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By Leah Zarra – Managing Editor

Photo by Justin Camejo

Photo by Justin Camejo

When she first began writing women’s interest stories in 1962, the producers of “The Today Show” worried that the audience wouldn’t take a female co-host seriously. “It was another time, a whole other world,” Walters remembered. “My big breakthrough came when I was able to write for the men, it wasn’t being on the air,” she explained, adding that this meant she was no longer limited to covering fashion shows. There had always been a male host, and Walters did not want to be known as the current ‘Today Girl.’ She was finally given the position of co-host following the death of Frank McGee, and according to her, “ever since then, women have been in every aspect of journalism.”

On journalism and media today, Walters told The Drew Acorn she’d like to see interviews longer than four minutes. She also wishes there were more news magazines, which don’t seem to exist anymore. Asked how she handles harsh criticism, including accusations of a lack of journalistic ethics, Walters responded, “I’ve never heard that. Nobody has ever accused me of that.” She went on to say that when she is in the news, “I try not to read them, and I tell people not to show them to me. You forget the good reviews and the bad ones stay with you… It’s not helpful.”

She later opened her speech by requesting the lights shining in her eyes be turned off, asking if it would then be too dark for the audience to see her. The spotlights went off, among audience mumbles that it was indeed too dark. Showing off the tee-shirt she received from her earlier session with Drew’s Baldwin Honors students, Walters was happy to talk about a few of her past interviews.

I save my toughest questions for the end. I often ask what the biggest misconception about them is, and they tell me all the criticism of themselves, so I don’t have to ask. – Barbara Walters

Her discussion with President Barack Obama a few years ago was apparently friendly and enlightening. He told her about having dinner with his daughters every night, and asking their “rose and thorn,” when they each say the best and worst parts of their day. Obama revealed that the ‘rose’ of his presidency was the few days in May he’d been able to take bike rides and hike with his family; the ‘thorn’ having to sign letters to families of fallen soldiers in Afghanistan. A deep regret of the president’s is that he never learned a musical instrument, and that he didn’t focus enough on learning Spanish in school.

In preparing to interview world leaders and ask controversial questions, Walters said she does lots of homework, sometimes knowing more about the interviewee than they do themselves. “I save my toughest questions for the end. I often ask what the biggest misconception about them is, and they tell me all the criticism of themselves, so I don’t have to ask,” she said. Obama’s answer to this was the idea that he’s detached. Walters reported that he told her, “I’m a softie, stuff can choke me up real easy.”

Another favorite was Hillary Clinton, who has made “Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People” list four times, which is more than anyone else. She talked a bit about her time at Yale, when she met Bill Clinton who was handsome, whereas Hillary was scholarly and “not the greatest dresser.” Yet he fell for her, and Walters said, “I think she’s been in love with him ever since.” In one interview, Clinton was asked about the biggest choice she’s had to make, to which she responded “staying married to my husband” following his affair with Monica Lewinsky, who Walters also conducted an in-depth interview with. Walters thinks Clinton will end up running for president.

Other stand-out interviews she recounted include Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, actor Christopher Reeve, the Dalai Lama, and Katharine Hepburn. At the time she met the Dalai Lama, she was working on a program called ‘Heaven: What is it, How do You Get There?’ He stood out to her because, unlike the other religious leaders she spoke with who said the purpose of life is to get to heaven or paradise, he told her “the purpose is to be happy—through compassion and warm-heartedness.” Walters said she attempted to live like this, with no negative thinking or jealousy for a few days, but that she was extremely boring in that time.

She talked to Hepburn about marriage, careers and children, and whether or not women could have all three. Both women thought it not possible back then, Hepburn telling her, “if I were a man, I wouldn’t marry a woman with a career,” because careers are interesting and a woman would be more interested in her work than her husband. Walters thinks nowadays women have much more opportunity to succeed in all three. A question from the audience prompted her to discuss the hardest sacrifice she’d made in her life. Walters said “If you have children, trying to find a balance in your life is hard. You’ll always feel guilty about the time you didn’t spend with them. I think all of us are trying to find balance.”

Another audience member asked her opinion on Edward Snowden, and what one question she would ask. Walters said she never answers this, stating “I’d love the opportunity to interview him, and I’d take more than two seconds to decide my question.”

Qualities of leadership she recommended was to choose something that you really want to do, which need not necessarily be a career, marriage or children, and have someone to love and who loves you. She also advised having spirituality, even if it is not necessarily religion, but ethics. To students aspiring to a career in journalism, she said “get your foot in the door—and do your homework.”

