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Vassar College

Vassar Campus News

The Green Glance | Europe champions alternative energy, emissions reductions
by The Miscellany News | Since 1866
Jan 01, 2018
“Nathan Zucker Columnist
In his final State of the Union address on Jan. 28, President George W. Bush applauded the United States for investing in renewable energy sources and fighting global warming. Coming from an administration that denied the dangers of climate change, refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and lobbied for less stringent environmental regulations, such comments seem hypocritical at best.
Coming from a country that still produces a full quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, this is nothing but nonsense.
Clearly, the United States is anything but a leader in promoting alternative energy and reducing the use of fossil fuels. We are still the nation of SUVs, coal plants and fast food, the conspicuous consumers who may be wreaking havoc on the future of human civilization. Fortunately, there is an alternative to the reckless environmental policy that characterizes the U.S. government. It is, without a doubt, the European Union.
Although the United States allows industries to spew unlimited amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, this is not the case in Europe. The European Union’s climate policy revolves around a complex emissions trading program that forces large companies to monitor, report and offset their emissions.
For example, an industry’s carbon output is capped at a certain amount, determined by the government. If the company exceeds this amount, it must buy carbon credits from other companies that pollute less. On the other hand, if the company’s pollution does not reach the cap, it may sell such credits to those that pollute more.
This trading scheme has several advantages, both to business interests and the environment. First, it allows companies with older, more polluting infrastructures to gradually cut back on emissions by purchasing credits from “greener” businesses. Such a system avoids forcing corporations to renovate their facilities completely, an expensive and time-consuming process.
Second, the efficiency improvements that are cheapest are done first, allowing ecological concerns to coincide with a free-market mentality. Finally, the plan should reduce European emissions 21 percent by the year 2020, clearly demonstrating that putting a price on carbon is a feasible way to curb global warming.
The European Union has also heavily invested in innovative, local projects that use renewable energy to fight climate change. As The New York Times reported on April 9, the Irish town of Dundalk is now home to a 1.5 square mile Sustainable Energy Zone in which scientists are experimenting with new technologies that foster sustainable living.
For example, a 200-foot wind turbine takes advantage of western Ireland’s windy climate to generate electricity for the area’s businesses and residents. Solar-powered streetlights are being developed to cut energy use, and homes are being carefully insulated to avoid heat loss in winter. The hope is that this $40 million pilot project can be a model for sustainability at the global level; a greener future may look somewhat like the Dundalk community does today.
France, one of the most industrialized countries in the European Union, has also become a leader on environmental issues. Wind power is the hallmark of the French model for sustainable energy production, and it has become highly effective in recent years. Électricité de France, the main company involved in windmill projects, promises to increase wind’s share of France’s energy market to 21 percent by 2010. This parallels demands made by the European Union to help regulate climate.
In addition, the French transportation system relies on energy-efficient trains, such as the high-speed TGV, to carry passengers to their destinations. When there is a need to drive somewhere, the French choose smaller, fuel-efficient cars such as Renaults and Peugeots. Contrast this with the United States, where the average American sits alone in his SUV, getting 15 miles per gallon and spewing tons of carbon into the atmosphere.
The United States has fallen further and further behind the rest of the world in the fight to develop renewable energy and stop global warming. This is largely because of the Bush administration’s pro-business, anti-regulation stance on these issues. Consider this: No gasoline car sold in the United States could be driven even in ecologically-unfriendly China, simply because Chinese emissions regulations are so much stricter than ours.
Not only is the American environmental policy imperiling the future, but it makes a mockery of our government and damages relations with countries that are more serious about protecting the Earth. It’s clearly time for a change of direction, and the European Union is the place to look.
—Nathan Zucker ’10, a Latin American Studies major, is writing about environmental issues that affect both the Vassar community and the world at large.”

Sports Briefs | Tennis court dedication ceremony to honor memory of Vassar alumnus
by The Miscellany News | Since 1866
Jan 01, 2018
“The new gazebo at the tennis courts behind Josselyn House will be dedicated to the memory of Eric Smith ’92, who played on the Vassar tennis team, on Saturday May 3. Smith, along with his two children, wife and stepfather, died in a plane accident in Alaska in 2007; his mother was the only survivor of the crash. A letter in the Vassar Alumnae/i Quarterly in Winter 2007, written by a classmate and fellow tennis player, reports that Smith “died a hero” trying to save his wife and son.
