Death by Greek Life

College is supposed to be a time where students make new friends, discover themselves, enjoy their new found independence, work to excel academically, and on occasion let loose and have fun. So what is your ideal night of fun? Is it being forced to eat an omelet made of vomit and then chugging a cup of vinegar? Or maybe you’re more into psychological torture, such as being stripped naked and ridiculed for insecurities others see in you? For some, this is a daily occurrence that lasts roughly eight weeks, sometimes even more. One would ask why someone would voluntarily participate in these barbaric acts. Many students join fraternities and sororities to make friends, attend social events, meet members of the opposite sex, and expand their network. Sadly, in Greek life on certain campuses, some are treated so horribly that these rites of passage can ultimately lead to death. On record, there have been hundreds upon hundreds of documented hazing incidents that date back to the 1800’s. According to studies, three out of ten students report that they’d be willing to do something illegal to join a particular group of students.

The most reported cases of hazing that ended up with either severe injuries or death included alcohol. Forced binge drinking leads to fatal consequences such as alcohol poisoning, choking on one’s vomit, seizures, and falls that cause hematoma. Another horrific example of a case where hazing was involved includes the elephant walk. The hazelephant walk is where a group of guys form a straight line and grab the genitals of the guy in back of them with one hand and put their thumb in the rectum of the guy in front of them. Sounds pretty demeaning and absurd, right? If you have a weak stomach then you will not survive pledging. A Dartmouth student claimed that in 2012, he and other pledges were forced to swim in a kiddie pool filled with human excrement, semen, and rotten food. Yum!

You’re probably wondering why the school and government don’t take action to discipline those accused of college hazing. Surely there should be some form of law to punish these cases of abuse, especially when some lead to death. Though many fraternities and sororities keep their actions low-key and hidden from the police, there are laws that illegalize hazing. According to the New York Hazing Law, “a person is guilty of hazing when in the course of another person’s initiation into or affiliation with any organization, he intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or a third person and thereby causes such injury.” The most serious charge of manslaughter was given to eight Beta Theta Phi brothers at Penn State. Along with manslaughter, they were also charged with hazing, reckless endangerment of another person, and supplying alcohol to minors. The brothers were responsible for the death of sophomore Timothy Piazza, who died from multiple falls after having too many drinks. None of them called 911 after Piazza’s fall and it seemed as if the video surveillance from the Beta Theta Phi’s house was tampered with. This proves that dire injuries can happen to those who pledge fraternities and sororities. Thankfully, numerous cases of hazing have caused many colleges to either shut down the fraternity/sorority, establish strict rules, or ban greek life. Throughout history there have been countless hazing incidents, but now repercussions are finally being taken seriously and offenders are punished.

The Real Cost of Ballet

Though most people’s perceptions of ballet are through rose colored glasses, the reality of this form of dance is less than glamorous. Its romanticized image solely includes graceful ballerinas galloping effortlessly to that one Tchaikovsky song, all whilst being showered with roses and applauses. Behind the facade of smiles and feather-like movements, the effort and work needed to dance is relentlessly tiring and ultimately destructive to the human body.

One major disadvantage of ballet is the hefty price tag. Let’s calculate the cost of all the expenses. Pointe shoes are priced at around $80. Professional ballerinas have to purchase new footwear at least once a week because of how soft the shank (sole of the shoe) becomes after constant usage. Dance attire is less costly, but definitely adds up over time. Basic leotards cost $20 and tights cost $10. On average dancers buy two leotards and ten pairs of tights each year of training. Though not as pricey as pointe shoes, the costs could easily increase if a dancer grows or rips his or her apparel. With just the essential materials needed, this adds up to an annual expense of $4,300. This num12007913383_5aac2f1608_bber doesn’t include the cost of dance classes, which seem highly exorbitant. On average, dance classes can cost anywhere from $40 to $160 per month not including fees. These are just regular dance classes at a local studio though. At a higher tiered school such as the Joffrey Ballet School, a dance class for toddlers can cost $690 per class. According to a study done by FiveThirtyEight, raising a top-trained ballerina who begins to dance at age three could cost more than $100,000 by the time he or she turns 18.