Walters’ most values legacy is the opportunity she had “to pave the way for women in my industry.” She was proud just to have been able to interview some of the most important men and women of our time, which was “a remarkable opportunity.” Despite the sacrifices and hard work, Walters ended her speech with some optimistic insight: “I can promise whatever decision you make is the right one. I can also promise you’ll think it isn’t.”

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By Ashleigh Fernandez – Staff Writer

There have been multiple concerns about the Preliminary Report for Drew2017, which was recently released by the Steering Committee. The Drew2017 Town Hall meeting, which was held on Wednesday, saw a huge crowd of Drewids, incuding students, faculty, staff and alumni who sought to express their discontent about the possible elimination of particular academic programs.

Michael Groener, the CFO at Drew, brought up the three objectives of Drew2017, the first of which is to prioritize committee responsibilities. The second objective is to review and reorganize the administration and the third is the three-year budget planning.

A Finalized Preliminary Report will be released on March 28 to allow the Steering Committee time to review and discuss changes before distribution. This report will include a projection for 2015 and summary conclusions that relate to the budget. “What can I say about the budget for 2015?” Groener asked. “Drew must have as close to a balanced budget as possible by the end of the fiscal year 2017.”

“We cannot cut our way out of this financial crisis. The logical conclusion is to allow Drew to grow by attracting more students and creating new programs. With INTO, we are naming ourselves an international school. How is it going to look when we cut all our international studies programs?” —Jonathan Rose, professor of history on the possible elimination of the History and Culture Ph.D. program.

Many individuals at the Town Hall meeting had much to say about the Preliminary Report released on March 5. “We cannot cut our way out of this financial crisis. The logical conclusion is to allow Drew to grow by attracting more students and creating new programs. With INTO, we are naming ourselves an international school. How is it going to look when we cut all our international studies programs?” Jonathan Rose from the History & Culture Ph.D program stated.

Many of the speakers emphasized the fact that their programs generated profit and felt as though it would be more logical for Drew to keep the programs. Rose specifically mentioned that the History & Culture Graduate Program in 2014 earned a profit of approximately $2,600. Peter Mably, a student of the History & Culture program, also outlined his concerns.

“Why is a program that is making so much money being eliminated?” he questioned, “The only problem with this program would be that there is a poor job market for the Humanities Ph.D. However, for the students that find this field of study their passion, it is hard for them to accept the changes that the preliminary report stated.”

Jacqueline Hart, president of Graduate Student Association, brought up her issues with the elimination of the Master of Fine Arts in Poetry (MFA) Program. “There are no other MFA programs that allow students to focus mainly on poetry. This program receives more publicity than any other and it would be a very big loss to us,” she expressed.

Jane Sartel, who also spoke in defense of the MFA program, stated that it is a premier program around the world. “It has only been here for 5 years,” Sartel said.  “Because of the stature of the faculty and the accomplishments of the students, it really does deserve to be evaluated because it will benefit the international students who will be coming in.”

Many students are quite upset about the elimination of the programs that broaden their minds on an international level, such as Pan-African Studies. Khemani Gibson (‘13), a student who majors in Pan-African Studies, History and Spanish, expressed his feelings at the Town Hall meeting in regards to this. “Pan-African Studies was one of the first programs I stuck with,” he stated. He continued by declaring that the Pan-African Studies Department itself does not have many courses, and the courses from other departments required for the major are expected to still exist. “How expensive is the program that you have to cut these few courses that allow the Pan-African Studies program to exist at Drew?” he questioned.

“For an institution that tries to embody a liberal arts education, they are saying that this course is not that important and that’s what got me kind of upset.” —Khemani Gibson (‘13)

Gibson also mentioned the importance of students possessing the skills to understand the racial incidents that occur in the United States everyday and having a better understanding of people and their respective cultures. “For an institution that tries to embody a liberal arts education, they are saying that this course is not that important and that’s what got me kind of upset. Pan-African Studies enabled me to study in two countries, the Dominican Republic and South Africa,” he stared. Lastly, Gibson stated that most of the graduate schools he applied to accepted him due to the skills he gained from his Pan-African Studies major.