Though Smith also played squash at Vassar, he was most talented on the tennis court: He was a team captain and a four-year No. 1 player. The gazebo dedication will honor a great athlete and inspiring Vassar alumnus.
All students are invited to attend the ceremony on Saturday, May 3 at 11 a.m. at the Josselyn tennis courts. The ceremony will be followed by a varsity vs. alumnae/i tennis match.
—Kelly Capehart, Sports Editor”

Letters to the Editor | VSA, Miscellany News fail to criticize Aramark
by The Miscellany News | Since 1866
Jan 01, 2018
“The recent decision of the Vassar administration, with the assent of the Vassar Student Association (VSA), to give Aramark an exclusive contract for food services on campus is outrageous to me as a student. I have seen how Aramark treats the campus dining workers, how managers abuse their power daily and how students are used by the company as a hammer against workers instead of the company actually serving students.
Without proper disclosure to the public of the proceedings, the administration and the VSA essentially worked in the shadows to O.K. a company most students oppose vehemently. Where was the student voice pushing against the administration and calling for greater scrutiny of Aramark?
Well, it was certainly not VSA Vice President for Student Life Morgan Warners ’08, who was one of only two students to sit on the committee that approved Aramark’s new contract. Warners was quoted in the article “College to Renew Aramark’s Contract” (4.17.08) as saying, “I really wanted to find which [companies] were speaking to Vassar’s culture.” With all due respect to Warners, “Vassar’s culture” is one of liberalism as well as pro-worker and anti-corporate sentiment. “Vassar’s culture” is about the union of all members of the community against a pro-corporate administration and a corporation with a bad history of abusing workers, both here and on other campuses.
“Vassar’s culture” is about questioning authority and having a high-level public discourse that looks at all angles of an issue and allows the public to express its views in the sunlight, not in a smoke-filled room in the back of the All Campus Dining Center (ACDC). “
Vassar’s culture” rejects gimmick events held by Aramark at ACDC to win student support and instead encourages real sustainability and local food production. At least that is the Vassar culture I believe in. Apparently it is not Warners’.
Neither, sadly, does it appear to be Nate Silver ’10’s view of what Vassar should look like. He is the Chair of the Food Committee and the other student representative on the committee that gave Aramark its new contract. Silver, as quoted by the same Miscellany News article, is shown to be extremely positive about the management of campus dining services. Director of Campus Dining Maureen King is presented, both by Silver and The Miscellany News , as a hero. She is seen as an efficient manager. Warners supported this view as well, calling her “fantastic.” Silver reinforced this by saying that King and her managers understand the community better than most faculty members.
I hope not, Silver, because this community’s values differ quite significantly from Aramark’s corporate vision. King is truly efficient, if you care for her type of efficiency. I do not.
I, unlike Warners or Silver, am in ACDC every day, fighting alongside workers against bigoted, abusive, “efficient” managers who fundamentally do not understand the Vassar community.
Workers constantly complain to me that their managers are getting away with more than is legally or ethically appropriate.
Silver seems not to understand the Vassar community very well, for Aramark is an evil corporation that has no stake in the community, unlike the workers it oppresses. The administration is in bed with Aramark. So, it might appear, is the VSA, when the only two representatives of the student body in this matter are obviously pro-corporate. So too does The Miscellany News seem to be in bed with the administration and Aramark, as it only has glowing things to say about the company. Apparently like the VSA, the paper cares nothing at all about Aramark’s corporate abuses off campus, or for that matter, the ones that take place daily on the Vassar campus.
—Christopher Binetti ’08”

Penetrating Questions | What's the difference between HIV and AIDS?
by The Miscellany News | Since 1866
Jan 01, 2018
“Jiná Ashline Columnist
What is the difference between HIV and AIDS? I’m embarrassed to ask because I feel like everyone knows this but me. With all the new drugs available now, do I even have to worry about getting them?
