News + Views

Falling Further Behind

No Child Left Behind failing disadvantaged students

By Kendra Sundal

While political candidates and media preoccupy themselves with health care and immigration debates, our public schools are failing countless children. No Child Left Behind receives growing criticism from educators and families, while simultaneously receiving less funding than is necessary to make it a success. One of the most troubling aspects of the law, which is often overlooked in these debates, reinforces educational inequalities by systematically according failing status to schools with large numbers of special needs students and English language learners.

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Lawsuit questions U.S. Indian law

Onondaga Nation land suit reveals racism in treatment of Indians 

By Byard Duncan


Ada Jacques can talk. I’ve seen it. She has no trouble stringing words together, conveying her ideas, or even cracking the occasional joke. The stories she tells often jump capriciously from topic to topic and can seamlessly stretch minutes into hours. When she laughs, the sly crinkles of skin that shoot from the corner of each almond eye tighten, and her hands—cracked and strong from years of shaping clay—tap cheerily on her kitchen table.

She can walk, too. She’s 79, and though her gait may be a bit more measured now than it was in her youthful days on the softball field, it still exudes a quiet confidence. She floats briskly about her house without clutching banisters or leaning on a cane.
Ada, a member of the Onondaga Nation—the Iroquois Confederacy’s sovereign capital, located a few miles south of Syracuse, N.Y.—seems to have all the makings of a human being: she lives in a house, walks, talks, makes coffee, goes to church; yet, according to the State of New York, her status as such is just the opposite. To them, Ada Jacques is not actually a person.  

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Approaching VisibiliT

The LGBT film series on gender identity

By Julie Pergolini

“I have been living stealth for more than three years now, and there are no outward signs of my past. I have taken everything on the Internet that disclosed my trans status down and have changed nearly all of my documentation in an attempt to obliterate the trail.”

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No More Forums

Racial conflict in the Ithaca City School District

By Emily McNeill

On the afternoon of Oct. 1, more than 80 community members, college students, parents and Ithaca High School students held a rally in front of the Ithaca City School District administration building. After about an hour of speeches and chanting, a few dozen marched inside to demand a meeting with Superintendent Judith Pastel. They were given no appointment but waited in Pastel’s outer office until she agreed to meet with them – outside. In the bright Indian summer sunlight, Pastel listened to concerns about the district’s response to a racially charged lawsuit and stories about racism at Ithaca High School. Then, say protestors, she interrupted an IHS student mid-sentence to say “thank you,” turned and walked back into the administration building. The police locked the door behind her.

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I’ll Go Back Someday

Exiled Tibetans on China’s Campaign of Cultural Genocide

By Briana Kerensky

From a young age, Tenzin Norbu knew that he wanted to leave his family’s struggling dairy farm behind. He became a Tibetan Buddhist monk, yet he does not live in Tibet. Instead, the place he calls home is a small house turned monastery hidden away in the suburban sprawl of Ithaca, New York.

“From a young age, I wished to become a monk,” he said. “I wanted to help a lot of people in a spiritual way. But I could not do this when I was in Tibet. To become a monk, one must take an oath and vows from a spiritual teacher, but there is no monastery where I am from.”

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Off-Roading on the Trail of Tears

On Jeep’s Decision to Replace the Cherokee With the Patriot

My friend gets a new car because his old one dies. It’s a Jeep Patriot; I have a 1995 Jeep Cherokee Sport. He laughs because the Patriot replaced the Cherokee, he thinks it’s ironic, so do I, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

It’s ironic that two patriotically named cars replaced the Native American named Jeep. Some might complain that naming an SUV after a Native American tribe is exploitative, but as a person of Native American descent, I want to make it known that I feel the Cherokee people would have been proud to be represented by a car that was so innovative, popular, and enduring.

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It Means, Like, Hope or Something

Model Citizen Tattoo and Body Modification as a Rite of Passage

Where are some of the most painful places to get one?’ I asked James as I could hear the needles turn on. He began tracing the outline along my lower ribs.

