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Rutgers Student Dies From Alcohol-Related Injuries

UNIVERSITY WIRE

A 20-year-old Rutgers University student was pronounced clinically dead yesterday from head injuries sustained after a Thursday night fall down the basement stairs of his fraternity house.

College of Engineering junior Jason Greco, a resident of the Theta Chi fraternity house, and several friends are believed to have spent Thursday evening at the Olde Queens Tavern, where he was served alcohol.

Greco was kept on life support yesterday at Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center to keep his organs viable for donation.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Glenn Berman said Greco is believed to have had beer and may have had other alcoholic beverages at the tavern. He said there is no evidence Greco had taken any other intoxicating substances.

Leslie Fehrenbach, associate vice president for administration and public safety, said it was not yet clear how Greco - who is under the legal drinking age - obtained alcohol at the tavern, but she said Greco was not known to have been carrying false identification.

Representatives from the tavern refused to comment about the incident.

Fehrenbach said the hospital would not release specific details about the death or Greco's blood alcohol level, but that the death was most likely because of severe trauma to the head.

"The family has requested that their privacy be respected," she said.

She said the death is not suspected to have been because of suicide or foul play.

"There is no evidence that this was anything but an accident," she said.

An investigation into the accident is being held by the Rutgers University Police Department, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office and the New Brunswick Police Department.

"The unexpected death of a young person reverberates through a community like no other," Rutgers University President Francis L. Lawrence said at a news conference yesterday.

He said the University will be offering counseling to students and others affected by Greco's death.

Fehrenbach said Greco's death illustrates the need for comprehensive alcohol education.

"Jason's death was a tragic accident, and it's essential that Rutgers involve as many people as possible in our alcohol education programs so that we can do everything in our power to make sure that this type of tragedy does not happen again," she said.

In January, Lawrence formed a committee charged with the task of changing the culture of college drinking at Rutgers. That committee is expected to report its analysis of current alcohol education programs and make recommendations for improvements by Nov. 15.

The issue of hazardous drinking has been a concern for college presidents nationally, and it's one for which we as a nation do not have a perfect solution," Fehrenbach said. "Jason's mother said that she hopes young people will learn from this tragedy, and we hope they will too."

[Daily Targum, Oct.12]

Berkeley faculty consider walkout

Responding to students' questions regarding a proposed faculty walkout, University of California at Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl told an ethnic studies class yesterday that although he cannot support canceling classes, he does support the right of professors to express their opinions.

"The faculty who are critical of Proposition 209 are trying to raise consciousness about affirmative action," Berdahl said. "I cannot condone there not being classes. They have every right as faculty, however, to express their concern."

Berdahl spoke to approximately 100 students as a guest lecturer in Professor Ling-Chi Wang's introductory ethnic studies class yesterday morning. During the class, he addressed a variety of topics ranging from the necessity of admission exams to his stance on the affirmative action walkout.

Wang told students that it was very hard for Berdahl to give an opinion about a political issue because of his position as head of the university.

"He is bound by law; none of us should have any doubt about his commitment [to affirmative action]," Wang said. "He cannot be overtly associated with any political institution. He cannot lobby for or against a law because he is an officer of the state."

The chancellor said that, because it was law, he could not and would not disobey Proposition 209, the 1996 statewide voter-approved measure eliminating affirmative action in public institutions.

"We will and must conform to Prop. 209," Berdahl said. "The only alternative that we have is to invest substantial resources to make sure that students coming out of high school are more prepared."

Many students said they believe Berdahl's administration lacked initiative in helping to recruit minority students after Prop. 209.

Berdahl responded by pointing to an outreach program called the Academic Talent Development Program, which sends campus representatives into inner-city schools and helps to prepare high school students for the university's admission process.

According to Berdahl, the UC system has increased funding for the outreach committee by more than $38 million over last year's budget. Some students said, however, that they were dissatisfied with what they claim is the chancellor's lack of effort in promoting diversity at the university.

"It takes much more than outreach," said sophomore Roberto Hernandez, a member of the ethnic studies class.

But Berdahl said that "it is ultimately not the university's purpose to solve the problems of the (high) schools," and that "38 million dollars is just a drop in the bucket to help fix the inequalities in the school system."

"[Berkeley] as a university and a research institution has a very powerful interest in maintaining diversity," he added.