Dear Uncertain,
Don’t be embarrassed; many people don’t fully understand the difference or the associated issues.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that breaks down a person’s immune system over many years and eventually causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). A syndrome is a collection of symptoms and susceptibilities to other diseases. AIDS patients are particularly prone to rare diseases such as Karposi’s Sarcoma and rare forms of pneumonia. Before drug treatments became available, HIV developed into AIDS within about 10 years, but powerful anti-retroviral therapies developed in the last 15 years can slow HIV’s progress by changing the way that he body recognizes and attacks the virus. These therapies can prevent or cure some illnesses associated with AIDS, but neither HIV nor AIDS has a cure or a vaccine.
HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, sexual fluids (semen, pre-ejaculate and vaginal fluid) and breast milk. Transmission can occur if these fluids enter the bloodstream. The disease can be passed during unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person; through sharing a needle during intravenous drug use with an infected person; or from an infected mother to her fetus during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding.
There are few symptoms that accompany HIV before it causes AIDS, so if you don’t get tested regularly, you could be infected with HIV for years without knowing, putting both yourself and partners at risk. If symptoms appear at all, they usually take several years to manifest. Even without symptoms, however, the virus causes serious damage to the immune system.
When the AIDS epidemic began in the United States in the early 1980s, the virus was not well understood. There was no effective treatment, and it primarily affected gay men. Today, many mistakenly believe that HIV/AIDS is no longer a major concern. I once encountered a doctor who said that AIDS is not a concern because it is “a chronic and manageable disease like diabetes.” I later came across the same statement in a human sexuality textbook. I cannot overemphasize how dangerous such false assurances can be.
First, claiming that AIDS is a manageable disease encourages an apathetic view toward HIV/AIDS education and information about prevention. People lower their guard and fail to use protection to prevent infection. An HIV-positive status no longer results in an immediate death sentence like it did in the 1980s, but there still is no cure for AIDS.
Secondly, HIV is only manageable if you have enough money for a decent doctor and extremely expensive drugs. If you can access treatment, several drugs are needed, depending on the strain of the virus and what stage it has reached. Drug therapies often combine four or more HIV medications, and each drug can cost anywhere between $300 and $1000, or more, per month. The drugs must be taken for the rest of your life, and may need to be switched if your strain of the virus develops resistance to them; you may also have to increase dosages as the disease progresses. Even if you’re wealthy and lucky enough to find the right doctor and the right combination of drugs, the treatment can only delay the onset of AIDS. It cannot prevent it.
Numerous factors determine how “manageable” the infection is, and getting access to drugs for treatment is only one factor among many. Each HIV/AIDS drug causes different side effects and has different levels of efficacy for different people. Once you find the appropriate “drug cocktail,” you must schedule your life around it. HIV/AIDS patients take dozens of pills every day, some of which must be taken in the morning, some at night, some on a full stomach, some on an empty one and some spaced hours apart. You also must deal with the social reaction to your infection because of the stigma and shame that still surrounds this disease.
According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), an estimated 33.2 million people were living with HIV in 2007. Two-and-a-half million were newly infected, and 2.1 million died of AIDS. Each day worldwide, there is an average of 6,800 new infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) an estimated 850,000-950,000 people were living with HIV in 2000 in the United States, and about one-fourth didn’t know they were infected. That’s a quarter of a million people unknowingly walking around with HIV.
According to CDC analysis of HIV diagnosis in the United States, 49 percent of people diagnosed in 2006 were black, 30 percent were white and 18 percent were Latino. People aged 25-44 constituted 57 percent of new diagnoses. Fifty percent of the total number of transmissions came from men who have sex with men, and 46 percent came from exposure through heterosexual sex or injection drug use. Males accounted for 73 percent of all new HIV diagnoses, while 80 percent of females were infected through heterosexual sex.
HIV does not discriminate. Anyone can become infected. You cannot tell if a person has the virus simply by looking at him or her, but there are certain behaviors that increase risk. Unprotected sex and sharing needles are both high-risk activities. It is never a good idea to combine drugs and alcohol with sex because you may do something you’ll regret later, like not using protection—a mistake that could have lifelong consequences. Staying uninfected requires understanding the risks and learning how to reduce them. Make personal decisions about what you are willing to do during sex and communicate them clearly to your partner before you take your clothes off.
The best ways to stay protected are abstinence or exclusively having protected sex with a long-term mutually monogamous partner who is not infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). As with any STI, birth control pills do not protect against HIV. Latex condoms and dental dams are the only effective barriers against infection. A study of HIV-negative individuals in sexual relationships with HIV-positive partners concluded that latex condoms used correctly with every sex act were 98-100 percent effective at preventing the HIV negative partner from contracting the virus.