Another significant factor is the physical and mental damage to the body that can be caused by ballet. Dancers can be exposed to severe injuries depending on how hard they work, how well they are trained, and also how early in life they start. Dancers bones and bodies usually show signs of premature aging: bunions, bone deformations and tendons that are severely damaged. Other injuries that are common include tears of the joint, muscle, tendon and ligament. In nearly any other sport such as football, players wear shoes that are made with nice comfy padding. In ballet, however pointe shoes are made of fabric, cardboard and/or paper hardened by glue. The feet absorb the shock which can cause sprains and fractures to the foot, toes, and ankles. “I broke a metatarsal on stage once. I was performing a solo and heard this crack. I didn’t realise I’d broken it at the time, because you’re used to taking pain,” says Begoña Cao, a professional ballerina for the English National Ballet. By the time most professional ballerinas retire, they will have artificial hips and a permanent limp. The stress of ballet can also lead to many mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder, OCD, and social anxiety. Eating disorders are extremely common amongst competitive dancers who are trying to please directors. What is called the “Balanchine body type,” a tall slender ballerina with long legs and short torsos is considered ideal. Rachel Parker, who is a retired Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer, says “Ballet is always about aesthetic lines and unfortunately you associate this kind of thinness with beauty in the ballet world. There are certain types of performers that fall victim to eating disorders – the perfectionists and highly self-critical people.”

Overall, ballet is an art form that is rich in history, but there are also components that one must consider before making judgements and or even starting ballet themselves. From the costly price tag to the mental and physical challenges, ballet is a complex dance form that is beautifully dangerous.


March for Science

April 22nd marks Earth Day, a holiday dedicated to encourage respect for life on planet Earth, to bring to light the concerns about the dangers of pollution, and to commemorate Mother Earth. This year, a new purpose came to light when thousands of scientists and nature preservation supporters protested in Washington. Following in the steps of the Women’s March that caused an uproar worldwide, the March for Science was not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well such as France, England, Ireland, South Africa, Germany, and Japan.

Ralliers that demonstrated at the White House weren’t worried about the downpour ruining their signs, but rather the the possibility of losing their jobs due to the president’s negligence towards environmental issues. Trump stated in a Fox interview in 2015, “Environmental Protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations.” He plans to cut the EPA’s budget by 25% from $8.1 million to $6.1 billion. Along with that he is targeting to
cut their workforce by 20% from roughly 17,000 to 12,400. Not only is the EPA under fire but the National Institute of Health as well. Trump plans on cutting the NIH’s budget by 18%, which means taking away $5.8 billion. Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA under Trump, believes that CO2 (carbon dioxide) is not a contributing factor to global warming. Many are in disbelief because countless numbers of studies have proven the dangers of CO2, the second largest greenhouse gas.

“Protecting the government’s investment in science, particularly when that includes funding for public engagement, is incredibly important. Science is not just for scientists, and I believe that all of us, whether we work in a lab or not, should have a voice on its future,” said Katherine Mathieson, the chief executive of the British Science Association. Mathieson, along with many others, are hoping that this protest will bring to attention the magnitude of how important the environment and programs designed to protect it is.


Save the Bees

Bumbling and Buzzing

You probably haven’t paid much mind to bees other than the frantic shufflings to get away from their buzzing bodies. Though many see these creatures as nuisances that leave behind painful, itchy marks, bees are an essential part of our ecosystem. It is important to first note the common misconception of stingings. Though honeybees are the only species of bees that can die after stinging (this is caused by their barbed stinger which sticks to the skin), bees only sting if they sense danger and/or if you aggravate them.

What They Do

With such small bodies, bees uphold many jobs that produce what we as people take for granted. Honey bees can be attributed to 80% of the world’s pollination which results in produce such as fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Along with the dependence on consumer goods, bees play a vital part in beautifying the environment. By pollinating flowers, bees are perpetuating growth and sustaining a living ecosystem in which other species live as well.

Dire Consequences

The population of bees has dropped nearly 90 percent since the 1990s according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The rusty patched bumblebee, once common in the U.S., is now on the brink of extinction. It is currently on the official list of endangered species. What is causing the rapid death of these creatures? Some causes include the use of neonicotinoid insecticides and yes, the big issue, global warming. As temperatures increase with each year getting warmer and warmer, many plants and animals are shifting northwards. According to studies done at the University of Ottawa, bees inhabit southern areas leaving them behind with less plants to pollinate. Bee colonies need approximately 264 lbs of nectar but with all the plants shifting elsewhere, the bees are left behind struggling to survive.

What You Can Do

There are many ways you can help bees maintain their habitat and survival. One way to help is by growing native plants. Bees prefer blue, purple, and yellow flowers with sweet fragrances. They see ultraviolet colors, found on flowers such as buttercups and black-eyed Susans. Another extremely important change that you can make is ridding the use of chemicals on your lawns and gardens. Lastly, you can go green and reduce your carbon footprint. Some ways to reduce your carbon footprint include reducing energy and water use, recycling as much as possible, and buying/eating less meat. All in all, bees are important creatures that make a significant impact on our environment and way of life. Help save them before they are extinct for good.


