News In Briefs

Student body converts to Objectivism, cites influence of informative postingsIn a major ideological shift, the Lawrence University student body converted en masse to Objectivism earlier this week, sources report. Students cited bright, eye-catching postings as prompting the conceptual change.

“Well,” said Tim Mackey, a sophomore anthropology major, “it got to be that [the informative postings] were everywhere—outside, in the hallways, in the bathroom stalls. And then I got to thinking ‘You know? They’re absolutely right!’”

Despite the Lawrence community’s newfound enthusiasm for Objectivism, few are clear on the school of thought’s history or ramifications.

Mackey confessed a scant understanding. “It has something to do with Ayn Rand, right? All I know is it lets you do whatever you want. Or something. Also, there’s that John Galt guy, whoever that is.”

Sturm defenseless against allegations that jazz students just make it up as they go along

The Lawrence Conservatory of Music was rocked by allegations on Monday that not only jazz students but also jazz faculty are, in the words of an anonymous whistle-blower “just making it up as they go along.”

In a written response, President Richard Warch expressed his concern. “These are serious allegations and require a serious response. If there’s even a chance of their truth, …, it could seriously damage [Lawrence University’s] standing in the academic community.”

According to the anonymous source, jazz musicians have been indulging in made-up jazz, or “improv[ising],” according to the lingo, for decades.

“This goes right to the top,” the report continued.

Parents of Conservatory students have also voiced worry and, in some cases, outrage. Said parent Sandra Schwinn, “I’m not paying 27 grand a year for Tami [Schwinn] to be just making stuff up! She could be doing that at home for free.”

Parents are not alone in their concern. Professors on the other side of college avenue were quick to add their voices to the angry chorus. A professor who preferred to keep his name of the record said “Actually, I’ve been suspicious of those Con types for a while now. I mean what if I just made up physics in my labs? We’re supposed to be preparing these kids for the real world.” He added, “and I hear their so-called ‘musical notes’ almost never have proper citation, either.”

Fred Sturm could not be reached for comment, as he was stalking an Appleton Post Crescent editor.

Survey finds freshmen totally going to be best friends forever

A new study has found that 100 percent of Class of 2007 freshmen can rest assured that they and their current circles of associates will be best friends forever. The study, which uses science, proves unequivocally what many of the freshmen had hitherto only suspected.

‘Kim[berly Johnson, a freshman from Upsalla, MN] is totally awesome!” Opined Shelley Yang, “We agree on everything and I just know we’ll be BFF (Best Friends Forever).”

The study bodes well for the social life of the class of 2007, coming as it does on the heels of last month’s study that proves, without a doubt, that freshmen couples are really in love and will all absolutely get married.

RLA describes hallway conversation as “Residence Life Activity”

Jane Keener, a junior philosophy major and Residence Life Advisor (RLA) for Ormsby Hall, described a recent chat with freshman resident Katherine Swanson as a “Residence Life Activity” in a self-evaluation on Tuesday.

The approximately seven and a half minute conversation was described in the evaluation as part of Keener’s “Friendly Friends” initiative. The report continues ‘by engaging and stimulating my residents I make brief but memorable ‘gem moments’ that we can all fondly recall long after LU.”

At the time of the interview, Swanson was unable to recall the chat in question.

Honor Council regulates AIM profiles

In an unprecendented broadening of authority, the LU Honor Council has begun punishing students for intellectual dishonesty on AOL instant messenger profiles.

A member of the council discovered last week that much of the campus uses AOL, and that quotes on profiles–while sometimes attributed–are seldom cited as per MLA or Chicago style guides.

So far, 15 Lawrentians have been banned from the web for two weeks apiece, and have been forced to write letters of apology to Radiohead, Ben Folds, and Professors Sanerib and Goldgar.

A pamphlet has been created.

Some believe that the Honor Council would not have taken this threat seriously had one of the “unattributed” quotes not been “Blame Canada,” from the South Park movie. Honor Council co-chair Jason Hanna is known to be a somewhat combatant nationalist, a proud Canuck to boot.