If you are sexually active, you should be tested regularly for STIs. Insist that each new partner be tested. If he or she is unwilling, you should consider whether sex with him or her is worth the risk.
Standard tests look for HIV antibodies that the immune system produces to fight HIV. It can take up to three months for the body to make enough antibodies to show up on a test. So if an infected person tests too soon after exposure, the test may not detect the virus, but the person can still infect others.
Today, there are several types of HIV tests that can be taken at home or in a doctor’s office, testing urine, blood or saliva. In many places, confidential and anonymous HIV counseling and testing are available, including the Dutchess County Department of Health walk-in clinic on Mondays from 1-4:30 p.m., Thursdays from 3-4 p.m. and Thursday evenings by appointment. Call (845) 486-3401 or visit 387 Main Street in Poughkeepsie for more information or to schedule an appointment.
There is more information on HIV/AIDS than I can cover here, and new information is always coming out. I urge you to become informed so you can make healthy choices. Accurate information is available on the Web sites of the Center for Disease Control (, the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (, the American Social Health Association (, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ( and UNAIDS (
—Jiná Ashline ’08 is a religion major with a women’s studies correlate. She is also president of C.H.O.I.C.E. Each week she will answer a question about sex and sexuality. Send your questions to or by dropping a note in Box 2172.”

Athlete of the Week | Tina Castellan makes lacrosse history in senior season
by The Miscellany News | Since 1866
Jan 01, 2018
“Tina Castellan ’08 drives to goal in the April 15 win over Western Connecticut. p>C.Eaccarino/ The Miscellany News
Lillian Reuman Guest Writer
The women’s lacrosse co-captain Tina Castellan ’08 made history on Saturday, April 12.
Down 9-3 with 24 minutes left in the second half against league opponent Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, the Brewers needed a strong comeback. Attack player Castellan scored three goals in the final 11 minutes of the game, including the game-winning goal with 14.8 seconds left on the clock for the win (11-10). This goal not only gave Vassar the win, but also earned Castellan her 163rd career goal as a Brewer, giving her the Vassar record for most career goals.
“I think I almost cried I was so happy,” Castellan reminisced. “There were still 14 seconds on the clock, so all I could think of at that moment was, ‘Get the ball so that we don’t have to go into overtime!’”
Castellan received the perfect pass from co-captain Christine Eaccarino ’09. Castellan said, “We have run that play so many times in games and practice, and now I know that all that work paid off.”
Castellan hails from Pennsylvania, where lacrosse has been a part of her life since elementary school. She now considers the Vassar lacrosse team her family.
“I have a billion amazing memories from on and off the field,” she said. She attributed her success on the lacrosse field to the support of the friends, family and team.
“I am successful because I get so much love and support from my teammates and coaches and I always try to give that right back,” she said.
Castellan arguably had her top performances of the season last weekend against Clarkson and St. Lawrence Universities. In the team’s decisive win over Clarkson she scored three goals, but more impressively, scored seven in a close 15-12 loss to St. Lawrence.
“Castellan is a great leader for our team, and she is the type of player that wants the ball when the game is on the line,” Head Coach Judy Finerghty remarked. “She is also an incredibly hard worker and someone that inspires everyone to perform at a high level.”
Castellan leads the team this season with 38 goals and three assists. The team (9-3 overall, 3-3 Liberty League) currently stands in fifth place in the Liberty League. They will play their final league games at home this weekend against the University of Rochester and Hamilton College, which will determine whether they qualify for the league tournament.”

Letters to the Editor | Cover image poorly represented Class Issues Alliance
by The Miscellany News | Since 1866
Jan 01, 2018
“Students of the Class Issues Alliance want to briefly take issue with The Miscellany News cover choice for the 3.27.08 issue, in which the newspaper gave generous coverage of our regional, intercollegiate Class Issues Conference. We realize this is a few weeks after the fact, but we hope that by dealing with this publicly, The Miscellany News will in the future consider the wishes and ask the consent of its contacts when choosing images that are supposed to represent or be associated with those contacts.
For those who forget or didn’t see, the front cover was blanketed by what looked like Soviet propaganda—four burly, male, mostly white workers holding books (presumably Marx) in the air triumphantly. This is problematic because the image underrepresents working women as well as working people of color. The image also pigeon-holes our group’s ideology.