There are countless amounts of animals that will make your heart melt: puppies, kittens, the list goes on and on. What is your favorite animal? What if I told you that there is a 30-50% of all species are heading towards extinction by this mid century. According to research conducted by conservation scientist, David Wilcove estimates that there are 14,000 to 35,000 endangered species in the United States. Below are my favorite beauties of this world that are sadly decreasing in population as we speak.

Elephants (African and Asian)

These majestic creatures are the largest mammals on Earth. They are indigenous to Sub-Saharan Africa and SouthEast Asia. As many as 100,000 African elephants were reportedly killed between 2010 and 2012. Threats that are imposed upon the elephant population include poaching and illegal trade of ivory tusks. These beautiful creatures are slowly losing their habitats, because of their size they are forced to places where they can not survive. In Thailand, elephant rides are a popular tourist attraction. In reality these rides “break” elephants both physically and emotionally. Their spines are not made to carry the weight of humans which paralyses them over time. Emotionally? They are abused and driven to insanity by isolation.

Polar Bears


Polar bears are marine mammals indigenous to the Arctic. Their population is rapidly decreasing ultimately because of the environment. This causes a shift in the ecosystem. Polar ice caps melting leaving many of the bears swimming for their lives in search of other caps. Though these amazing creatures can swim a great distance (30 miles) ice caps are becoming harder to find which results in polar bears drowning in the sea. Another reason for their endangerment is the lack of food. Polar bears spend 50% of their lives searching for food, but less than 2% of their hunts are successful.

What you can do to help

  • Do not buy ivory! New ivory is strictly banned, but antique ivory can be legally available for purchase
  • Adopt an elephant/polar bear
  • Go green
  • Conserve water


rape-kit-300x206Doctors and nurses in E.R.’s go through extensive training in order to help others, but there are many untapped subjects that some are not able to deal with. Rape and sexual assault survivors are in much needed help after experiencing trauma. Some are afraid to come forward, and even when they do, they’re forced to sit waiting for a doctor that is not specialized nor properly trained. Doctors need to understand how to look for signs of assault. One example of why specialized doctors are greatly needed is a case in Seattle in which Lea, an elementary school teacher was badly assaulted. She bravely drove herself to the hospital only to sit in the waiting room for two hours and was ultimately sent home by a doctor that stated nothing was wrong. Lea had a 1½-inch laceration in her vagina that later required stitches. Rape is not an easy topic to talk about. Along with the emotional factor there are issues financially. Hospital bills start unnecessarily backlogging. The bills include paying for a rape kit that can cost up to $1,500. Why must people pay the consequences for a crime done by others? Why must traumatized people be treated as inconsequential?8ed0c75554fbf6e0e9dd59260086e7b0

Village School Mockingbirds


Toby Hatten, Village School science teacher, discovered a beautiful feat of nature a couple of days ago. What started as hearing little squeaks to following a mother mockingbird bring food to her babies, the science class found a nest of four baby birds newly hatched. The birds were identified as grey Northern Mockingbirds. These species of birds are usually characterized by two white stripes on their wings.

It is predicted that these birds will probably stay here during their lifetime. Northern Mockingbirds are native to where the baby birds hatch. The birth of these birds are the first of it’s kind in Village history. In a couple month’s time, the birds will learn to fly, and if you take a moment to look, you may see them flapping from the trees, as part of perfect spring scenery.


The Cruelest Show on Earth

circus-comic Everyone has memories of going to a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus show: your mother screaming at you for eating too much cotton candy, the flashing strobes of blue and red, and telling your 8 year old self that the circus life was always another option if all else fails. But behind all the tricks and glitz is a world far from what the circus portrays on stage. A major part of the show is the animal portion wherein elephants, camels, tigers, and other animals are put on display.

Many don’t know what these animals have to endure backstage. Whips and hooks are used by trainers to “tame” the elephants. They dig into the sensitive skins which causes infections and scars. Along with the physical abuse these animals have to go through, they are also pushed to the brink of mental insanity. Isolating them by themselves for long periods of time has made some of them go mad. One case of this is an elephant named Tonka. She was so abused both mentally and physically that she has developed ste4035.Ele_5F00_ringling_5F00_465reotypical behaviors: Tonka sways back and forth, bobs her head, and kicks her right foot. These animals usually die during their show life from infections, diseases, and sheer ignorance when dealing with them. Other cases include Mike, a 2- year old elephant who died from endotheliotropic herpesvirus. One 8- month old elephant’s legs were shattered by a circus trainer holding a bullhook. Circuses may project a facade of fun and happiness but it is anything but for the animals that are tortured and eventually die.

