playoff career.

Brady has been an impressive quarterback in terms of passing statistics as well. The most obvious example would be his awe-inspiring touchdown pace this season. Through nine games Brady has tossed 33 touchdowns; meaning that he needs a mere 17 touchdowns over his last seven games. That is right, Tom Brady is on the brink of breaking Manning’s most impressive achievement to date. One has to wonder what possible claim Manning will have on Brady’s status as the best quarterback in the NFL when he has shattered all of Manning’s most cherished accomplishments with his fist (featuring two more Superbowl Rings than Manning as well I might add).

Brady is currently sporting a 131.8 quarterback rating on the year, which means it is probable that come week 17 he will be breaking Manning’s best single season mark for quarterback rating as well. So far this season Brady has put up video-game-like statistics at every turn, seriously undermining any argument that he was inherently inferior to Manning. Brady should not be punished for doing what Belichick requires of his players. Rather, Brady’s willingness to put personal accolades aside and play within his team’s game plan should be recognized and praised. This is particularly important to realize now that Brady has been given the opportunity to put up video-game-like statistics and he has.

Brady’s efficiency as a passer has allowed him to be exactly what the Patriots need, the best on-field game manager in the NFL. Brady rarely makes mistakes but still has the confidence to regularly make exceptional plays to win games. To start his career Brady threw 162 passes without an interception, setting the record for most passes to start a career without an interception. He is currently 27-5 in games with a margin of less than a touchdown including a 6-1 mark in such games during the playoffs. In addition, he is undefeated, 7-0, in games going into overtime. In his 117 games Brady has engineered 24 game winning drives including six such efforts in his 14 playoff appearances. In short, Brady deserves substantially more credit for many of the Patriot’s most widely famous wins. Without Tom Brady’s arm the leg of Adam Vinetari would have been hard pressed to gain such notoriety for clutch performances like Superbowl XXXVI.

Brady’s critics will say that Bill Belichick is the mastermind behind all of Brady’s achievements, but in reality Belichick was a very average coach before he teamed up with Brady. Belichick’s record with the Brady under center is now a sterling 91-26, standing in clear contrast to his losing record with as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Right now the historical comparison for Brady is clear, he is on pace to become the next Joe Montana. The Superbowl wins make this comparison nearly unavoidable and frankly the fact that a very young Tom Brady witnessed “The Catch” in person only further mandates this comparison. This is obviously a favorable comparison for Brady fans, after all many consider Montana to be the greatest NFL quarterback to date.

Bearing all of this in mind how could anyone possibly believe in Manning’s superiority? The answer is simple, mass media. Most NFL fans out there see more of Manning in commercials for various products like DirecTV, ESPN’s Sportscenter, Sprint Nextel and Mastercard. Couple this with his family’s nobility like status in the NFL and misconceptions about his relative greatness are easy to conceptualize.

At the end of the day though, commercials do not decide who gets into Canton and thankfully the debate over the greatest quarterback ever will be far enough down the road that commercials will not play a role in that debate either, leaving us one clear choice.

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Silver Wings sponsor Service Member Appreciation Day

Posted on 07 November 2007 by Patrick Mitoraj

On October 26, the Marquette chapter of Silver Wings, a collegiate advocacy group supporting the United States military, will host their first ever service member appreciation day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Union Room 254.

The event will include videos and slide shows, as well as banners and cards for people to sign to show their appreciation. The slide shows and videos will include members of the military who are related to students at Marquette and some who attended Marquette. Silver Wings will then send the cards and banners to the troops in Iraq, who will hopefully receive them around Thanksgiving. Silver Wings Secretary Craig Kellner said that it will serve as a time of reflection.

One person for whom this day really hits home is Kristen Dvorak, a sophomore at Marquette. Her boyfriend, Seth, was deployed to Iraq just over a month ago, on September 15.

Kristen and Seth are from the same town and have been dating for five years. He has been a member of the United States Marine Corps since September 18, 2007 and is scheduled to return in mid to late spring of 2008.

Kristen joined Silver Wings this year because she wanted “to support the troops and meet people in similar situations. . . [and] help others understand the situations family and friends are in, both during times of deployment and being stateside.”

“Silver Wings has helped me stay strong and keep a positive attitude. I know other people are concerned at watching out for those overseas, whether they know them personally or not. They are not only there to support the troops, but to be support for others connected to people in the military,” she said.

The Marquette chapter of Silver Wings was founded five years ago and has grown into one of the largest chapters in the area.

The group includes civilians and Reserved Officer Training Corps members. Their president, Emily Fleck-Mitchell, said that one of their goals for the upcoming year will be to increase membership to 25 members.

The organization also wants to excel in their participation in the Joint National Project. This project has been the annual service project undertaken by Silver Wings along with the Arnold Air Society, an honorary service organization that supports the United States Air Force.

For the joint project last year, they sent the troops movies, candy, popcorn and other movie-related items as part of what they called “Take a Soldier to the Movies.” This year, the service project will help to feed the homeless. Other plans for the upcoming year include participating in ARCON, or the Area Regional Conclave, where the members of regional Silver Wings chapters meet to discuss fundraising, professional development, service and recruitment.

