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The GW Hatchet


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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Nation in Brief

Vanderbilt warns students about new online community

(U-WIRE) NASHVILLE, Tenn. – may be the new craze among college students, but administrators at Vanderbilt University are cautioning users to be careful when using the site.

“Vanderbilt safeguards the privacy of student information and there are laws that require the University to do so. However, once a student puts their personal information out there on the Internet, we cannot protect them anymore,” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice chancellor for public affairs. “Once the information is out there, it is out there forever.”

Many Vanderbilt users of, an online community allows students to enter personal information such as addresses and phone numbers, were already concerned about privacy issues.

“I didn’t give out my cell phone number because that could easily lead to identity theft,” said sophomore David Sommers, who recently set up his account. “There is definitely a risk involved – it’s a risk that students take in downloading music, for example.”

Terry Cavender, network security officer for Vanderbilt, also expressed concerns about

Any request for such identifying information “could be somebody fishing for identity theft or it could lead to stalking,” Cavender said. “Personally, I think it’s a bad idea.”

To publicize such concerns among the administration and Information Technology Officials, ResNet e-mailed the Vanderbilt student body urging them to “play it safe.”

Cavender noted that was unheard of until very recently and urged students to consider using a “more legitimate company.”

“I would caution anybody to think twice as to why they are using it,” Cavender said.

Other students, however, did not voice concern, even after ResNet’s e-mail, and extolled the benefits of

“So many people do it, so it’s a great way to see and even get in touch with friends of friends, to stay in contact with friends at other schools or even to check out who is in your classes,” freshman Chris Lawrence said.

U. Maryland leads in substance arrests

(U-WIRE) COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland ranks among the top 10 schools in the country for alcohol and drug-related arrests, a study concluded. More than 6,000 college campuses were surveyed. University Police embraced the statistics as a reflection of strong police work – not a surging problem.

The latest statistics from the Department of Education show that in 2002, the university ranked sixth in alcohol-related arrests (610) and eighth in drug arrests (123) among four-year institutions nationwide, according to a study by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

In most cases, arrests also included citations issued in lieu of a physical arrest. University Police said the staggering numbers are not a sign of growing alcohol and drug use. Rather, a positive sign that more diligent enforcement and stricter campus policies in the last decade are working.

“If a door is open and we see a large group of people drinking, we’re going to take action,” said Maryland Police Major Jay Gruber, a veteran experienced in alcohol and drug activity on campus. “The more enforcement and action you take, the more arrests you have. The problems are not inherently worse than they were before.”

Changes in how University Police approach underage drinking in the past decade led to a significant spike in the number of arrests, Gruber said. However, most of the 610 arrests were citations, he added.

“Ten years ago, officers were fearful to write citations because they did not know how to do it,” Gruber said. “With training, we’re now very, very comfortable in writing citations. The problem has always been and will always be there. It’s all in how you address the problem.”

The University is following the national trend in alcohol arrests, which rose 10.7 percent between 2001 and 2002, while drug arrests declined 2 percent. Though police reported no correlation between violations and increased use, such a rise is expected as police crack down on an age-old institution of college life.

“We are concerned about violations,” said Major Cathy Atwell, University Police spokeswoman. “But such trends are also indicative of the age group we’re dealing with. Our numbers reflect what we come in contact with.”

U of Alabama resolves gay-bashing incident

(U-WIRE) TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – University Programs and Safe Zone, a watchdog group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students’ rights at the University of Alabama, have resolved a conflict stemming from a gay-bashing incident at a UP-sponsored event on Aug. 27.

Kevin Locke, UP president, acknowledged the incident occurred, but said his organization is not apologizing for the acts of a comedian who insulted a UA student during his show.

“Gay bashing was not a part of his show,” Locke said. “This was a public conversation between two people. No one could hear what the student was saying, but the comedian had a mic.”

Amanda Schuber, Safe Zone coordinator, said her organization has been in touch with the student and he asked that his name not be released.

“What started the whole thing is that apparently, the student adjusted his shirt and did it in a way the comedian assumed he was gay,” she said. “I’m serious.”

Schuber met with UP to ask that the organization change its policy regarding how acts are screened before being invited to campus and that both the student and the entire campus be given an apology.

After the meeting, Locke said this particular comedian will not be asked back to the university. He also said that in the future, UP will have disclaimers for all comedy acts, and that it plans to change its policies on how acts are booked.

UP will not release an apology, Locke said, but will release a statement saying that UP does not condone hate speech and strives to honor students’ diversity.

Schuber was satisfied.

“We are so very pleased with University Programs’ commitment to using this incident as a way to refine their program,” she said in an e-mail.

Safe Zone coordinator Tiffany Mosley said she witnessed the event. Though she walked in after the incident began, Mosley said she saw the comedian berate the young man for 15 to 25 minutes and heard him being called “faggot” and being told to “act like a man.”

During this encounter, the student threw two drinks on the comedian.

Mosley sought out who she thought was a member of UP, but who was actually a campus employee, to complain. She was then told the situation was under control and not to make a scene.

“It was not in control,” Mosley said. “As I was speaking to (the employee), the comedian was going on using words like ‘faggot.’ It was very violent, very disturbing and very wrong.”

—compiled by Ryan Holeywell

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