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Graduate students of the world, unite!
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Extreme global warming will drown UMass T H E G R A D U A T E V O I C E
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Love, death, and barbarity
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GRADUATE STUDENT SENATE
“…last June controversy erupted at the University of Florida following the disclosure that Charles Thomas, a criminologist at the school who advised the state on prison policy, had pocketed $3 million in consulting fees from the private-prison industry, in which he also owned stock. (Thomas's views on private prisons are quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and he has trumpeted the virtues of "full-scale privatization" in testimony before Congress.)” —Eyal Press and Jennifer Washburn
FIND OUT ABOUT IT: GO TO p. 3
U NIVE R SIT Y
MA SSA C H USE T T S,
A M H ERS T
VOLUME 13 No. 3, 10 April 2000
“Cuts? What budget cuts?”
A trip up the yellow brick road illuminates the ominous reality behind the upcoming budget cuts. by Chris Vials, GEO
AMHERST and BOSTON—When UMass President William Bulger was asked about the proposed slashing of the budget at UMass Amherst, he responded: “Cuts? What budget cuts?” Was this response genuine, reﬂecting a complete lack of communication between Chancellor Scott and his superiors? Given that the legislature increased our budget by 4.2% this ﬁscal year, and that the state has a $700million budget surplus, his response could also be seen as a genuine reaction to the absurdity of the situation. Or was his remark a rhetorical ploy to shift blame, to save face, or merely to diffuse a tense situation? Whatever the case, Bulger’s “Cuts? What cuts?” is representative of the tricky, secretive, and complicated power dynamics that underlies the recent budget cuts. Who is calling the shots here? Why was the budget actually cut? What will this mean for us? We will try to shed some light on all this by following the trail of accountability for the recent crisis, a trail that leads all the way to the Governor himself. parking lots, and crumbling buildings are a political issue that demands attention.
Why the cuts?
According to the Chancellor himself, he initially proposed the 2% overall cut because State allocations were much smaller than he expected. Anticipating a budget increase of almost 10% from the State legislature, the UMass administration went ahead and spent based on that ﬁgure. The actual increase ﬁnally—and belatedly—approved by the legislature was smaller by $10 million. The Chancellor had over-committed himself by almost $5 million, and proposed the cuts as a way of solving this temporary cash-ﬂow problem. What makes this incredible is that the money to pay for the shortfall is there. According to Presidential Ofﬁce Document T99-050, the University holds an emergency reserve fund worth 11.9% of its operating budget of about $285 million— some 40 million dollars. This “ﬁnancial cushion” is there to help the University make it through ﬁnancial slumps exactly like the one it is now facing. Faculty and students are asking why the Chancellor is not using these funds to take care of the overspending problem. The Chancellor has voiced a second rationale for the cuts: the University cannot depend upon increased state allocations in the future, and must trim down in preparation for lean times ahead. The fear is driven largely by Governor Cellucciís tax-cut proposals, which will be decided in a referendum next November.
The Graduate Voice
See no evil, hear no evil
Comfortable surroundings can drive you blind. President Bulger now earns $252,000, and is scheduled for a $33,000 raise in July.
The cuts and their effects
Corporate shenanigans in Connecticut
A man, some land, a plan: enter Adriaen’s Landing!
Do you think that corporate welfare in Connecticut ended when the Patriots pulled out of Hartford? Think again. A fable with no morals.
by Keith Hedlund
HARTFORD—A private developer wants to build a hotel, retail, and entertainment complex in downtown Hartford on land that his company partially owns at the intersection of Interstates 91 and 84. Private idea, private proﬁts, public money: last June the Connecticut State Legislature agreed to grant $300 million for the Adriaen’s Landing project— as it is known—and was asked to fully release this money last March. The legislature gave its go-ahead. The total cost of the project will be $771 million, of which $455 million will be coughed up by taxpayers. Adriaen’s Landing was born out of politics and special consideration from the beginning. Robert Fiondella, chairman of the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company, had been looking to develop his land for some time. Back in 1998 things were tough in Hartford: the city’s per capita property value had decreased 15% over the previous ten years. Hartford’s commercial real estate market was in trouble: the vacancy rate in Hartford for ofﬁce space was at 20%, while Boston’s was of only 2.5%. Something needed to be done in Hartford: enter Adriaen’s Landing. Mr. Fiondella’s plans for the project were already established by December, 1997, when Connecticut’s Governor, John G. Rowland, named him to the Advisory Group on Hartford Development Projects (AGHDP). This organization was empowered by the Governor to make suggestions for the direction of Hartford’s redevelopment. A pending development proposal in the city didn’t stop Governor Rowland from naming Mr. Fiondella to the AGHDP. Several months later, the AGHDP recommended to the Governor that a project just like Adriaen’s Landing should be built in Hartford. In May 1998 Connecticut legislators approved spending $155 million to build a convention center in downtown Hartford. Less than a week later Mr. Fiondella unveiled his plans for Adriaen’s Landing at city hall, Go to Hedlund on p. 3
Last December, Chancellor Scott proposed a 2% cut to UMass’s overall base budget. This cut is scheduled to go into effect next fall. The base budget is the part of the budget devoted to ﬁnancing already established elements of campus—salaries for existing employees, maintenance of existing structures, and the like. Not included in the base budget are new projects and “major initiatives” originating from the ofﬁce of the President, the Board of Trustees, or the Chancellor. As basic needs of the campus get their budgets slashed, new, fancy projects are to go ahead at full speed. Predictably, many people have not been amused by this. Protests, angry calls to legislators, and countless letters of complaint have forced the Chancellor to back off a bit. His new proposal is to maintain the overall 2% reduction, but to limit cuts to academic areas to only 1%. In other words, academic departments, faculty, and teaching staff will be cut less than originally proposed, while other generally less noticeable things like maintenance and scholarships will suffer even more. Why is this apparently measly 1% cut still offensive? Because it represents an enormous loss of teachers. Between 200 and 400 TAs will be lost. UMass has about 1400 TAs right now, so we are facing at least a 20% loss. Funds to hire new faculty will be frozen even more; retiring faculty will rarely be replaced. Needless to say, there are no plans to reduce the size of the incoming undergraduate class. The lack of funds for infrastructure and maintenance is equally disturbing. The University has a $400-million maintenance backlog at the moment as a result of chronic underfunding. Cracks in the sidewalks, dirt