Even though Berdahl said he favors affirmative action, some students expressed concern that Berdahl is not in full support of the measure.

"[Berdahl] mentions the validity of diversity, especially African Americans, but he failed to talk about other minorities," said sophomore Luisa Ortega, a student in the class. "He doesn't see that they are doing anything for diversity."

On the other hand, some students said they disagreed with Berdahl's analysis of affirmative action.

"I do not support affirmative action," said freshman Maria Morelli, a student in the class. "Somebody who is different in race should not get preference. However, it adds a lot to have many different races [at Berkeley]."

[Daily Californian, Oct. 9]

OUvictim had alcohol poisioning

The woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by former Ohio University student Ben Mallory on Nov. 20, 1997 in a shower had a blood alcohol level of .375 that night, a chief toxicologist in the Franklin County Coroner's Office testified yesterday in the third day of Mallory's sexual battery trial.

Mallory, who was expelled by OU judiciaries in February because of the alleged incident, is charged with one count of sexual battery.

The woman was celebrating her 21st birthday the night of the alleged incident and consumed alcohol at three different bars.

Persons with blood alcohol levels ranging from .3 to .4 are considered "severely intoxicated and falling-down drunk," James L. Ferguson, the toxicologist who tested the woman's blood samples, testified.

Ferguson also testified that persons with blood alcohol levels of .10 and .20 might appear to be sober, but all cases are considered intoxicated by levels of .30.

"At a level this high she was in danger of going into a coma," Ferguson said.

The average female can metabolize nine grams of alcohol each hour, and more than 14 hours after the alleged incident, the woman still had 18 grams of alcohol in her bloodstream, he testified.

With a .375 blood alcohol level, the woman would have lost her attention span, motor skills, comprehension and memory, Ferguson testified.

The woman testified Wednesday she did not remember anything between 11 p.m. Nov. 19 and 6 a.m. Nov. 20. The incident allegedly occurred around 1:20 a.m.

OU Police Department Officer Wes Clark, who responded to a call from a resident assistant shortly after the alleged incident occurred, testified yesterday that Mallory admitted to having consensual sex with the woman.

Two resident assistants responded to resident reports of Mallory having sex with the woman in the first-floor bathroom's shower and called OUPD after suspecting an assault might have occurred.

Clark testified that he went to the woman's sorority house, where she had returned after the alleged incident, and tried to wake her, but she still was intoxicated and incoherent.

Clark testified he then took Mallory to the OUPD for questioning where Mallory told him he took the woman into the shower to rinse off after she had vomited on him and herself.

Mallory told Clark they did have sexual intercourse in the shower, but the woman had grabbed him and initiated the intercourse, Clark testified.

Other residents testified about what they had seen and heard before and after the alleged incident.

The prosecution will continue to call witnesses today. Judge Michael Ward said he expects the trial to continue through Monday.

[The Post, Oct. 9]

Mandela adviser speaks in Florida

He was at once diminutive, a lone figure on stage, and enormous, a cog in the wheel that crushed South African apartheid.

Ahmed Kathrada, senior political adviser to South African President Nelson Mandela, described at the University of Florida on Friday the 26 years he spent in prison for participation in the African National Congress.

Before a sparse, awed collection of students and faculty, Kathrada spoke of past injustices, present-day statistics and future expectations for his beloved South Africa.

Kathrada did everything but languish while caged in Robben Island prison for a bogus conviction of sabotage, he recalled.

Aside from submitting to hard labor that caused "blisters and bleeding hands," Kathrada earned degrees in history and South African politics and participated in hunger strikes with politicized prisoners, he told the audience.

He risked such "luxuries" as socks and sugar for his coffee by covertly commenting on Mandela's secretly written autobiography, "A Long Walk to Freedom."

And he never lost faith in his belief that South Africa must be free.

"Building a new nation is more difficult than smashing apartheid," Kathrada said.

But the African National Congress, the controlling branch of South African government of which Kathrada is an esteemed member, is making progress.

Kathrada said the government now provides free hospitalization for expecting mothers and children under 5.

The ANC feeds five million children every day through meals provided at public schools. Millions of houses have electricity, and millions more have running water.

Of equal importance, Kathrada said, is the change in attitudes among fellow South Africans, evident through country-wide support for popular sports such as rugby.

