The Colgate Scene
July 2001
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In the news

by Sarah Jarvis
  Look! Up in the sky
Following the publication of Tony Aveni's article, "Other Stars of Ours," in the April issue of Natural History Magazine, an NBC network producer based in Miami, Florida called requesting an interview with the Russell B. Colgate Professor of astronomy and anthropology. Aveni discussed the elaborate ritual calendars created by ancient astronomers to track Mars, the red planet, on its path through the heavens. According to Aveni, his most recent research indicates that not only did the pre-Columbian Mayan astronomers trace Mars's movement, they also measured the time it took the planet to orbit the sun -- a route much harder to observe from earth. The four-minute segment aired on The Today Show on May 7 during the 9 a.m. hour.


Crowding within the clouds
The Peruvian ministries of tourism and culture are developing plans to increase the number of visitors who trek to the ancient city of Machu Picchu, located high in the Andes Mountains. According to a March 6 report in The Boston Globe, the income generated by tourist dollars might help maintain the city within the clouds, but an increase in visitors will seriously compromise its majesty and spiritual quality. Reporter Beth Daly approached Gary Urton, MacArthur fellow and Charles A. Dana Professor of anthropology, for comment. He responded: "Machu Picchu is one of those places that really truly rises above expectations. It is this magnificent blend of architecture and landscape. While each person has to answer what is there that is special, it is a powerful place. But the question is, no matter what tomfoolery we play with it, will it still have its power?"


Same difference
When writing about the values associated with workplace diversity, reporter Diane Lewis of The Boston Globe contacted Jack Dovidio, Charles A. Dana Professor of psychology and chair of the department, for information. Unlike a school environment, the workplace is one of the few sites where adults interact with individuals who are

     co-workers but are not just like themselves. Therefore, a diverse workplace provides an environment more conducive to enlightening adults about the need to appreciate and respect differences. According to Dovidio, "People feel especially uncomfortable in unstructured situations. Outside work, it is harder to break the ice."


Looking from the outside in
On the front page of its May 4 and 5 newspapers, The Syracuse Post Standard published a series on Colgate's Greek life. Reporter Aaron Gifford spent nearly five months researching the topic, and some of the interviews arranged for him included conversations with Task Force on Campus Culture Chairman Ralph Verni '64 and President Karelis. From the grade point averages of each Greek residence and composition of residents in university theme houses, to events of the past academic year and the goals of the task force, Gifford outlined where the university stands on its own timeline. For the complexities of its condition, Gifford presented a clear snapshot of campus life.


Soap on a rope
It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. The Chronicle of Higher Education asked colleges to come clean about their soap budgets in its May 4 piece on which schools provide students with soap dispensers in residence hall bathrooms. Yale University (endowment of $10.1 billion) has turned down, again, requests from students for soap dispensers, saying it is still "researching" the associated cost. Students at the College of the Holy Cross (endowment of $383 million) can now lather up with school soap since the college ended its eight years of resistance to supplying dispensers. Colgate (endowment of $463.4 million) came out squeaky clean with its annual soap budget of $2,500 to provide students in the upper quad with soft suds.


I keep on waiting
The Wall Street Journal examined the increasingly intense admission process for its Weekend Report on March 30. Working with a panel of experts, reporter Elizabeth Bernstein examined SAT scores and acceptance rates, and conducted interviews with applicants and high school guidance counselors nationwide and "ultimately came up with a list of 50 colleges in four categories." The four groups identify a newly elevated class called the "New Ivies" and three subsets of back-up colleges, or safety schools -- a term that no one likes but everyone uses. The "New Ivies" include Duke, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins. In terms of being "Safest," "Safer" or Safe," Colgate was designated in the latter category and defined as being "selective, but regarded as first-tier backups to the New Ivies." (Other "Safe" schools include Emory University, Harvey Mudd College and Washington University.) As for specific comments about the university, it was said: "After about doubling its scholarship offerings, Colgate is seeing about 17 percent more applications."

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