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The Stony Brook Press - Volume 32, Issue 6

The Stony Brook Press - Volume 32, Issue 6

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Published by: The Stony Brook Press on Nov 18, 2010
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 Vol. XXXII, Issue 6 | Thursday, November 18, 2010
There will be an opening in theStony Brook Provost’s office come thisJuly.Stony Brook Provost Eric Kaler hasbeen selected as the 16th President of the University of Minnesota.“I’m ready,” said Kaler to the boardafter being appointed, according tomedia reports.The U of M is substantially largerthan Stony Brook, serving more than67,000 students at five campuses spreadout over the state, making it the secondlargest university system in the Mid-west. Founded in 1851, the university employs more than 4,000 faculty mem-bers.“It’s a big job, but I’ve been prepar-ing for a long time to take on such a job,” Kaler said, citing a long career inhigher education including his work asa professor, chair, dean and provost. “Iget it,” he said before a public interviewprior to being selected.Kaler has been a top administratorat the university since 2007, beforeStony Brook President Samuel Stanley was inaugurated. Stanley said in a state-ment he had mixed emotions about los-ing one of his top guys, but noted, “Itwould be difficult for anyone of his cal-iber to pass up such a remarkable op-portunity.”Kaler visited the U of M’s flagshipTwin Cities school November 18 and 19for a whirlwind of meetings with uni- versity leaders, who termed his visit a“final checkup” before formally an-nouncing him as the next president.On November 17, the university held a public question-and-answerforum with Kaler, where a moderatorgrilled him for over an hour withlengthy policy questions submitted by community members. The session washeld before a large crowd of campuscommunity members, and was airedlive on local TV and webcast on theuniversity’s website.Kaler appeared at ease during thesession, confidently tackling toughquestions on budget cuts, tuition hikesand employee unionization, and he fre-quently spoke as though he were al-ready confirmed as president. He saidhe hopes to be at Minnesota for the nextten years or more.Kaler, who sported a tie with the Uof M’s maroon and gold colors for theforum, acknowledged the importanceof athletics at the school, right from his very first statement. “Let me tell youwhat I am not,” he said. “I cannot coachfootball. I’m here for the other job.”On the flipside: “Athletics are very important because they’re a windowthrough which a lot of people see theuniversity and a door through which alot of people walk through,” he said, in anod to the football fans watching, as theschool is in the Big Ten Conference.Several Minnesotans questionedKaler’s commitment to liberal arts,seemingly taking issue with his re-search-based history in chemical engi-neering. But Kaler brushed off thesequestions, proclaiming he “remainscommitted” to liberal arts because itplays a central role in our society.The sole stumbling point for Kalerseemed to be when he was asked toname a piece of art, music or dance thathad moved him personally. Kalerpaused in thought for a moment andseemed to rack his brain for the nameof any work of art before respondingthat he found it hard not to be movedwhen walking through any big mu-seum. He eventually mentioned theStatue of David.There were also a couple softballquestions, like who is Kaler’s hero (hisfather), and Mac or PC (Mac, because“it’s a higher life form.”).The U of M has confirmed Kaler,who was the sole finalist in the searchfor its new president.Sweetening the deal for Kaler: Min-nesota’s current president ranks as oneof the highest paid public university presidents in the country, reportedly taking home a compensation package of $650,000 per year.