The Real Truth About the Wage Gap


Two weeks ago, an article was posted about the debatable topic of America’s wage gap. While the post does make some interesting points, I think it’s fair to say that not every factor has been taken into account. I would like to address some points which my fellow news writer did not include. I would just like to say that this piece is not meant in any way to discredit “The Truth About the Pay Gap”.

Firstly, the statistic that women earn 23% less pay is, in fact, very much true. Asserting that companies maximize their profits by hiring women because their pay is less, is not the case. Personally, I think this is because it would hypothetically take less time and money to train men for the job because the end results would yield more efficient workers. Companies would rather pay men with mediocre performances, than pay strong performing women. According to S&P 500, a stock market index, only 4.0% of company CEO’s are female. Why is it that only 20 out of 500 company owners are women?

In a country with a strong history of sexism and adherence to gender norms, it is hard to believe that people think the wage gap doesn’t exist. Sure we’ve made progress: e.g., The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed in 2009, the amazing history of women’s suffrage, and modern day feminism. The fact that a bill needs to be put into place at all should indicate that, indeed, something was very wrong in the first place. In the past, “feminine jobs” such as nurses and teachers were the norm for women. It isn’t because women are “altruistic” in nature, it’s because in the past (and even still today) women are expected to stay home and take care of families. Fast forward to the present, and now women have more options, but society isn’t at all fair.  What happens when independent women want to apply for the same jobs that are mostly male- dominated? It’s just not far, simple as that. We’ve come a long way but we’ve got a long way to go.

Women are more likely to be in employed in lower paying fields because of the history of socially constructed gender norms. Cleaning, cooking, and taking care of children, are all vital jobs that limited women from exploring different paths. In Betty Friedan’s classic 1963 book, “The Feminine Mystique”, she explains how smart and educated women with degrees from universities tend to be depressed as a result of their “soccer mom” lifestyles. Taking care of a family is not at all bad. In fact, it’s pretty badass. The gift of a child is rewarding in and of itself, but what happens when women return to their normal day jobs? Why is it that women on maternity leaves don’t receive the adequate help they deserve? They birthing a baby and care for it, but then what? They often come back to their jobs and face work piled high to their necks and because they’ve lost time, they’ve missed opportunities for raises and promotions, which leads them to lower salaries than their coworkers that didn’t go through 9 months of pregnancy and several months of intense childcare. Society doesn’t place value on raising a child.

Lastly, women are not negotiating for higher wages. We’re demanding it because it’s a basic human right. We don’t need to argue nor fight for something that should already be ours. And as for the common retort of “no one is stopping you”, my answer is the following: Firstly, the fragile masculinity of men that are afraid of strong performing women surpassing them on economical ladders is stopping lots of women and secondly, many women don’t need to be told that no one is stopping them. They’re gonna’ go out and be strong as heck.

Neomasculinity: “Roosh V”


Many people have stated their opinions on their beliefs for the limits of women’s rights. One voice that speaks loud and clear is Daryush Valizadeh, an American blogger who posts controversial writing bashing modern- day women. He is also notoriously known as the leader of a group self-named as “Return of the Kings”. Roosh has many platforms on which he advertises his opinions such as a blogs, books, and in his public speeches.

Recently, there has been a large controversy over Roosh V because of his threatening tactics. One of his most outrageous articles was about the issue of rape. He proposed that “ rape [should be made] legal if done on private property. I propose that we make the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds. In a later post he quickly retracted his statement by stating that his rape article was a “satirical experiment”.

But his views on women are as expected: misogynistic, scrupulous, and utterly offensive. He claims that fat women, women with short hair, women with tattoos/piercings, and women that talk too much are unattractive. Along with being sexist, Roosh V also has some colorful opinions on homosexuality and Western culture. He suggests that all heterosexual men leave America because “You will sleep with thinner women who don’t have attitude.”

On February 6th, Roosh V planned to have an international “meet-up day” across 43 countries. Though he is banned from many places such as Australia and Canada, his devoted followers were committed to continuing the pro-rape meet-ups. As of the posting of this article, all meet-ups have been cancelled with Roosh claiming he doesn’t want “crazy fat feminists” counter- protesting his group.

He is currently hiding out at his mom’s house.