The new priorities
The particular areas that Scott is choosing to slash reveal questionable priorities to many in the university community. The Chancellor is cutting professors, departments, and TAs (i.e., academics) much more than some rather expensive and controversial technology initiatives. Perhaps the most controversial initiative has been a computer system called “PeopleSoft.” Intended to streamline its administration, PeopleSoft has instead cost the University $28 million—and that is only the start. People Soft has had a terrible track record at other universities. Currently its shareholders have ﬁled six class action suits against the company for fraud. The students at CleveGo to Vials on p. 2
WE NEED YOU GO TO P. 5
P O L I T I C S
2 T H E G R A D U A T E V O I C E 10 April 2000
A two-part story with a happy ending
I Grad Students Battle NYU Over Right to Organize a Union
NEW YORK (by Lenora Todaro of The Village Voice)—Any day now, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is expected to decide whether some 1400 graduate students who prepare and teach classes, grade papers, and provide general assistance—everything from tracking down rare books and making slides to watering plants and ordering food for ofﬁce shindigs—at New York University are workers. For four years, graduate assistants (GAs) have been talking about unionizing. The university, on the other hand, has fought them every step of the way, arguing that the students are apprentices, not workers, and that the establishment of their proposed union would introduce a foreign element into an admirably ﬂexible self-regulating body. The stakes are high. A graduate student union at NYU—which would be the ﬁrst at a private university in the nation—would spell major changes in American higher education: the introduction of collective bargaining, the penetration of the labor movement into the professional classes, and the opening of a debate about the very nature of a university in an economy dominated by the corporate impulse to shrink a full-time labor force with beneﬁts in favor of cheap part-time labor with none. NYU’s Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC) is aligned with the United Auto Workers (UAW, which also represents workers at UMass). The students are asking for better wages, paid health care, and housing subsidies. There are unions at other public universities such as the Universities of California and Michigan, which are governed by state rather than federal law. In a well-publicized case, Yale University’s GAs went on strike in 1995 with similar demands and were defeated, but their case was recently reopened. Robin D.G. Kelley, professor of history and African studies, believes that the union would challenge “the myth that the university doesn’t mirror corporate structure, that graduate students don’t work, that faculty aren’t employees. NYU has a chance to break out and deﬁne what the 21st-century university could be,” says Kelley, “but without a vision you cannot create a new model.” The university has hired Proskauer, Rose (the law ﬁrm that Yale used in defeating its grad students’ attempt to unionize) to block the GAs’ efforts and sent the faculty a letter (as Yale did) coaching them about how to discuss the union with students. Why is the NYU administration bent on resisting a graduate student union? Because not only are the costs of paying GAs better wages and offering health and housing beneﬁts at issue—but also how the university is run. “Essentially [the union] is introducing another organization to deal with key academic issues,” says Robert Berne, vice president for academic development. “Who’s going to be teaching in the classrooms, what the requirements of a graduate degree will be—I think we can address those issues ourselves.” NYU perceives the union as an interloper and worries that uniform hiring standards will be imposed on departments whose needs differ widely. Likewise, it fears that the mentor relationship between faculty and students will be compromised. Jason Patch, a third-year Ph.D. student in sociology, argues that the union is “not somebody else, it’s us.” He entered union discussions two years ago after having had “many opportunities to deal with the administration’s clublike bureaucracy” and after health problems left him in a “grim” situation. Patch claims that each attempt to discuss the GAs’ situation with administrators veered into conversations about the philosophy of education and how to grade papers well, rather than how to pay for rent, transportation, and health care. These problems are acute for many foreign students who attend NYU and are legally forbidden to work outside the university. “UC Berkeley and Wisconsin are unionized, and we’ve seen no detrimental effects,” Patch says. “NYU is making a killing and they can’t provide us with subsidized housing?” NYU’s introductory packet for incoming graduate students tells them that they need $18,000 minimum annually to live in New York City. GA compensation varies widely, from $6000 (School of Education) to $18,000 (Leonard N. Stern School of Business). They must pay their own health insurance ($1000 for a single student, $5000 for a family) and if they don’t share university housing with another student (hard for those who have a spouse) they are on their own. Without a trust fund or additional fellowships, their jobs at the university are necessary for survival. Their work, in turn, keeps the university thriving. “NYU is on the line for all private universities,” says Kitty Krupat, a Ph.D. student in American studies, “to maintain this fantasy that graduate students are living in some rareﬁed world that doesn’t correspond to the world of work.” The discussion of GAs unionizing goes to the heart of what a university is. Is it preparing students to be workers in the world both within the ivory tower and without? Is it a place where issues of social justice are applied to a multitude of situations? To be a competitor in the academic marketplace for students, faculty, grants, and prestige, NYU keeps labor costs down by employing part-time workers, adjunct professors, and GAs. By cutting costs the university can arguably pay more for celebrity faculty and thus attract students with higher SATs. Competitive pressure is not unique to NYU, and many