Dr. Carol Ueland, a professor from the Russian Department, provided some statistics describing why the Russian Studies major should not be eliminated. “Probably 30-40 students a year study Russian,” she stated. “What we are asking INTO students to do is complete immersion. Why do Chinese students hang out with other Chinese students? It’s because they need other students who understand their language and culture. How will they feel coming to a school without programs that incorporate their culture?” Ueland also expressed that the Russian Program has 700 alums and now that it is up for elimination, four students have already left Drew.

In response to all the concerns expressed by individuals connected to these Programs, the Steering Committee created a webpage set up for Drew 2017: https://www.drew.edu/drew2017/, where helpful information can be found, such as the preliminary report. The first clarification the Steering Committee wanted to make to the Drew Community is that throughout the report, they speak of programs (majors, minors, graduate degrees etc.), not courses. Therefore, the elimination of a program will not result in the elimination of courses in that subject from the curriculum. In addition, the committee feels that the study of the historical and contemporary experiences of racial and religious minorities is of vital importance to a liberal arts curriculum. In addition, the committee believes that the study of the moral issues lying at the heart of humanistic learning and liberal arts education must continue to find a place in Drew’s course load.

The Steering Committee wants to emphasize that their recommendations for the academic programs are concerned with prioritizing them. They believe that the prioritization of programs will benefit all students by making Drew a financially sustainable institution, which will focus on providing all students with a quality educational experience.

In order to come to a decision of the best courses to eliminate, the committee gathered information through written reports required from each department and program on campus, both academic and administrative. Also, on the academic side, they received reports from the Dean’s Council of each of the three schools with their rankings of their own programs. With a great deal of discussion and debate, the committee voted on each of the programs and required a supermajority of two out of three before a program’s ranking was finalized.

A preliminary report with final recommendations will go to the President, Senior Administration and Trustees before final decisions are made.

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By Phillipe AbiYouness – Staff Writer

After months of deliberative meetings and discussions, Drew University has further opened its doors to the international world by officially signing an agreement with INTO University Partnerships.

This agreement will allow Drew to bring in a larger number of international students to its campus. As elucidated in a statement released by President for the Interim Term Vivian A. Bull, the university is expecting to bring in 130 new international students to campus in the Fall 2014 Term.This will increase Drew’s standing as a university that operates on a fairly international scale, as it brought in about 40 international students in the most recent freshman class.

International students will take one of three paths of education once at Drew University explained by Sara Waldron, dean of Student Life & Campus Affairs. Firstly, there is the possibility of “direct admission for those who have proficiency in English,” and the other two programs allow students to either combine English proficiency training with an academic program or to focus solely on the English preparation.

“This is an opportunity that students are going to jump on, being able to go to a school like this and explore New York while taking advantage of Drew’s academic programs.” —John Ferrara, Drew’s international admissions representative

After two years, students will be given the option to either stay at Drew or transfer to either a school that has an articulation agreement with Drew or an INTO partner school.The notion of signing an agreement with INTO first appealed to University officials in 2013 when INTO expressed an interest in Drew because of its proximity to New York and its liberal arts standing.

In pursuing this potential partnership, the university held a series of meetings with INTO officials to negotiate a solid partnership. Last month, during the finalizing stages of this agreement, Drew was visited by 90 recruiters from INTO for four days so representatives from the program could get a more solidified image of Drew and what it had to offer.

INTO also has partnership agreements with Colorado State University, Oregon State University, the University of South Florida, Marshall University and George Mason University. This makes Drew the first small liberal arts school that is located near the New York Metropolitan area to sign with this pathways program.

“It was kind of going into unexplored waters because all of this had to be mapped out clearly so that we could plan ahead,” said International Admissions Representative John Ferrara. “This is an opportunity that students are going to jump on, being able to go to a school like this and explore New York while taking advantage of Drew’s academic programs.”

While university officials expressed confidence in the benefits this agreement will bring to Drew, students did not immediately take a liking to this program.

“Students I’ve spoken with were skeptical at first.  However, we spoke with SG and have met with individual students about concerns,” said Waldron. “As more information became available, I believe many students are excited about the positive changes that can occur in the community, both academically and socially, with more international students on campus.”

Students have voiced a variety of differing opinions on the solidification of this recent agreement.

“I think it’s good, but I think it will be weird if the whole school is filled with international students. To be honest I’m kind of indifferent,” said Rachel Rubin (’17).

“A big issue will be to try to find a way to not make them [the new INTO students] feel alienated on campus,” said Khalil Van-Sertima (’15). “Not only are they at college but they’re in a different country. We have to help facilitate their adjustment.”