“We had a few other Canadians at Lawrence in the past few years, but since they left, I take it upon myself to further their mission of being cultural ambassadors to the US, just like Pierre said,” Hanna said, growing suddenly angry and grasping a hockey stick. “But if you hosers don’t cut with da South Park crap, there’s a gonna-be-hell-to-pay, dontcha know.”

Hanna, despite his distinguished academic record, is actually only at Lawrence because of affirmative action. “Just because I grew up in Minnesota doesn’t mean I can’t regulate on you cheating bastards,” he concluded.

Bloom to direct Freshpersons Studies

Gina Bloom will head up the redesigned “Freshpersons Studies” program starting in the 2004-2005 school year, pending tenure decisions.

Toni Morrison, Elizabeth Bishop, Annie Dillard, Susan Sontag, Phyllis Wheatley, Picturing Gender, Shakespeare’s “King/Queen Lear,” and a collection of Ed Kern’s diary entries are slated for the reading list. The musical work will likely have something to do with Duke Ellington arranger Mary Lou Williams. The science work will be Our Bodies, Ourselves.

The only major change, logistically, will be the reprinting of Mark Dintefass’s “Freshman Studies Book,” which will become the “Freshperson Studies Book,” including a brand new chapter on the benefits of communal handholding and Kumbaya-singing.

Current Freshman Studies chair Beth DeStasio encourages prospective students that the program will not change much at all. “If he/she has any concerns, he/she can (f)email me at his/her leisure,” she added.

Main Hall faculty, piano students form strategic smoking alliance

Two traditionally closed constituencies have banded together to defend smoking rights.

The merger between the Main Hall faculty and piano students was announced at a meeting discussing the so-called “Hanna Halo,” which seeks to install facist measures against smoking throughout campus.

The groups meet in a tent on the Ave. edge of main hall green, where a clambake of sorts is held throughout the day and night. Around 5 p.m. daily, things start to get stressful, as professors light up for one last smoke, and the piano students siesta before their evening practice sessions.

“I mean, shit…You’ve got…fucking ANsel WALLenfang smoking god knows WHAT, and you’ve got Lanouette trying to have a drag in peace, and I try to TALK to these goddam kids [scary laughter,]” said Fritzell.

The string studios have joined the grill staff for daily smokes. Kern has quit smoking, however: “If I can’t be seen right outside the building in a leather jacket every day, then what’s the point?”

“Not in that sentence!” Fritzell screamed, for some reason.

McNeil’s Greek history course disappoints Betas

Many members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity were quite disappointed in Professor Randall McNeil’s Greek history chart.

“He TOTALLY left out the Worman ye
ars!” protested Adam Locke. Also of curiosity was McNeil’s decision to focus on the completely irrelevant years prior to 1836, Lawrence University’s founding.

“Man, I can’t believe they used this as our fraternity education class this year,” said Jeff Ostroski, Beta pledge. Another pledge added, off the record, that knowing the background of the Spartans hardly helps explain the “stain” from the 1970s in the basement that nobody seems to talk about.

The Betas are petitioning the Faculty curriculum committee, asking that McNeil be forced to at LEAST mention that time that Beta Jeffrey Jones-—who went on to bigger…and littler…things, partially in film-drove—into the Main Hall steps.

Jones could not be reached for comment, although we were pretty sure we found him in a Yahoo! chat room.

Committee on Environmental Responsiblity opposes Fritzell retirement

The LUCC Committee on Environmental Responsiblity opposed the retirement of Professor of English “Peter Fritzell,” on the grounds that “Fritzell” is an avid hunter.

“We’re all about protecting the natural habitat. Birds would be in danger if this dude got out in the environment,” said CER chair Steve Rogness.

The CER also accused “Fritzell” of plotting to use World Bank funds upon his retirement, actions that—under LUCC rules—ellicit swift corporal punishment.