"[Before the collapse of apartheid], nonwhites prayed that the [formerly all-white] rugby team would lose," Kathrada said to a chortling audience.

"Now, everyone walks proud in the achievements of the teams."

University of Florida law professor Winston Nagan attended the event and said the values Kathrada and the ANC are seeking to promote and defend are of universal importance.

"His speech underlines the struggles for freedom in South Africa," Nagan said.

After his speech, Kathrada answered questions from audience members. They expressed worry about the regrettable but inevitable future of a South Africa without Mandela, who is 80.

"There may not be another Mandela in South Africa for many years, but we are not afraid," Kathrada said.

[Independent Florida Alligator, Oct. 12]

Grad students attempt to unionize

"The university works because we do" is the slogan of University of New Mexico graduate students who have been working since August toward unionization. The students even have a name for themselves: the UNM Graduate Student Union.

Kelly Leffler, a teaching assistant in the English department, said there are 13 legally recognized graduate-employee unions and 12 campaigns for such unions in the United States. Leffler is one of about 10 graduate students involved with the union project at UNM, which was started by students in the English department.

"This is an important issue to us," Leffler said. "It's a philosophy that is growing steadily across the country, and we feel it's time we moved ahead with it."

"Unionizing would bring us together in an organization that can collectively bargain for our goals and needs with entities like the Board of Regents and administration when issues like health care come up," said Scott Massey, an English teaching assistant who is also affiliated with the union committee. "We want an active and organized voice."

A survey conducted recently by the group found that graduate assistants have several concerns:

80 percent feel cost-of-living salary increases and salary increases for experience are the most important concerns.

68 percent feel health insurance is a secondary concern.

72 percent feel maximum class size is also a concern.

"We are not supposed to spend more than 20 hours a week working on our classes," Massey said. "With the increase in enrollment, this is becoming almost impossible. We're concerned about it and want that concern addressed."

Massey said the addition of 10 extra students in an English 101 or 102 class can have a big effect on a teaching assistant's workload, as does adding extra sections.

Leffler said another concern of graduate students is more teaching preparation.

"Most TAs that participated in the survey have feelings of inadequacy, and although I don't think it's true, they would benefit from some sort of ongoing training," she said.

Massey said unionization could ease some of these concerns because "we'd have a voice and a lot of backing to see these needs met. We couldn't ask for these things if we were just a couple of pissed off graduate students, but we can ask for them as an organized union."

Until recently, members of the committee have focused mostly on researching graduate-student unions at other universities. But at the Oct. 3 Graduate and Professional Student Association council meeting, members presented the idea to students in other departments.

"We had a very strong, very positive reaction," Massey said. "There were lots of heads nodding in agreement at what we were saying."

Andy Flood, president of the English Graduate Student Association, said members if the English department have investigated the benefits of a union and may organize soon.

Flood said the University views its TAs, GAs and RAs as apprentices rather than employees.

"The same labor rules often don't apply as far as high work load and low salaries," he said. "We want recognition for the work that we do."

Massey said graduate student salaries seem like financial aid, but that the expectations are the same as full-time faculty. Graduate students in the English department now receive a monthly stipend and tuition waiver.

"We are in a peculiar position because we balance our roles between teacher and student," Massey said.

Leffler said several departments expressed interest in the idea at the GPSA meeting. Among those departments were anthropology and art/art history, and the schools of business and public administration, she said.

"Things look a little brighter than we expected," she said. "We have had overwhelming support from the full-time English faculty."

Leffler said a survey of faculty members also indicates strong support for a union:

86 percent say they feel TAs at UNM are not adequately compensated for their work.

93 percent say they think unions are appropriate in an academic setting.

Massey said unionization is "a really touchy subject" with UNM administrators.

"There is a certain stigma to the word union that people run from because of unfortunate stereotypes," Massey said. "We have far more support than we anticipated, though, and we definitely feel that this will happen."

Jose Rivera, assistant to the provost in the Office of Graduate Studies, said the topics of unionization, stipends and health insurance have surfaced recently.

"This is not an issue we have studied thoroughly, however, so it is difficult to respond to the idea of a graduate student union," he said.

The graduate student group plans to have its research and planning complete by the end of the fall semester, in order to move toward an official proposal. The union plans to affiliate with a national union, such as the American Federation of Teachers or the American Association of University Professors.