My third tattoo. A tree my friend designed a week previous for an advertising class. I saw her sketch and knew I wanted it.

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Got Your Whole Block on Lockdown

A Look at Residential Life’s New 24-Hour Lock Policy
Next fall, campus residence halls will be permanently locked under a key card access system – something the administration began discussing as early as 1998. But the tragic deaths of 33 students and faculty at Virginia Tech last April prompted the administration to implement 24/7 locking a year early.

“It was really about being able to justify, in light of Virginia Tech, leaving the residence halls open this year, knowing that in 2008 we’re committed to having them locked 24 hours a day,” said Bonnie Prunty, Director of Residential Life. “In 2008 we’re saying that we think it’s important to provide this extra level of security. Shouldn’t we start providing an extra level of security today?”

Now, six months after the shock of Virginia Tech, students are questioning whether the new lock policy is a simple solution to a complex problem.
“I think it’s largely a political and showy move,” said sophomore Cole Lechleiter. “I don’t think that this is a policy that really reflects the proper attitudes and actions that we should have towards preventing something like what happened at Virginia Tech.”
When Seung-Hui Cho attacked his fellow students and Virginia Tech faculty, 30 of his victims were murdered in an academic building while class was in session.

“So if they’re doing this in response to Virginia Tech, it would make more sense to lock the academic buildings, not the residence halls,” said sophomore Callie Tresser.

According to Bob Holt, Director of Public Safety, deciding whether to lock the academic buildings with the key card system is something the administration needs to work out. But looking back at Virginia Tech, it’s doubtful that locked academic buildings would have made the students safer.

“Keep in mind, Mr. Cho was a student, so he would have had a card that would let him in,” said Holt.

Thus, locking Ithaca College’s academic buildings would still leave more than 6,000 individuals able to enter as they pleased. It seems that even with a key card system, if an Ithaca College student wants to harm other students or faculty, it will be hard to keep them from doing so.

To prepare for an emergency situation, the college is in the process of installing a campus-wide emergency notification system. The system will allow Ithaca’s Core Emergency Response Team to communicate with students via their IC e-mail accounts and cell phone text messaging.

The idea is that when a threat – perhaps a lethal threat – is being posed to the student body, students in their rooms will receive an email outlining the danger and instructing them on what they should do next.

But what about the student who isn’t in his or her room, on the computer?
“A text message can only be so long,” says Prunty. “You can’t put all these instructions in it.”

Imagine receiving an emergency alert while walking in the Terrace quad. You live in Landon. The text doesn’t say what the threat is, or where or who it’s coming from. There are twelve buildings around you, and all could mean safety…but all are locked.

“If there is a shooting out in the open – which is the type of heinous crime we’re most afraid of – I think that brings up an interesting point that you might not be able to run into the nearest residence hall,” said Lechleiter.

The issue raises further questions about what students who are indoors should do when students attempting to find safety show up at their residence hall.

“I would definitely feel nervous about letting certain people in,” said freshman Crissy Warrington. “But I would still do so because odds are the one person at your door isn’t a threat.”

Not everyone is so optimistic.

“Who am I to judge who looks suspicious and who does not look suspicious?” asked Lechleiter. “It’s a difficult position.

Holt, who is a member of the Core Emergency Response Team, agrees.

“That takes us back to Mr. Cho,” he said. “He was part of the community. Are you going to leave him outside? How do you know that he was the one who caused it all? You don’t, you’d let him in. Is that what you want to do? I don’t know. That has to be worked out.”

by William Mathewson

Keep Your Caucus in the Closet

Conservative Sex Scandals and the Psychology of Denial

Florida’s state representative Mark Foley was a pioneer of legislation against child pornography and for making laws against sex offenders more stringent. In September 2006, a long-brewing scandal broke publicly concerning Foley’s exchange of sexually explicit instant messages with underage congressional pages.