The Class Issues Alliance organizes around issues, not ideology. Our membership includes anarchists, communists, progressives, liberals, moderates, in-betweens and un-classifiable students.
The Miscellany News image also implies that our group is heading to the barricades against President Catharine Bond Hill and the College’s administration when in reality we have received their earnest and useful support and anticipate their future assistance.
We realize that deadlines can promote carelessness, but at the very least we hope this can be an educative moment. Thanks for your time.
—Thomas Facchine ’11, on behalf of the Class Issues Alliance”

Weekly Spotlight | What were all those one-in-four shirts about?
by The Miscellany News | Since 1866
Jan 01, 2018
“Chelsea Mitamura Staff Writer
On Tuesday, April 22, students wearing bright yellow “1 in 4” t-shirts dotted Vassar’s campus, prompting many a bewildered stare. The “1 in 4” t-shirts represent the one in four college women who report being victims of rape or attempted rape. Students wore them as a part of Sexual Assault Awareness (SAA) Week, a week of events that highlights sexual and emotional abuse that is co-sponsored by Counseling and Assistance in Response to Rape and Exploitive Sexual Activity (CARES) and Sexual Assault Violence Prevention (SAVP). The week began April 20 and will end April 25.
CARES is an on-campus, student-run, peer-listening service for anyone in need of confidential conversation or resource assistance. SAVP is a program run out of Metcalf that, according to its Web site, “coordinates student and faculty interests around issues of sexual assault, stalking and violence in order to increase awareness of issues of violence against women, establish new campus-wide policies, protocols around these issues and work with campus and community resources to prevent further incidences of violence.”
These two organizations also have other events planned for SAA Week. Two males-only discussions will also be held this week to discuss ways in which men can get involved in domestic violence and rape prevention. “This year is our first year with the men’s discussion groups,” said CARES member Sarah Bane ’10. It’s a common misconception that men are not raped, yet three percent of college men report being victims.
“There’s also a film screening of Boys Don’t Cry that CARES is co-sponsoring with the Queer Coalition of Vassar College (QCVC) and the Women’s Center. Plus CARES study breaks,” explained Katherine Fussner ’09.
According to the non-profit “1-4”’s Sexual Assault Statistics, up to 84 percent of rape survivors knew their attacker prior to the incident. One in five high school students had experienced forced sex, and 20 percent of men admit that they have been so sexually aroused that even if a woman did not consent to sex, they would go through with the act regardless.
CARES aspires to change these statistics and provide a means through which people can feel comfortable talking about their experiences. In addition to SAA Week, CARES is currently running a flier program entitled “Is This Okay?” The fliers portray people being touched against their will and, according to Fussner, are meant to convey the message that “Your body is your own; you should always have the right to say what kind of contact is O.K. and what is not.” The fliers aim to make people aware of the boundaries of comfort between acceptable touching and unacceptable touching.
CARES runs workshops at Arlington High School on dating violence. The group is also hoping to incorporate permanent pink folders in random bathroom stalls to consistently fill with CARES handouts and information.
“We’re always evolving and working on ways to gain awareness. We just want people to constantly see the name,” said Abby Alexanian ’11.
She went on to explain, “A lot of people know of [CARES] but do not feel comfortable calling. People shouldn’t hesitate to call if they’re in an uncomfortable situation. If it feels like a big deal, then it is a big deal.”
In the past 10 years, the National Crime Victimization Survey reported that only around 30 percent of rape survivors tell the police. Other organizations estimate that the percentage could be as low as five percent.
CARES members urged anyone concerned for themselves or friends to pick up the phone. The 18-person group covers all issues from dating violence to emotional abuse, and runs 24 hours a day seven days a week. Members are all trained by the same process and are responsible for taking the calls on a rotating basis.
In such an emotionally charged atmosphere, group members often offer support not only to callers, but also to each other. CARES is non-hierarchical, so every member has an equal say in making decisions and determining policies. The group also often discusses personal issues of all natures and is constantly available to the community and to one another.
“We ‘CARES’ each other!” said Alexanian. The group uses the verb “to CARES” as a way of describing non-judgmental, sincere listening. “Everyone is really there for each other because it’s also hard to be on the listening end. It’s great to have such a genuinely concerned group of people,” she said.