The mission of Silver Wings members has been to create “proactive, knowledgeable, and effective civic leaders through community service and education about national defense.” Through events such as Service Member Appreciation Day, Silver Wings hopes to achieve these goals.

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TAs overcome language barriers

Posted on 07 November 2007 by Abbi Ott

In large classes with lab components, students must rely on Teaching Assistants to teach and assist them through their studies. The Graduate School actively recruits these TAs from all around the world, leaving students with a teacher who is not a native English speaker. Oftentimes this leads to frustration.

“It was a terrible experience [at first],” describes Joe Flask, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences, about his international TAs, “I couldn’t ask them any questions and if I did, I couldn’t understand what they were saying back to me.”

Dr. Stephen Merrill, the Chair of the Department of Mathematics, explains how his department recruits international graduate students, with over one hundred applicants for the four to ten open TA spots. “Overseas TAs are more experienced teachers than United States TAs. They may need help slowing down their speech, but they are highly qualified,” says Merrill.

International TAs must meet strict requirements. First, they must be qualified for the graduate program for which they are applying. Second, the potential TA must have a high Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. This high score weeds out any “marginally fluent” candidates, says Merrill.

Despite their qualification, students still complain about their ability to understand their TAs. To try and bridge the language gap, the Office of International Education offers a weeklong training seminar when the new international TAs arrive in the fall. At this seminar, professors evaluate the TAs on their skills and help them to assimilate to life at Marquette.

The TAs also take a placement test on writing, speaking and listening in English. If the TA does not pass this test, they are required to sign up for a two credit class called American Language and Communication Skills for Teaching Assistants. The instructor, Jean Czaja, an English as a Second Language Lecturer, works with these TAs to try and improve pronunciation and listening skills.

Czaja, whose class consists of six TAs this semester, describes, “Many TAs are happy to be placed in the class so that they can get the extra help that they need.”

Merrill also works with his department to improve communication but also describes, “The problem tends to be with accents and students who have little exposure to foreign accents.”

Czaja agrees, “Communication is a two-way street.” She even hands out brochures to the departments listing ways that students may better interact with their TA.

“I like the language barrier because it keeps me awake in class,” said Nate Cinefro, a junior in the College of Engineering. “All you have to do is be patient.”

Flask says, “I just learned how to prepare better and asked other people in my labs if I had problems.”

Merrill contends that this adjustment is part of college. He says, “Foreign TAs are part of the college experience—learning to deal with people whose cultures and languages are from all around the world.”

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Familiar Faces: Marquette’s Shoeless Man

Posted on 07 November 2007 by Jack Jostes

For the past month, there has been a mysterious man strolling the Marquette campus sans shoes.

“I’ve never liked wearing shoes, so one day I decided that I’d stop wearing them,” he said.

Wishing to remain unknown, this 19- year-old Marquette student in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he wanted “to make sure that the reason I do this is not for the attention, and so that I’m not remembered only for this.” To maintain his anonymity, we shall call him the Shoeless Man.

The Shoeless Man is not particularly worried about ‘catching anything’ on his daily commute to class.

“Maybe if I were to step on a rusty nail or something, it would be a problem, but otherwise, I don’t see how I could really get hurt,” he said.

Recently, the only time he has worn shoes is when he has gone to dinner in the dining halls, and even then, it is only flip-flops.

“I don’t think the flip-flops could really be much more sanitary than my bare feet, but it’s a rule that you have to wear shoes,” he said.

Many observers are perplexed by his supposed comfort-based decision.

“I don’t understand why he doesn’t wear shoes,” College of Arts and Sciences Senior Russell Craze said, “It’s getting cold!”

And some are even disturbed.

“Outside on the street?” one student, who chose to remain anonymous, said, “That’s gross!”

Sixth year physical therapy graduate student Katy Ruffato, however, is proud to have the Shoeless Man in the Marquette community.

“He’s our very own shoeless Joe Jackson,” Ruffatto said. The shoeless man knows that some point he must protect his feet from the elements. This winter, he may even wear boots to combat Milwaukee’s fierce snow.

“I’ll just kick them off when I get to class,” he said.

With the exception of snow in the winter, the Shoeless Man claims there is no area of Marquette’s campus that he cannot walk without shoes.

“I don’t really even think about not wearing shoes,” he said.

His decision to go shoeless was inspired by music artist, Michael Franti, who does not wear shoes for ethical reasons. No matter what, fall fashion is all fun and games until someone steps on a rusty nail.

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MU Evaluation: drop undergrads and charge them for it

Posted on 07 November 2007 by Daniel Suhr

Most of us agree that tuition to attend Marquette is pretty expensive right now. As tuition continues to increase at a rapid rate, well over inflation, our tolerance for a huge hike is very limited. But that is precisely the prospect on the horizon.

What is more, they want us to pay higher tuition for more classes taught by teaching assistants and instructors rather than professors. More money, less personal attention.