students and faculty welcome the university’s rise in stature from a commuter college to a national research institution. While faculty may think this is good, they also sense their own waning inﬂuence upon university policy, with the union issue the most recent evidence. More than 125 faculty members signed a letter complaining that they had not been consulted when NYU announced its resolution to oppose the union. “From year to year,” the letter reads, “we lose more and more of our capacity to shape institutional policy and exercise academic freedoms.” Andrew Ross, director of American studies, says, “Our speech was compromised in a way that could have adversely affected faculty-student relations.” While the administration insists that the union question is still open, students in the history and sociology departments, in particular, have complained that in meetings with Catharine Stimpson, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), their questions have been ignored or answered evasively. “These are big questions,” Dean Stimpson replies. “What does it mean to be listened to? Is it entering into a conversation of mutuality or getting what you want?” Stimpson, a distinguished feminist scholar, believes that the GAs’ life will improve with a new funding policy the university has unveiled. Beginning next fall, doctoral students in good standing will receive a minimum of $13,000 as a stipend, along with tuition remission and a subsidy toward NYU health insurance. Stimpson promises to “advocate” for affordable housing—“Financial aid is something I believe in deeply”—and says this plan has been discussed for a decade. No graduate students will refuse the extra money, of course, but there are some who believe the administration implemented the plan abruptly to block the union (as Yale did). Faculty and students in the history department will issue a press release this week in response to the proposed changes. Their main contention is that as a result of the new policy, which implies that new students must be fully funded, the number of students they can accept will decrease signiﬁcantly. They foresee this altering the diversity of the departmentswith part-time and partially funded students being discouraged. The hardest hit are likely to be smaller departments: Latin American, Asian, and African diaspora studies. Dean Stimpson says that the connection between the new funding policy and unionizing is “nonsense,” as is the idea that GSAS is streamlining its student body. “We are not setting a cap on the number of fully funded students who can enroll; we are setting a ﬂoor,” and it will be up to the departments to nominate students for other aid, such as the 12 “opportunity fellowships” for minorities. NYU’s union problems, however, extend beyond the students’ issues. For some weeks, the administration has faced protests from local construction unions who want NYU to persuade developer Alex Forkosh, who is building an NYU dorm, to use union workers. Meanwhile, Local 3882, the union that represents NYU’s 1600 clerical and technical workers, is preparing for contract negotiations. And earlier this month, under pressure from NYU No Sweat, part of a national student movement that raises awareness about sweatshops, NYU “conditionally” agreed to join the Workers Rights Consortium, allowing observers to monitor working conditions in facilities where university apparel and licensed products are manufactured. These groups are now calling on NYU to initiate a fair and just labor policy on campus as well.
II NLRB: Students Can Vote on Union
NEW YORK (AP)—New York University graduate teaching assistants have the right to organize a union, a federal labor ofﬁcial ruled in the ﬁrst such decision involving a private college. Daniel Silverman, retional director of the National Labor Relations Board, wrote on 3 April that he could ﬁnd no reason to deny collective bargaining rights to the TAs “merely because they are employed by an educational institution while enrolled as a student.” The decision covers 1,700 of 17,000 graduate students. “We grade papers, teach courses, and recitations, hold ofﬁce hours, conduct research and perform administrative tasks,” NYU graduate assistant Laura Tanenbaum said. “We are workers and we deserve the right to vote for a union and it’s disappointing that NYU resisted that idea at all.” Across the country, graduate student workers at public universities are ﬁghting for—and sometimes winning—collective bargaining rights. As of December, 27 campuses had recognized graduate student unions. NYU Vice President Robert Berne said graduate assistants are workers, but their “primary” status is as students. “Silverman’s decision gives little recognition to the realities of modern graduate education, erroneously deciding a fundamental issue that is a crucial matter of public policy for private universities throughout the country,” Berne said in a statement. NYU said it will decide within the next 10 days whether to appeal to the full labor board in Washington, D.C. More than 20 graduate employee unions exist at public universities around the nation, according to the United Auto Workers, which represented the TAs.
P O L I T I C S
10 April 2000 T H E G R A D U A T E V O I C E 3
Vials continued from p. 1 land State University are contemplating a class action suit after the software product lost many ﬁnancial-aid records. Ohio State University called in state auditors after PeopleSoft ran up over $30 million in cost overruns. Adding insult to injury for many is the other major initiative: the new “distance learning” program, which, as the Board of Trustees explicitly emphasizes, is intended as a source of revenue rather than as a pedagogical boon. A direct descendant of the old “correspondence course,” distance learning is a form of instruction in which the traditional classroom setting is replaced by videotaped lectures, videoconferencing technology, and interactive Internet connections. Although it can be used responsibly to facilitate the access of commuters and older students to education, distance learning can also be used to downsize the teaching force and increase class sizes, thus hindering the access of students to faculty and class discussion in the interest of cost efﬁciency. Almost every major study of the pedagogical beneﬁts of distance learning has shown that it yields signiﬁcantly lower test scores and completion rates than the traditional classroom. The Chancellor plans to cut back on “major initiatives” by $647,000. However, it is by no means clear if PeopleSoft or distance learning are among these.
Who’s the boss?
The anger of faculty and students is working its way up the ladder towards UMass System President William Bulger, the Board of Trustees, and even the Governor himself. Chancellor Scott has been absorbing most of the blows until now—but many here are realizing that his cuts are only a manifestation of larger, system-wide irrationalities.
