"News is the first rough draft of history."

The Voice of the College at Florham

"News is the first rough draft of history." - The Voice of the College at Florham

Sayonara from a senior

DAN LANDAU
Photo Editor

Hello, my name is Dan Landau. Some of you may already know me as the Photo Editor for The Metro, or perhaps you may know me from any of the other activities I have been involved in over the past few years here at FDU. Commencement is barely two weeks away and as a graduating senior, I am very excited to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in History.

Graduation is naturally a time of reflection on the last four years. I won’t subject you to the usual clichés that we hear at graduation time. Instead, I just want to tell you a few things that I learned at FDU — things that you can use to get the most out of your college experience.

College is like a meal. The academics are the real meat and potatoes part of college, after all, ostensibly you are here to get a degree and learn something as opposed to simply avoiding having to join the workforce for a few years. However, four years of nothing but study would be very bland, it is important to properly season the food. The spices used in preparing the meal is the social aspect of college as the friends you make and the activities you partake in will flavor your college experience. A good meal comes with a dessert, something sweet to remember your college experience by. The dessert is the activities that make your college experience very special.

The food — Academics are very important. Your grades do matter and they will be a determining factor in your future after college. Good grades are important for getting into grad school and landing good jobs after college. I had to say that. Now I will stop talking like your mothers and get down to the fun stuff.

The spices — Grades are important, but so is having fun. College is a time to make incredible friendships and get involved in awesome activities. By joining some of the clubs on campus, I made strong friendships that I will take with me when I leave FDU. Students like to complain that there is nothing to do on campus. Well, they are wrong. As a commuter, I had to look for ways to get involved and get the “college experience.” When I looked, I found a myriad of clubs, events, activities and friends to be made. Remember, this is the seasoning of your meal, so you want it to be good. Spending four years only studying or playing video games will make for a bland meal. Get out and join some clubs; you might be surprised at how much fun you’ll have.

The dessert — Look for special activities to augment your meal. These will be some of the most important parts of your college experience, and like a dessert, they will provide sweet memories of the meal. For me, my dessert was a semester abroad at Wroxton College. The memories gathered from a semester spent enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of England will always be with me. Wroxton was certainly a highlight of my college experience.

The chef — If you don’t know how to transform the ingredients in front of you into a fine meal, enlist the help of another chef. By chef, I am of course referring to a mentor. A mentor is an invaluable resource that can help you immensely. For me, my mentor, in addition to helping me tremendously with my undergraduate career, also guided me towards my next step: a master’s degree in Communication from FDU, which I will begin next year.

Ultimately, how your college experience plays out is up to you. You have all the ingredients to make a fine gourmet dinner, or an insipid meal. The choice is up to you. Bon Appetit.

Budget could affect faculty’s salaries, benefits

FDU is looking for ways to balance the budget for the 2009-2010 academic year without raising tuition prices too much or taking services away from students.

As it stands right now, FDU is estimating that it will face a $3.4 million deficit next year. The administration is doing everything that it can to rectify this situation. Despite the projected deficit, President J. Michael Adams said he is committed to maintaining the same high level of services for students that are presently available.

In an interview, Adams outlined the three priorities the university has in dealing with the budget: “One, to maintain the integrity of the academic environment, two, to keep people employed, and three, ensure that the safety and security of the learning situation is maintained.”

Adams said that “this institution is in great condition.” A $3.4 million projected deficit may not sound very good, but overall, FDU is in good shape — compared to many other universities today that have resorted to job cuts and cutting courses.

Despite the economic downturn, FDU is committed to maintaining access and services for students. University Provost Joseph Kiernan said in an interview that next year, FDU “will be putting in the smallest percentage tuition increase that we have ever had — it’s only 3.9 percent.” That percentage has been lowered since The Metro first reported on the tuition increase in the Feb. 19 issue.

On top of that, the university is making substantial investments in financial aid beyond the normal amounts it has proposed in previous years.

Kiernan said that this extra money is to “help new students coming in and also for our existing students who run into problems renewing their loans or if their family situation changes and so forth. We are putting money aside so we can help students.”

John Schiemann, associate professor of political science, said that he “applauds the University’s desire not to raise tuition to cover the budget deficit,” but he expressed concern that the deficit would have to filled by reductions in faculty and staff salaries. Schiemann and other faculty members also articulated fears that FDU will be cutting salaries of faculty and staff by a blanket 6 percent.