Ferarra assured that the admission of new international students would not affect the standing of domestic students and applicants.

“Our goal here at admissions is to bring students in for direct admission at Drew, that’s not gonna change especially with domestic territories,” he said. “We hold the same standards for international students as well as domestic, in terms of financial aid and scholarship. We want to award our students for the work that they’re doing, whether they’re domestic or international.”

Overall, Drew University faculty has emphasized the potential benefit that this agreement will bring to the university, diversifying and enriching the campus and student population.

The first group of INTO international students will arrive on campus at the start of the next fall semester. The university hopes to reach a number of 500 enrolled INTO international students in the next five years.

“The INTO partnership is an exciting venture for the Drew community and helps us build on our longstanding international programs at home and abroad, including launching the first United Nations Semester in the country in 1962,” said Bull in an article published in the Madison Eagle. “Inviting more international undergraduates to join the Drew community offers the rest of the student body the opportunity to learn with, and from, their global peers, giving them an advantage in a highly connected world.”

 

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By Janel Gist – Assistant News Editor

The Drew2017 preliminary report has called for the elimination of 12 minors, four majors and five other programs currently offered at Drew. The proposed cuts have caused outrage with students who plan to major or minor in any of these areas. These cuts are not final, and the report was presented to the Drew community, University Senate, the three Dean’s Councils and the student governments for feedback and response. The response to these cuts has been anger and outrage from students which was seen at Wednesday’s Town Hall Meeting and through other forums of feedback from students.

One of the possible eliminations is the Dance minor, which has caused a lot of outrage from current students and alumni. There is currently a “Save the Drew University Dance Minor!” group on Facebook with 361 members that features testimonials from former Drew Dance minors and current students on the importance of preserving the minor. Rosemary McLaughlin, Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, explained, “we are the Theatre and Dance department because Dance is an essential part of who we are and what we do.  Dance is a thriving Minor at Drew, with 12-15 students in any given year, making it larger than many CLA majors.”

“I think it’s ridiculous these programs may be cut. I understand German is not a huge major compared to business or economics, but the language itself is so vital in today’s international economy.” —Stephi Danckert (’14)

Alexandra Brown (’14) shared how being a Dance minor has enriched her experience at Drew. “Being a dance minor at Drew has helped me become more confident. Through my participation in the Dance minor, I have learned new things about myself through the challenges I have had to face, either learning a dance or creating one in choreography. The opportunities that I have been given through this program, I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere else.”

Other areas of study in danger of being cut include languages, particularly the German major and Russian minor. Stephi Danckert, a German and History double major (’14) expressed, “I think it’s ridiculous these programs may be cut. I understand German is not a huge major compared to business or economics, but the language itself is so vital in today’s international economy. Germany has one of the world’s leading economies and is helping to increase research in the sciences. The language is spoken in several countries in Europe and is used in a variety of disciplines (philosophy, sciences, music, etc.)”

Besides languages and the Dance minor, the Classics major is also in danger of being cut. Classics is a liberal art tradition, and the study of Greek and Roman literature and language has been a part of liberal arts educations since the beginning. Caitlin Mattera (’14) said about the loss of the Classics major, “I’m really disappointed that Classics might be eliminated in the next few years because studying the Classics has been an important part of my education here at Drew. I think Classics is a really important component of a well-rounded, liberal arts education.  In my Classics classes, I have studied ancient literature, language, religion, history, art, architecture, philosophy and science. I hope that students will continue taking courses and minoring in Classics so Drew doesn’t lose this vital element from our campus.”

Other programs that could be cut include a lot of the diversity-centered minors like the Asian Studies major and minor, European Studies minor, Holocaust Studies minor, Jewish Studies minor, Latin American Studies minor, Middle Eastern Studies minor and Pan-African Studies major. Aiyanna Davis (‘17) a political science major interested in the Middle Eastern Studies minor said, “the Middle Eastern Studies program is one of the things that drew me to this school. Wanting to go into international politics, it is important to have these programs. The Middle East is and is going to continue to be an important area of the world to understand and connect with. Young people, like students at Drew, need to begin to understand this, and cutting these programs is just going to prevent us from getting a chance to do so.”

The MFA Program in Poetry is one of Drew University’s solutions, not one of its problems. Poetry is a vital aspect to any Liberal Arts Institution that wants to be taken seriously as such. The only reason put forward by the Steering Committee to eliminate the MFA Program was financial. —Sean Nevin, director of the MFA program in poetry & poetry translation.