Chancellor Scott a rather small ﬁsh in the State’s chain of command for higher education. He has some room to maneuver in interpreting and implementing policy, but much of the policy itself is determined at a level above him. But one thing is clear: even this room to maneuver has been narrowed in the past few years. Decision-making authority has increasingly shifted away from the campus level and into the ofﬁce of the President, following a general trend of centralization initiated by the Cellucci administration. President Bulger’s most recent centralization agenda—developed in a closed meeting—requires all Vice Chancellors for Administration and Finance to report directly to the President’s Ofﬁce. Moreover, many of the Chancellor’s “major initiatives” are actually pre-ordained by the President: distance learning, for example, was originated by Bulger. Bulger’s questionable commitment to faculty and teaching has attracted the attention of the media. According to The Boston Globe, since Bulger came into ofﬁce the number of full-time professors at UMass Amherst has dropped 5%, from 545 to 519, while the number of part-time lecturers has jumped by 59%. The average pay for a full professor is now $76,792. Lecturers, on the other hand, make $27,349 for the same period. According to UMass Management Professor Jane Giacobbe-Miller, “you can’t expect part-timers to have the same degree of commitment to the students and to the institution.” At the same time, Bulger has added 20 high-paid administrators to his own staff, an increase of 12%. According to the Globe, “overall payroll in Bulger’s ofﬁce has jumped 36% since he assumed the presidency in January 1996—from $7.3 million to $9.9 million.” Six-ﬁgure salaries are the norm among his staff, with Bulger himself now earn-
ing $252,000. Incidentally, he’s scheduled for a $33,000 raise in July.
The man behind the machine?
When one looks further up the yellow brick road, one ﬁnds that the President’s initiatives have uncanny resemblances to the policies of the Governor. Cellucci is Bulger’s boss, after all. The trend toward centralization is characteristic of the Cellucci administration. Take a look at the following, drawn from Cellucci’s development plan: “The system should be administered locally, but guided centrally. A strong state-level policy coordinating body is necessary to establish a single, consistent set of objectives to guide the system. Central guidance is particularly important in setting overall goals.” But centralization is not the only statewide trend. The general prioritizing of technology and high-tech research over teaching comes from the educational policy of the governor himself. All resources, including State alloca-
tions, are increasingly devoted to high-tech or medical research; as administrators race to appease corporate donors, the basic academic mission—students, teachers, and books—gets forgotten or neglected. As our own governor puts it, “University policies, administrative procedures, hiring and promotion practices will all be reëxamined in light of their support of the university’s mission to develop a new spirit of economic entrepreneurship at all its campuses.” And he goes on to add, quite ominously: “Where unreasonable and impractical barriers exist, appropriate legal and legislative remedies should be pursued expeditiously.” Additionally, and despite the fact that Massachusetts is 48th out of the 50 States in per capita funding for public higher education, Governor Cellucci is proposing only a 0.2% increase to the University budget in 2001, an amount which would simply not allow the university to stay competitive with other top-tier public schools.
Scenes from the corporate takeover of academia
The March 200 issue of The Atlantic Monthly features “The Kept University” by Eyal Press and Jennifer Washburn of The Open Society Institute. If you liked the horror story featured in our front page, you might enjoy this one even more. “Petr Taborsky, a student at the University of South Florida, wound up on the chain gang of a maximum-security state prison after colliding with his university over the rights to a discovery he made as an undergraduate. Taborsky had been working as a research assistant on a project sponsored by the Florida Progress Corporation, a local holding company. At the end of the sponsored research period, Taborsky claims, he received permission from Robert Carnahan, a dean in the College of Engineering, to begin work on his own experiments, following a different approach, which he hoped to use as the basis for a master's thesis. But as soon as Taborsky made his research breakthrough, which had obvious commercial utility as a way to remove ammonia from wastewater, Florida Progress and USF both laid claim to his discovery. The university ﬁled criminal charges against Taborsky and spent more than ten times the amount of the original research grant on outside legal counsel alone. In 1990 a jury found Taborsky guilty of stealing university property, and the State of Florida required him to begin serving his sentence on a chain gang in 1996. But the case became an embarrassing media spectacle, and Governor Lawton Chiles soon intervened to offer Taborsky clemency, which Taborsky, on principle, refused.” plan about the project be delivered to the legislature. In March this plan was unveiled to legislators, who in the end approved it. Throughout this whole process almost no one was asking the most basic, yet important question: does Hartford even need Adriaen’s Landing? As columnist Laurence Cohen of the Courant pointed out after the June vote, Hartford already had 2.3 million square feet of shopping space within 15 miles of downtown. No one even knows if the project will lead to Hartford’s revitalization. In the nearly two years since Adriaen’s Landing was unveiled there has been little interest in it from private investors. Unlike the debate surrounding the New England Patriots no economic projection reports have been made public about what impact Adriaen’s Landing will have on the city. The value of the state’s investment is also questionable. Mr. Fiondella has given several different ﬁgures for how many permanent jobs the project will create; the most recent ﬁgure he gave was 700. With state investment now at $455 million, that is a subsidy of $650,000 per job. And these are jobs at the low end of the employment scale: retail, hotel and restaurant work, that could pay $20,000 or less per year. The general public is skeptical about the project as well. Polls carried out by the Courant in 1998 and 1999 showed a minority of the public supported Adriaen’s Landing: 38% in 1998, 41% in 1999. The latest poll showed that 48% of Connecticut’s residents were opposed to Adriaen’s Landing. What is really going on here? According to sociologists John Logan and Harvey Molotch, urban-development schemes like Adriaen’s Landing are typically used to maximize the value of the property held by downtown owners. They say the goal of these developers is to get the highest amount of rent out of their land as possible. In Mr. Fiondella’s case, the land he partially owns is already valuable real estate. It is located in the downtown area, with easy access to the two interstate highways that 24 million people a year use to drive through Hartford. Fiondella’s problem is that the land is under-utilized. There is a steam plant, corporate headquarters, and a parking lot there now. It generates a lot of money, to be sure, but for businessmen like Mr. Fiondella a lot isn’t necessarily good enough. They need to maximize their investment, to make that parcel the most valuable in the city, pulling in the highest rents in Hartford. A project like Adriaen’s Landing offers an opportunity to do just that. Admittedly, a scheme like Adriaen’s Landing is a risky venture, despite the high potential rewards to the landowners. The key for Mr. Fiondella, and for others of his ilk, is to gamble with OPM—other people’s money. For revitalizing Hartford, Adriaen’s Landing makes little sense. For maximizing the value of commercial real estate in a depressed market, it makes perfect sense. So how do you revitalize Hartford if not through Adriaen’s Landing? When President Clinton visited Hartford last November, a great deal of attention was deservedly given to the vibrancy of El Mercado and the Park Street neighborhood. This was a neighborhood that had revitalized itself, built up by the largely Latino population. Shop owners did not receive $455 million in state money for the project. The point is that people who live there, the folks who have a stake in the community in which they actually reside, created their own revitalization. We should be just as willing to dedicate State-development dollars to these individual entrepreneurs who have shown that they are willing to invest in their own neighborhoods. They can create jobs, they can make neighborhoods where people want to live, and they can bring excitement to the city; tourists will then want to visit and spend money. We should invest our money there, instead of in a taxpayerﬁnanced, multi-million dollar lottery ticket for the downtown crowd.