In response to faculty concerns, College at Florham Provost Kenneth Greene said that FDU was not thinking about instituting a blanket 6 percent cut. He said that number simply came up because 1 percent of the monies spent on salaries is about $600,000 — thus 6 percent would yield $3.6 million and effectively fill the hole in the budget. Greene stressed that this number had not been voted on and “we never said that we were going to do it.”

Kiernan also added that “it’s just a simple statement: $3.4 million is about 6 percent of salaries. It’s just a guideline. There will not be 6 percent across the board. There will not be a similar same percentage on every salary level.”

Kiernan said of FDU’s budget that the majority of it is in compensation (salaries and benefits).
Schiemann said that the faculty want to be included in the budget decision process. He said that he wants “assurance that all other alternatives are being explored and transparency in how [the university] came to the budget conclusions.”

In an email, Greene said that the budget is developed by the University Planning and Budget Committee (UPBC), which has 11 members — “5 administrators chosen by the president, 5 faculty members elected by the faculty, and the president of the Professional Administrative Senate (Valerie Adams).” The UPBC drafts the budget and gives it to the president for final review.

Kiernan said the deficit “will be solved.” There’s probably “going to be some pain in many places, but the academic programs will be maintained, student services will be maintained and student support will be maintained.”

Kiernan did say, though, that salary or benefit reductions were “a possible solution. Assuming there are no layoffs or reductions in force, it has to be reductions in compensation.”

Of course, if enough students return in the fall, there may not be a deficit at all. The tricky thing about this budget is that FDU will not know how much money will be coming in until October when all the incoming freshmen and returning students are in.

According to Greene, if fewer students come to FDU, then the budget problem could be worse and inversely, if more students come to FDU, then the deficit may not be an issue.

To deal with the deficit, FDU has already instituted a limited hiring freeze.

As discussed in an April 9 story in The Metro, the hiring freeze does not apply to positions relating to student health andsafety. Kiernan stressed that if FDU was in a real financial emergency, then “even those things would be on the table,” and they are not.

Adams said that the university is committed to keeping people employed and maintaining the current learning environment for the students.

He also said that “the only real asset in a university is people. The buildings are nice, but the reality is it is what happens between faculty and students, between staff and students. I don’t want an environment where we are laying off and firing our main asset.”

As The Metro reported on April 23, FDU has had a 15 percent increase in freshman applications and a 25 percent increase in acceptances over past years. Greene said “the problem can get better and we hope it will. The problem can also get worse and we hope it won’t. We will know in the fall. The budget is based on a conservative projection of the numbers.”

Kiernan stressed that no matter what happens with the economy and the budget, FDU will get through it.

“This is a very resilient organization, and it has survived many challenges that other institutions would not have. We will get through this,” he said.

Greene will hold a campus meeting about the budget on Tuesday, May 12, at 3 p.m. at a location not yet announced.

DAN LANDAU
Photo Editor

Reflections on Paul Newman

On Friday, October 3, the theaters on Broadway dimmed their lights for one minute. Power failure? Hardly. As a final nod from the entertainment industry to one of its favorites, the lights were dimmed at 8:00pm to honor Paul Newman. Newman passed away on September 26, at the age of 83 from lung cancer, according to the BBC. While he is most known for his exceptional acting career, Newman also owned a food company (called Newman’s Own), drove racecars, and had one of Hollywood’s longest marriages; (he and his wife, Joanne Woodward, celebrated their Golden Anniversary this past January).

Although Newman only won one Oscar as an actor (for his performance in “The Color of Money”), his film resume is still quite impressive; in fact, imdb.com lists almost 100 appearances in movies and TV shows. For some, Newman will always be Butch Cassidy in 1969’s “Butch Cassidy” and “The Sundance Kid,” but Newman was so much more. He played the brooding hero, Ari Ben Canaan in “Exodus,” and just as easily, Newman played the colorful and crass coach in “Slapshot.” Even at 76, he was still in demand, playing the crime boss John Rooney in 2002’s “Road to Perdition.” In 2003, Newman was nominated for an Oscar (for “Road to Perdition” (2002)), a Tony (for “Our Town”), and an Emmy (for “Our Town” (2003)(TV))—all within a span of five months, according to imdb.com.