Provost Is The New Minnesota Host
By Colleen Harrington
Hope you like lakes, Provost Kaler
It’s official. The drink nicknamed“blackout in a can” is now officially banned in the United States. That’s rightno more Four Loko.On Wednesday, the FDA mailedwarning letters to the manufacturers of alcoholic energy drinks including theinfamous Four Loko, which read thatthe caffeine added to their beverages isan “unsafe food additive.” Other popu-lar drinks such as Joose are also beingtargeted.In response, Phusion Projects, theparent company of Four Loko, said in apress release that they will be removingthe caffeine, taurine and guarana fromtheir beverages. It is expected that FourLoko will still be available on shelves inthe future—just without the caffeine.Four Loko has been targeted in re-cent weeks because the beverage hasbeen blamed for a number of blackouts,hospitalizations and even deaths. Somehealth experts contend that the mix of caffeine and alcohol creates a state inwhich the drinker is too hyper to realizethey are drunk. The result is that con-sumers drink toxic levels of alcohol andblack out.At least one death has been linkedto the beverage. Courtney Spurry, 21 of Maryland, drank two cans of Four Lokobefore she crashed her vehicle in a sin-gle-car accident and died. Her parentsblamed her death on the beverage, say-ing that the caffeine in the drink pre- vented her from realizing how impairedshe was.One 23.5 ounce can of Four Lokohas the alcohol content of drinkingabout 5 cans of beer, plus a strong caf-feine kick. The drink only costs $2.50each, making it possibly the cheapestway to get intoxicated. The cans are col-orful and resemble alcohol-free energy drinks, a fact which has led many par-ents to believe it could end up in thehands of minors accidentally. FourLoko also contains the ingredientsguarana, taurine and caffeine, the sameingredients found in Redbull, whichsome health experts believe to be dan-gerous. Just one can of the drink can in-toxicate the average consumer, and apopular myth among college students isthat if you drink four cans of Four Loko,you die.Given its high alcohol content, lowprice and wide availability, many stateshave banned the drink including Michi-gan, Washington and Connecticut. Sev-eral other states are considering similarmeasures. In New York, Governor-ElectAndrew Cuomo got Phusion Projects tostop shipping Four Loko to the state.Colleges are banning Four Loko,too. New Jersey’s Ramapo College wasamong the first to ban Four Loko. PeterMercer, President of Ramapo College,made the decision after 23 Ramapo stu-dents required medical attention afterblacking out drinking Four Loko. Oneof those students reportedly had an al-cohol level of 0.4, which is five times thelegal limit in the state of New Jersey.“Students who consume it become very intoxicated very quickly,” Mercer
Cuckoo 4 Loko Puffs? The FDA Isn’t
By Raina Bedford
The Stony Brook Press
FOUR LOKO continued from previous page
said in a statement. “We know it’s beenbanned at other colleges so we didn’twait around for toxicology reports. We just banned it right away.”In a similar incident at CentralWashington University, nine studentswere rushed to the hospital and morethan fifty suffered less-serious illnessafter one particular house party.Despite the reported hospitaliza-tions and injuries, Phusion Projectscontends that Four Loko is not unsafe.“If it were unsafe, popular drinkslike rum and colas or Irish coffees thathave been consumed safely and re-sponsibly for years would face the samescrutiny that our products have recently faced,” the company said in a press re-lease.While Stony Brook PresidentSamuel Stanley has yet to weigh in onthis issue, he said he is unsupportive of polices that would lower the drinkingage.“I support the Red Watch initia-tive,” he said, referring to an alcoholawareness and emergency responseprogram taught at Stony Brook. “Ourapproach has been to educate studentsand of course peers about the dangersof binge drinkingand ways to dealwith alcohol poi-soning.”As late as No- vember 17, FourLoko cans werestill spotted onshelves in Long Is-land, in spite of their voluntary ban in New York as of November15. They are likely left over stock fromthe very last shipments of Four Loko toNew York. Soon they will be extinct orat least not as caffeine packed.
Our favorite flavor is red, or at least was.