Hartford’s $771-million lottery ticket
An artist’s rendering of Adriaen’s Landing. According to Governor Rowland, “We are investing millions of dollars in economic development projects that give our cities new hope, because we have ended the practice of corporate welfare.” The question arises: who’s “we”?
Hedlund continued from p. 1 plans that happened to include a convention center. Fast-forward a year to May, 1999. Fresh from the embarrassment of the Patriots pullout, Governor Rowland moved to prop up Adriaen’s Landing, which had been stalled for a year: no ground had been broken and environmental tests on the contaminated soil hadn’t been completed. Also, no private investors could be found to commit their own money to the project. That didn’t stop Governor Rowland. In May, 1999, Mr. Rowland met with the Wolman brothers of the Waterford Group—the developers of the Mohegan Sun casino—and told the press that private investors had been found for the site, which would include a Marriott hotel. It was later revealed by The Hartford Courant that the brothers were not ﬁrmly committed to the
project, did not have a deal with Marriott, and were not working through the investment bank that they had previously identiﬁed. The Wolman brothers did, however, contribute $4,250 to Gov. Rowland’s 1998 reëlection campaign. To this day the Wolmans haven’t mentioned a single private investor in Adriaen’s Landing. In June Governor Rowland worked to ram a new spending bill for Adriaen’s Landing through the General Assembly—without legislators’ input, just as had happened with the Patriots. Rowland didn’t put the bill through the normal committee process: it was written by his ofﬁce and rushed to a vote with very little debate and no public input. Legislators did not even see the actual bill until several hours before the 3:58 A.M. vote. State legislators then approved another $300 million for the project. The money was appropriated on the condition that $210 million in private ﬁnancing be found and that a more detailed
Volume 13 No. 3, 10 April 2000 919 Lincoln Campus Center University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA 01003 (413) 545-2899 Editor: Juan Pablo Fernández
T H E G R A D U A TT H E V G R C E U A T E E O I A D V O I C E 10 April 2000
Snapshot: After the ﬂood
The maps below, developed by Frank Reed of Clockwork Software, show how the coastlines of the United States and Europe would be affected if the Earth’s polar ice caps were to melt as a result of global warming. In the extreme and improbable case of total meltdown, ocean levels would rise by about 150 meters, inundating many of the world’s largest cities, several European countries, and a significant fraction of the continental United States. UMass, which stands today at less than 100 meters above sea level, would drown. Needless to say, realistic levels of global warming will not change sea levels by anywhere near the amounts shown here. We thank Clockwork Software of Chicago for kindly granting us permission to reproduce these maps. If you want to know how California would fare, or if you wish to see full-color versions of the maps, visit www.clockwk.com/waterworld.
— Founded in 1987 — Dan Costello, Editor 1988–1990 John Davis, Editor 1990–1991 Pierre Laliberte, Editor 1991–1992 Hussein Ibish, Editor 1992–1995 Ali Mir, Prasad Venugopal, Editors 1996 Thomas Taaffe, Editor 1997–1999
The Northeastern U.S.: New England is now an island separated from the rest of the country by the HudsonChamplain Channel. Boston, New York City, Long Island, most of New Jersey, and all of Delaware are under water.
The Graduate Voice is a publication of the Graduate Student Senate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Mike Tjivikua, President
The southern U.S.: Florida and Louisiana are completely inundated. Salt water extends all the way to St. Louis, just as it did millions of years ago.
Jessica Bianca Erickson, Vice-President
Jon E. Zibbell, Executive Ofﬁcer
Christine A. Ashley, GWN Coördinator
Diane E. Matta, EAC Coördinator
Olga Vartsaba, Ofﬁce Manager
The Graduate Voice is committed to progressive political agendas. It is against racism and sexism, and despises the law of the jungle; it is pro-choice, pro-Union, and proAfﬁrmative Action. It ﬁrmly believes that everybody should have access to affordable, high-quality education, decent housing, reasonable child care, and fair wages.
The Graduate Voice is 100% Micro$oft free.