Foley’s scandal launched investigation into a 1996 camping trip that Arizona State Representative Jim Kolbe took with two teenaged congressional pages. His behavior towards the teenagers was questionable according to several witnesses – “fawning, petting, and touching.” Though he eventually came out as a homosexual, while he was still in the closet he voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage act.

Most recently two legislators were caught soliciting sex in public restrooms. Florida State Representative Bob Allen, who had attempted to pass a bill criminalizing masturbation in front of another person (regardless of consent), was arrested for soliciting prostitution in a Florida public restroom. He offered 20 dollars to an undercover police officer to perform oral sex.

The latest and most public is Larry Craig. The Idaho senator had voted against extending rights to same-sex couples when he supported the Federal Marriage Amendment. He was arrested in August on suspicion of lewd conduct when he solicited gay sex from an undercover police officer in a public restroom.

Each of these politicians have in some way, to varying degrees, legislated against their own sexual behavior: crusading against child pornography while exchanging sexually explicit messages with underage pages; banning lewd public sex acts while seeking prostitution in a public restroom; voting against homosexual rights while engaging in homosexual sex.

One can even look beyond politics to find similar examples of this hypocrisy. In November 2006, a scandal broke surrounding Ted Haggard, the former leader of the National Association of Evangelicals. He allegedly had a methamphetamine-fueled homosexual tryst with a prostitute that spanned three years.

At first glance, the amalgamation of all of these cases may be overwhelming and confusing. Why are so many high-profile conservatives being revealed as hypocrites?
“It’s entirely predictable. There’s nothing really surprising about it,” says Hugh Stephenson, Associate Professor of Psychology at Ithaca College. To the psychological community, the behavior of Larry Craig was no surprise. In fact, anyone familiar with the Tearoom Trade study could have practically narrated the events of Craig’s encounter with an undercover police officer at the Minneapolis – St. Paul Airport.

As a graduate student of psychology at Washington University in the mid-1960s, Laud Humphreys conducted his Ph.D. dissertation on systematic impersonal sex between men in public restrooms – what he dubbed the Tearoom Trade. Though his methods were criticized on grounds of invading privacy, his findings were shocking.

A large percentage of the men partaking in sex in public restrooms fit the following profile: a happily married heterosexual father who is an upstanding and respected person among his community.

Why is this the case? Well, 38 percent of the subjects had marriages in which sex was infrequent or tension was high. As Dr. Joan Sieber of The Kennedy Institute writes, the Tearoom Trade was “a form of orgasm-producing action that was less lonely than masturbation and less involving than a love relationship.” So, it was more exciting than jacking off, but required less emotional and time consuming than a mistress. The risk of public ruin used to be less as well until law enforcement began interfering.

The involvement of police has been an issue of controversy. The American Civil Liberties Union has complained that the methods law enforcement officers use to catch men engaging in this type of public sex could be classified as entrapment. The Tearoom Trade is a system with its own codified language of toe-taps and other gestures. Police officers have been communicating within this language, inviting hopeful participants to engage in gay sex. However, instead of the anticipated blowjob, the men receive a badge flashed in their faces and handcuffs slapped on their wrists.

“The real motive behind secret sting operations like the one that resulted in Senator Craig’s arrest is not to stop people from inappropriate activity. It is to make as many arrests as possible – arrests that sometimes unconstitutionally trap innocent people,” said Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU in a press release.

The argument is that a person not wanting to participate would not respond to the various signals, and therefore does not stand at risk to unwanted sexual harassment. Police officers are playing the part of a hopeful participant, and thereby provoking men to commit a crime. Police departments counter saying that homosexual sex in restrooms is a public nuisance and this is the most effective way that they can stop it. Daryl Bem, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Cornell University suggests that a simple prominent positioning of a police officer would be sufficient to deter sexual activity in public restrooms.

But why are some of the most outwardly conservative members of the community turning out to be the most common participants in restroom sex? Even more important, why are they being found, more and more frequently, at the top levels of government?
It’s all the result of what Humphreys calls the “Breastplate of Righteousness.” Professor Stephenson suggests the best framework for understanding this phenomenon is Freudian psychodynamics.