Marquette worked really hard to keep this secret from us, even more shockingly (shocking only in an objective sense; we’ve come to expect this from the Administration, unfortunately). The University commissioned a study of our graduate programs by The Yardley Group, a national higher education consulting firm. The Administration treated this “Yardley Report” as classified information, even sending the Academic Senate into closed session to prevent its public discussion.

A copy was leaked to me by someone who cares about students, and it proposes a transformation of the Marquette we know (you can read it for yourself at http://www. Each of the following recommendations of the report would increase costs for Marquette:

  • hire more faculty so that each professor has to teach fewer classes
  • p r o m o t e more associate professors to full professorship, with appropriate salary incentives
  • hire additional bureaucrats in the Provost’s office
  • hire a “critical mass” of postdoctoral researchers who don’t teach classes
  • increase all faculty salaries
  • spend more money allowing professors and graduate students to travel to conferences
  • allow Ph.D. students to attend school for free
  • rovide free health insurance for graduate students, and subsidize it for their families

Separately, each of these ideas is good or bad, but all would increase costs. Taken together, they represent a monstrous cost increase.And since the Report says we should not charge graduate students tuition, these costs will inevitably be passed on in significant part to undergraduate students.

The Report calls for professors to spend less time in the classroom. It criticizes a recent decision by the College of Arts & Sciences to let professors teach more core classes, suggesting instead they be taught by instructors, adjuncts and TAs.

This exposes another important point: students have allies on the faculty in this fight. This Report only makes recommendations; Marquette must choose to adopt them. MUSG needs to step up and take an active role in the conversation about Marquette’s future. To ward off a tuition hike of this magnitude, MUSG needs to engage and work with our faculty allies.

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Les Aspin: Marquette’s greatest pride or shame?

Posted on 07 November 2007 by Catherine Cronce

With prominent advertisements springing up across campus, the Les Aspin Center for Government has been gaining more attention from students this semester than ever before. Widely seen as merely an internship in Washington, D.C. for Political Science majors, the Les Aspin Center is actually open to all majors and offers a program in Milwaukee, an exchange program in Africa and summer internships in D.C.

Previously known merely as the Marquette Washington Intern Program, The Center was renamed in honor of its benefactor, Les Aspin, after his death in 1995. Les Aspin was an assistant professor of economics at Marquette University before his election to the United States House of Representatives. He was named the Secretary of Defense in 1993 under the Clinton administration, where his term was racked with problems, including the infamous fiasco in Mogadishu.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense Web site, as a result of his refusal to send tanks and armored vehicles to the U.S. forces in Somalia, enemy “forces in Mogadishu killed 18 U.S. soldiers and wounded more than 75 in attacks that also resulted in the shooting down of three U.S. helicopters and the capture of one pilot.” Aspin claimed that the request had been made in the context of humanitarian aid, which had prompted his refusal. He resigned shortly after in 1994, citing personal reasons and returned to Marquette University as a professor of international policy. Due to his influence in creating the internship program, Marquette decided the Center should be renamed in his honor.

Although the Les Aspin Center is focused on students with an interest in public policy, it does not limit programs to political science majors. According to Kathryn Hein, the Assistant Director of the Center in Milwaukee, the number of communication and journalism majors in the program is rapidly increasing. Over the past few years, the Center has sent approximately 10 biomedical engineers to Washington per year for internships at the Food and Drug Administration. Communication majors often intern in press offices or at local newspapers, such as the “Washington Post”.

While in Washington D.C., students take 15 credits of classes two days per week, then intern three days per week. Internships are matched to the students’ interests and political views, and allow them to be a part of day-to-day activities in the Capitol.

Kyle Mayo, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Aspin Council, a committee of program alumni, said, “I went to committee hearings, wrote memos…I wrote amendments to the federal budget!”

Kevin Seifert, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, alumnus of the Washington program and co-founder and chair of the Aspin Council, said he gained immensely valuable experience, while at Les Aspin. As an intern in Congressman Tom Petri’s office, he gave tours of the Capitol building, attended hearings and worked alongside the congressman.

“It got my foot in the door for a lot of opportunities for after graduation…You need that in Washington,” Seifert said.

In addition to the Washington D.C. program, the Les Aspin Center sponsors a program based in Milwaukee, placing students in local, city and state government offices for a three-credit internship. The Kleczka Internship Program is also available to all majors and targets students with financial need, allowing them a stipend of up to 1500 dollars, so that students can focus on the internship and not a job.

The Center also sponsors an exchange program with Africa, which brings approximately 18 students from East Africa for six weeks and 18 from West Africa the following semester also for six weeks. Participants spend five weeks in Washington, D.C., learning about the American process of government and American culture and another week in Milwaukee on the Marquette campus. Over winter break, about 18 Marquette Students spend a week in Africa meeting with government leaders and talking to graduates of the Aspin Africa Program.

The Center’s programs take student needs into great consideration to allow them a glimpse into the workings of the country. Marquette is beginning to accept applicants from other universities to partake in this opportunity to work in the Capitol as well, including students from Loyola, University of Wisconsin- Madison and University of Pittsburgh.

“You are in the power hub of the country,” Mayo said.

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