Northwestern Europe: The Netherlands and Denmark are gone. Both Paris and London are under water.
L E I S U R E
10 April 2000 T H E G R A D U A T E V O I C E 5
“The book I’m reading” by Christopher Knittle (2000)
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The ancient Oriental board game of Go is slowly but steadily gaining popularity in the Western Hemisphere. The word “Go” is a shortened version of the Japanese word for the game, Igo, which according to a Japanese dictionary means after this, or hereafter. The game has been played for nearly three millenia in the Far East, and some people believe it to be the oldest board game in the world. According to Chinese mythology, the ﬁrst emperor of China invented it in order to improve the mind of his slow-witted son. Today, one need only ask one of the estimated ten million Japanese who play it to get a feeling for just how popular, appealing, and deeply challenging this game is. The game of Go is played by two opponents on a grid of 19 by 19 lines. Each player is armed with a set of stones—one player plays white, the other black. The players take turns placing their stones one at a time at the points on the board where the lines intersect. A player’s stones are declared captured, or killed, if they are completely surrounded by those of the opponent. At the end of the game, the outcome is determined by which player has surrounded the largest sector of the board with his or her stones. The objective of Go is clearly reﬂected in its Chinese name, Wei Ch’i, which simply means “surrounding game”. The above, plus a handful of additional rules is all you need to know to play Go. Simple as it may seem, Go has been described as “being like four chess games going on together on the same board.” There is almost inﬁnite room for variation, which means that intuition and experimentation are an essential part of the game. There is no offensive strategy that always lead to a win. The personalities of the two opponents emerge very clearly on the Go board during a match. There is an additional element that adds ﬁnesse to Go: two players of differing strength can play an even game thanks to a handicap system wherein one player starts the game with a number of stones already on the board.
Rumor has it that the future of Tibet was once decided on one such board: its Buddhist ruler refused to battle against the attacking party and proposed to settle the conﬂict with a game of Go. In today’s games there is less at stake, but every year a prestigious match is held between the top Japanese and Chinese players, an event followed by millions of interested spectators. In Japan, some 500 professional Go players manage to make a living—a handsome one, in many cases— out of the game. Aside from China and Japan, the game is also popular in Korea, where it is called Baduk; Korean players are known for their quick style of play. The growing popularity of the game culminated in the early 17th century, when the Japanese government recognized its value: the top Go playing families were endowed with grants and started Go universities. Over the next 250 years, the intense rivalry among these Go schools brought about a great improvement in the standards of play. A ranking system was set up, classifying professional players into nine grades or dans, of which the highest was Meijin, meaning “expert.” This title could be held by only one person at a time, and was awarded only if one player absolutely out-classed every rival. These rankings and titles are still being used among today’s players. In our age of computer technology, computer programs have proved to be very good—in some cases unbeatable—at games of skill such as chess, backgammon, and Othello. Several traditional board games have been completely solved by brute-force search methods or by the skillful application of artiﬁcial-intelligence techniques. That is not, however, the case with Go. Until very recently, computer Go programs could still be trounced by a relative beginner. The large number of available variations is one reason why standard search algorithms do not work well for Go, since computers need to play thousands of example matches and consider millions of
positions before they can discover patterns and develop predictive power. Furthermore, it seems that the discovery of patterns, the very tool that enables computer code to beat humans at chess, is only an obstacle when it comes to Go. Human players are known to have learned and exploited the predictable style of play practiced by their silicon-brained opponents. In 1997, the American Association for Artiﬁcial Intelligence organized an event which included a Go exhibition game. The world’s best computer Go program at the time, Handtalk, was given a 25 stone handicap—a very signiﬁcant advantage—in a game against a human professional player, Janice Kim. In spite of her disadvantageous initial position, Kim managed to win. Immediately afterwards, the organizers hurriedly quit the program and erased everything that had happened. We will never get to know the details of the match, and will never know whether this loss was an example of human imperfection, or a display of all-too-human shame or sympathy. Reports of the event, however, say that the match was one of high quality. The author of Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go, Toshiro Kageyama, claims in his book that “no doubt the ﬁrst requirement to become strong at Go is to like it, like it more than food or drink.” About the shape of the stones he says: “If you do not feel the same tightening in your chest as when you close your eyes and picture the face of a lover, you do not love good shape enough.” One would think that a computer can hardly express such passions; if Kageyama is right, computers will have to adopt a concept of liking and emotion in order to develop the necessary strength to beat human champions. Maybe there is hope for mankind after all. If you want to learn more about this fascinating pastme, you might want to visit www.britgo.demon.co.uk, the British Go Association homepage, or www.usgo.org, its American counterpart.