To contact the service, Vassar students need only dial extension 7333 and ask for a CARES counselor. The counselor on-call will be paged and return the call as soon as possible.”

Service request process to be streamlined
by The Miscellany News | Since 1866
Jan 01, 2018
“Julianne Herts News Editor
When students find problems with dorm buildings or facilities they submit service requests to the Residential Operations Center (ROC) and hope for the best. Students are not given any idea of when their request will be fulfilled, or any means to chart the ROC’s progress. That may soon change, however, as students and administrators are working together to improve service procedures.
Last fall a student review committee conducted a review of the ROC and Buildings and Grounds (B&G) Service Request Process. The committee, chaired by Alexandria Dempsey ’09, surveyed the student body to assess the perceived quality of service request response.
Dempsey reported in a memo that, “The results indicated that while most students were satisfied with the quality of service, over 60% of students indicated that they had to submit multiple requests. 48% of students had to submit three or more requests before their submission was processed. The results of this survey demonstrated that the biggest obstacles facing the service request process were speed and communication.”
Dempsey theorized that the faults in the student request procedure may be inherent to the complicated request system. As it now stands, students submit service requests to the Residential Operations Center (ROC), which is in charge of inputting the request onto a server called Facilities Focus. The Buildings and Grounds Department (B&G) checks the server for service requests and sends a representative to address the issue. If the service request concerns a problem inside a student’s room B&G officials enter the room, fix the problem, and lock the door behind them, leaving a notice indicating that they have stopped by. B&G officials communicate their progress to the RIC via Facilities Focus, but do not give students any updates. This means that students are not given any information between the time they submit a request to the ROC and the time they find a note on their door.
At the May 4 VSA meeting student representatives discussed the drawbacks to this system, noting that service requests can be delayed for a number of reasons. If the ROC has a backlog of requests, for instance, or if B&G officials need to wait for a new can of paint or new tools, it can mean a long and confusing wait for a student.
In order to address this problem Dempsey worked with the ROC and B&G administrators to make the service request process more transparent. They decided that Facilities Focus should be accessible to students, so that service requests can be submitted directly to B&G. Some members of the VSA Council expressed concern at the prospect of the ROC being removed from the service request procedure, indicating that the ROC keeps B&G in touch with students’ needs. There was a consensus however, that the procedure should be streamlined and that giving students access to Facilities Focus was the best way to do that.
These changes are being discussed with newly appointed Manager of Service Response for B&G Henry Williams, while the B&G department works to catch up on backlogged service requests and cover the technical aspects of a student-accessible Facilities Focus site.”

Chris Roellke to act as temporary Dean of the College
by The Miscellany News | Since 1866
Jan 01, 2018
“Chris Roellke will leave his post as the Dean of Studies to serve as acting Dean of the College.
D. Gordon The Miscellany News
Julianne Herts News Editor
Dean of Studies Chris Roellke will become the acting Dean of the College beginning this summer, when current Dean Judy Jackson leaves Vassar to take a position as the University of Kentucky’s Vice President for Institutional Diversity.
A search committee comprised of both students and faculty will set out to find a permanent Dean of the College next fall. The Committee may be formed as early as this week, after this spring’s faculty elections, though the search for a new dean will be put on hold during summer break. Roellke will assume the responsibilities of Dean of the College starting July 1.
Though July is still months away, Roellke has already started adjusting to his new role.
“I have immediately begun to participate in Senior Officer meetings, planning for upcoming Board of Trustee meetings and, of course, Commencement,” he explained in an e-mailed statement.
It is possible that Roellke may be a contender for the permanent position of Dean of the College.
“I really cannot speak to whether or not I could become the permanent Dean of the College,” Roellke said. “I fully respect our Governance and the process the College has outlined for selecting the next Dean.”
Though his term is only temporary, Roellke has embraced his new position and is making plans for the future.
“I can sincerely say that my highest priority is to make sure that the Dean of the College division runs as smoothly as it can in 2008-2009,” said Roellke. “I am both eager and excited about this new challenge and hope that I can serve the College well in this acting capacity.”
Roellke is Associate Professor of Education, and also serves as Director of Academic Facilities Development, Director of the Ford Scholars Program and Founding Director of the Vassar College Urban Education Initiative. Roellke is also the current Dean of Studies, an office that reports to the Dean of the College.