For his part, “Fritzell” demanded a job to replace his old position. “Fritzell” will stay on, then as Scarequoter Emeritus. “Frtizell” will be present at classes in the conservatory, of the humanities, and science courses as well, holding up his trademark “scare quotes” into the air. “Fritzell” commented on the compromise:

“People at Lawrence have a HUUUUUUUUUUGE goddam problem with ‘words.’ They think ‘no, no, no, I want my BUNNNNNNNNY rabbit! I don’t want my ‘Bunny Rabbit!’ Why not, because ‘bunny rabbits’ aren’t real? Let me tell you the fucking truth: if it exists, it’s real!”

A recent editorial in the One Minute Left took this comment to mean that Fritzell planned on murdering the rabbits in the fraternity quad. Due to CER policy, on the third offense, “Fritzell” will be summarily executed.

“We’re all about enforcement and sensible policy,” continued Gustavo Setrini. “If you drink commercial coffee or don’t favor embargoing any country associated with the world bank, you’re practically a terrorist already.”

In a related story, the CER is continuing talks to raise the Hammer and Sickle atop Main Hall. When met by resistance by Richard Warch, Rogness declared “You are not my President.”

Controversy gets into SOUP

On Monday, a crowd of angry students walked through the Student Union to protest a recent announcement about SOUP’s 2003-2004 programming.

The season programming for next year will fall far short of this year’s programming because of an unexpected lack of funding. According to SOUP, the diminished lineup is due to a smaller annual budget as well as a large accounting error that went unnoticed until it was too late.

SOUP will try to make up the difference by hiring fewer acts and by promising to perform many of the events themselves. Students, however, have not taken well to the news. In particular, many of the students who picketed the Union were unhappy that no hypnotists were booked for next year.

While it is still too early to tell who might be asked to come for the Big Event, SOUP organizers have said that students won’t be able to hope for much. “We’re talking Frankie Yankovic and his Polka Band, minus the late Frankie Yankovic,” said SOUPer Lindsay Rocamora.

The crowd of angry of protesters numbered around seven people, three of whom were just in the Union to get coffee.

Ben Folds casts a spell over audience

New details emerged this week about SOUP’s “Big Event” negotiations with rock star Ben Folds.

Folds’ management, it seems, refused to consent to a “Big Event,” consenting instead to a Medium-Large affair. The two sides were at an impasse when Big Event committee member Lindsay Rocamora discovered an amusing sidebar interview with Folds in a recent Rolling Stone magazine, wherein the popular pianist confessed his hidden talent for hypnosis.

“We were thrilled. Survey after survey of LU students reveal that all people really want is a hypnotist,” Rocamora said. Her discovery resolved a dilemma caused by an accounting error of SOUP’s funds; further research, however, indicates that Paul Shrode was at fault for the snafu.

“Hey, you can’t blame me for remaining relevant,” said Shrode.

Folds’ claims of hypnotic powers were met with skepticism by many an LU hypnojunkie. Sophomore Jay Ellsmore, who has been hypnotized at two shows this year alone, remains unsure of Folds’ skill: “I guess I shouldn’t complain that much. I got what I asked for, and if he does it right, it’s not like I’ll remember it or anything.”

Many students came forth to attest to Folds’ relaxing powers, on the other hand. “I fell asleep the first go’round of ‘Rockin’ The Suburbs,'” said Folds hypnogroupie John Sutton.

Even a larger percentage of students claim to have fallen asleep during the very first song of Folds’ third LP, “The Autobiography of Reinhold Messner.”

Landing this up-and-coming hypnotist was quite a coup for Soup. Folds’ agent inserted a great idea into the SOUP consciousness: the Medium-Large Event. Talks are underway to bring Tom DeLuca’s piano pop to the campus next fall.

“Yeah, we met with DeLuca once, and just couldn’t seem to forget what he told us,” said Medium-Large Event chairwoman Andrea Hendrickson.