a game of personality
by anders jonsson
C L A S S I C
6 T H E G R A D U A T E V O I C E 10 April 2000
In the very olden time there lived a semi-barbaric king, whose ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by the progressiveness of distant Latin neighbors, were still large, ﬂorid, and untrammeled, as became the half of him which was barbaric. He was a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied fancies into facts. He was greatly given to self-communing, and, when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done. When every member of his domestic and political systems moved smoothly in its appointed course, his nature was bland and genial; but, whenever there was a little hitch, and some of his orbs got out of their orbits, he was blander and more genial still, for nothing pleased him so much as to make the crooked straight and crush down uneven places. Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become semiﬁed was that of the public arena, in which, by exhibitions of manly and beastly valor, the minds of his subjects were reﬁned and cultured. But even here the exuberant and barbaric fancy asserted itself. The arena of the king was built, not to give the people an opportunity of hearing the rhapsodies of dying gladiators, nor to enable them to view the inevitable conclusion of a conﬂict between religious opinions and hungry jaws, but for purposes far better adapted to widen and develop the mental energies of the people. This vast amphitheater, with its encircling galleries, its mysterious vaults, and its unseen passages, was an agent of poetic justice, in which crime was punished, or virtue rewarded, by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance. When a subject was accused of a crime of sufﬁcient importance to interest the king, public notice was given that on an appointed day the fate of the accused person would be decided in the king’s arena, a structure which well deserved its name, for, although its form and plan were borrowed from afar, its purpose emanated solely from the brain of this man, who, every barleycorn a king, knew no tradition to which he owed more allegiance than pleased his fancy, and who ingrafted on every adopted form of human thought and action the rich growth of his barbaric idealism. When all the people had assembled in the galleries, and the king, surrounded by his court, sat high up on his throne of royal state on one side of the arena, he gave a signal, a door beneath him opened, and the accused subject stepped out into the amphitheater. Directly opposite him, on the other side of the inclosed space, were two doors, exactly alike and side by side. It was the duty and the privilege of the person on trial to walk directly to these doors and open one of them. He could open either door he pleased; he was subject to no guidance or inﬂuence but that of the aforementioned impartial and incorruptible chance. If he opened the one, there came out of it a hungry tiger, the ﬁercest and most cruel that could be procured, which immediately sprang upon him and tore him to pieces as a punishment for his guilt. The moment that the case of the criminal was thus decided, doleful iron bells were clanged, great wails went up from the hired mourners posted on the outer rim of the arena, and the vast audience, golden horns and treading an epithalamic measure, advanced to where the pair stood, side by side, and the wedding was promptly and cheerily solemnized. Then the gay brass bells rang forth their merry peals, the people shouted glad hurrahs, and the innocent man, preceded by children strewing ﬂowers on his path, led his bride to his home. This was the king’s semi-barbaric method of administering justice. Its perfect fairness is obvious. The crimiblooming as his most ﬂorid fancies, and with a soul as fervent and imperious as his own. As is usual in such cases, she was the apple of his eye, and was loved by him above all humanity. Among his courtiers was a young man of that ﬁneness of blood and lowness of station common to the conventional heroes of romance who love royal maidens. This royal maiden was well satisﬁed with her lover, for he was handsome and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all this kingdom, and she loved him with an ardor that had enough of barbarism in it to make it exceedingly warm and strong. This love affair moved on happily for many months, until one day the king happened to discover its existence. He did not hesitate nor waver in regard to his duty in the premises. The youth was immediately cast into prison, and a day was appointed for his trial in the king’s arena. This, of course, was an especially important occasion, and his majesty, as well as all the people, was greatly interested in the workings and development of this trial. Never before had such a case occurred; never before had a subject dared to love the daughter of the king. In after years such things became commonplace enough, but then they were in no slight degree novel and startling. The tiger-cages of the kingdom were searched for the most savage and relentless beasts, from which the ﬁercest monster might be selected for the arena; and the ranks of maiden youth and beauty throughout the land were carefully surveyed by competent judges in order that the young man might have a ﬁtting bride in case fate did not determine for him a different destiny. Of course, everybody knew that the deed with which the accused was charged had been done. He had loved the princess, and neither he, she, nor any one else, thought of denying the fact; but the king would not think of allowing any fact of this kind to interfere with the workings of the tribunal, in which he took such great delight and satisfaction. No matter how the affair turned out, the youth would be disposed of, and the king would take an aesthetic pleasure in watching the course of events, which would determine whether or not the young man had done wrong in allowing himself to love the princess. The appointed day arrived. From far and near the people gathered, and thronged the great galleries of the arena, and crowds, unable to gain admittance, massed themselves against its outside walls. The king and his court were in their places, opposite the twin doors, those fateful portals, so terrible in their similarity. All was ready. The signal was given. A door beneath the royal party opened, and the lover of the princess walked into the arena. Tall, beautiful, fair, his appearance was greeted with a low hum of admiration and anxiety. Half the audience had not known so grand a youth
with bowed heads and downcast hearts, wended slowly their homeward way, mourning greatly that one so young and fair, or so old and respected, should have merited so dire a fate. But, if the accused person opened the other door, there came forth from it a lady, the most suitable to his years and station that his majesty could select among his fair subjects, and to this lady he was immediately married, as a reward of his innocence. It mattered not that he might already possess a wife and family, or that his affections might be engaged upon an object of his own selection; the king allowed no such subordinate arrangements to interfere with his great scheme of retribution and reward. The exercises, as in the other instance, took place immediately, and in the arena. Another door opened beneath the king, and a priest, followed by a band of choristers, and dancing maidens blowing joyous airs on
