• Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

    Editorials, News February 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm Comments are Disabled

    A few weeks ago, I received an email from Nicholas Ugrin, a student-veteran who was battling with the university over his status as a domicile, or in-state, student. Even though he has lived and worked in Virginia for some time, Ugrin is being charged out-of- state tuition because of a mistake that happened somewhere along the line during registration. Ugrin does not hold anyone in particular accountable for the mistake, which may have happened on his application, however, he is upset that the school has been unwilling to work with him to resolve the issue. I was surprised to hear that the university was reacting so coldly and formulaically over such a potentially life-changing subject, especially in relation to veterans. I was even more surprised to see a similar story on the Washington Post Nova blog last week. On Feb. 21, Tom Jackman broke the story about Stephanie Kermgard, another student-veteran at Mason who is being charged for classes as an out-of- state student. Though Kermgard’s story varies in many details from Ugrin’s, their core is the same. For some reason, Mason is repeatedly denying domicile status to in-state students, both veteran and citizen. Ugrin told me that he cannot afford the […]

  • First audition in the Big Apple

    Editorials, Lifestyle February 25, 2013 at 2:05 pm Comments are Disabled

    Hi, my name is Paul, and I’ll be auditioning for the role of “point guard.” Did you want a contemporary monologue, or something a bit more classic? Or wait did you have some slides for me to read from? Is anyone else auditioning? I will take the silence and blank stares as a “please perform a prepared monologue. ” Oh, I almost forgot! Here are my headshots. I’m sorry I’m all out of sorts, this is my first audition in the Big Apple! Let me just say that it was pretty challenging to find this place! All I could find online was “Madison Square Garden.” Also, once I got inside, which was NOT easy, I tried asking a guard for directions to the audition, and he tried to arrest me! Thank God I had my pepper spray, or I might have been late. I always carry pepper spray on me, just in case someone tries any funny business. Mama told me, “look out for the creeps in the big city,” and now I know why. Even security guards can be out to get you in this city! I don’t even know if it’s real pepper like Pa grows back at home. […]

  • The struggle for happiness at Mason

    Editorials, Lifestyle February 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm Comments are Disabled

    “I thought college students were supposed to be happy and carefree,” said the middle-aged woman to her husband as they sit in the JC with their son after a morning tour. “They all look miserable.” She looks around the atrium, looking at the faces that crowd through the lines at the register and heading down the stairs and I can’t blame her for making such a blunt comment. From where I sit, I can spy at least seven furrowed brows, eight crossed arms and dozens of eyes cast to the floor. Happy or pleasant looking faces run in the minority and it is no wonder that visitors find the mid-day Mason lunch rush to be a miserable experience. But this is not some call to arms to smile more at the people you walk by or say thank you to the person swiping your Mason ID for expensive sushi. This is an acknowledgment of the fact that college might not be the happiest time of your life. “Happy” is defined as feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. That is quite possibly the last thing that college is. College is a lot of things; institutionalized competition for the longest list of accomplishments, the systematic […]

  • Is UmeeUs on the right track?

    Editorials February 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm Comments are Disabled

    While I was going through my emails this week, one intrigued me in particular. It opened with large font saying, “Better Than Facebook?” which is sure to get someone’s’ attention. The email advertised a new form of social media known as UmeeUs. The email continued to address how this new site has been launched at Yale, Cornell, Vassar and George Mason Universities. It also said that this site would provide information about your school, allow you to get to know more people and have a simple set up that would be easy to navigate. After reading the advertisement for this site, I thought it looked like a great idea. It would benefit off campus students, because living off campus makes it more difficult to stay in touch with all the events and opportunities that Mason offers. I also thought that if the site was specific toward Mason, then that would make navigation simpler for the user. There would be no clutter on the site because it is newer so staying informed would be easier. All of these thoughts entered my head before actually going to the site and seeing what it was like. Once on the site, I realized that it was […]

  • Letter to the Editor

    Editorials February 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm Comments are Disabled

    I am writing to you from Afghanistan, to express my dismay that your school is continuing to take legal action against a veteran who is a state resident. A recent report I read in the Washington Post about Navy veteran Stephanie Kermgard’s protracted legal battle with your school over tuition makes me wary of your institution’s support for student veterans. These reports have indicated a disturbing lack of concern for student veterans—I put the student first because we are, after all, there to learn—and our issues. Particularly with regards to financial aid and VA (Veteran’s Administration) educational assistance, I am appalled to hear that your school administrators consider some military students out-of- state residents; while the vast majority of other universities consider us in-state residents. A bill to fix this is working its way through Richmond’s corridors of power, but does it really take legislation to inject some common sense here? After my current deployment, I had planned to move to Virginia—my fiancée lives in Washington D.C.—to complete my education. George Mason was among the schools I had strongly considered applying to, due to its proximity to DC, great reputation and support for the GI Bill’s Yellow Ribbon program. As […]

  • At the expense of others

    Editorials February 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm Comments are Disabled