According AARP Magazine, Newman’s wife said that Newman fell in love with auto racing while costarring with her in the 1969 Indy-500 film “Winning.” However, his auto racing career was no act. He owned half of the Champ Car (Formula 1 racing) team Newman-Haas. Newman came in second place in the 1979 Le Mans race in a Porshe 935. He is also listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest driver to win a professionally sanctioned race (the 1995 Daytona).

Newman had other interests beyond acting and racing: in 1982, Newman founded the food company Newman’s Own. According to imdb.com, the only way he could reconcile being a “whore” with his “face on the label” of Newman’s Own’s products, was to give away all the money he made through Newman’s Own. In 2005, Newman revealed in an interview with AARP Magazine, that Newman’s Own has donated $175 million in profits to charity. About selling food, Newman once remarked that “the embarrassing thing is that my salad dressing is out-grossing my films,” according to AARP Magazine.

Adam Sandler included Newman in the 1994 version of the “Chanukah Song (part 1)” when he sang “Paul Newman’s half-Jewish, Goldie Hawn’s half too / Put them together, what a fine-looking Jew.” Indeed, Newman was famous for his chiseled features and washboard abs. His irresistible good looks along with his trademark blue eyes made him a Hollywood heartthrob.

And although his looks and superstar status would have certainly let him sample Hollywood’s smorgasbord of extramarital delights (indeed, he said that during the filming of 1963’s “Hud,” women were literally breaking into his room according to imdb.com), he remained true to his (second) wife, Joanne Woodward, according to imdb.com. His now-famous line on why he never strayed from Woodward was “Why go out with a hamburger, when you have a steak at home?” Woodward on their marriage, said, “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh everyday, now that’s a real treat,” according to About.com.

According to AARP Magazine, Newman and Woodward met each other on the Broadway play “Picnic;” Newman had a part and Woodward was an understudy. Shortly after Newman’s divorce from Jackie Witte, Newman and Woodward were married, and together they had three daughters.

Paul Newman has joined the ranks of Hollywood’s greatest deceased actors, a list that includes men like his former friend, Charlton Heston, who passed on earlier this year, Jimmy Stewart, and Gary Cooper. These were all men who worked during a time when Hollywood took itself seriously. Goodbye Paul Newman.

DAN LANDAU
Photo Editor

Public Safety’s new cars help FDU go green

You may have noticed Public Safety’s new wheels. What are these cars—some kind of futuristic golf carts? Smart Cars? Pregnant roller skates? These cars are actually none of the above: they are electric cars and they represent the latest step in Fairleigh Dickinson University’s quest to be green.

The Public Safety departments of both the College at Florham and the Metropolitan Campus have each received two of these brand new electric cars.

“The purchases of the electric cars were part of a university-wide conservation effort,” said Campus Provost Kenneth Greene.

“Glenn Gates, the Assistant Campus Director for Public Safety, said in an interview that these cars are making “a definite impact.” However, it is too soon to know how much of an impact though.

The new Public Safety cars are the e2 model, built by Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), a Chrysler company. They seat two people and are classified as “low-speed vehicles or neighborhood electric vehicles” by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The e2 has a top speed of 25mph and according to the manufacturer, has a range of 30 miles.

Since Public Safety has two cars, at least one of them is always in use. On a full charge, each car can operate for one or two 8-hour shifts. Although when used at night (that is, with lights), the batteries last only a fraction of how long they would otherwise run during the day.
Also, charging the batteries can take up to eight hours. Public Safety will also keep some of its gas-powered vehicles because it needs to transport equipment that the e2s cannot carry.

According to the GEM’s website, the e2 is powered by six 12-volt flooded electrolyte batteries which are charged with the onboard 72-volt DC charger. This charger plugs into a (standard) 110-volt AC 15-amp outlet.

The good things about these cars, is that they are completely electric and use no gasoline. Since they do not run on petroleum products, they also have no tailpipe emissions, so they are environmentally friendly. And according to GEM, they are “built domestically, primarily with U.S. supplier components.”

These are notable aspects about the GEM e2 cars, but they do come at a cost. The base MSRP for the e2 is $6,795. FDU purchased four of them for about $12,500 each.

“It’s hard to say how long it will take to recoup the costs of the cars,” said Greene. “Depending on the price of gas it could be 2-5 years.” This estimate does not factor in the cost of electricity for charging the batteries on the cars—a cost that neither Public Safety nor the University Administration is aware of at this time.