nal could not know out of which door would come the lady; he opened either he pleased, without having the slightest idea whether, in the next instant, he was to be devoured or married. On some occasions the tiger came out of one door, and on some out of the other. The decisions of this tribunal were not only fair, they were positively determinate: the accused person was instantly punished if he found himself guilty, and, if innocent, he was rewarded on the spot, whether he liked it or not. There was no escape from the judgments of the king’s arena. The institution was a very popular one. When the people gathered together on one of the great trial days, they never knew whether they were to witness a bloody slaughter or a hilarious wedding. This element of uncertainty lent an interest to the occasion which it could not otherwise have attained. Thus, the masses were entertained and pleased, and the thinking part of the community could bring no charge of unfairness against this plan, for did not the accused person have the whole matter in his own hands? This semi-barbaric king had a daughter as
by Frank R. Stockton (1834–1902) Illustrated by Andrew Boal
F I C T I O N
10 April 2000 T H E G R A D U A T E V O I C E 7
This vast amphitheater was an agent of poetic justice, in which crime was punished, or virtue rewarded, by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance…
had lived among them. No wonder the princess loved him! What a terrible thing for him to be there! As the youth advanced into the arena he turned, as the custom was, to bow to the king, but he did not think at all of that royal personage. His eyes were ﬁxed upon the princess, who sat to the right of her father. Had it not been for the moiety of barbarism in her nature it is probable that the lady would not have been there, but her intense and fervid soul would not allow her to be absent on an occasion in which she was so terribly interested. From the moment that the decree had gone forth that her lover should decide his fate in the king’s arena, she had thought of nothing, night or day, but this great event and the various subjects connected with it. Possessed of more power, inﬂuence, and force of character than any one who had ever before been interested in such a case, she had done what no other person had done—she had possessed herself of the secret of the doors. She knew in which of the two rooms, that lay behind those doors, stood the cage of the tiger, with its open front, and in which waited the lady. Through these thick doors, heavily curtained with skins on the inside, it was impossible that any noise or suggestion should come from within to the person who should approach to raise the latch of one of them. But gold, and the power of a woman’s will, had brought the secret to the princess. And not only did she know in which room stood the lady ready to emerge, all blushing and radiant, should her door be opened, but she knew who the lady was. It was one of the fairest and loveliest of the damsels of the court who had been selected as the reward of the accused youth, should he be proved innocent of the crime of aspiring to one so far above him; and the princess hated her. Often had she seen, or imagined that she had seen, this fair creature throwing glances of admiration upon the person of her lover, and sometimes she thought these glances were perceived, and even returned. Now and then she had seen them talking together; it was but for a moment or two, but much can be said in a brief space; it may have been on most unimportant topics, but how could she know that? The girl was lovely, but she had dared to raise her eyes to the loved one of the princess; and, with all the intensity of the savage blood transmitted to her through long lines of wholly barbaric ancestors, she hated the woman who blushed and trembled behind that silent door. When her lover turned and looked at her, and his eye met hers as she sat there, paler and whiter than any one in the vast ocean of anxious faces about her, he saw, by that power of quick perception which is given to those whose souls are one, that she knew behind which door crouched the tiger, and behind which stood the lady. He had expected her to know it. He understood her nature, and his soul was assured that she would never rest until she had made plain to herself this thing, hidden to all other lookers-on, even to the king. The only hope for the youth in which there was any element of certainty was based upon Then it was that his quick and anxious glance asked the question: “Which?” It was as plain to her as if he shouted it from where he stood. There was not an instant to be lost. The question was asked in a ﬂash; it must be No one but her lover saw her. Every eye but his was ﬁxed on the man in the arena. He turned, and with a ﬁrm and rapid step he walked across the empty space. Every heart stopped beating, every breath was held, every eye was ﬁxed immovably upon that man. Without the slightest hesitation, he went to the door on the right, and opened it. Now, the point of the story is this: Did the tiger come out of that door, or did the lady? The more we reﬂect upon this question, the harder it is to answer. It involves a study of the human heart which leads us through devious mazes of passion, out of which it is difﬁcult to ﬁnd our way. Think of it, fair reader, not as if the decision of the question depended upon yourself, but upon that hotblooded, semi-barbaric princess, her soul at a white heat beneath the combined ﬁres of despair and jealousy. She had lost him, but who should have him? How often, in her waking hours and in her dreams, had she started in wild horror, and covered her face with her hands as she thought of her lover opening the door on the other side of which waited the cruel fangs of the tiger! But how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! How in her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth, and torn her hair, when she saw his start of rapturous delight as he opened the door of the lady! How her soul had burned in agony when she had seen him rush to meet that woman, with her ﬂushing cheek and sparkling eye of triumph; when she had seen him lead her forth, his whole frame kindled with the joy of recovered life; when she had heard the glad shouts from the multitude, and the wild ringing of the happy bells; when she had seen the priest, with his joyous followers, advance to the couple, and make them man and wife before her very eyes; and when she had seen them walk away together upon their path of ﬂowers, followed by the tremendous shouts of the hilarious multitude, in which her one despairing shriek was lost and drowned! Would it not be better for him to die at once, and go to wait for her in the blessed regions of semi-barbaric futurity? And yet, that awful tiger, those shrieks, that blood! Her decision had been indicated in an instant, but it had been made after days and nights of anguished deliberation. She had known she would be asked, she had decided what she would answer, and, without the slightest hesitation, she had moved her hand to the right. The question of her decision is one not to be lightly considered, and it is not for me to presume to set myself up as the one person able to answer it. And so I leave it with all of you: Which came out of the opened door— the lady, or the tiger?
the success of the princess in discovering this mystery; and the moment he looked upon her, he saw she had succeeded, as in his soul he knew she would succeed.
answered in another. Her right arm lay on the cushioned parapet before her. She raised her hand, and made a slight, quick movement toward the right.
OR THE TIGER?
T H E
G R A D U A T E
V O I C E
10 April 2000
Dance According to a Buddhist legend, Green Tara, the goddess of compassion, arose from the tears of Buddha Avalokitesavara to help him relieve suffering for all humanity. Tibetan lamas from the Drepung Loseling Monastery will join Amherst’s Nataraj company to dance In Praise of Tara at Springﬁeld’s High School of Commerce on Saturday, 29 April. The show starts at 8:00 P.M. Call 5-1980 for more info.
The Graduate Student Senate
will hold its next two meetings between 5:00 and 7:00 P.M. on Wednesday, 12 April, 903 Campus Center Wednesday, 3 May, 904 Campus Center Come, hear, and be heard