    Something unexpected happened at Mason’s homecoming game. No, it wasn’t Georgia State beating us by 18 points after our initial lead early on. This unexpected something occurred during halftime: a woman won the Mason Majesty contest. That might not seem shocking, but let us have context. The last time a woman won a homecoming award was in 2008. In 2009, a drag queen won homecoming queen and in 2010 GMU opted to get rid of the homecoming king and queen titles for “Mason Majesty.” The reason? Diversity. Assistant Director of Programming in Student Activities Michelle Davis said that, “we wanted to be more inclusive to all persons on campus — no matter how they identify.” This is where things get paradoxical. For diversity, the gender neutral Mason Majesty honor was created. Yet, because of this diversity-driven decision, the percentage of female winners plummeted. Only men won homecoming honors all the way through President Barack Obama’s first term. In the rush to appease a vocal anti-gender binary minority, campuses have been known to ignore women. Consider New College of California, which in 2005 “de-gendered” its bathrooms. The alteration was enacted to protect transgendered individuals from being uncomfortable or harassed. Apparently, the officials ignored […]

  • Mason’s motivated student body feeds political fascination

    Editorials February 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm Comments are Disabled

    Every day as I walk past Southside, the JC or one of the many academic halls I can hear political dialogue between students. Whether it is a booth in the JC for Green Patriots or a message board to join the Israel Club, it seems every person associated with Mason has a connection to politics. Freshman Will Rosenberg believes he has the answer to this fascination: “People are more expressive about it because it’s close to DC. Both presidential candidates were here,” he said. “It creates this passion for GMU students.” Now this passion is not always supporting a party or candidate. Professor Lesley Smith of New Century College noticed: “I see a lot of political engagement, not always supporting one candidate but local and global communities.” And that’s just it—besides election season you do not see Obama and Romney posters hung all over campus. Rather, you see posters supporting environmental issues, notices from the Invisible Children Club and bulletins from the Korean Student Association. They are clubs supporting policy for communities, not just yourself. Whether you believe in a policy or not, Mason is a campus filled with pride and an attitude to bring change to this country and the world. “I see more […]

  • The greatness of James K. Polk

    Editorials February 25, 2013 at 1:43 pm Comments are Disabled

    When thinking of the greatest presidents in American history, a handful of names come to mind. This list inevitably includes Washington, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, and perhaps Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Allow me to present another name as one of the greats. This man was a one-termer, but perhaps had the most effective record of any president, two terms or one (or four), in American history. He grew the nation by a third, settled international border disputes and changed the economic face of the nation for years to come. I am of course talking about James K. Polk (1845–1849). In a very close election, Polk, the dark horse democratic nominee, edged out his Whig (the forerunners of the republicans) opponent, Henry Clay, with a 39,490 vote margin. During the campaign, Polk had campaigned on a single term, and in that single term proposed to accomplish four tasks. He declared that he would reestablish the Independent Treasury System, reduce tariffs, acquire all, or some, of the Oregon Territory and negotiate a land trade with Mexico. First, Polk was able to reestablish the Independent Treasury System, which remained in existence until 1921. In a huge step to encourage international trade, Polk had the Walker […]

  • Lost voices in the GOP

    Editorials February 25, 2013 at 1:41 pm Comments are Disabled

    Mason is known for its diversity. Among cultural diversity lies political diversity, which always makes for good conversa- tion, especially in the college setting. The way my peers and fellow students look at me now, when I say that I am a republican, says that I am a conservative who has lost touch with modern society. They feel that I would have the same ideals as my fellow members in the GOP, who call themselves the Tea Party. The Tea Party has tarnished the image of the Republican Party. The problem that I have with the Tea Party, as a young republican, is that they are a loud minority who has very right wing views. This is bad for our country and the Republican Party. The Republican Party needs to separate itself from this minority if it wishes to have more political power in Washington. The Tea Party scares away more moderate and independent voters because these old ideals that conservatives follow are outdated, which result in more young people being drawn away from the party. The ultra right-wing tea partiers have made me question the principles of my own political party. I feel as though change is needed in […]

  • A case for corporations

    Editorials February 25, 2013 at 1:38 pm Comments are Disabled

    We live in a world where corporations are driven by profits. And this is a good thing. This may be hard to believe, but profit- driven corporations give consumers power. In fact, you could almost say that a free-market economy that is primarily driven by large corporations is fairly similar to a democracy in the concept that the consumers vote. Every time you pick up a Coke instead of a Pepsi, every time you decide that organic eggs are going to be healthier than regular eggs, even every time you call an electrician to change a light bulb, you are voting. Without the profits from customers, corporations are nothing. “But Stephen, I’m just one person! No corporation cares about just one person!” I’ll admit it, every now and then a corporation screws over a customer, but I guarantee that there is no Dr. Evil sitting in a boardroom twiddling his fingers with glee when it happens. Those executives sitting in their boardrooms are actually trying to figure out how to make their customers happy so that they develop a loyal customer who will return time and time again. You can express this power by not buying into a corporation’s product or ideology. […]