Also unknown, is how they will do in the winter. Gates said that because “we’re still in the early stages of using [the cars],” that the University doesn’t know about the maintenance that may be needed, or the reliability, etc. of these cars.

Greene said that “We are waiting to see how effective the electric cars are. Will they hold up to the extensive use we expose them to?”

Despite these unknowns and the costs associated with the vehicles, the University is happy with them. Greene commented in an email that “I think buying the cars will save up money and more importantly, promote a greener environment on campus.”

Gates echoed these statements in an interview and said that “we like them and we feel they are effective for patrolling the campus.”

DAN LANDAU
Published in the October 2, 2008 Metro issue.

Reflections on Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston, America’s film prophet, passed away at 84 years old on April 5 in his Beverly Hills home. As an actor, Heston was known for his stellar performances in epics like “Ben Hur” (for which he won the 1959 Best Actor Academy Award). Beyond his acting career, he enjoyed a great deal of notoriety for his controversial political activism—activism that included marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. and as the president of the National Rifle Association (NRA). With his passing, America lost more than a man; America lost a legend.

Charlton Heston—whose stage name came from his mother’s and stepfather’s surnames—made his movie debut in the 1942 independent film “Peer Gynt,” according to imdb.com Following this, Heston starred in various low-budget films. A decade later, Heston got his big break in the film “The Greatest Show on Earth.” A few years later, he portrayed Moses in the classic “beards-and-bathrobes” film “The Ten Commandments” (1956).

In 1959, Heston starred in his greatest role: “Ben Hur.” Ben Hur won a record 11 Academy Awards. This record has only been matched by “Titanic” and “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

Rounding out Heston’s epic film hat trick is the 1961 film “El Cid,” according to imdb.com. In this film, Heston played the role of El Cid, the renowned Spanish hero of the Reconquista (reconquest of Spain from the Moors in the Middle Ages). As in “Ben Hur” and “The Ten Commandments,” in “El Cid,” Heston portrayed a highly principled character who, while refusing to compromise his strict sense of honor, strove against enormous odds.

In short, Heston’s characters were heroes and leaders.

Likewise, Heston was a leader in real life. He served as the president of the Screen Actor’s Guild and chairman of the American Film Institute. His most famous leadership role, however, was the one which also brought him the most notoriety: president of the NRA (1998-2003).

Heston’s film characters were men who stood up and fought for what was right—like Moses against Pharoah. Offscreen, Heston also stood up and fought for freedom: in the 1950s, he marched for civil rights with Martin Luther King, Jr. Later on, he took a stand for gun rights and became the face of the Second Amendment for millions of gun owners across the country. Heston attracted notoriety for his political stances, but he wasn’t afraid to stand up for what was right. As Bob Dylan said to Channel 21 NEws, “Charlton gets a bad rap for his strong conservative beliefs and involvement with the NRA, but truth to tell, he was a strong advocate for civil rights, many years before it became fashionable.”

Despite his lengthy career as an actor, Heston’s most famous quote came in 2000 when after being presented with an antique musket, he proclaimed “from my cold, dead hands!” This became a rallying cry for the NRA and remains so to this day.

In 2003, Heston received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. At the time, President Bush remarked “the largeness of character that comes across the screen has also been seen throughout his life,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Heston’s family said in a statement, “Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life. He was known for his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders and resonating voice, and, of course, for the roles he played. No one could ask for a fuller life than his. No man could have given more to his family, to his profession, and to his country.”

Heston was a glorious anachronism, from a time when Hollywood took itself seriously and heroes came from history books, not comic books. Goodbye Charlton.

DAN LANDAU
Published in the May 1, 2008 issue of the Metro.

FDU to unveil new site this month

On Memorial Day Weekend, Fairleigh Dickinson University is planning to go live with its new and enhanced website. This new website features a complete cosmetic makeover along with the implementation of a powerful new recruitment tool called “active admission.” Essentially, active admission will offer prospective students a very personalized experience at FDU.edu.

This new website is being built by Datatel, the company that manages FDU’s records; this will create a very seamless website for everyone to enjoy.

These are big changes that have been a long time in coming. In fact, the Admissions, Communications and Marketing, and MIS departments have been working together for about a year to fashion this new website.