[Daily Lobo, Oct. 12]

Students start NAACPat Harvard

History was made last night when about 40 students of varied race and ethnicity came together in the Barker Center's Thompson Room to incorporate the first-ever Harvard chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The meeting was the follow-up to a meeting held last week with Julian Bond, the NAACP's national chair. At the earlier meeting, Bond stressed that the NAACP is not just an organization for blacks, and encouraged people of all races to consider membership.

Kamal I. Latham, a student at the Kennedy School of Government who was elected president of the Harvard chapter last night, said Bond's opinion prompted him to revise his own notions about the NAACP.

Latham said the organization is different from ethnic organizations on campus simply because "it is not an ethnic organization. It is just the hub of a bicycle wheel. It is for anyone who's interested in the advancement of society and civil rights."

Fentrice D. Driskell 01 agreed. "[The NAACP] is for the advancement of colored people, but not only colored people should be for their advantage," she said.

Driskell said the organization also differs from existing ethnic organizations in that "it's not a social club."

Tawney B. Pearson said she hoped the chapter would also serve as an umbrella organization, connecting related groups in the College and the various graduate schools.

"I think it will take on [the task of a] minority students' alliance throughout the entire University," she said.

Driskell said the chapter will serve as a central group to handle problems which had previously been shuffled between groups.

"These are everybody's problems," she said. "We can't just push them aside as problems of specific groups."

One possible obstacle the chapter faces is the University's refusal to recognize nationally affiliated student groups. Hazel T. Edney, moderator of last night's meeting and a Kennedy School of Government student, said the group plans to forge ahead whether or not it is officially recognized.

"This should in no way be construed as an attack on Harvard," she said. "It is an attempt to make Harvard a better place."

In her opening remarks, Edney cited several statistics and recent incidents as evidence of discriminatory policies and mindsets in the Boston area and at Harvard.

Roberta D. Edwards, a student who also ran for chapter president, told the group in her speech that she was fired from her job at the MBTA for actively advocating civil rights. She also pointed to hearings held by the Boston City Council to reconsider existing affirmative action employment programs in the city's fire and police departments.

Edwards said the dynamic nature of Harvard makes its chapter especially likely to be at the forefront of change. "The success of the civil rights movement happens because of the support of college students," she said.

Rev. Jamal Bryant, national youth director for the NAACP, agreed that the University would lose out on a crucial opportunity by failing to open a chapter.

"I think, in that Harvard is allegedly the lamplight of progressive thinking in the nation, to have students forward intellectually and backward socially would be a grave hypocrisy," he said.

Latham said Cambridge's NAACP chapter exists in name only, making the task even tougher - and even more essential - for Harvard students.

Chanda K. Ho said she thinks the organization will pack more clout because of its multi-dimensional demographic diversity.

"It's important that you have an organization that works to promote social equality and racial justice not just for a specific ethnic group but for all people," said Ho, who is Asian American. "Because there are grad students involved as well as undergrads, we will have more resources and will be able to get more done."

Several students said attendance at last night's meeting suffered because it was announced only via word of mouth. "I really wish the meeting had been more publicized so that more undergrads could have been involved," said George S. Han.

Han, who is also Asian American, said he found out about the meeting through an e-mail message from a friend in Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship who is a member of the Boston NAACP chapter.

The group encountered difficulties when an NAACP official who had promised to attend and ensure that procedures were followed got stuck in traffic and never arrived.

Because of this, the chapter was granted an extension on filing its charter until next Wednesday.

Since the group had already exceeded the requisite 25 signatures on its charter, members voted to go ahead and elect its officers last night without the NAACP official.

In addition to Latham and Edwards, most of the chapter's officers are affiliated with the Kennedy School.

If the group is granted official University recognition, Nolan A. Bowie, adjunct lecturer at the Kennedy School, has agreed to serve as the chapter's faculty advisor. Driskell voiced her hope that the organization will be responsible for real action.

"Minority and racism are becoming buzzwords," she said. "Instead of acting on them we just talk about them. The NAACP can help us find commonalities and move in the direction of truly dismantling racism."

Both Edney and Latham noted the importance of a diverse and inclusive membership body. "We need everyone's energy and everyone's support," Latham said.

[Harvard Crimson, Oct. 9]