Now that Stony Brook is more than50 years old, the University has begunplanning for the next 50 years ahead. Togo forth with the plan, Stony Brook hashired globally recognized managementconsultant firm, Bain & Company, toassist with the University’s upcomingplan called Project 50 Forward.The first mission of Project 50 For-ward is called Operational Excellence,with the first focus being placed on a di-agnosis of the University’s performance.The names themselves exude ambigu-ity, but are in reality the cost-cutting pil-lars of Project 50 Forward. It is meant“to create a more effective and efficientorganization to better serve Stony Brook University faculty and students”says the online mission statement.The first three to four months, theestimated length of the Diagnosticphase, have been underway since thebeginning of the fall semester. However,the mission is estimated to take 18months in its entirety, with anotherthree to four months spent on the sec-ond phase and an undeterminedamount of time to implement and de-liver the changes depending on theircomplexity.It is both clear and understandablethat the Administration and the 17-per-son Steering Committee that it staffs arecontrolling the direction of the project.However, the implementation of stu-dent focus groups and how they arechosen and used is a source of uncer-tainty if one tries to sift through the dataavailable on the project’s website.As of now, the Diagnostic phase of Operational Excellence has been devoidof student representation, while studentfocus groups are currently being organ-ized only for the second phase, calledDesign, in which detailed solutions willbe developed to address the University’sproblem areas. For all other areas of theproject, including the other two com-ponents and each of their underlyingphases, student representation appearsto be overwhelmingly absent.When asked about the amount of student representation throughout allphases during a recent WUSB radio in-terview, Stony Brook President SamuelStanley insisted that students werebeing included or were in the process of being included in talks and meetings.“I think we’ve had students in PhaseI and we will continue [to have stu-dents] and that’s through focus groupsessentially that we’ve set up for areasthat have to do with student life,” saidStanley. “They [students] have been en-gaged and will be if they haven’t in thoseareas,” he said.“The objective in identifying repre-sentatives was to have a good cross-sec-tion of the Undergraduate StudentBody,” said Lauren Sheprow, interimDirector of Campus Media Relations, inan email message. “Presidents of thethree major organizations—USG [Un-dergraduate Student Government],Commuter Student Association andResidence Hall Association—were in- vited to participate or delegate a repre-sentative to participate in the focusgroup,” she added. Student leaders froma number of other academic programsand organizations, like Americorp, Stu-dent Ambassadors and students inHealth/Mental Heath and Peer Educa-tion, are also to be included in the focusgroups.However, it’s still uncertain as tohow many focus groups have been setup and how often they have met and if the groups would just be geared onareas like student life.“There is also a component of talk-ing to people who receive services andthat’s where the student focus groupscome in to understand what their needsare,” said Stanley. “And that’s just notabout the living [on campus] issue, butit’s about things like registrar, register-ing for courses, all the kinds of thingswe provide as administrative support.”This feedback, however, would beoffered during the Design phase, theone area that has been publicly adver-tised as to when students could providefeedback.Comparing other campuses like theUniversity of Southern California andthe University of North Carolina thatalso employed Bain & Company, stu-dent participation was implementedthrough out all three phases, rather than just the second as at Stony Brook.As for academics, the use of Oper-ational Excellence to begin systematiccost cutting of academic programs isabsolutely off-limits, according to Uni- versity Senate President Fred Walter,who is also a member of President Stan-ley’s 17-person Steering Committee.“My role as president is to raise a flag if they move too far away from adminis-tration and into academics,” said Wal-ters. “This [Operational Excellence] isnot to address academic programs.They’re looking at facilities, consolidat-ing positions, making things more effi-cient.”Walters did express his opinion thatstudent representation is necessary, butonly to a certain degree. “There are nostudents on the Steering Committee,but I don’t think that’s appropriate,” hesaid. The Steering Committee, whichhas its own page on the Project 50 For-ward website, is staffed by Stony Brook administrators and professors whohold, or have held, positions on the Uni- versity Senate.Operational Excellence is only thefirst of three missions involved withProject 50 Forward. The other two mis-sions are named in a similarly grandiosefashion—Academic Excellence andBuilding for the Future. As for the pos-sible success of the program, PresidentStanley says that would be near impos-sible without the feedback from thoseimportant on campus.“This is not going to be successfulif we don’t have involvement fromeverybody who is going to be con-cerned by this and that’s students, staff and faculty.”
Going Forward With Controversy 
By Nick Statt

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