This new website will replace the website that was created two years ago. Two years ago, the University contracted with a company called Ripple Effect for a new website. This resulted in the current website—a website that is in general, very cumbersome to use. Datatel then bought a design firm called Liquid Matrix. Since Datatel could offer these new design capabilities, FDU decided to contract them to create a new website for the University. The options that Datatel could offer were “a win-win situation ” as Art Petrosemolo, the associate vice president of communications and marketing, put it,

The new Datatel-built website will offer far more flexibility in updating the website. Currently, the website is bound by Ripple Effect’s content-management system—a system which utilizes very limiting templates for updating. Datatel’s content-management system is far more comprehensive that Ripple Effect’s and will even allow embedded java scripts and flash video on the website’s pages. More technological benefits of the new website include a physically lager site: the current site is configured for a screen that is 800 pixels wide. The new website will be 1000 pixels wide.

Students can view mock ups of the new website and some of it’s pages, at http://www.fdu.edu/2008/comingattractions.

“The structure of the website will not change in a big way,” said William Kennedy, the director of web operations.

This is mainly because a university’s website homepage must provide access to a lot of “As”—that is, Admissions, Alumni/Alumnae, Athletics, and Academics. This is all very standard for any college or university.

The biggest change, besides the obvious cosmetic makeover, is the active admissions tool. In fact the whole website change was driven by the Admissions office for this very thing. The way active admissions works, is when a prospective student visits FDU.edu, they will be asked to fill out a very brief questionnaire. They will give their name, their intended major, and outside interests. Based on the information given, the website will customize itself for that particular student. Additional visits to the website from that same computer will provide that same personalized experience.

For example, let’s say Joe Prospective-Student visits FDU.edu and says he wants to be a biology major and he likes theater and football. The version of the homepage that he sees will include Web Headliner profiles of students and faculty in the biology department, recent articles written by the biology faculty, as well as reviews of the latest plays by the theater department and the scores from the last football game. Jon Wexler, the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, said that for active admissions, the “idea is to really customize the experience that prospective students are getting and show them what they can get from the school.”

Wexler described it as an important step in the “continuous communication” that the University wants to have with the students; communication that starts with recruitment and extends “all the way through their experience” into alumni/alumnae relations.

This new website will certainly help in attracting new students while at the same time, solidifying the decisions made by prospective students. The new website will allow prospective students to take ownership and become more informed about things earlier in the process.

One of these improvements, which although is not a part of the vaunted new website, is coincidentally appearing around the same time, is a new Google-driven internal search engine. This will replace the existing content-management system, which certainly leaves a lot to be desired. Kennedy stated that this addition to the site “will go a long way to relieving the frustrations people have found with the existing searching capability.”

As for current students, you too can have a voice in this.

Weler would like to hear from current students about your thoughts on the new website: is it hard to navigate? Is there something that the University should be promoting more? Etc. Send all comments to jwexler@fdu.edu.

As current students, we will not receive the customized profiles that the prospective students receive; however we should benefit from the overall improvements to the website.

DAN LANDAU
Published in the May 1, 2008 issue of The Metro.

Students urged to donate textbooks

Are you tired of selling your books back to the bookstore for a fraction of what you paid? Then instead of dealing with the bookstore-textbook-buyback, donate your books to students in Afghanistan.

Fairleigh Dickinson University is working in conjunction with Follett, the company that manages the bookstore, to collect used textbooks to provide to Afghani college and university students.

The university is looking for books covering science, American literature and history, Shakespeare’s plays, American and English poetry, world history, and short stories. These books will be provided to students at the universties at Harat and Bamiyan in Afghanistan.

Art Petrosemolo, the associate vice president of communications for FDU is spearheading this project.

In 2006, Petrosemolo traveled to Afghanistan with Steve McCurry, who is an internationally renowned National Geographic photographer, famous for his “Afghan Girl” photo. Mr. McCurry and his sister Bonnie, a retired teacher, are both heavily involved in humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan.

Petrosemolo is working with Bonnie McCurry to gather students’ used textbooks and take them to Afghanistan where they will be put to good use.

The books will be sent to Bonnie McCurry and the students via the United Nations.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, an independent, international news organization, reported back in 2001, that the Taliban had destroyed the University of Bamiyan.

Bamiyan is a very remote place and there is an incredible shortage of textbooks for college students.

So, instead of selling your used textbooks this semester, why not give them to our Afghan colleagues?
Simply sign and insert a book label (which will be provided for you to sign) into each textbook and send them on their way.

DAN LANDAU
Published in the May 1, 2008 Issue.