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It disturbs us to learn that the Office of Residential Life might be engaging in censorial activities with regard to dormitory flyering. These ads are deemed to contain inappropriate content. Of course, this is not a free speech issue (in the constitutional sense) and the administration has the right to ban material that is genuinely offensive and demeaning. Last year when the Objectivist Club insultingly posted the controversial Danish cartoons of Muhammad, that certainly warranted the exclusion of the posters from the dorms.
As a result of the decision of the Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals on Tuesday, Hopkins has lost one of its precious few remaining fraternity houses. Of course, we are extremely disappointed by the decision. The students were railroaded by neighbors who pounced on a technicality in order to purify their area of an annoyance that predated their own residency. Cityofficials were complicit in Phi Kappa Psi's eviction. So was the University.
Greek life at Hopkins, already reeling from the fall semester's bad publicity, may soon take another blow. Residents of the Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood just north of the University, and allies like City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke and City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, are attempting to force the brothers of Phi Kappa Psi (commonly known as Phi Psi) from their home of more than 30 years on the basis of a zoning technicality.
The Hopkins Energy Action Team's rally on the Beach may have proved an unfamiliar sight to the many Hopkins students soaking in the unusually mild weather this week. Our campus has rarely been attuned to mass political movements, and its state of "apathy" has often been blamed in these very pages for an inert student activism scene. But lately, thanks to the efforts of groups like HEAT and the Students Anti-Genocide Coalition, there are signs that things on the activist front are looking up. In particular, HEAT, with its inundation of weekly events and willingness to communicate with administrators and student government, should provide a model for successful strategies for engaging this campus in the big issues.
The recent study that placed Hopkins' undergraduate International Studies at 19th in the nation might raise some eyebrows among students and faculty alike. We were not even aware that so many universities had designated undergraduate international relations programs.
For a university that produces graduates as career-focused as those at Hopkins, it is surprising that the Career Center is not a more effective resource for graduating seniors and others seeking jobs and internships. While the Career Center ideally should bolster students' chances of encountering exciting job opportunities, this year it has seen some gaffes in its schedule of events. More importantly, the Center has also revealed genuine disparities between the resources available for science and engineering students and those for humanities and social-science majors. The paucity of resources for the latter group should be a focus of improvement in the coming year.
It looks like Student Council has finally got the picture. After a less-than-stellar election, various attempts at political leadership and a collision with what has arguably become this campus' most influential collection of activists, the Council has finally taken a good first step toward being a more productive and useful voice for students.
At a time when engagement with other parts of the world seems particularly important, the University is busy dismantling its study abroad infrastructure. We are not privy to all the complexities underlying the decision to cancel the recently initiated Tours program, nor were we when Villa Spelman went the way of the Passenger Pigeon. The administration probably had good reason to axe these opportunities, but from the perspective of the student body, such moves seem little more than spiteful.
We are pleased to learn that so many Hopkins students have taken advantage of the availability of Gardasil at the Student Health and Wellness center. Gardasil is a vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV), one of the most prevalent diseases affecting both men and women all over the world. These students are taking an important step toward protecting their health and the health of their sexual partners. It is also heartening to know that, as of next year, the costly vaccine will be covered by the student health insurance plan.
The University chaplain is an often-overlooked position at Hopkins, but one that is crucial nonetheless. For the past 14 years, Sharon Kugler has been a formidable presence at the Bunting-Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, occupying the chaplaincy with grace, generosity and a great understanding of how to preside over a campus of multiple faiths. Now that Kugler is headed to the chaplaincy at Yale University, we must commend her for a truly admirable tenure at a university that often struggles to emphasize community of any kind. Thanks to Kugler, students of faith have found a welcoming home at the Interfaith Center.
The tragic death of Nancy Forgione, a much-loved art history professor, comes at a time of year when many of us are looking to the end of a semester or to returning home, toward family and reunions. At this difficult time, we offer our condolences to Forgione's family, friends, colleagues and many devoted students. Her loss is a shocking blow to the entire Hopkins campus, reminding us once again, in the worst possible way, the necessity of coming together as a community.
The decision to create separate schools of business and education at Hopkins is a tremendous and positive step for the University. Two significant holes in the institution will soon be plugged and there is little doubt that, in due time, both programs will emerge as leaders in their respective fields. Our thanks go out to William Polk Carey, whose donation has made this addition possible.
The News-Letter would like to congratulate Provost Steven Knapp on becoming the next president of the George Washington University.
The closure of the Caroline Street Clinic in East Baltimore is not just disappointing for the neighborhood it has served for the past two years, but it also signals an irony of the bitterest sort for an institution that has built its reputation on excellence in medicine. Hopkins may have world-class facilities in the hospital and some of the best health care professionals around for the most difficult-to-treat ailments, but when it comes to providing basic care to the neediest in its own backyard, the institution has failed to live up to its billing.
For the most part, furor regarding the Sigma Chi Halloween party has abated over the last week. But during that time, calls for reform have been continued throughout the University. Some want educational programs and sensitivity training, others restrictions on speech or severe punishment. None of these, however, are likely to produce a more welcoming community. Increasing the number of minority faculty is an admirable goal, but it is the solution to another problem -- not the one revealed on Halloween. This is a student predicament and will not be solved with directives from Garland Hall.
Higher learning institutions are accused of liberal bias about as often as the media, and just as erroneously. Sure, many professors have viewpoints that fall left-of-center, but the notion of vehement, ideological professors proselytizing their students with leftist ideas in the classroom is simply false.
Thank you Sigma Chi for creating this mess. By now, nary a Hopkins student is unaware of the events of Oct. 28, events that have quickly spiraled into scandal. On that day, the brothers of Sigma Chi hosted a party dubbed "Halloween in the Hood," and emotions have since been running high. The incident has received significant attention in the local media and even cracked the headlines on the Yahoo and CNN Web sites. So who is at fault, and where do we go from here?