Vol. XXX, Issue 9 | Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Stony Brook Sued Over FirstAmendment
Stony Brook University was servedwith a lawsuit from graduate studentteaching assistants on June 7, due to theschool barring them from the October2009 inauguration of Stony Brook Pres-ident Samuel L. Stanley, stating a viola-tion of their constitutional rights.At the inauguration in October,Stony Brook University police hadbanned graduate student teaching assis-tants Kira Schuman, Kevin Young,Katarzyna Sawicka and JacquelineWoods from the path of President Stan-ley’s inauguration’s academic proces-sion.The reason they were given was dueto the shirts they were wearing, whichdisplayed the union they were part of,and the tagline “SUNY Works BecauseWe Do.” The event had no dress code.According to Jim McAsey, Organ-izing Director for the RA Union, Com-munication Workers of America(CWA) 1104, the assistants went to theceremony to show support for presidentStanley. “We were there to welcomehim,” he said, “and not to protest.”The union planned on delivering agroup letter to the new head of the Uni- versity, explaining to him their top is-sues, including increased wages.McAsey believes they were targetedpurposely. “We can be very aggressivewhen our rights aren’t being respected,”he said.According to a press release by theGraduate Student Employees Union,“the lawsuit is part of CWA’s defense of the basic constitutional right of free ex-pression for graduate student unionmembers to identify with their union, afoundation for a working relationshipbetween administrators and representa-tives of graduate student employees.”Although teaching assistants are in- volved in the lawsuit, they are not beingsuspended or being prevented fromworking once the fall semester arrivesin late August.The lawsuit is still in the filingstages, and can be drawn out for yearsto come.
The Stony Brook EnvironmentalCommittee (SEBC) filed a lawsuitagainst Stony Brook University in De-cember 2009 in an attempt to preventthe university from constructing a longsought-after hotel at the main entranceof the school.According to George Locker, theSBEC’s attorney heading the lawsuit, the judge has filed an injunction (a tempo-rary restraining order) preventing any-one from starting any project on thegrounds until a decision by the courthas been made.The SBEC is filing suit mainly be-cause of the public’s rejection to theplanned location of the hotel, alongNicolls Road. “I think people were dis-mayed that the greenbelt along NicollsRoad will be destroyed in order to put aHilton Garden Inn,” said Locker.Locker also states it is “tasteless” forthe university to put up a hotel signalongside the school’s entrance sign.“What would people think of putting ahotel in Harvard Yard?” he asked.In interviews, Barbara Chernow, vice president for Facilities and Servicesat Stony Brook, has stated that there re-ally are no other options for locationsfor the desired hotel on campus. Locker,however, disagrees.Stony Brook acquired 245 acres of land from the Flowerfield company in2005, and Locker believes this is anideal location for a hotel. “Where inthose 245 acres is there no room for ahotel?”Locker also believes the possibility of converting the Student Union build-ing into part of the hotel or a locationcloser to the railroad station would bemore ideal, eliminating more conges-tion on the roads.“Maybe Barbara doesn’t know thereis a railroad station on campus.”Several requests for comment fromStony Brook University were not re-turned.
Law & Order: Go. Fight. Win!
By Matt Calamia
The future is coming to Stony Brook and it should be here next year.The university announced thisweek that it’s been awarded a $1.4 mil-lion grant from the National ScienceFoundation to build a virtual reality theater. Next year, the school plans toconstruct a 30-foot by 40-foot by 11-foot tall room in the Center for Excel-lence in Wireless and InformationTechnology (CEWIT), its walls com-pletely tiled with 308 LCD screens.With the capacity to display 1.25billion pixels of information, the roomhas been dubbed the “Reality Deck,” anerdy throwback to the holodeck onStar Trek. (They didn’t get the grant forthe transporter, though–drat.) The deck will incorporate sensors, computer vi-sion and human-computer interactiontechnology to create a virtual environ-ment around all who enter.“It is an engineering feat,” boastedchief CEWIT scientist Dr. Arie Kauf-man, director of the project. He saidthat once constructed, the Reality Deck will be able to analyze tons of data and“provide a life-like, realistic immersioninto the data to be explored and rea-soned with.”So with its impressive LCD wallpa-per, what will this Immersive GigapexelDisplay theater do, exactly? The Uni- versity says it will be used to take an in-credibly detailed look at high-rescolonoscopies performed at the medicalcenter. Soon, we will able to virtually crawl right up someone’s butt, unfetButthe Reality Deck won’t be solely limitedto cavity exploration, Stony Brook as-sures us. Its mind-blowing pixelationmay be used for analyzing climate or as-tronomical models, exploring satelliteimaging, or even detecting suspiciousindividuals within acrowd. Because thisroom sounds like itwill be indeed quitebitchin’, several gov-ernment agencies havealready signed up touse and fund applica-tions, including theDepartment of De-fense, NASA, the AirForce and BrookhavenNational Lab.Additionally,Kaufman says theproject “will probably revolutionize Holly-wood.” But he didn’tsay how, so here’s my speculation: People across America willstart getting TV Rooms of the Future intheir homes, just coated with screens,and Hollywood will make virtual filmsso it will be like
you’re really on themovie set
. It will be a simulation of re-ality within a simulation of reality! Only you won’t have to deal with the whiny,coked up actors.
Virtual Reality Star Killed the Internet Star
By Colleen Harrington
Stony Brook University Public Relations
We are, we are VR!