Several other programs also face elimination including the Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry which is a very successful program at Drew. The program has produced many alumni who have published books and won awards. Sean Nevin, Director of the MFA in Poetry & Poetry in Translation said “The MFA Program in Poetry is one of Drew University’s solutions, not one of its problems. Poetry is a vital aspect to any Liberal Arts Institution that wants to be taken seriously as such. The only reason put forward by the Steering Committee to eliminate the MFA Program was financial. Yet, in the past eighteen months the MFA has begun to turn a profit and has implemented several strategies which will increase future revenue even more significantly.”

Other areas of study in jeopardy include the Bio-anthropology major, Public Health minor, Linguistics Studies minor, Medieval Studies minor and World Literature minor. Programs that face elimination include the Education program at Saint Elizabeth’s and History & Culture Ph.D.

The elimination of any program will affect students in some way, and the community has until March 28 to provide input and campaign to save various programs. The committee will meet again after that to make changes to the preliminary report that will eventually be incorporated into the final report and become a reality.

 

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By Leah Zarra – Managing Editor

Last night the winners of the Student Government (SG) General  elections were revealed. Hetika Shah (’15) was announced as SG President with running mate Dylan Jones (’15), beating out preidential/vice-presidential candidates Mark Patronella (’15) and Khalil Sertima (’15) by 14 votes, and Omaru Washington (’15) and Midori Tagawa (’15) by 28 votes.

Candidates Thomas Butschi (’15) and Andrei Kovacs (’15) went out of the running after losing the primary election on Tuesday.

Michael Gualtieri (’16) was as well elected to chair the SOAB and Raphael Tshitoko (’15) elected to chair the B&A. Jones said it was “the most highly contested election since the inception of Student Government three years ago.”

Shah and Jones have both been involved with SG since their freshman years, showing they are “very dedicated to Drew University and Student Government,” as stated by Jones. Shah has served as a senator, executive secretary and chief of staff as well as being involved with other organizations, on campus such as SASA (South Asian Student Association) and the Dining committee.

Jones has been the SG elections chair, a member of the steering committee and is currently the only student representative to Drew2017. Things that the team plans to address in their term include: merging SOAB with B&A, challenging the room-rental charges recently imposed by facilities, bringing back TOE (The Other End) and increasing school spirit.

At the SG primary debate on Monday night in which all candidates shared their platforms, Shah said she wants to have more “student fun nights” and offer cupcakes, ice cream and other treats to get students excited and involved. “It’s a great way to talk to a lot of students and hear their concerns,” Shah said.

Jones suggested putting prizes in blue and green balloons around campusas a way to increase school spirit and improve outreach to students who may not normally know about SG meetings and events.

Gualtieri would like to push for clubs to have a louder voice in SG, since they “represent people who don’t really have a voice otherwise.” He noted the poor turnout at many school events, something he is disappointed by. “There should be people asking questions and staying informed, but nobody pays attention to what’s going on,” he said. Addressing a poor retention rate and hopes of improving that, Gualtieri upheld that “collaboration is the key.”

When asked what the candidates wish their lasting legacy to be, Shah replied that she wants to be remembered as a great leader on campus. “I want to be known as the one who reached out to every student and let them know they could come to me for help,” she said. Tshitoko added that he wants to “promote an environment that is a community that people feel comfortable and content living in… We should be a very proud student body—we need to proliferate that idea.”

Current SG President Andrew Bishop (’14) expressed, “I was very pleased with the turnout for this election.  I think that SG could improve on getting the word out that elections are happening for next year to make sure that we have even more turnout than we had this year.” He added that “all candidates did a really phenomenal job campaigning, and I’m quite pleased with how everything turned out.”

Bishop, Vice President Carmine Biancamano, and the whole of SG have expressed thanks to Attorney General Michael Pellessier (’15) and Elections Chair Nycole Nurse (‘16) for their hard work and dedication in organizing the election.

Tshitoko said, “I’m quite ecstatic.  I’m excited for the coming semester as well as working together with my new senate.”

Shah added, “we’re super-excited to get started on this. I’m really proud of all the candidates and students that participated.  We had a great voter turnout.”

Shah and Jones will be officially sworn in on Sunday at Crawford Hall at 7 p.m.

In case you missed it...

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By Phillipe AbiYouness - Staff Writer After months of deliberative meetings and discussions, Drew University has further opened its doors to the international world by...