The Dean of Studies works with the Dean of Freshmen and class advisors to oversee students’ academic needs. The Dean of Studies is also in charge of the Committee on Leaves and Privileges, as well as fellowship and exchange programs.
Roellke’s work as a program director and his experience as the Dean of Studies led Vassar President Catharine Bond Hill to appoint him the interim Dean of the College.
“I asked Roellke to be acting Dean of the College after consulting with a variety of people around campus,” explained Hill. “He is an accomplished faculty member who has done a great job as Dean of Studies. I am looking forward to working with him.”
Jackson has been Dean of the College since 2004. She is only the second Dean of the College in Vassar history, as the position was not established until 1994.
The Dean of the College office was created in order to allow the offices of the Dean of Students and the Dean of Studies to work together under a common supervisor, as well as oversee Security and Campus Dining.
In addition to unifying the departments of Deans of Students and Studies, the Dean of the College is responsible for overseeing a variety of committees, including the Committee on Residential Life, the Security Advisory Committee and the Committee on College Life.
When Roellke officially takes on these responsibilities, another faculty member will fill his role as the Dean of Studies. It is not yet clear who will act as interim Dean of Studies when Roellke takes his new post, because, as Roellke put it, “the ripple effects” of his appointment are still being discussed.”

Vassar student engages in insightful papal visit
by The Miscellany News | Since 1866
Jan 01, 2018
“Pope Benedict XVI visted Youth Rally in Yonkers, N.Y. on April 19. Some Vassar students who made the trip were able to meet the Pope himself at the stage ceremony.
Photo courtesy of New York Post
Rachel Wetz Guest Writer
Just two days after submitting my senior thesis on the scholarship of Pope Benedict XVI, I had the incredible honor and privilege of meeting the Pope himself onstage at the Youth Rally on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y on April 19. I took part in the beginning of the stage ceremony as a representative of Eastern European peoples during a tribute to the diversity of our country’s ethnic backgrounds.
It was a tremendous opportunity for me as a Catholic, but it was even more meaningful because the Holy Father’s philosophical thought has been integral to my intellectual engagement of my faith. I have spent a great deal of time trying to unpack the Catholic conception of faith and reason in his scholarship. Instead of a denial of reason itself, the Church teaches that both reason and faith interplay in a complementary relationship. This event held tremendous meaning for me as a student of theology and as a member of the Church because the substance of my reflections center around what the Pope says to the modern world.
I was particularly interested to hear what the touchstones of the Pope’s speech would be when he addressed the crowd. His carefully crafted speech dovetailed nicely off the themes he had laid before the United Nations the previous day on April 18, speaking to the consonant relationship of faith and reason. He articulated the nature of freedom and its sinister enemies: racism, poverty and those things that betray the integrity of human life. Without his usual professorial tone, he recounted his own youth under the Nazi regime, the first time he has done so publicly after his election as pontiff. The ideology of Nazism, he said, “banished God and thus became impervious to anything true and good.” He then named a second predator of authentic freedom: a moral relativism that distorts the truth and gives value to everything indiscriminately.
This is his hallmark challenge to modernity. Whereas “traditional” cultures have understood freedom as the active pursuit of goodness, relativistic societies reduce freedom to “license.” This in turn prevents societies from coming to a notion of the common good and leaves them merely struggling to balance individual preferences. To disrupt the cohesion of faith and reason construes freedom as license, pleasure-seeking and an untutored exercise of the will.
Benedict believes that authentic freedom is not self-serving but rather seeks the good above all else. Truth, then, is not an imposition, he says, but rather a privileged path to freedom.
On the whole, that Saturday was particularly moving, not only because I was able to meet Pope Benedict, but also because I was in solidarity with the 25,000 other people present.
Because of his visit to the United States, many have been given the opportunity to encounter the pope in a way they may have not been able to otherwise. His shy and sincere personality revealed a more complex figure than his reputation as a scholastic hard-liner would expose.
I am certain that the Pope’s journey to the United States has given those watching a more concise picture of the man and his message, and perhaps now we will lean in closer to engage the substance of that message. Pope Benedict XVI’s visit was as much an opportunity for him to encounter us as it was an opportunity for us to encounter him.”

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