“The difficult part of this is that the framework that makes this most interpretable is the psychodynamic framework - Freudian,” says Stephenson. “But Freudian is like a bad word. Some of Freud is really out there, but there are also some really common sense ideas.”
Reaction Formation, as applied directly to this situation, goes a little something like this. The person in question has fear and anxiety about homosexuality. While they may be, in fact, homosexual, they are not consciously aware of it. Their fear, however, causes them to speak out strongly against homosexuality.

Bem explains further: “The classic Reaction Formation example is the pornography crusader. By becoming a crusader they still get to look at all of these images.” Their work allows them to come into frequent contact with pornography, yet they present an outward image of being vehemently against pornography.

Humphreys suggests the Breastplate of Righteousness theory has the same result – strong, outward criticism of the anxiety-producing fear. There is one key difference, however: consciousness. Humphreys suggests that these men are aware of their homosexual tendencies, and live doubly conservative public lives to compensate. Anxiety from behavior believed to be unacceptable is countered by its polar opposite. These men recognize the vice in their lives – anonymous homosexual trysts in public restrooms – and consider them unacceptable. As a result, they live an exceptionally conservative and anti-homosexual lifestyle. They attempt to outwardly be everything that a stereotyped homosexual is not: heterosexual, married, fatherly, monogamous.

Regardless of whether the homosexual tendencies are conscious or not, is it any wonder that these men have no problem finding their way to the frontlines of politics, particularly the Republican Party? They outwardly represent everything the most conservative right-winger stands for: the blue-blazered, attaché-carrying, hardworking family man. And when all the righteousness is revealed to be the result of a private vice, people are shocked.

“It might be that these people get projected into the most public pulpit because of the ferocity or strength of their statement… They get projected into these positions where the fall is going to be that much harder,” says Stephenson. “People who have these conflicts – the way those conflicts interact with the social environment kind of sets them up for public humiliation.”

It is a strange and unfortunate dilemma, that what appears to carry these people to the top, also, as seen again and again, comes full circle to drive them back down. For Senator Craig even the national exposure his case has received has not been able to shake him out of his denial. More than three months after his arrest Senator Craig attempted to withdraw his initial guilty plea and still maintains that he is not a homosexual. Craig was expected to resign at the end of September, but now will likely remain in the Senate until he is sentenced.

by Jake Forney

Jailhouse Report

Wolf unfortunately unshielded

Independent journalist Josh Wolf has been released from prison after spending over 225 days behind bars for not revealing his sources. Wolf spent more time in prison than any other journalist in U.S. history for protecting his sources.

Wolf was arrested after he refused to cooperate with a federal subpoena of video footage he shot at an anti-G8 protest in San Francisco.

“Essentially, what the government wants me to do, as we can tell, is to identify civil dissidents who were attending this march, who were in mask and clearly did not want to be identified,” Wolf told Amy Goodman on DemocracyNow! last February.

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Whaling Wall Matthew Farrell
Chow Feng Shui Josh Elmer
Stained Glass Ceiling Emily McNeill
Anarchitect Mike Berlin
SaHarrison Desert Harrison Flatau
Metrolollipopolis Jennifer Konerman
Tropic of Scurvy Heather Newberger
Copy Editors Danielle Sherwood
  Jenna Scatena
  Elliott Feedore
   
   
   
Adviser Mary Beth O’Connor
   
Chief Residents Abby Bertumen
  Kelly Burdick
  Bryan Chambala
  Sam Costello
  Cole Louison
  James Sigman
   
   
   
   

Buzzsaw Haircut is funded by the Ithaca College Student Government Association, the Park School of Communications and a generous grant from Campus Progress.

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Front cover and back cover of print edition by Jake I. Forney.
Section dividers of print edition by Jake I. Forney and Justin Lubliner.